Thursday, May 18, 2006

Not So Fast

OK no water in our basement. Aside from the garden we escaped the storm just fine. The sun came out and thinking we were in the clear we got the phone call.

I should fill in some backstory. Lisa's 85 year old grandfather still has one apartment (besides the inlaws suite in our basement). It's a double decker on the highest crime street in Beverly. It was his mothers and when she died she left it to him and his sister evenly. Last July he put us in charge of managing his unit. It's pretty easy except it isn't. The tennent we inherited from when Lisa's greatgrandmother lived in the building and rented out the apartment is a crank. He's been there over 20 years. Last summer he left town for 2 months and his son was arrested for selling cocaine. The rent didn't get paid for three months while he was gone and the boy was in prison (parole violation). The police did a lot of damage to the doors serving the warrent. There's also some water damage from the apartment upstairs in the bathroom ceiling. The tennent is a carpenter and to help him out we gave him a break on the past due rent if he fixed the damages within the month. We had a contract written out. We went back a month later to see the progress and there was none except he bought a new door. He told us it was $300. Fine, I don't care. I asked for the reciept for the taxes and he exploded at me. Called me a liar and threw me out of the apartment. Now I love a fight so I told him we still need to talk about the rent and the work he agreed to do but didn't. Long story short, the cops were involved. The door was $180. I don't like being lied to. Things have been ugly between us ever since. He's constantly late with the rent, we have to chase him down every month. The new door sits in a box in the dining room.

This brings us up to Tuesday night. We get a call that there's no hot water. We find out that he's been at his daughters during the storm and the basement flooded. Wednesday morning we go take a look. He locked us out of his half of the basement but we get the other tennent to let us into theirs. The high water mark was about 4 inches and it had drained down to about 2 by then. We figure it will keep draining and eventually we'll be able to get the pilot light relit. We call the tennent and explain what needs to be done.

There's no real end to the story except to say don't count your chickens before they've hatched. Lisa's aunt knew about the water but didn't bother to call us for a heads up. During the storm we figured if there was a problem with the apartment we'd hear from the tennent. So now instead of enjoying the sunshine I'm stuck dealing with a cranky tennent who abandonned his apartment during the worse storm in 70 years and now want's us to jump to attention because he came home to a mess. Top it all off, the sewers one street over from the apartment exploded this morning. It's gonna be a bright bright sunshiney day.


Anonymous Daren said...

That sucks, Dean. I had nearly a dozen people tell me "Don't just buy your own condo, buy a multi-unit and become a landlord." (Including good friends who did just that.) Now I know why I didn't take their advice.

(Coincidentally, we have a new door sitting in a box in our dining room, too.)

It sounds like you need a beer night soon. (Although not this week -- it's my anniversary.)

May 18, 2006, 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

Yes, I believe I was one of them. The thing about being a landlord is that we inherited this tennent. If I were taking applications, I probably wouldn't have given him the apartment. A lengthy application form asking for references and a credit check (which Lisa can do through work) weeds out the weeds. Also asking for a copy of the automobile registration and their drivers license if they're going to park in the driveway goes a long way toward keeping out the riff raff. If the D/L and Registration don't match the tennent ain't getting the lease. At the very least, it ensures that you have a tennent with a firm grasp of written english. It also clues them into your being the kind of landlord who has no sense of humor for a bad tennent up front.

Finally, anyone who has their life together to have a healthy pet is probably not going to wreck the apartment. You can charge a higher rent, especially with dog owners. You also have leverage if they're screwing around and causing a nuisance. Where is someone with a dog going to go? It's not like they're moving into the apartment down the street, they don't allow pets.

May 18, 2006, 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous PaulMc said...

I agree with Daren - suckage.

Good luck getting it all straightened out.

Beer Night would be good, but I think we're looking at June. Linda & I are gone Mem. Day weekend (not that that should stop you.)

Hey - did you and Lisa (or just Lisa) ever get around to watching 'Ginger Snaps'?

May 18, 2006, 1:37:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

No but I backed it up and will watch it some time soon. We brought it to the last beer night but y'all didn't make it. I got a widescreen of 'Ginger Snaps Back' off Starz. A DVD will be in the box when we do all get together for beer. I just haven't been in a horror mood lately. I rarely am in the wintertime. Comedies are my crutch through the winter. I tend to get really into horror during the summertime. We've been saving Ginger Snaps and the sequel for a double header.

May 18, 2006, 5:39:00 PM  
Blogger RicketyFunk said...

Advice: just let him not pay rent for a few months and then evict his ass.

I bet it's not as easy as that though, but if he's a problem, maybe it's worth the trouble of getting a lawyer involved. You don't need one in Wisconsin for evictions but I'm guessing you need some knowledge of MA laws governing evictions (when you can and for what reasons, what sort of rigamarole you have to go through)

May 19, 2006, 3:44:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

Mass is widely regarded as the most landlord unfriendly state in the country. So far, we've had an uneasy truce where he knows we want him out and he wants to annoy us. He claims to be in line for senior low income housing so we're not inclined to evict him outright and just get him to go on his own. Going to court would might get him out soon but at the cost of having to agrivate Lisa's grandfather to do so. Right now he's paying the rent, the boy's in jail so no one is selling drugs. If we don't chase him down he's very careful not to get 30 days behind on the rent because then we can put him out more easily.

May 19, 2006, 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Marty said...

You said some of the iisues last time we talked. Of course the apartment overflow is a new one. I am flying back into town next Friday night and hence can't make a beer night then.


May 19, 2006, 4:26:00 PM  

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