Monday, October 10, 2022

*Whew!*

 Getting the apartment rented has been more of an adventure than usual this time around. It is a nice two bedroom apartment. Small, well appointed kitchen, nice sized bathroom with the original hardwood flooring to old house (the only room that we could save it in) big livingroom with vaulted ceiling, dining room, walk in pantry/storage, balcony over looking the river. The doors to the closets and bedrooms are from the original house which is cool (to us, anyway...we were glad to save them). Garage with electric garage door opener, washer and dryer in the basement for tenant use. 

The thing that I DON'T say is that the utilities are included. Tim thinks that this is a big mistake not to say this, that it is a big 'selling point' and it is, but it leads to phone calls from people looking to take advantage. People who wish to move three kids, their boyfriend and a coon hound into an efficiency apartment. People who want to rent, but during the conversation, you discover their intention is to bring a few friends in to live with them, stuff like that. 

A sure ticket to chaos. 

Since it is usually me who fields the phone calls, I am the one saying no, and this often leads to angry responses. "We are used to living in small spaces!" or "Once I begin paying rent, it is my space, and I can have friends living with me." Believe it or not, I even had a young man whose mother explained to him that he could not be punching holes in the wall every time he got pissed about something. So what I see is that there are desperate people looking for deals. You can't fault that, but they rarely make good tenants. 

So. I don't put that in. I get fewer replies because the price is a bit higher, but the ones who you do get are prepared to pay the higher rent. They are not showing up with an eye to taking advantage of the situation. Finding out that monthly rent includes water, sewage, gas, electric, and the garbage pick up is a nice surprise for them, and we usually get a nice handful of applicants to choose from, as opposed to an overwhelming response with few suitable tenants. 

The ad needs to be winnowed down into three lines. So. We ended up with: (name of town) 2 bdrm, upper apt, washer, dryer, garage and a phone number. 

The ad generated just four phone calls. 

One from a fellow just released from jail in July. Based on his records and his and his girlfriend's facebook pages, these were not the type of people we wanted in the building. 

Another from a single woman in her forties who "was in love" with the apartment and wanted it badly. Except that we made the appointment to get the lease signed and give her the keys and the garage door opener. A few hours later, she called back to regretfully say that she couldn't sign the lease because her mother thought it was not a good idea. 

Back to square one. 

We received a call from a woman who said that she needed to speak with her boyfriend to set up a time to come and look at it. (She never called back.)

A call from a blocked number in a city two and a half hours away. He had a lot of questions. What city was it near? I tried to explain. What stores is it by? "Well, it depends on what you're shopping for, I guess..." to which he answered "Groceries." I said, "Well, there's an Aldi. Walmart." He interrupted to say that none of those stores were acceptable, and that he would need to grow his own. (I cautiously thought, "Boy, I hope we're still talking vegetables, here....) I said, "I guess that I'm a little confused here. You don't know the area at all here, but are planning a big move to a place you've never been. Do you have a job here, and you're transferring? Or will you be looking for a job once you're here?" He explained that he was on disability. "You do accept that, right? Most people do." I said, "Well, yes, but I guess that, not knowing the nature of your disability, it's rather unusal for someone just to move away from their medical providers, to a whole different state and have to start the process of setting up medical care all over again. He launched in to a hysterical recounting of the fact that his father cheated on his mother with several women and that he had fathered children with many of them and that he had a sister he was trying to get a PFA on... and I thought to myself, 'Mental illness. Very disordered thought process.' We have dealt with this situation before, and it is not an experience we wish to repeat. So I said, as gently as I could, "You sound like you really need to consider this move carefully and to take your time with it." to which he replied, "You don't get it! SUNY Binghamton is bringing in foreign students and I have to call the police on them over and over..." His voice was getting louder and louder. I cut him off. "You're pretty upset and we don't like a lot of drama." He began to scream. I said, "You're not even making sense right now," and hung up the phone. 

