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This Bluff Passes!

, , , , | Friendly | January 22, 2022

My downstairs neighbours are okay. They get loud a few times a year, and I had to ask repeatedly about them smoking on the balcony, stinking up my flat. It’s a no-smoking building.

Then, my neighbour got a new boyfriend and it all changed. He woke everyone up early with his stupidly loud motorbike that he was either revving outside or speeding around the streets. Then, his “friends” started to show up at all hours of the day, often with arguments or fighting.

He was scary, so I waited until he left and I popped round.

Me: “Hey.”

Neighbour: “Yeah?”

Me: “Listen, there’s been a lot of noise lately and I’m studying for my exams so I hoped—”

She suddenly cut me off with a long list of expletives.

Me: “Whoa, I just want you to be neighbourly.”

Neighbour: “Tough s***. We ain’t changing.”

Me: “You do realise the landlord is my uncle.”

Neighbour: “What?”

Me: “The guy who owns the building is my uncle, yeah? You never noticed that we had the same name?”

Neighbour: “I, err, got to go.”

It wasn’t true; it was a massive bluff. Our names aren’t even that similar. But it seemed to work; there were fights for the next few days and then nothing for months.

I figure she threw him out as I didn’t see him or hear him again. And I passed my exams!

The Landlady Didn’t Land This One

, , , , , , | Working | December 27, 2021

I am currently apartment hunting, but it has been a long and time-consuming project trying to find something within my budget. I only have two requirements: it must allow my cat, and it must have a balcony I can grow food on. I don’t think that’s insane criteria, but in my city, it sometimes seems like it is.

I found one unit that was slightly above my budget. It was tiny and ugly, and it would mean almost an extra hour on the bus to visit my girlfriend or my doctors, and I knew the layout would make me want to scream within weeks. But it allowed cats, and the ad had several pictures of a balcony large enough to support enough of a garden to make gardening worth it, so I figured I could make it work. I fired off the email I had tailored to introduce myself and explain what I was looking for, and after a couple of days of chasing them down, I finally set up a time to view it.

The day arrives. From the outside, the building is in a nice quiet area, close to stores, and would even have something that could be considered a half-decent view. I’m starting to feel better about potentially living here — excited, even. I meet the landlady, and we head upstairs to the apartment.

She unlocks the door, and the first thing I notice is… there’s no balcony.

I stare at her.

Me: “There’s no balcony.”

Landlady: “That’s correct.”

Me: “I specifically told you I was looking for a balcony.”

Landlady: “Well, I never said there was a balcony!”

I turned around and walked out without another word. I still have no idea what the h*** she thought was going to happen.

I’m also baffled by the builder that would bother putting balconies on a building, but only for half the units.

Living In A Tent Made Of Red Flags

, , , , , , | Working | December 8, 2021

I take a tour of an apartment complex, and everything looks above-board to me. Several staff are in the office, and the tour itself is very professional. [Manager] tells me the rate for a one-bedroom, and I say I’ll need to think about it. I tour a few other complexes. Two days later, I give the first complex a call in the morning.

Me: “I’d like to come in and sign a lease. Would that be possible today?”

Staff Member: “Oh, yes! You can come in at any time.”

Me: “Great! And it’s $575 for a one-bedroom, right?”

Staff Member: “Oh, it’s actually $605 for a one-bedroom.”

This is the first red flag. I decide to go in, anyway. When I get there, it’s mid-afternoon, and [Staff Member] is the only one in the office. She is running between phones and trying to help tenants who come in with issues while I’m there. I end up being there for about half an hour, during which time no other staff makes an appearance.

She gives me a blank application to fill out, and I ask about the price hike. She has to hunt around for a price list and explains that the rate increases with each day that passes, which is the first time I’ve heard this. She also mentions that the rate is now $625. While she helps a tenant, I look over the application. It is generic, with no details about the specific unit I’d be renting.

Staff Member: “If you just sign that at the bottom, I’ll make sure my manager gets that and gives you a call.”

Me: “I’d prefer not to sign a blank form. The monthly rate isn’t even on here yet.”

Staff Member: “Oh, it’ll be $625. It should be fine.”

