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Making A Song And Dance About Rent

| Working | September 25, 2014

(I’m a university student. I am out of town to stay with family for a few weeks, and my house that I rent was sold from a previous owner to a real estate firm, where I now need to pay my rent. Because I’ve been out of town, I didn’t get a letter from them and I was a few weeks behind on rent, so they called me.)

Realty: “Hello? Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “It certainly is! How can I help you?”

Realty: “You need to give us three weeks of rent NOW!”

Me: “Um, excuse me? I was told I’d be contacted regarding my new rent agreement…”

Realty: “Didn’t you get a letter?! We need the money now!”

(It turns out my housemate didn’t tell me about the letter either, so I was in the wrong there and agreed to pay the missing weeks plus rent for the next fortnight, which came up to over $700, almost all of my savings from my student payments. I transferred it that day to the account they gave me in an email. The next day…)

Realty: “Hello? Is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes it is. How can I help?”

Realty: “You still owe us over 21 days of rent! When will you be paying us?”

Me: “Now, hang on; I paid all of my rent to you yesterday. I even sent a receipt in an email as proof.”

Realty: “Well, I haven’t seen that email!”

Me: “You sent me a reply of ‘thanks.'”

Realty: “Um… well, that should be in order then.”

(And now today…)

Realty: “Hello? [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes, that’s me.”

Realty: “Your rent is still overdue! When are you going to pay us for the missing 21 days?!”

Me: “I’ve sent it to you! I sent both you and another employee that called! I don’t owe you any more money for the next fortnight!”

Realty: “Where did you pay it to?”

Me: “I sent an Internet transfer to the account YOU emailed me!”

Realty: “You mean [Account Number]?” *pauses* “Oh. I see your email. You put in the wrong number! Didn’t you check the number?! It has a two after the first digit and you left it out!”

Me: *checks her email* “There’s no two anywhere in this account number you sent me.”

(There is a silence as I assume she checks the email.)

Realty: “… I’ll mark your file as ‘not your fault.’ Make sure you pay us when the payment bounces back to you. Have a nice day.”

(Hopefully they leave me alone and I actually get that payment back! I’m moving out to a different realty next month!)

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When Daleks Move Out

| Working | June 2, 2014

(Though English is my native tongue, I’m also fluent in several other languages and sometimes get my words mixed up. I’m moving out of my flat and I need to find a new tenant to take over my room. This exchange happens when I try to tell the landlord about my progress.)

Me: “So, I advertised the room online and I got loads of responses!”

Landlord: “Oh wow! Good job.”

Me: “Thanks! Some of them weren’t good matches though, so I had to exterminate them.”

Landlord: “… What?”

Me: “Wait, no! I mean eliminate! You know, cross them off the list!”

(I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a murderer now…)

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Send You Off The Rails

| Right | January 5, 2014

(I am self-employed in the real estate appraisal business. I have made an FHA appraisal of a home that needs some minor repair. Once the repairs have been made, it will be necessary for me to re-inspect the home to make sure that the repairs have been satisfactorily completed. In this case, I have required that railings be installed around the front porch and stairway because they are several feet above the walkway. Shortly after submitting the appraisal and repair list, I received a call from the seller’s realtor.)

Realtor: “I want to talk to you about the repairs you required. Why do we have to put up stair and porch railings?”

Me: “It’s an FHA requirement. When a home sells with FHA financing, it has to meet minimum safety standards set by FHA.”

Realtor: “Well, I don’t see why they’re necessary. The house already has an FHA loan. Why weren’t the railings required when my client bought the house?”

Me: “I don’t know. Maybe the other appraiser wasn’t paying attention.”

Realtor: “Why can’t you just look the other way?”

Me: “I’m sorry. That’s not the way I do business.”

Realtor: “We’re not going to put up the railings. And that’s that.”

Me: “I understand your frustration, but it seems to be a shame that you’re going to allow this sale to be killed over a few hundred dollars.”

Realtor: *long pause* “Okay, but you can’t charge for the repair inspection.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Realtor: “I mean if we’re going to pay for a repair that’s clearly not necessary, then the least you can do is waive your fee for the repair inspection.”

Me: “Let me call you right back. I’ll have to talk to my supervisor about this. I don’t know what he’ll say.”

Realtor: “Okay. That will be fine.”

(The realtor doesn’t know that I’m self employed. I wait ten minutes and call the realtor back.)

Realtor: “Hello?”

Me: “Hello. I just spoke to my supervisor and he got mad as h***. I argued on your behalf and he finally agreed to a 50 percent discount on the fee. This is the best I can do. He’s really upset with me.”

Realtor: “A 50 percent discount? Okay. That will be fine.”

(The realtor and seller were good to their word and quickly had the railings installed. On the invoice to the mortgage company, I charged full fee, but wrote in blue ink, ‘This fee represents a 50 percent discount.’ I later did several more appraisals for that realtor. He thought he had gotten the best of me!)

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Unreal Estate

| Working | October 14, 2013

(I am moving over 100 miles away, to a new area I don’t know at all.)

Me: “So, are there any areas of the town I should avoid?”

Agent: “What do you mean?”

Me: “You know, bad areas, dangerous places I wouldn’t really want to live.”

Agent: *proudly* “No! Not at all. This is a lovely town; there’s nowhere I wouldn’t live myself.”

(I’m doubtful, as every town has its dodgy streets. But she recommends some houses on the market, and we go through the particulars.)

Me: “I like the look of this place. Can you get me a viewing tonight? Around 6:00 or 6:30?”

Agent: “Oh. Would someone be going with you?”

Me: “No, I’m looking on my own at the moment. My husband’s still back in [our home town].”

Agent: “But you’ll be driving there?”

Me: “No, it’s only a 20-minute walk from where I’m staying.”

Agent: *shocked* “Oh, no! No. I wouldn’t let you walk around that neighborhood on your own, and especially not after dark!”

Me: “Well then, I’m hardly going to buy a house and live there, am I?!”

This story is part of the Homeownership roundup!

Read the next Homeownership roundup story!

Read the Homeownership roundup!

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Window Pains

| Right | April 20, 2013

(A tenant in an office building calls the property management office. It’s autumn, and a bit chilly outside. Not every office in this building has a window, but hers does. Tenants pay more for the larger suites with windows.)

Tenant: “Ever since the heat came on last week, my office has been stifling! Can’t the maintenance do anything?”

Me: “I’m sorry, the office suites do not have individual heat controls. However, I can put in a ticket for maintenance to come and adjust your overhead vent so you don’t have as much warm air coming in.”

Tenant: “Well how long will that be? I’m dying in here!”

Me: “Maintenance is usually able to complete their tickets in a day or two.”

Tenant: “What? He can’t come today? This is completely ridiculous! How do you expect me to work, or see clients? I’m sweating!”

Me: “Well, in the meantime, you could certainly crack a window. It’s nice and cool outside.”


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