A Cardboard Box In An Alley Is Starting To Sound Nice

, , , , , , | Legal | July 1, 2020

My fiance and I are forced to rent a home in a sketchy neighborhood after our home burns down because the man is the only landlord we can find who accepts “violent” dogs; we own a very sweet pit bull.

The first few months start out great, but when my job also closes down, we are in dire straits. Our landlord becomes completely irrational, texting at crazy hours, night or day. We are told that legally he can’t kick us out during the health crisis.

Landlord: “Are you able to make any payments towards rent?”

Me: “Not at the moment; we are working on getting our unemployment accepted.”

A day goes by, and he messages me again.

Landlord: “I am coming by to pick up the rent.”

He is already outside. My fiance and I work night jobs so we are sleeping. I haven’t read the message yet. He knocks on the door. We don’t answer because we are in bed. He starts to slam his fists on the door and then moves on to slam on the outside walls. Then, as our dogs are going absolutely insane, we hear him slamming on the sides of the house while his friend slams on the front and side doors. He finally goes away. 

A few hours later, he sends me more messages.

Landlord: “I am sorry but I have to start the eviction process. You can use your paperwork to go to a state agency and get me my rent money.”

Me: “I have an agency affiliated with my work helping me with the rent; you will be getting the email today.”

He didn’t answer. That evening, we were at our new neighbor’s house and we saw him pull up. Instead of knocking or calling, he went to the fence to the backyard and tried to open the gate. It was locked, so then, he proceeded to try every door and window. 

Our dogs stopped that quickly. 

We contacted a lawyer and are in the process of finding a new place. He continues to barrage us both with threatening emails, texts, and drive-bys, even after a no-contact order. I hope that his other renters have better luck!

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Home Is Where The Landlord Is A Pain In Your Butt

, , , , | Legal | June 25, 2020

I get a new job in a city away from home where living is expensive and hard to get. I go home on the weekends, so I rent a furnished room, lucky to have found something in time. 

The landlady wants the rent in cash — a red flag for me — but I figure if she wants to evade taxes, it’s her problem, not mine.

She also says she does not need a written rental agreement but understands that I insist on one. To cancel a rental agreement for a furnished room in Germany, you need to give fourteen days of notice; this goes both for the tenant and the landlord. She insists on two whole months for both sides. Needing this room and knowing that writing this into the contract is actually void because the law says otherwise, I agree to that, as well.

When I finally want to register this room as my second address — as you are required to do in Germany — after putting it off for far too long, this goes down.

I have shortened the conversation a lot.

Me: “I need to register now!”

Landlady: “Oh… We haven’t discussed that, you know?”

I think, “We shouldn’t have to; it’s the legal thing to do!”

Me: “Is that a problem for you?”

Landlady: “Yes, I would have to make a different statement for my taxes.” (Meaning: “I would actually have to pay taxes!”) “Is it a no-go for you to just do it this way?”

I think, “Yes, absolutely; it’s illegal!”

Me: “Well, I need to register in order to be able to get money for commuting.”

Landlady: “I’ve been renting out that room since my kids were small.” (This means at least ten years.) “No one ever registered here before! Because then I can’t just throw them out when there’s trouble.”

I wonder how she can argue this way and still want an illegally long cancellation period. Then, she drops this:

Landlady: “Can’t we just pretend you live here free of charge?”

Me: “Well… I don’t know how to do that. I also have to pay extra taxes that depend on the rent in order to have a second address, so I don’t know how they would do the maths, then.”

Landlady: “But there must be a way to do it when people live with family.”

Me: “I guess… I can look into it.”

Landlady: “Then we do that. And I need you to give me back the rental agreement and I would trust you not to take a picture of it.”

I immediately think, “I am SO going to take a picture of that agreement!”

I am absolutely not happy about this idea but I am scared both of conflicts and of losing my place to stay. I also tend to be easily persuaded as long as the person is still in front of me, so for a split-second, I actually consider this. Begrudgingly, I agree to look into it. 

Following this conversation, we make some small-talk and I mention how officials make me nervous, especially because when I applied for job seekers’ allowance, they told me I had to tell them about every last cent or I would face serious consequences, blah blah.

She answers with this gem:

Landlady: “But I think it’s very good they scare you in that way! Way too many people take advantage of the system!”

Lady… you just told me you’ve been evading taxes for over ten years!

I started looking for a new flat, especially after one other incident where — after telling me I wouldn’t need to tell her when I was there and when not — she told me how annoying it was that I was home during her holiday.

I found a shared flat that I moved into yesterday! And thanks to home office times during the health crisis, I never had to go back to that room in the meantime except for picking up my stuff. And, of course, I kept the rental agreement safe and sound. I was so glad to get out of there.

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String Up A Line Of Instant Karma

, , , , , , , | Working | June 1, 2020

We moved into an apartment building which had been converted from a single-family dwelling. When we moved in, we ordered cable service simply because it was the only high-speed Internet in the area. This was the first time cable was installed to the building. We went ahead and got the entire digital package, since it wound up being cheaper with the bundle fee.

Our landlord grumped about the cable install because “TV is free through the air and no one needs Internet.” This was long before “ok, boomer” was a thing, but the sentiment was the same.

