Monday, February 8, 2010

Voices Get Raised.

Tim and I had an argument, which is actually something fairly rare for us. We are remodeling a kitchen in one of the vacant apartments and getting it ready to rent. He was set to rent to an older woman. Seemed nice enough. Anxious to rent from us. In a hurry to move in. Problem number one. She had a cat. We don't normally allow pets. Then after discussions, after the decision to allow the cat, Tim called to let her know that she had the apartment. Suddenly she did not have the money for the rent and deposit. Furthermore, she now had two cats, neither of which she could bear to part with. She was also getting very rushed about moving in there. We have seen this before. If they do not have the money before they move in, they will not come up with the money after they are in. I don't care how nice the little old lady seems, financial problems do not go away overnight, and the fact that she was not upfront with us about the cat situation did not bode well in my opinion. In my mind, we had a woman who would not hesitate to fudge on the truth if it suited her, that on top of the financial issues. "Tim," I said, "I know that you liked her, but really, remember Nancy? It's the exact same thing." He agreed with me, but when he called her back to say that we had decided to rent to the next person on the list, she began to try to argue with him. Amazingly, even as I mouthed the words (repeatedly) "Your situation is not as you represented it to us. We're sorry," I heard him begin to waffle. She told him that she would call him back later to discuss it further when it was convenient for her. My gosh. I was mad at him.

A young man called from McDonalds. He asked where the apartment was. I told him. I mentioned that Tim was there for the afternoon if he wanted to go take a look at it. The boy said, "No. I don't need to see it. I'll take it." I began to speak and he cut in to explain that he needed the apartment right away, and assured me that he would take it. "No," I said. "That's not how it works. We need to meet you. We need to decide if you are going to be a responsible tenant that will fit in with the other tenants already in the building. We need references." This seemed to come as a surprise to him.

We even got a call from Nancy. Too good to be true Nancy. Nancy of the sad, sad stories. She'd like to rent the apartment too.

We're getting a lot of calls, but oh my gosh. Very few of them sound real promising.

13 comments:

Kelly said...

I would certainly have problems with someone who had not been upfront with you from the start (and then didn't have the money!).

I hope you find a suitable renter.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh, been there, done that. You're right to proceed with caution. Bad tenants are like stubborn stains - once they settle in, it's almost impossible to get them out.

Good luck. And trust your instincts. They never lie.

steviewren said...

Another thing that makes my bells ring is when someone is eager to give you too much info. Not many people tell you too much unless they want to sell you a bill of goods.

Be patient. I'm sure someone good will some along.

Jayne said...

Always listen to your gut instinct and if someone reminds you of a previous pest then listen to those warning bells ;)

WhiteStone said...

Ah, the joys of being a landlord. Not. Unless you have me for a renter, in which case you are exceedingly fortunate. But I'm not available, so I doooo hope you find a good tenant.

quid said...

Good call on not going with the "cat lady". I think you might have ended up with a dozen or so cats. And no rent. But that's just me being psychic.

quid

Bob said...

Poor Tim. You have previously stated that y'all rarely argue and I just have a feeling that, when you do, he doesn't prevail. So be kind to and patient with him. This is from another husband of a wife with whom he rarely argues, but against whom he has never prevailed. :-)

Bill of Wasilla said...

I want to rent your apartment - but, and this point is not negotiable - I must bring my four cats with me. And I want to find the refrigerator stocked with Pepsi every Monday.

If these terms are not acceptable to you, then I will just stay here, in Wasilla, Alaska. I am certain, however, that upon contemplation you will accept my offer, which includes a bid of half the normal rent.

Debby said...

Bill? Did I talk to you on the phone? Pretty sure....

Debby said...

Oh, Bob. Tim prevails regularly. Truly. Know how? He simply stands there looking at me, smiling a little, and then goes off and does what he's going to do. It's just that with this issue, because we are both without full time jobs at present, money is very tight. Extremely tight. We simply have to use our very best judgement because having a tenant who does not pay rent would send us into financial disaster. We do not make any profit off the houses yet because everything we get goes right back into them. Once the renovations are done, they will generate income. The rub is that Tim is a genuinely nice person, and he doesn't like to fight. Neither do I. So we simply don't. We generally reason our way out of things. It was darn scary to watch a prospective tenant try to argue her way into the apartment, and appear to be winning that argument, just because my Tim is not an arguing man. The funniest part of the whole thing is that he doesn't want her as a tenant, but he'd just rather I tell her that.

Lydia said...

Oh my, I have seen this before -- my business is 100% managing apartments. So, you and Tim are right on the money with these tenants.

Rule of thumb, if you say "weeeellll" they might be OK. What that "weeellll" means, is that they will drive you crazy, complain about every tiny thing, will always be late on the rent, and drive all the rest of your tenants out of the building.

An empty apartment is less expensive than a bad tenant. All you need is one good one. Here's hoping he/she comes soon! :}

Teri said...

Trust your instincts.

corymbia said...

Good on you Debby for helping Tim see what *needs* to be done. ...and its not nice to have to tell a "nice old lady" that the answer is no because she neglected to be honest, so having you help him through was probably a bit of a relief to him I imagine ;)

...and I'm a firm believer that arguments ... and by that I mean respectful discussions and debates .... can help strengthen families as well: challenging the ideas of your partner IS important in part of a happy marriage in my book. You don't learn anything from agreeing all the time.