San Diego County Woman Pays Year's Worth of Rent Upfront Just to Secure Home: ‘I Was Going to Be Homeless'

Melina Georghiou, a single mother of three teenagers, paid $42,900 upfront after countless application rejections.

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In a desperate move that illustrates San Diego County’s outrageous housing costs and market, a Vista woman has paid a whole year's rent upfront in order to be assured of securing a rental home in Carlsbad.

Total upfront cost for a three bedroom rental: $42,900.

“I was going to be homeless in two weeks,” Melina Georghiou said.

Georghiou, 50, who is a single mother of three teenagers, has lived in a two bedroom, fully furnished townhome in Vista for the past two and a half years. Her monthly rent is $1600 — a bargain in today’s housing market.

The owner of the townhome, however, is moving back in, so Georghiou must leave by June 30.

Finding a new place to rent proved to be a difficult and frustrating process. Georghiou said she filled out dozens of applications, spending hundreds of dollars in application fees, only to be turned away by every potential landlord.

“At first I thought, 'I’m strong. I can do this. I’ll keep going,' but I’ve spent the last two weeks crying because I thought I was going to be homeless at the end of the month,” Georghiou said.

Georghiou, who has a 13-year-old son and twin 15-year-old daughters, feels strongly that many people are hesitant to rent to single mothers, (which is discriminatory and illegal). And then there's the fact that she’s also a travelling nurse who gets paid by the hour.

“I’m an hourly worker, too, so when I don’t work, I don’t get paid, so that could be an issue," Georghiou said. "But it’s the market today."

This week, Georghiou found a home to potentially rent in Carlsbad that is near her children’s schools. But, she said, the home owner was also considering other applicants.

Fearing her application would, once again, be rejected, she offered a full year’s worth of rent, upfront.

“I just got creative and was like, 'Let me offer her a year in advance,' which I did," Georghiou said. "And when I got the text back, she’s like, ‘You know, I’m really hesitant renting to you, but you offered a year in advance, so I’ll take it and the place is yours.' "

In the end, for a home that would have rented for $3,300 a month, Georghiou paid $42,900 upfront. She said she liquidating everything she owns and wiping out her life savings.

“I am, at this point, losing faith in humanity," Georghiou said. "As a whole, I think there’s a lot of greed involved. I do understand the real estate market at this point, but you should not go from 2019 to three years later, doubling rent."

Georghiou is by no means poor, but she’s willing to share a single mother’s struggle to find affordable housing. And for now, she no longer fears the absolute worst.

“I’m thinking, staying in hotels, stay in the cars," Georghiou said. "I don’t know what my options would have been at that point. I don’t, I cried too many night’s already, so I don’t want to think about it anymore."

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