Patty Smith protects her college-age daughter from a landlord dispute.
"I guess the most valuable time when ARAG came in handy for me was when my daughter went away to college. After her freshman year, she didn't want the dorm life any more. Two of her friends found a condo with her and they wanted to rent the condo. And no one wanted their name on the lease except my daughter. She signed it and everybody moved in, splitting a $900 rent three ways which wasn't bad, utilities three ways - none of this was bad, it was cheaper than the dorm.
Midway through the semester, one of the girls was flunking out and her parents made her move back home. And I don't remember what the other girl's reason was, but she left also. My daughter was on the hook for the full $900 a month, and all utilities. Which is really me being on the hook because I was still supporting her.
ARAG helped me find a lawyer near where I work who specializes in tenant law and leases and landlord law. He pointed out a paragraph that said that it was an agreement to sign a lease at a future date and if she chose not to do that her penalty was one month's rent. Well, I had already done that six consecutive months. He helped me draft a letter that very day pointing out that there was a clause that said the penalty is one month's rent if you don't sign a formal lease.
When my daughter was able to move out of the condo, it was a sense of relief for me, it was causing a great hardship on my whole family to be able to do this.
If you're a parent and you have a child going away to college, you need to consider this plan to cover them. It's just as important as having renter's insurance or health insurance for a child going off to college.
Let them have that card with them, let them know that they have that protection, explain it them. You want them to go off with all the other tools to be successful in college and I feel that legal protection is one of those tools."