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Seattle Renter Horror Stories: A Sight Better Left Unseen

This Renters Week we're collecting and sharing the worst Renter Horror Stories, downright terrifying tales of renting in Seattle. Check out the first nightmare scenario here and then read below for the next one...if you dare...

The first apartment I ever lived in when I moved to Seattle from Pullman, I saw sight unseen. My future roommate did all the searching and called me one night saying, "I think I have found us a place, but there might be a halfway house across the street." After looking at the listing on Craigslist, I decided what the heck...the building is brand new, spacious and has parking. For $1,050 a month, no-brainer.

Well let's just say I wish I had been there to do the apartment searching.

Upon rolling up to my new apartment, I see people on street corners engaging in prostitution and I had a gentlemen come up to my car and ask if wanted to buy any crack cocaine. Not the best start but I was willing to give it a chance. I had a girlfriend at the time who was kind enough to stand outside my U-Haul while I hauled all the furniture up the stairs by myself because I didn't want anything stolen.

That night I was introduced to a few firsts. Hitting the deck due to drive-by gunfire, and the patrons of Club Chocolate City on Madison Avenue who enjoyed the nightlife so much they never went to sleep. Like never.

Over my time living in that apartment I was greeted by many more firsts. Like the homeless man who would perpetually get arrested in front of my building only to see him outside the next morning. The woman who burned a mark on my brand new car because she was using it as a crack pipe holder. Or the young man who got tackled by the SWAT team in front of me after I got off the bus.

Even going shopping in that neighborhood was an experience. I was leaving the Safeway on 21st Avenue one day and was crossing Madison Avenue when this pedestrian passing by tells me, "I wouldn't go that way if I were you." I look up the street and there are twenty youths engaging in a gang fight right next to my building, throwing glass bottles and brawling with each other. I had two choices: pass the brawling youths, or cross the street to where the crackheads hung out. Let's just say the crackheads across the street seemed like the safer path home.

This was back in 2005. Today, the wheels of gentrification have made it a pretty nice neighborhood. I learned a lot from my experiences there: like never sign a lease sight unseen, and always have someone with you when you are unpacking your U-Haul.
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