Sunday, 24 June 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

She was nice, clean, quiet, and a single mother of a 1-2 year old son. She moved into one of our good un-renovated one bedroom apartments and we forgot that she was there until about 4-5 months into her tenancy. It first started with a late payment of her rent. Okay…not a huge deal, sometime it happens. Then it happens again a few months later…and then again a few months later. We gave warning letters, talked to her, and then started to issue “10-day pay to stay” notices.

Now, usually people like this would not stick around very long, but we don’t like to kick tenants out right away who have children. Call it stupid, or say we are push-overs, but it is hard to do especially when you know their resources are limited. We knew her day would come so there was no rush.

Her late rent (1-2 days) became more frequent and we noticed that she was not around as much. She told us that she was spending more and more time with her baby-daddy so I made the decision to strike next time she was late.

We had received a call on our intercom phone from the police at the front door on Mother’s Day. “Hi, it’s the police, can you let us in the building”. I buzz them in and we quickly put out shoes on to go walk through the building to find out where they are going. Now, police coming to the building isn’t entirely rare. Every few months we get a call like that and they are usually here to serve someone some papers or to get a statement from a tenant who has witnessed something (always boring reasons). By the time we walked the building, they were gone. Whatevs.

An hour later it happens again…okay, random. We do the walk again and get to the third floor and hear them banging on this chicks door. No answer. They leave. I go out on our deck and look down to see 3 police cars and 4 officers milling around the front of the building….good thing I was not showing any suites that day. We hear fragments of a conversation between them talking about “beat-up pretty bad” “assault” “not home”, etc… They call us again to enter the building, knock again, no answer, call her, no answer, then asked us what car she drives, and when does she usually come home, etc. They leave.

An hour later (again) we notice that she is home and shortly after the cops are back. They buzz, we let them in and I run downstairs and hide behind the firedoor to eavesdrop. “You are under arrest for assault and battery”. Cool. Child is scream, she is crying, I have my ear plastered to the door. Now probably isn’t the best time to let our presence be known.

The whole situation took over and hour as they had to phone CPS to take the child (that was not fun to watch). We had a birds-eye view of the whole ordeal as we stood on our deck watching her get carted away in the back of the cop car hand-cuffed. 

We issued her an eviction notice the next day. Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Yes, We Actually DO Have Good Tenants

Here are a couple:

Tenant 1:
Two of the buildings are our main priorities so to speak. There is the flagship which is where we live, and mini-me down the road. Owned by the same people and both are under the same system. They were neglected for years, so as apartments come available, they get re-done. I personally put a butt load of work into them. 

And then I hand it off to a tenant, and hold my breath. Did we do well? 

Well, with the three horsemen, we did well. 

The first time it happened, I'm not gonna lie, I could have shed a tear. She had moved in, and unpacked. I went in to grab some papers, and it literally looked like I had designed the apartment for her furniture. NOw, I know-I technically designed the apartment template that I use for everyone's furniture, but go with it. 

It looked incredible! Designer furniture and a nice imac in the corner. My favorite part was there was a closet that I actually put a bit of work into. It had been set up as a pantry closet with a lot of shelves, and I had taken them all out, painted them all white and had the wall color in behind. She opens it and had turned it into a shoe closet-almost like "thanks! I AM going to put that effort to use and turn it into a display closet, instead of dumping some cans of spagettios in there"

At the other building, there were two guys that moved in that had the same thing. Nice furniture that blended so well with the colors we chose and their apartments are spotless. 

It really impresses me that people want to choose this apartment, as opposed to just any one that will do because they appreciate the details, the workmanship and the materials. 

Tenant 2

She annoys me sometimes, but not for the usual reasons. She is always friendly, and really understands that there is a difference between conversations regarding work, and just conversations between us. 

She was our first really good tenant, and has lived here for 2 years. Her problem is, she really needs someone to guide her through life-because man, she does some crazy shit sometimes. 

She has actually called and had to ask us to go in her place to turn the oven off-twice. What? 

Car was going to be towed for parking on the street without insurance. What? 

It goes on and on. 

But here is the thing-she is always, ALWAYS appreciative of help. I can't remember what I did, but she came to our place that evening with a big thing of food for me. That wasn't even required, as a sincere thank you is more than I get from other people. 

I do get really annoyed with the attitude of, "well, its your job-so get on it" 

Ok. Well, in MY jobS on any given day I am behind. I wake up in the morning and I'm already late for work, and probably behind schedule. 

So that's what I find on the list of the great people, which is increasing with every rental. They understand that I'm busy, and they appreciate when I stop my thing to help them out. 

Compared to another person that FUCKING HATES ME, when she has an issue in her apartment, its awkward AS FUCK to be in there, I get this feeling that its my fault that the problem happened in the first place and its never enough. 

She needed a plug replaced. OK. Easy job. Then she starts talking that all of them really should be replaced. Yeah, and I'm sure I can paint it out while I'm here, gut the bathroom and hose out your kitchen too. 

Fuck off-with a smile!

Friday, 22 June 2012

One Hit Wonders

This is for all the people that aren't worth a story of their own, but comical none the less. 

