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Lives of Doctor Wives: Housing for Away Rotations

Friday, July 10, 2009

Housing for Away Rotations

I posted this on my personal blog, but thought it might prove helpful on this one as well!

So Justin and I have an upcoming trip to Utah. I have posted about it before. Anyway, I post this not for the pity but for the awareness and warning to be shared.

We arranged housing. We found it on CraigsList under Sublet/Temporary Housing. The rentors name was Donald Spencer (Alberto Arias). He agreed to rent us his high end condo in SLC for a great price of $650 for the entire month of August. He rented the unit as a vacation rental for $45 a night. So the $650 was a great deal. We shared a bunch of emails back and forth. At one point he called us and spoke with Justin for a few minutes. We made all the arrangements. Donald Spencer was really nice and really easy to work with. Justin and I both felt really good about the arrangement. We felt like we were doing the right thing. We signed a contract and agreed to his conditions for the money. He asked that we send him a money order for $250 for the rental deposit which would go towards the $650 rent. He also asked that we send a post dated check for $300 to him. This was for the security deposit and would be returned once he verified that the apartment was left in proper order. Donald claimed that he was on a research sabatical in Dallas and would send us the keys. One June 21, he told us the keys had been mailed the day before. The keys never arrived. We repeatedly sent emails asking about the status of the keys and for a contact number for him. He never responded. Looking back now there are many things to question that we should have looked into further. But we were trusting and I guess pretty stupid. As we have looked into Donald Spencer we have found out that he does not own any property.

So if you are looking for temporary housing...Here are my 2 cents...
1> Be wary of CraigsList.
Clearly we were to trusting. I know they warn you, but you really need to be wary and look into everything you can!
2> Do your research on the rental/owner. Ask the renter for some sort of proof that he has rights to rent this property, or the name of someone who can verify that they live there. Maybe a copy of a statement with his name sent to that address, I don't know, but find some proof that they have the right to rent you the property.
3> Make sure that you have full contact info before agreeing to a contract.
4> Be wary if they ask you to send the money to a different address. Donald Spencer said he was living in Dallas, but was going with Alberto Arias (who was listed as a co-owner and whom I assumed was his boyfriend) to visit his sick aunt in Massachusetts.
5> Make sure when renting in a temporary housing situation that you keep good records of everything that took place, every phone call, email, exchange, check numbers, money order receipts and so forth. We were lucky that we had all this.

I am assuming that we have lost the $250, which is awful, but we are fortunate that is all. As I said, I don't post his blog for any pity for our situation. We have been lucky enough to be able to work everything out despite it. I post it so that everyone will be aware. And I hope that when people do searches on Donald Spencers name they find this blog post and do not rent a vacation rental from him. Obviously that is probably not his real name...If it is, I pity him when the FBI gets a hold of him. He cashed the Money order which was made out to Donald Spencer and or Alberto Arias, so I am hoping maybe one of those is his real name...but lets not be ridiculous.

Just be aware when you are renting for away rotations. Luckily we have been fortunate to have some friends in SLC who are letting us stay at their house while we are there, Even the kids and I while we are in town. So thanks to them! It means I can actually see Justin for a minute or two while in town! :) Good luck to anyone reading this looking for housing!

And just for some further info: Here are the pictures he sent of the unit and the original posting on CraigsList (Now removed...wonder why)

Reply to: hous-nqqeg-1202055119@craigslist.org
Date: 2009-06-02, 2:47PM

45 per night
Fully Furnished One Bedroom Apartment, Discounts on Extended Stays
Bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room and den
45 per night and discounts on extended stays!
Living arrangements are really nice!
Located in the heart of Salt Lake City!
Major discounts for extended stays!
Looking for renters for now!

  • Location: Salt Lake City
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Original URL:http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/sub/1202055119.html

The email we communicated with him on was dspencerinc@gmail.com


Blogger Melisa said...

I'm so sorry that happened to you!

When we lived in MI, we rented out our walk-out basement to rotating medical students. It had it's own living room, kitchenette, bath, etc. It was great and it was almost always full. We posted on Craigslist, but also got interest through the hospitals programs. We liked renting to med students because we could track who they were easier through their school if there was a problem. Thankfully, we never had a problem with a med student!

July 10, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger Davita said...

Man, I'm sorry that happened to you. I'm glad that you were able to find alternative housing. E did an away at Utah. Hope everything else goes smoothly.

July 11, 2009 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger Married to a med student - Marissa Nicole said...

So sorry you had to experience that - but thank you for sharing to help us avoid similar problems!

July 13, 2009 at 8:46 AM  

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