Renting a this alarming?

mikelleNovember 1, 2009


I'm posting this thread for a friend of mine. Due to the economy, she decided to rent a room and save a little cash for a year. The place she moved into is very nice. It's a 2 bedroom townhome that has been completely renovated. She has a large bedroom and a personal batroom (located just outside her room). The people (a couple) she is renting from are in their early 30's (my friend is 30). The girlfriend has a good job and the boyfriend is a law student studing for the bar. She just moved in this week which is convienient because they are on vacation and it gives her some time to get aqainted with the house. Last night she was going through the dvr in her room (they have att uverse which records shows so that you can watch it in any room). She was looking through the shows to see if she likes anything that they watched and came across a title of "3 Way". It was convieniently recorded 2 days after she signed the lease. There were a few more adult movies on there from a couple of months back too.

My question is, do you think this is anything that she should be concerned about? She is well aware that many guys like to watch these programs, it's just a little weird that they would leave them on ther knowing she can see them there.

What do you think? Is it a concern or no biggie?

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hmmm...Well, I can relate to this on several levels; as a LL who has AT&T Uverse and who was once a single woman. ;)

From the perspective of a young single woman, yes, I personally would be very uncomfortable finding this. I too would wonder if this was an accidental oversight containing TMI or an intentional hint.

As an AT&T Uverse subscriber I've learned a few things. Things get taped by accident. Have done it myself, just recently, when I wanted to tape one of my favorite Jane Austen movies and hit the red Record button on the remote right before the movie aired. But the highlighted bar was one channel up on the Guide. I was only half paying attention so accidentally taped the wrong thing. Also I've found the 30 minute nightly local news on DVR (twice), and when I asked DH why he was recording the news he met my funny look with a funny look of his own. Figured out there's a program DH has set on 'Record Series', it airs on the adjacent channel to the news, same time at night, same 30 minute span. Have no idea how but something goofed up and it caught the adjacent news programming too. Also, it's very easy to forget, especially early on in subscribing, that what is taped on one tv is available for viewing on all sets in the house. Even if accidental recording does happen, which they might have encountered, they still should know to be careful. It's not like porn channels are randomly mixed in with others. (We don't subscribe but I'm concluding it's in the very high channel numbers, beyond premium movies and far away from family-friendly viewing.) Channels are in groups by like kind. So where our mishaps occurred with immediately adjacent channels, if something similar happened in the couple's house the TV would have already had to be in that channel range. Porn ain't located next to Disney or CNN. ;) Last but not least, I can definitely attest that our experience with AT&T is glitches happen. A lot.

But that's the only benefit of the doubt I'll offer the LLs in this situation. Because there are levels of discomfort certain situations and unwanted or unsolicited attention can bring to a woman, particularly a young one, and it's not fun to deal with. Not at work, not socially, and definitely not at home as in your friend's situation.

From a LL's perspective, that couple needs to be on their toes. (Being a law student the male particularly should know this.) Like it or not, they are now in a legally binding contract in their own home, which should offer your friend the right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment. Even if not spelled out in Lease language it still easily could be included in your State's LL/tenant legislation. Tho it would be difficult to prove, if it was intentional and not an oversight, that behavior could be viewed as harassment. (And if it was intentional, it will appear again. Either verbally with inappropriate words or with the obviously inappropriate wandering eye or crossing bounds physical contact. IME, having worked around a few real creeps in office settings, they have almost zero self control and won't hide their behavior or unwanted advances. If your friend is uncomfortable she should listen to her gut.)

Your friend can check a couple things out easily enough. I only look for evictions or property judgments, but find the sum total of all records on file can paint a behavioral portrait of an individual. I would absolutely check the sex offender's database for your state. (Not just about children, many include crimes against women, public indecency, etc.) This is a national list. It's a place to start but I'd rely more on local lists as they are probably more up to date. (google "[your state name] sex offender registry") Another thing your friend can check is local public court dockets. Most are online now. Just go to your county government's web site and look for the court house area. Check both criminal and civil divisions if separate. (Other municipalities too, for instance if they happened to mention a hometown located elsewhere.) Most sites don't require a SS#, just a full name will often bring up results. Hopefully nothing weird will turn up on either of them.

