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When Rental Gets Mental

, , , , | Right | May 20, 2022

I am a landlady, renting out multiple rooms in different shared apartments to students, young professionals, and/or tourists. For the last few months, I’ve had a tenant that just doesn’t understand the concept of people living together. Maybe he lived under a rock for the first few decades of his life?

Cleaning up the kitchen, oven, or stove after cooking? Why bother? Someone else will surely deal with the mess and do it for me. Flooding the bathroom after each use, and leaving different coloured stains on (and around) the toilet? Some other tenant (or the landlady) will be there to clean that up!

But the “highlight” is when he is finally supposed to move out. He asks multiple times about his deposit. I assure him that he will get it in cash when he turns in his keys and everything is in the same condition as he got it when he moved in. I even send a list of what he needs to do before moving out, e.g. “wash bed linens,” “clean fridge,” “remove all personal property,” and so on.

I arrive a few minutes early. He is shuffling around, but there is so much stuff still around, the fridge is dirty and full of his food, lots of his things (bike, boxes, food, bathroom items) are still all over the apartment, and I think, “This is just impossible to do in fifteen minutes.”

Five minutes before the arranged time, he says:

Tenant: “Okay, you can check the room now.”

Me: “I am not here to check the room. I am here to check everything, take your keys, and return the deposit, when you leave the apartment.”

Tenant: “But you never said that! I need another four hours for that!”

He knows I have no more time today.

Me: “I can’t check the room if all your stuff is still here, and I won’t return any deposit if you don’t return the keys.”

Technically, he has until tomorrow, until the month is over; it was his decision to return the keys today.

This went on for several minutes, and he did not understand why I just wouldn’t check the room, return the deposit, and then leave him with the keys and all his things in my apartment, as if that was the most normal thing to expect.

I gave up after several minutes of explaining the same thing over and over, and then I turned around and walked out.

I told him to put the keys in the postbox when he had cleared out, and I would check everything then and would return the deposit via bank transfer. Let’s see what happens next.

You Gonna Compensate Me When I Get Fired, Too?

, , , | Right | May 15, 2022

I worked in the leasing office of an apartment complex. A man came in and spoke with my coworker.

Man: “I’ll give you $100 if you can get me into an apartment today.

Coworker: “Sir, I can’t do that. There’s a waiting list several names long.”

When he didn’t get what he wanted, the man called the realty company which owned the place and accused us of discrimination.

Time To Catch Up On Candy Crush

, , | Right | May 14, 2022

I recently started working for a food delivery service. I make a delivery to some apartments. They have elevators to get to the top floor. I go in, press a button, and the door closes… almost all the way.

I am now stuck. I message the customer.

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] with your [Delivery Service] order. I’m stuck in the elevator in your apartment building.”

He came down and tried to help. All in all, I was stuck for about forty-five minutes before we were able to pry the door open and I was free.

The customer tipped me an extra $60 for the hassle. I’m not a claustrophobic person, but it definitely ticked all the right boxes that day.

It Costs Nothing To Be Nice, Dude

, , , , , | Friendly | May 8, 2022

I live in an apartment building. I call the elevator to go up to my floor. Heading in before me is a girl around seven years old, and coming in right behind me is a rough-looking dude with a rottweiler dog. The moment the man enters the elevator, the little girl screams and frantically grabs my arm.

Me: “Hey. What’s wrong?”

Girl: *Stammering and near panic* “D-dog!”

The dog is well-behaved and just sits there patiently, so there is no real danger, but I have an irrational fear of spiders, so I get it. I place myself between the man with the dog and the girl and give her a reassuring smile

Me: “No dog here is going to hurt you. I’m right in between.”

Suddenly, the man speaks up rather aggressively.

Man: “Don’t do that! My dog ain’t bit anyone, ever, and you’re just encouraging her to be afraid of dogs!”

Me: “I’m just trying to not scare a little girl and to keep her comfortable, sir.” 

He mumbles something about bratty kids and exits the elevator on the third floor. I have to go up to the fifth and the girl on the seventh, so I’m left behind with her for a second.

Me: “Are you all right now?”

The girl nodded shyly but still seemed shaken. I got off and wished her a good day. I found out later that she was part of a refugee family that had just moved here from Syria. Her fear of dogs and aggressive men is now somewhat explained, and I hope she doesn’t run into the man again.

The Hamburg Baby Burglar

, , , , , , , | Legal | May 7, 2022

Back in 2011, we moved to Hamburg, Germany from The Netherlands. My German was basic at best, but I tried. One day, I was coming back from a jogging session and I saw a neighboring building on fire. It was nothing massive, but black smoke was coming out of a couple of kitchen windows on one of the stories.

In front of that building, I saw my neighbor: a young woman with her four-month-old daughter in a pram. The neighbor was completely in distress, obviously trying to reach someone on the phone without any luck. She was screaming into what I suppose was a voicemail:

Neighbor: “Pick up the d*** phone. Why don’t you answer me?!”

I approached her to see what was wrong and whether I could help. Apparently, one of the kitchens burning belonged to a friend of hers — the one she couldn’t reach. She was in complete panic, afraid that the friend was still inside. The street was starting to fill out with various emergency vehicles, being extremely loud. I offered to help her and she gave me her kid so that the baby wouldn’t be in all that noise. Mind you, I had been living there for just a couple of months and more than knowing we were neighbors could not be said about our relationship. 

I took the kid in the pram to a safer place and had to ask for permission to enter the street, as it was closed off by the police officers. I was wearing a bright neon pink shirt — the typical “don’t run me over” jogger outfit. The kind police lady let me pass after I told her I live in the building next door and advised me to go inside with the kid to avoid breathing in the fumes. In all the confusion, I didn’t tell the neighbor where I was going, and she didn’t tell me where to take the kid. We each assumed the other one knew. I’m sure you all already know where this is going.

I took the kid inside, into my apartment, as advised. She was tired, and as I rocked her in my arms, she fell asleep. I put her on the sofa and sat beside her, not knowing if the could turn and fall down. All of a sudden, I could hear helicopters flying over, quite low. My heart leaped; I was sure that the building on fire was in a very bad condition.

Suddenly, someone rang the doorbell. When I opened it, I saw two police officers standing in front of me. They looked at me, up and down, and asked if I had seen a baby girl, matching the description of the baby sleeping on my sofa. 

Me: “Yeah, she’s here, sleeping.”

Officer: “What? Wait… This was all a misunderstanding. What luck. Oh, dear, what luck! Could you pick her up and bring her along?”

Me: *Completely confused* “Sure.”

I picked up the still sleeping girl and, guided by the two police officers, stepped out of my apartment onto the street. What I saw scared the living daylights out of me. There was an entire corridor of the police force: a full K9-unit, motorbike police officers, police officers on horses, uncountable police cars, ambulances, etc.

Apparently, the neighbor — the little girl’s mother — finally reached her friend and, happy that the friend was okay (she wasn’t at home, but working, to begin with), she turned around to her kid… who was gone… and she had no recollection anymore to whom she had given the child. So, her first reaction was to go into full-blown panic mode and claim that someone had kidnapped her kid.

In a street full of emergency services due to a fire, it wasn’t difficult to organize a full search. And then, it hit me: those helicopters were looking for me!

All is well what ends well: we (me and my husband, who missed the whole ordeal due to work) went to visit the neighbors a couple of days later with some newborn presents, and we had coffee, cake, and a good laugh about everything. I even ended up babysitting on a couple of occasions.

And, ladies and gentlemen, that is how I ended up having a true story of how I, once upon a time, was Hamburg’s most wanted criminal, even if it was for a very short period of time.