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February 20, 2013

Steven asks…

What should I do? My former roommate is refusing to pay out the lease!?

OK, so I moved down to Florida last August to live with my good friend and his wife. In October, we decided to get a larger place and I co-signed on a 1 year lease with an apartment complex. In November, I was offered a (perfect) job back up in Georgia and decided that it was worth it to move back (to GA). Only problem: Now I’m left with almost a full year lease on an Apartment in FL.

When we signed the lease, there was a buyout option of $2000. However, due to my former roommates getting married in Feb, I decided that rather than pushing for the buyout option, I would assist them by paying 1/2 of the rent until after the wedding. Well, now its almost April and they have decided to move out.

Here is the problem: They notified the landlord five days ago that they were needing to move (lost his job, got another in another city). The landlord said that a 60-day notice was required so we would need to pay the next 2 months rent PLUS the $2000 buyout in order to get out of the lease. Not cheap, but it is doable for me to pay half of the rent for the next 2 months and the half of the buyout. HOWEVER, my former roommate proclaims that there is NO way that he is able to pay the next two months rent OR the buyout and has already signed a lease at a new place.

What should I do? I (really) can’t afford to pay both his part and mine. While he does not care about his credit rating, I have worked very hard to get my credit score back in good standing and do not want to see it plummet!

Administrator answers:

BEEN THERE!! TWICE!! The second time around, it didn’t matter that we were friends, I paid what was due because, YES, I was co-signer to to the lease! This is how I got my money back from the other room mate who screwed me: No matter what, even if one of you chooses not to pay, the money is still due which means it looks like you’re stuck with the bill! Gather ALL paperwork and make ALL your payments to the landlord by check or money order so you have a way to track them(i.e. Who and when they were cashed). Get receipts from the landlord that specifically states WHO(i.e. You) made the payment(s) along with the amount paid! In the mean time, contact your local housing division in FL along with the local courthouse to file a small claims! Get the papers you need to file and fill them out. Inform your former room-mate that you filing a small claims unless he starts paying his half. Give him a time frame like 2 weeks or 30 days since the money is due the landlord now. Contact him by phone, then in writing. Be sure that once the all the fees are paid to the former landlord that you get a written statement from the landlord stating that everything is paid in full with a zero balance do them. If you don’t get a reply or get a cold shoulder from your former room mate, pay the dues to file the claim in court once the rent is paid.. In most states you can also sue for your court fees! You may not get your money right away from him, he doesn’t sound like a very good friend or a reliably trusting person at that. You may end up having to get your judgment against him and then file to have his/and or his wives wages garnished to get your money back!! In any case, usually the threat of suing is good enough, it worked for me!

David asks…

working actors in L.A.???

If there’s any working actors who have moved to Los Angeles to further their careers, can you please share your experience? Did you find more or any work in L.A.? Did you have an acting coach and/or attended acting classes? And at what studios? How were you able to afford the cost of living in L.A.? Did you get a regular 9-5 job to pay your bills, while still working on your acting career? Did you find it harder to find work in L.A. then in other states? Do you regret moving there? etc etc

I asked these questions because I’m an 20 year old, aspiring actor living in Atlanta, GA. And I’ve thought about moving to L.A. But I don’t feel secure finanically to make the big move right now. Right now, I have a job that pays me enough to live comfortable and still pay for acting/dance classes. But I know L.A. is probably 10x more expensive then Georgia is. So anyway just looking to hear other experiences! Thanks!
First off, I already know it’s a tough business. I know how competitive it is. I know about resumes, headshots, talent agencies, etc etc. I’m far passed all of that. I just wanted to hear experiences from other working actors and how things are going for them. ————Thanks for your answers anyways.

Administrator answers:

So, You Wanna Make it in Hollywood?

Even if you have graduated from high school, college, or even grad school with a Masters degree in Film & Television Arts, the most important thing to remember is this: There is a finite supply of opportunities in Hollywood, but an infinite supply of opportunity seekers. You have to want it bad… You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of comforts you take for granted… You must be able to hear “NO” 10,000 times and still be able to get up and try again…You have to audition a lot, study a lot, and network a lot… so that you are ready when an opportunity comes along. So, do a gut check: Are you doing this just to get out of a “boring” lifestyle? Think that Hollywood is filled with glamorous stars living the easy life? If so, stay home. Hollywood will kick your butt and either send you back home, or destroy you. But if you truly have the burning desire, the willingness to WORK like you have never worked before, then nothing I say is going to stop you anyway.

And about talent: Nothing is sadder than those people on American Idol who are CONVINCED that they have talent, yet won’t take criticism or advice from an honest critic. Frankly, Simon Cowl gets a bad rap. But he has to see thousands of people who just don’t have what it takes to make it in the business, and he tells them so. So do this: Audition for someone who doesn’t have any vested interest in you, or someone who won’t be afraid to be honest and tell you that you suck, if that’s the case. Too many people come to Hollywood because unqualified people or sycophants (suck-ups) tell them that they are talented. It’s really quite sad.

In order to rent an apartment, you have to be at least 18 or officially emancipated. You’ll need to have a job for at least 6 months and a good credit rating. Count on at least $3,000 to cover first and last months’ rent, plus security deposit. You’ll need more, however, in order to put down the deposits for utilities.
Rent will run you about $1000/mo for a studio in a decent neighborhood. Having a full-time job will really cut into your audition times.

At auditions, the producer will want a resume of all the acting experience you have. It is rare to get a part on talent alone– they want seasoned professionals.

Go to college, do community and university theater. Get all the experience you can. If you don’t you’ll just be one of the 25,000 hopefuls who come here every year, just to go home broke and disappointed.

Where to live: First, lose the idea that there is a magical, “safe” city anywhere within 50 miles of downtown that’s cheap. If it’s safe, it’s not cheap, and if it’s cheap, it’s less safe. Safety is relative, anyway: There are “safer” parts of any city, as well as “less safe” sections. Second, get the idea out of your head that there are daily running gun battles in some parts of town. For every horror story you hear, I can give you 5 stories of people that have lived in the roughest neighborhoods of L.A. Without falling victim. It’s just a matter of being careful, cautious, and just a little lucky.

When looking for a place to live, don’t sign anything until you have scoped out the neighborhood personally. Landlords and rental agents will tell you anything to get you to sign a lease. And once you are in, you’re stuck. Also, be careful of terms like “adjacent” or “close to”, such as “Beverly Hills Adjacent”, or “close to the beach”. I’ve seen apartments listed as “close to the beach” that were 26 blocks away. Sure, it’s closer to the beach than Ottumwa, Iowa, but not what I’d call “close”. To me, “close” is close enough to walk without breaking a sweat.

Some cities like Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, or sections of LA like Silverlake, Eagle Rock, or Palms are good places to start looking. Even within these cities or areas, there are nicer sections and grungy sections. It’s all a matter of using the Yahoo maps to see where the building is, then visiting the neighborhood. Also, keep in mind that the traffic patterns play a HUGE part in determining where to live. In the morning, traffic moves (or tries to, anyway) towards downtown LA, West LA, Santa Ana, Irvine, and other business centers in SoCal. In the afternoon, the traffic flows away from those centers. Use that in determining where to live, as well. If you can find a place to live less than 10 miles from where you work, then you are lucky indeed.

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