Fast forward a few months: it turns out our landlord has decided to get cable because he wants to watch all of the sports games and they’re not all “free through the air.” Who knew? Sadly, I learned about his cable order the hard way.

I get home on a Thursday evening and go to turn on the news, and I have no signal. Sometimes, that happens, of course. Likewise, my Internet is also out. Since I have VOIP, this means no phone, as well.

Fortunately, my in-laws’ place is just down the road. I head down there and discover that they have full service, so I use their phone to call in about my cable being out. The company reports that it is active and shows service. When I get home, there’s still nothing.

The cable company finally agrees to send out a tech the next day to troubleshoot. They guarantee me a service window of 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. I call my boss to let him know I’ll be in to work late.

The next morning rolls around, and the cable guy shows up and notices that, while my service is active, the cable was physically disconnected from my apartment and swapped to my landlord’s apartment. He swapped it back and then called in to his dispatcher from my living room so I got to overhear the conversation.

After a bit of back and forth, they discovered that the installer for my landlord’s service the day prior had shown up, discovered an active line, and rather than running a second cable, he just swapped mine over to the landlord’s side and called the job done. He was supposed to string a line from the pole to the house for the new service, like was on the order.

Since this wraps up close to lunchtime, I decide to eat at home before going to work. As I’m eating, I hear a frantic pounding on my apartment door. I go to answer and it’s a different cable tech. It’s the installer from the day before, who has been called off whatever job he was working in order to complete the install for my landlord that he screwed up yesterday. The installer has decided this is a good time to tell me off for calling in the problem, and don’t I know how hard it is for him to have to come back and fix it?

My landlord and I both call in complaints about his attitude and behavior. I mean, I might have felt bad for him having to, like, do his job and all, except he didn’t do it right and inconvenienced me and then whined about it. And then, he blamed me for putting him in the position of having to come back to do his job right the second time. So, no, I didn’t feel bad at all. F*** that guy.

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A Time-Landlord

, , , , , | Working | May 28, 2020

My partner and I are looking to move into our first apartment. I call a listing for an apartment that doesn’t fit all of our needs but is cheap and decent enough to at least look at. Please note that it is the middle of July.

Me: “Hello, I’m calling to find out if your one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit at [Location] is still available?”

Landlord: “October 4th.”

Me: “Um… what?”

Landlord: “October 4th.”

Me: “Oh, it’s not available until October 4th?”

Landlord: “We are in the month of October, ma’am.”

I’m totally confused and too shy to press the issue.

Me: “I… Okay. Thank you.”

Landlord: “You’re very welcome.”

I hung up. I don’t know what happened there, but I decided I did not want a landlord that either I couldn’t communicate with, or who existed two months ahead of me at all times.

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This Landlord, Much Like His Furniture, Remains Unmoved

, , , , , , | Friendly | May 11, 2020

I’ve spent almost my entire adult life living in rented rooms in shared houses or flats, as was the case when I started dating a great guy. Tensions arose at home due to me dating another man, resulting in me being given minimal warning to try and find another place. Then-boyfriend and I agreed to try to find a place together, and we ended up moving into a ground floor flat with the owner and his wife.

It turned out that the owner was a bit of a control freak. He set off my C-PTSD — coupled with other, unrelated life events — and I became very isolated and afraid of him. It turned out, while he wasn’t aware of everything going on, he absolutely approved of my being intimidated by him. 

However, one day he pushed me too far and my fear evaporated and I started standing up for myself. He reacted so badly to this that we argued over a blown light bulb and he ended up giving us our notice to move out after we’d been there about two years.

This story just about sums up what a pain in the behind he was.

On the day of our leaving, we had a friend — who also rents rooms — come over, ostensibly to help, but really to be there in case things went south, between his experience and his physical presence, since he was broader and beefier than the other three people combined. Our landlord protested him being present; I was ready to stick to my guns but my friend excused himself and stood by the open window to listen.

Our landlord started pulling the furniture out from where it had stood for the entire time we’d lived there and complaining about the dust behind them. He demanded to know why we hadn’t cleaned there. I pointed out that he had expressly forbidden us from moving the furniture.

“That isn’t true,” he claimed.

It absolutely was. I reminded him of the time my boyfriend went to him to ask if we could move the room around and he flatly refused.

“That never happened.”

I pointed out that there were even labels stuck to the furniture saying not to move them.

“That’s not true.”

Of course, it was true! I went over to a piece of furniture and pointed to the label, exclaiming that it was right there!

He rolled his eyes, muttered, “Typical,” and instead started pulling out the drawers to make sure they were all empty.

When he left the room, my friend poked his head through the window. He had been just about crying trying not to laugh loud enough to be heard, and he said that he thought I’d been exaggerating how much of a pain the landlord was. 

NOPE! Not at all. This story is one single perfect example of just how he was.

My boyfriend and I had decided how much of our deposit we’d be willing to say goodbye to, just to be rid of him; we said he should take the last couple of week’s rent out of it. We got a little more than our minimum back and off we went.

In the years since, we’ve gotten married, we’ve stayed close friends with the friend who was there, and my mental health has enormously improved.

I just pity his wife, who was as lovely as our landlord was petty and controlling.

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