Q: Last year, my daughter moved in with someone she's known since high school. It seemed to be a perfect situation: she was moving to a new state to pursue a job, and he was already established there and had just ended a live-in relationship. However, he has three cats - two more than are allowed by the management. On top of that, he's never home to take care of the cats. The cats use a litterbox but it frequently overflows. They also pee everywhere because of the overflow issue. Because they haven't been properly trained, they jump all over — furniture, appliances, etc. They are infested with fleas — my daughter is bitten all over her legs — and they are sick on a regular basis...
It's obvious her roommate doesn't take good care of his cats. Because he's hardly ever home, my daughter has to contend with the cats and the mess. We visited her recently and could barely stay in the apartment for more than a few minutes because of the overwhelmingly horrible smell. She can't have anyone over because of the state of the place. I don't know how she's not sick from the disgusting conditions.
My daughter would love to move out but is stuck in an 18-month lease. She wants to break the lease but is concerned that she will be charged a cleaning fee once the management finds out about the cats. She also doesn't want to pay the penalty for breaking the lease. She's talked to her roommate, who said he could get someone else to take her place but that my daughter's name would still be on the lease — not a good situation since she'd still be responsible if the other person flaked on the rent. Is she stuck until her lease is up? -Sent by Trapper Mom
Editor: Oh my goodness, I'm freaking out just reading your letter. The smell alone, let alone the fleas and the sick and the overflowing! Dearest animal loving Readers, please guide this sweetly concerned mother and her poor daughter. Would you recommend her taking over the situation at her own expense- buying and cleaning additional litterboxes, treating the cats for fleas, cleaning the floors/carpets- as preferable to paying a penalty or subletting? Do you think there's a way she could get out of her lease scot-free? Is the situation dire enough that she should report the animals' conditions to the proper authorities so they'll get the care they deserve? Please help!