Wily as a coyote (fourcorners) wrote in thequestionclub,

Fraud?

My friend is trying to land an apartment. She needs a place that accepts pets; dogs and cats. She has a friend who's moving back to California (where we all live) and they'll be roommates, along with a third friend who's looking for a place. Los Angeles house rentals for 3-bedroom in decent areas are around $3,000-up.

Heather's income is customer based, and when demand is high, she earns over $3,000/month. March is solid for customers, but it drops in April, so she and her partner need to find a way to generate new business. Rachel (her friend) is on disability, and does a little work on the side in the entertainment field, and I don't know how all that works out, but apparently she's good for her share. Vinnie is in the carpentry/fix-it biz and he can go up to $800 for rent, leaving the other two to pick up the difference, which, for some reason, the girls are ok with. Rachel says she knows someone in the business and can get people money as paid audience members, $100/night, which seems too outrageous to be true.

Heather's having a bitch of a time finding a good place. Either the units are too expensive, in the wrong area, or won't allow cats AND dogs. Today she came across some place that's close to me, in a decent area. The rent is doable. The problem is that the landlord wants at least one of the tenants to have a job that nets $16,000+. None of the 3 people qualify. Heather's job is done over the phone, she's somewhat newly employed, and she says it'd be hard to proove annual income. Her boyfriend is going to co-sign for the lease, but can't move in with her, so that leaves her having to locate someone who can be that employed tenant to convince the landlord.

Heather asked me if I'd lie on the form about moving into her apartment as one of the roommates. I said it'd make me very uncomfortable, that this would be fraud, but she reassures me that we wouldn't get caught. I don't believe her one bit. She said move in for a few weeks and then I can move out when everything's settled. Yadda yadda yadda.

I know all this is illegal, to dupe the landlord, but I don't know enough about real estate law and the penalties therein to have many facts to throw around in this conversation. I'm concerned that they may not be reliable to make rent if her customer base drops, and Rachel's audience gig turns out to be bogus, and I sure as hell don't want to be connected to them if there's rent issues. I'm not sure if they default on the rent, how it would affect my credit.

So, my question is, what facts can you give me about this stuff that I can use to get her off my case? I want to prove this is a lousy idea while not damaging the friendship (she's my best friend)
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