The following day, we received no calls at all. I said to Tim, "I don't think that there are any sane folk with clean records looking for an apartment right now." He began to complain (yet again) that it was because I placed the ad in the paper not mentioning the included utilities. 

The following day, we got a call. A quiet voice asked if the apartment was still available. I told her it was. She made an appointment to come and look at it. A young woman met us. She was with her mother. She was a quiet girl, 25, Tim had gone to school with her father. He hadn't come because he was grappling with the fact that 'his baby' was old enough to move out. The girl said in her quiet way, "I'm 25. It is TIME...." and rolled her eyes a bit.  She is the cousin of another of our long term tenants (she didn't realize it). Non-smoker. She had two small dogs but they had lived with her parents while she was away at college and they had all decided that it would be best for the dogs to remain in the home that they had always known. She is a preschool teacher and had the income to afford the place. We explained about the security deposit and the first month's rent. It would not be a problem, she said in her quiet voice. She'd been putting money away for several months now in preparation for this. 

This all seemed a little too good to be true. The more we talked, the more boxes were ticked off. I think that she and her mother were finding that we ticked off some boxes too. 

We gave her an application, and told her to consider it carefully. 

An hour later, she called back to say that she'd filled out the application and dropped it off in the mail box as instructed. I started to say that we'd let her know in the next day or two, but from his couch, Tim said, "Tell her she's got it."

32 comments:

  1. You have got the makings of a very good and highly funny book there Debby. I once read about someone renting out an holiday home and one guest wrote in their visitor book: "Very nice accommodation but not enough baking tins". You couldn't make it up.😄

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    1. Oh, the book I could write. It's been an adventure, all right. Mostly good, to be honest, but lord, we have had some lulus.

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  2. That's a relief all round! It sounds a lovely rental

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    1. We really try to have nice places and people do seem to fall in love with them right away. Our newest tenant was thrilled with her little balcony. She could envision herself watching the river with her morning coffee.

      It is a relief to have it sorted. I feel a lot of pressure to get the right tenant, so the process is exhausting to me.

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  3. You're wise to vet potential tenants so carefully. I hope this one works out (and it sounds like it will).

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    1. We always try to attract settled long term tenants. There I'd nothing worse than problem tenants. We are so very lucky really, since that is mostly what we have.

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  4. Seems like both parties got lucky.

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  5. Wow. I couldn't do that, dealing with crazy people, which is funny because now that I think of it, I deal with crazy people all the time, but they're related:)
    I'm glad you found what sounds like an excellent tenant.

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    1. The 'crazy' i know is easier to deal with than the 'crazy' I don't. It is very hard sometimes to be patient, but all I know is that when you have a tenant who goes off the rails, it upsets the whole building and complicates our lives a great deal.

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  6. Whew is right. I read this post to Bob, and we both agreed that we are happy not to be landlords!

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    1. It generally worked out okay. I just stress during the process.

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  7. As someone pointed out.....there's a book there! As a clinical psychiatric nurse for 25 years, I can assure you (but I know you don't need assurance) the number of mentally unstable folks out there floating around. Many of them are in government! LOL! Vetting is imperative and you do your homework. This young lady sounds like a good renter.
    Paranormal John

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    1. 'Floating around' is the unfortunate truth. Even worse is when you see people who have a very fragile grasp on reality making children. They have not got the ability to properly parent. Sadly, this is something that I am witnessing close up, and we will have a new generation in desperate need of help.

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  8. It sounds like waiting and being patient has paid off!

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    1. I waited, although I cannot really attest to the 'being patient' part.