Me: “Yeah, I’d still prefer for that to be written on the form before I sign it.” *Stands up* “I’m going to have to get some info from my co-signer, too, before I finish this.”

I did not go back.

Maybe We Should Start With “Love Thy Neighbor”

, , , , , | Friendly | December 7, 2021

A recent conversation between my “Christian” neighbour and me went something like this.

Neighbour: “Your Asperger’s Syndrome is God’s punishment for being an atheist.”

Me: “But I had AS before I became an atheist.”

Neighbour: “Then it’s God’s punishment of your parents for their sin of allowing you to become an atheist.”  

Me: “My parents didn’t ‘allow’ me to become an atheist. I chose it myself, so why should my parents be punished for what I did? And why should I be punished for someone else’s sin?”

Neighbour: *Getting adamant* “You shouldn’t question it. It’s God’s will!”

Me: *Being a bit provocative* “Aren’t your God’s plans for the universe ‘ineffable’?

Neighbour: “Yes, that is so!”

Me: “So, how can you know what your God meant to happen to me and why?”

Neighbour: “I’m a Christian so I can understand these things. You are an atheist so you are refusing to understand!”

Me: “I truly would like to understand how you can claim to interpret your God’s ineffable plans for me. To me, that seems like blasphemy.”

My neighbour, speechless, stalked off.

Being charitable, I have to assume she doesn’t know the meaning of “ineffable”.

Some Landlords Just Aren’t Good Lords Over Their Land

, , , , , , , | Legal | December 1, 2021

Ages ago, before the Internet and cell phones, I shared an apartment with three of my buddies near the university we attended. When we first looked at the place, there were some obvious issues with the building itself and with the particular apartment we were looking at. We were assured that everything would be taken care of. Yes, we were naive.

The building supposedly was “secure” in that it had a lobby separated from the interior of the building by a locked door that could be opened by key or by a button in each apartment. There was a phone in the lobby that would ring the phone in an apartment if you entered the apartment number. The door worked as advertised except there was a missing glass panel in the lobby where, by ducking through the opening, you could get into the secured area. The phone also worked, but the phone numbers it rang were never updated, so entering our apartment number rang some poor folks who happened to have the number of whoever lived there years ago.

The first winter, we discovered that the fans on two of the three electric heaters didn’t work. We reported it to the superintendent (who lived across the hall from us) but it was never fixed. Eventually, we got them to work ourselves, but they were really noisy.  

The toilet tank leaked into the bowl which would then eventually flush after about an hour and repeat. Yeah, reported and not fixed, so I figured out how to replace the seal on my own.  

There was some damage to the walls and inside doors; one area looked like the previous tenants had a dartboard and were very bad at darts. That also was reported and then never fixed. There was cracked glass in some windows, there were doors that didn’t close properly, etc., etc. Always the same thing: reported and never fixed.

After about a year, the building was sold to a different company. This had no effect on any repairs.

Oh, remember that superintendent? One day, I came home from class and there was a big lock over their door handle and an eviction notice stapled to their door. I happened to have parked in front of the main window into their apartment, and the next morning I noticed it was broken and their stuff was all gone from their apartment. I guess they did a “midnight move”. This led to some confusion for a while as that is where we were supposed to drop off the rent.

Eventually, we all graduated and moved out. A while went by, and we were informed that we were not getting our security deposit back “because of the damage you did to the apartment”. Fortunately, we had documented everything, and the one guy who was still living nearby managed to get them to issue checks to each of us for our part of the security deposit.

And — drum roll — the checks were returned when we deposited them because the checking account had been closed — for quite some time as it turned out. Oh, well, they would issue new ones… if we stopped by their offices in person. They were open Monday through Friday, eight to five. As the individual amount was only just over $100, it was not worth it to take time off from work and drive there from my current living location, which I would guess was their plan all along.

A few years later, I read about the companies that had owned the building while I lived there. They had a scheme where they would sell their buildings to each other every so often which “reset the clock” on repairs that the city housing inspectors had ordered. From talking with other people who had lived in their other buildings, apparently ours was better than most, which is hard to believe. At least the city eventually caught on and changed things so their scheme didn’t work.

The last time I was in that neighborhood, the building was still there, and I was tempted to peek in the lobby and see if that glass panel was ever replaced.