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Petty Retaliation Could Get You Towed Away

, , , , , , , , | Working | December 15, 2022

I live in an apartment complex. My apartment is owned by a corporation that owns several apartments in the area, but they’re not, like, a bad corporation. They’ve always responded to complaints and maintenance requests promptly and effectively… until the manager for my complex retired.

They replaced the manager with a young guy, fresh out of college with an MBA (which he loved to remind his tenants of). He looked down on us working tenants, he failed to maintain the grounds, he ignored maintenance requests, and he frequently had loud, drunken, parties, flooded with other youth, at night in his manager’s apartment that could be heard all across the complex. He was a bad manager.

Now, like most contractors, my truck is my life. I have a sticker on my truck that says it’s legal to part in the apartment lot. One day, out of the blue, my truck got towed. The reason on the tow slip was listed as “no sticker”. But the sticker was fully visible in the picture that the manager took to prove that there wasn’t a sticker.

I grumbled, got my truck back, and complained to the property manager. I was not reimbursed for the improper tow. Two weeks later, it happened again. This time, I went over the manager’s head and complained to corporate.

After that, my truck got towed every. Single. Day. Sometimes multiple times in one day. I missed work because of it getting towed, and I started getting very worried about getting a reputation for being a flake.

I didn’t let that go on for very long before I decided to do something about it. With my cellphone, I went into the office and complained to the manager. He said he was doing it on purpose to “teach me a lesson” for complaining to corporate headquarters. I frankly didn’t expect him to be so brazen about it; I was only hoping to get a (probably false) promise that he wouldn’t do it again, so I could prove that he was aware.

I went to the police with this admission. I also sent a copy to corporate, as had been my original plan. About three days later, the police arrived at the complex and arrested the manager. 

I don’t know what happened to him after that, but watching him being dragged away in handcuffs wriggling around like he was trying to get loose while being frogmarched by one cop on either side of him made me feel very warm inside.

A few days after the arrest, we had a new manager — a middle-aged woman who smoked like a chimney — and corporate refunded me for all the tow fees I’d had to pay this entire time. The new woman started her tenure by sending repairmen to fix all the issues that the old manager had ignored.

A True Lord And Lady Of Landlording

, , , , , | Working | December 8, 2022

I’ve read a lot of horror stories about landlords and tenants on this site, so I just want to spread a little positivity.

As a teenager, I was pretty careless. I knocked up my girlfriend when we were eighteen, and she gave birth to our daughter when we were nineteen. As both our families lived far far away from the university we wanted to go to, and neither of us was willing to part with our baby, that was a problem.

The dorms and other student housing wouldn’t allow children, and we didn’t know who could take care of our little girl while we were in classes.

Renting a house proved problematic for the same reasons, and anyone we found that allowed kids charged a hefty premium.

It was around this time that a couple of our best friends from our old school got in touch with us.

BFF #1: “Hey, guys. About accommodations, I found a guy — an old man who’s renting out spare rooms in his house. Rent is [affordable price], and [University] is right around the corner. He’s willing to take the four of us — plus [Daughter] — in.”

Me: “That sounds too good to be true. It sounds fishy to me.”

BFF #1: “My sister and cousins swear by him. They say he’s the real deal.”

BFF #2: “I’ve gone down and spoken to him and his wife. They’re a lovely old couple. Their kids are all grown up and gone. I get the feeling that they’re doing this more for the company than anything else.”

Me: “Well, if you say so…”

Beggars really couldn’t be choosers, so [Girlfriend] and I decided to give it a shot.

It was worth it. Oh, so worth it. If I’d known going in how good it’d be, I’d have easily forked out triple the rent.

The landlords were a lovely old English couple. A pair of kindly retired pensioners living with the sweetest and most playful dog.

They had a really big house, so the four of us each got our own room with ensuite bathrooms. That was nice. What was better was that they had an old nursery for their kids and were happy to let [Daughter] use it. In fact, they really took a shine to [Daughter]. It got to the point that they offered to babysit her during the day — for free, no less! — while we were busy in class.

The four of us often came home to see [Daughter] snoozing right beside their dog, cuddled up on the comfy rug in front of the fireplace. Those two were best friends, and on more than one occasion, I found my baby girl chilling with [Dog] inside of his kennel.

And although, on paper, we were supposed to do our own cooking and cleaning, [Wife] insisted on doing it all for free. She always had home-cooked meals on the table, even when we protested that we didn’t want to impose.

[Husband] was also pretty chill. He’d let us borrow his car and often dropped us off or picked us up as needed. He even took us out golfing and hiking a few times.

One time, the four of us got really drunk after a party and couldn’t drive back. [Husband] came to pick us four up from the pub, more amused than annoyed at having to drive out at such a late hour.

The four of us lived with them for four or five years until we got our degrees, and I get the feeling that they were really sad to see us go. The feeling was mutual, on our part. There was great reluctance to leave, and we knew we’d miss them dearly.

But our time was up, and we all didn’t want to impose any more on their hospitality. They’d really been more than willing to go the extra mile to make us feel comfortable and well-cared for, to the point that we all felt guilty for how much they let us take them for granted.

Even after we left, they both told us their door was always open.

Alas, the four of us lost contact with them after the health crisis, which was a real shame. I have never ever met landlords so kind and sweet as them. [Daughter] still occasionally asks if we can go back to play with their dog.

Branch Out Your Understanding

, , , , | Right | December 7, 2022

I’m working in a library in a shopping center. A patron walks in.

Patron: “Hello. I have a lawn care business, and I was wondering if you needed someone to take over mowing the grass outside.”