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  9. I own and live in a duplex and rent out the other half. Currently it has been vacant since Sept. 17. The last tenant left it in really great condition with very little repair/cleaning to be done. I am currently waiting for a dishwasher to be delivered and installed, some minor repairs to be completed. Daughter is my rental agent and tells me it should be rented by Nov. 1st. The water is paid by me. but I had not thought to not tell potential applicants that until after they pass all the other requirements, so that seems like a good idea. Thank you, Debby. Now I will pass on a tip of miy own. Walk potential applicants out to their car and casually peek inside. How a person maintains their car interior will give you an idea of how they will take care of your apartment. I have owned this property for 36 years and that has never proved me wrong, all other things taken into consideration..

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    1. That is a very good tip, Ana, and it is one that we use as well. Gas and electric included is something that is not all that common here. Why that attracts special attention is that some folks cannot get gas and electric in their names due to prior unpaid bills. Those are the people who snap up the utilities included things and they tend to be very mindless about using the utilities wisely, because they are not paying for them. We had one tenant who turned the heat up to 80 even when she wasn't home. We put a 'governor' on the thermostat so that it could not be turned above 72. We were horrified to discover that she was turning all four gas burners on in the kitchen as well as turning the oven on and leaving the oven door open. Another tenant simply removed the governor. So...it's best not to advertise those things. We always pay water and sewage because if we don't, the unpaid bills revert back to the property owner. It's best for us to pay the bills monthly, instead of finding out months after the fact that we owe several hundred dollars because the tenant had not paid the bill.

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  10. I like your approach. Even with that, you're getting enough concerning applicants. It's very rare to have utilities included in K.C. Sounds like a good budgetable opportunity for the newly-fledged (escaped) youngster. I laughed when you wondered if it was really vegetables the prospect wanted to plant. What a hoot. Linda in Kansas

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    1. Well, once again, it worked. I was beginning to worry that it wouldn't, and I'd have to listen to Tim complain about my methodology!

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  11. We nce had rentals but it got to be a headache as we aged. In one 4 bedroom very nice house we decided to put new carpet through it. It made the house look so nice but then the people decided not to pay rent. we told them they needed to move, and they decided that was a good idea. They moved on a few days and rolled up every inch of the new carpet and took it with them.

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  12. Good for you. I think you have the right formula. I think the adage for online dating probably applies to finding new tenants. “The odds are good but the goods are odd!”

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    1. We waded through an awful lot of odd to get the good. This time was a bit more startling than usual.

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  13. I had a renter, single young woman, who moved a whole family (husband, wife and 2 kids) in with her and her young son in a ONE BEDROOM apartment because they got evicted from their apartment. I discovered it almost immediately and told them they had to leave immediately. Then I evicted her. Strangely, she left without any problems.

    Then, I had that one I paid to leave. It is very hard to find good tenants. And you just have to keep your fingers crossed that they don’t damage your property.

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  14. We had two that we paid to leave. One took a hundred dollars to be out in a week. He had discovered he could get free internet from the nursing home next door. He had a half dozen people moved in. We were shocked that he accepted.

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  15. My friend rents an apartment here and her lease says one adult and one cat that she brought with her. It has helped her a few times when friends want to move in with her.

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    1. Our lease contains a clause that clearly states that the apartment is being leased to (insert name or names) and that bringing in any others without prior approval of the landlord will be considered a violation of the lease. It's only been a problem with that one young man and later, a girl, who rented the apartment and moved her boyfriend in as soon as he got out of jail. We had him fill out paper work so that we had his name and information in case there was a problem. We were not happy with the situation. In the end, they fought and she threw him out. We did not renew her lease. But we make it very clear that we have to know who is in our buildings.

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  16. I am so happy to have found your blog again after having to change everything and losing touch with friends.

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  17. You unfolded the account in an interesting way.

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    1. I often think that the challenge of almost daily blogging is to narrate the ordinary in an interesting way. You do that well. Most of our lives are more mundane than anything, but the key is to make the mundane interesting.

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  18. The young woman does sound very promising! I'd be a little freaked out by the mentally ill guy. I mean, they need housing too, but it sounds like he's not quite able to take care of himself and make sound decisions.

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