So what to do from here? Keep an eye on things for sure. I had a friend who liked to say 'once is a mistake, twice is a habit'. I'm concluding although the lease was signed your friend was not moved in yet when the recording was done. If it happens again now that she's physically there, I'd see red flags. The physical presence of a new occupant in the house is enough of a mental trigger for the couple that the entire place is no longer their domain. Time to keep their private hobbies to themselves. It's a no-brainer and the lawyer-to-be most especially should know better.

Let us know what happens?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 7:39AM
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Thanks for the great response/advice! I will print this out for my friend to read. In the mean time she has a week to get situated until the couple returns.

Here's to hoping it was just a weird coincidence, but I will definitely keep you posted :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:44PM
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You're welcome. ;)
Let's hope it was just an oversight!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 6:01AM
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Have they been renting to other tenants, or is she the first? It does take a bit of a mental adjustment to change your behavior to accommodate a new roommate, and since she hadn't even moved in yet when the movie was recorded, I wouldn't really expect them to have made that mental adjustment yet, (if she's the first tenant).

otoh, if she's just a replacement for a previous tenant who's moving out, then they apparently don't have a problem having their viewing habits known to roommates. Since this is something she feels violates her boundaries, she will probably need to speak up about it. I wouldn't go so far as to be alarmed, the occasional porn flick does not make a sexual predator/harrasser (although moonshadow gives good advice in terms of checking them out), but if there is a discrepancy between her boundaries/privacy level and theirs, it will need to be addressed.

Unless this is a couple she already knows well, they have already demonstrated a pretty high lack of concern for privacy and boundaries by allowing a new roommate move in while they're on vacation. I have been known to allow a new roommate to move in while I'm at work, but I would not give a new person free rein to my house for a week until I had a chance to get to know them a bit, and I am not at all obsessive about "my space, your space" (my laundry room is only accessible through my bedroom, so my tenant/roommates have had free access to my bedroom for doing laundry if that tells you anything).

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 10:54AM
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Also, it may not have occurred to them that she would go through their movie "library" looking for something to watch (again, especially if she's their first tenant). If they had not considered that possibility, they may feel that her doing so violated their privacy, so I would suggest she breach the subject delicately. "I was looking for something to watch and wasn't trying to snoop, but I came across xxx, and that seems awfully private, can we talk about how to make sure we don't accidentally invade each other's privacy going forward?" type of thing.

(although, if that would bother them, letting someone move in while they're gone was again not the smartest idea...)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 11:11AM
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Thanks quirk for your input. I don't think my friend is really too concerned with it after she thought about it. Plus, she is generally not the type that is easily irked by things like that (she grew up with 2 brothers). If anything, her boyfriend was more disturbed by the situation. You have a point too about her checking out their video libray, but in her defense the library is available on each cable box (in each room) and she has never had AT&T Uverse so she was just checking things out.

Oh, also...she does not know them. She met them through an add on craigslist. She also is a pretty good judge of character and would never have moved into their home if she got a bad vibe or if they seemed odd or shady. Taking into consideration what you said about them demonstrating a lack of concern for privacy and boundaries by allowing a new roommate move in while they're on vacation makes sense. Still, I think it was great for her to be able to move in without having the stress of her new roomies around.

They ended up extending their trip a few extra days and will be ariving home tonight. I'll keep you both posted if anything should come of the situation but my friend plans on not mentioning it and to see what happens from there.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 8:15PM
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Just wanted to give you a follow up as you were both so nice to respond. It's been almost two months now and everything has gone funny business! The boyfriend does like to walk around in a robe, sans underwear! Other than that everything is fine and I think she feels comfortable enough in the house at this point. Although my friends bf is still not so comfortable with the situation. He has started looking for places for them to live together, which means lucky me...I'll get to help her move again! LOL

Thanks again for your responses!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!!!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 3:28AM
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Nice to get an update mikelle, I've wondered how your friend is doing. ;) Underwear under the robe would be a good thing, robes don't always stay tight and gap below the waist, or other situations arise. (Did I just say that?!? ;D )

Hopefully you'll get a bit of a breather before helping move again! Happy holidays to you, too! :-)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2009 at 8:47AM
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Great, nice to hear everything's well.

...or other situations arise...


    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 4:06PM
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