Me: “Oh, cool. We don’t actually have anything to do with that. The shopping center is owned by [Landlady]. You’d have to talk to her.”

Patron: “Is she here today?”

Me: “Ah, no. But we can pass on a message to her.”

He writes down his contact information.

Patron: “Does she come by very often?”

Me: “Not to the library, no.”

Patron: “Have you worked for her long? Do you like her?”

Me: “Oh, no, I don’t actually work for her. I work for the library. She owns the building. The library rents the space from her.”

Patron: *Looking around​* “This is a library? It’s really nice. She provided all of these books for people to borrow?”

Me: “Ah, no. These are all [Public Library System]’s materials. They don’t come from [Landlady]’s personal collection or anything.”

Patron: “Has she had this library here for very long?”

Me: “Well, the [Public Library System] has rented this space for several years now. She’s the landlady. She just provided the space. We put everything else in here.”

Patron: “Is she a good boss?”

Me: “She’s not my boss, so I wouldn’t know. My boss is at the main branch of the library in [Other Town in the parish].”

Patron: “Main branch? [Landlady] owns multiple libraries?”

Me: “No. No, she doesn’t. It’s a public library. [Landlady] doesn’t own any of our branches.”

The conversation went in circles for a while. When he left, I still don’t think he understood.

You Can’t Wash The Cheapskate Out

, , , , , , , , , | Right | November 20, 2022

I work for a carpet cleaning company. A landlord called us because his previous tenants had left one of his properties in a sorry state, and he wanted us to clean all the carpets.

He was not wrong. The carpets were absolutely caked in years’ worth of dirt, grime, grease, and worst of all, urine. It smelled horrific. It was so bad that our boss told the customer he would be better off replacing the carpets. Many of the stains were so ingrained that no amount of cleaning would shift them. But the customer insisted that they be cleaned because it was cheaper than replacing them, so we gave him a quote.

We charge based on the area of the carpet and how heavy the soiling is, not by hours spent or how much/what cleaning product we use, etc. However, the customer kept trying to cut corners to get a cheaper quote.

First, he told us we didn’t need to vacuum the carpet. He claimed he had already gone over the whole house with an industrial-grade vacuum and demanded that we lower the quote to reflect that. This was clearly not true; when we inspected the carpet there was clearly dirt and lint everywhere.

Then, he told us to use a cheaper cleaning agent and only send one person so he wouldn’t be paying for the labour of two people (even though an entire house was definitely a two-man job). On and on he went trying to cut corners to save money. 

Vacuuming the carpet is not only important to protect our machines — clumps of lint and dirt can clog or even damage our carpet cleaners — but it also means we can clean carpets more efficiently. Spending a few minutes removing as much dirt as possible beforehand means less work for the carpet cleaners and fewer rinses are required. Additionally, the cheaper cleaning fluids were not going to cut it. As a bare minimum, the carpets needed a cleaner with enzymes to break down the urine, or all we’d do was spread urine around rather than shift it.

This was all explained to the customer, but he was having none of it. Ultimately, we had to refuse his business because what the customer was asking for meant we would not be able to complete the job properly.

The customer demanded to speak to our boss, the owner, who repeated what we had told him. The customer blustered for a while longer and then left us alone.

A few months rolled by, and the customer called us back. He told us he had hired a different company, but they had made a mess of everything. He begged us to come and clean the carpets. My boss told him we would only do it if he accepted our quote with no substitutes or amendments, and he would pay us in full before we did the job. The customer begrudgingly agreed.

Our boss made sure to detail the fact that we would not be able to get all the stains out in the contract and that the customer was going ahead with the cleaning against our advice. He also made sure that the customer initialled and signed those parts of the contract.

My colleague and I went to the property again to assess the damage. The carpets were horrifically streaked, and we could smell damp in the air mixed with the stench of urine, meaning the carpets didn’t get rinsed, drained, or dried properly, and they certainly didn’t use an appropriate pre-treatment or cleaning agent. It really was a shoddy job that actually made some areas of the carpet worse than they had been before. Whoever the customer had hired before must’ve been real cowboys.

We gave the customer our quote, and he accepted and paid. We got to work, making sure to take meticulous before and after photos.

As we suspected, we didn’t get all the stains out, but we got more than we initially thought we would. The carpets looked a whole lot better, and best of all, they now smelled like a spring meadow rather than a truck stop bathroom.

The landlord tried to complain that we didn’t get all the stains out and demanded a partial refund, but we quickly reminded him of the contract — a contract he had signed and initialled. We had done exactly the job we told him we would do.

When we left, the landlord complained incessantly about how much it had cost him — not only paying for the job once but having to pay to get it done again — and that the carpet still was still stained. My colleague and I left without saying a word.

A few weeks later, we received a letter from a solicitor acting on behalf of the customer, demanding a full refund because we failed to clean his carpet correctly. Obviously, our customer had not been entirely honest with his legal representative, so we enlightened the solicitor about what happened and sent him a copy of the signed and initialled contract, email communications, and phone call recordings, as well as the before and after photos. We never heard a word from the customer or his solicitor again.

After the fees for the botched job, our invoice, and solicitor fees, it would probably have been cheaper for the customer to replace the carpets.

Oh. Oh, Dear.

, , , , , | Working | October 18, 2022

Years ago, I was trying to find a small flat on the outskirts of London. I saw this place advertised, so I went to check it out. The landlord showed me round, but it was in a really bad state of repair, and it was drab and depressing.

Landlord: “We’ve been renovating.”

Me: “It’ll be nice when it’s finished.”

Landlord: “It is finished.”