I don’t understand how someone can just walk off on an obligation without giving two hoots how it hurts others. “You’re the Psychologist,” my son says. “You ought to know the answer.” OK, I can come up with an answer, but that still doesn’t help me really “get” how someone can just walk away.

To tell the truth, I could understand it more easily if it were someone who’s been raised in poverty with little hope for the future. It still doesn’t mean that I ‘d like it. But in this case it’s a young American woman who could afford to go to Australia, apparently with the intention of staying for the year they allow. No, I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.

Given all the awful things going on in the world, this hardly qualifies as one of the more horrific events. But it’s a heartbreaker that should never have happened.

Anyway, here’s the story. Since my granddaughter was in High School she has dreamed of going to Australia. Recently she was finally able to do it having found a program that would allow her to stay and be employed there for a year. In anticipation she had paid off her student loans and earned and saved enough to get there and sustain her until she got a job.

On the way, she spent time in New Zealand where she worked as a Nanny. Then, at the beginning of 2015 she went on to Australia with a work visa allowing her to stay until the end of 2015. She got a job in Brisbane at “Cucina by Toscanis” which she enjoyed and they enjoyed her. All that was left was to move out of the hostel into a nicer home. That happened on February 3 when she and two other American girls signed a lease until the middle of May. Needless to say, her joy delighted us all. Yes, joy. A rare thing in today’s world.

Now here comes the lesson – two, actually. (1) Don’t be too trusting, and (2) Don’t ever sign a lease where you could be responsible for someone else’s debt. What happened? One of the co-signers sneaked off without telling the other two, leaving them with the total commitment; not only for the weeks ahead, but also for the weeks she hadn’t been paying.

My granddaughter was the only one with a job. The other honest signer was paying her obligation with saved money and was looking for a job. The lease was to expire in the middle of May at which time the landlord’s daughter plans to move in.

The cheater left behind at least three victims: my granddaughter, her honest roommate, and the landlord, who insisted the two remaining were responsible for the entire debt, including the payments the deserter had not been paying. Met by an impossible situation, the two honest roommates consulted RTA Queensland and learned that, given the circumstances under which the lease was written, and the delay in discovering the indebtedness of the third roommate, there was no choice but to negotiate directly with the landlord.

Unfortunately none of the three victims was effective in negotiating. The landlord stuck firmly to his legal rights in spite of the fact they simply could not be met. The two roommate victims were unable to meet the demand. So they advertised and found two couples who wanted to rent the unit for the remainder of the lease time and referred them directly to the landlord., expecting one of the couples would sign a lease.

Unable to afford to stay, my granddaughter had to leave her job and get a flight back to the States. Her employer offered her to come back to the job if she was able to return to Australia. The two victimized roommates notified the landlord of their departure date. My granddaughter’s assumption was they would then work out a payment plan for their part of the obligation. All that was needed was information about when the new renters had taken over.

Unfortunately, negotiation requires direct conversation with all parties involved. This did not happen. The landlord insists on full payment of the entire debt. My granddaughter doesn’t know if he has new renters. In short, everyone has been hurt, and no fruitful negotiations have followed. Three people hurt and struggling because of one dishonest, irresponsible person.

The lessons? (1) Trust but verify. (One thing attributed to Ronald Reagan that I find useful.) (2) Never commit yourself to pay someone else’s debt. (3) No matter how legal it may be, one cannot get money out of an empty pocketbook. (4) Sometimes compromise is necessary. (5) Negotiation can’t happen if the parties involved aren’t talking directly to each other with the understanding that each may have to sacrifice something in order to gain.

Two young women recovering from dreams shattered. One very non-joyous granddaughter back in the States, unemployed, trying to pick up the pieces, sort out all that has happened and decide where to go from here. A landlord who leased his property in good faith, left with a loss. Sad lessons learned. And no effort on the part of the one who sneaked off leaving others to suffer the consequences.




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  1. I’m so sorry to hear this, Mona. Our prayers go out to your dear granddaughter that things will work out with better news soon.

  2. I can’t like this Mona because unfortunately I have been in a similar position when I was younger. I’m so sorry this happened to your granddaughter and wish that the landlord had been a little more understanding. I’m thinking that he is partially to blame for her having to come back home to you. It hardly seems fair. And now I feel extra guilty because I had been meaning to call your granddaughter and just didn’t remember at the right times (like late at night). Maybe I could have helped in some way.

    • Your response is so sweet and kind. But there is no call for guilt. If there were, we’d all be feeling it. Like why didn’t we ever warn her not to be so trusting? (Well, actually we did.) But why didn’t we tell her specifically never to sign anything that would make her responsible for someone else’s actions.

      I am sorry you didn’t get to meet her. She really is a delightful young lady. The folks at the restaurant were very unhappy to see her go.

      If ever she makes her way back, I’ll be sure to keep you informed.

      Thank you so much for caring.

  3. What a nightmare to find oneself in. Your granddaughter is in my prayers, that she can be able to somehow find peace with it all – which in my view is impossible without God’s help to truly SEE.
    It is my belief that the one who snook away will suffer the consequences by knowing deeply what she did to her friends
    and that we don’t know all the reasons for her choice, its hard to judge her – but the consequences truly seem strong.
    I also know for me, personally that when I have experienced horrors in treatment like this, the only thing that has TRULY helped is the knowledge that I do not know and see the happening from high above – and so I judge, from the position where the error happened – in other words, like Einstein said, we cannot solve an error /wound on the same level it happened.
    I pray that your granddaughters mind will be opened so she can see the invisible gift in this situation – and through living 70 years, I have found that it IS possible to find them all – although it may take years.
    I bless the place in the landlord in his true seeing, in his justice, in his integrity – all aspects that he seem not to have shown in the situation, but which are parts of the Self we all share
    I have found that when i use this kind of blessing of people who I think/believe have treated me obnoxiously, frequently they turn around and change

  4. So very sorry about this. What a face-splash of a life lesson for your precious granddaughter. No, we are NEVER to trust anyone when it comes to money nor ever to assume anything. People will do worse than what her roommate did. Just so so sad.

  5. @” Trust but verify.” – yesss!!! we have 2 sayings in French:”each problem has at least one solution…” and:”the world is unfortunately full of morons and crooks who have the right to piss us off and to cheat us!” – word-by-word translation…
    * * *
    every negative lesson we’ve experienced during our lifetime will prove to be a positive one for the present and in the future… with one condition: refuse and avoid to repeat the same error(s)! 🙂 my very best, take care and friendly thoughts, Mélanie

    • Thanks for this, Melanie. Things are coming to good conclusion because the “victims” were willing to live by a few general positive rules of communication and problem solution. Stay tuned. (And I love your word-by-word translation.)

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