What Did You Say to M...

This guy will definitely warrant a story, but I'm refraining from posting about current people. But this is just too funny. 

Background: This guy takes a lot of effort. He borrows shit, borrows toilet paper to take a shit, complains about everything(there is one thing, but its too specific to his identity but trust me, you would roll your eyes-oh fuck it-he complained the popcorn texture on his ceiling was causing a large amount of dust. W.T.F?)

He's having a conversation with Dino-just run of the mill small talk which I swear is at the level of working in a bar the amount of useless talking we do. Mentions an issue with something that actually is legitimate. Before Dino can finish the sentence of, "yeah, I know, we are having problems getting someone in to fix it..." he turns around in a huff and walks away. 

Dino tries to let it go, but then hears his front door slam shut in a rage. 

Tries to let it go again, and then finally drops what she's doing and knocks on the door. Cuts him off before hello, I'm sorry can pass his lips and tears him a new one: 

I don't want to hear it. Any of it. I'm officially done with your shit show. You complain about everything, you are rude to me and we have bent over backwards to try to work with you. In fact, you owe Grid a huge thank you, because if it wasn't for him, I would have had your ass out of this building months ago. 

Then she turns and walks away. He apologized later and we have yet to see if his demeanor changes. 


Had to talk to a newer couple about the loudness, and frequency of their sexual relations. Complaints were coming in from all over the building. A guy was dying, and still took time to complain. 

Always wondered why she was so chipper in the morning. 


One guy had left his small time dealer operation set up in the kitchen during a scheduled inspection-including scale and baggies with burned roaches in the living room. 

He ended up living in the building for a total of 30 days. 

Victory is life.

and Tears

Awkward time when a woman you barely know is crying on your shoulder. 

Oh, and...


One dude had a basket of 80's porn mags in his bedroom when he wasn't there and we were doing an inspection. 

Enough said.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Lovers(In a Dangerous Time)

I love watching people live their lives, and there is a certain 'access' you get to the details that you just don't get when you can barely remember your neighbors name. 

We set a relationship shot clock when key indicators go off. How long before "we're breaking up and one/both are moving"? 

You don't get much privacy in a wood frame building, all snuggled up next to each other. A guy on the 3rd floor has a thing for 80's porn. The first floor? asians. The sexual prowess of one guy in the building that briefly dated another was rated as "less than to be desired" with a face that should serve as a warning to those that would follow. The previous manager used to get railed at around 8 in the morning by boyfriend du jour while others were trying to enjoy their morning coffee. 

How do I know this? Because either people talk man. 

So how do I know your relationship is coming to an end, possibly before you do? Nothing is new anymore. This may be earth shattering to your world, but for me its a big mac and large fry. 

You can usually pick up on a tone change. That happy little couple is now a little 'darker' than before. The first time you pick up on it, you think 'bad day' then, bad week? Then you can hear arguing. Mild at first, but then you catch the hint of "I wish you had never been born" on the morning breeze and wonder if its coming from your building. 

The phone rings. 

Yeah, its us. 

One couple ended without the usual signs. One day she called and said he's moving out. She's going to carry on. He slept with someone else. She got a restraining order. He does not have permission to enter her apartment. 

You know what I actually needed to know? He's moving out and does not have permission to enter the apartment. That's it. He could screw his way through the BC Lion's cheerleading line up for all I care. I would question how he pulled that off, but I wouldn't actually care from a business perspective. 

But people love to talk. 

I then found myself in the uncomfortable position of being the go-between. I was 17 again, and my parents were getting divorced. I tried being nice, but visibly agitated at the whole thing as a hint. It didn't work. Finally I landed on "that letter you signed means I no longer have a relationship with you." 

The on again/off again relationships can be entertaining. One day you get a call that she wants him off the lease, and then "never mind". You'll forgive me if I don't rush over to do that paperwork with you, but let's let this ride for awhile and see how it plays out. When I see boxes, you get your lease. 

One couple at a building we don't live in recently had a baby...he's now on his way out. I try to stay dispassionate to these things, but my first thought was...damn. That kid will never remember their parents together. It only lasts a second, and then you think "I wonder who he slept with" Whatever, "Big Mac you said? I need a letter that he's moving and I can get you a new lease under the old terms"

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Bestest Tenant Ever

This is what happens when you start doing a job without really knowing what you are doing. 

Tenant #1. 

Fuck me, did we ever screw the pooch on this one. He had just about every red flag you could have. Didn't know to recognize them. Everything we have learned about what to look for in people came from this one person. 

So he and his family move in. Things are going ok until his wife takes up crack, apparently again-there's a question to ask, "are you currently recovering from something? Is there a likelihood that you will relapse?" 

They get a little behind on rent. We muddle through. And here's why we had problems: 

The apartment in question was shit. The bathroom was blue, and you're like, "dude, paint that shit" bathtub, toilet and sink, sitting on a blue tile floor. The kitchen was small and dark, it was ground floor. 

So, lesson #2, you can't put great people into shit product. In fact, we have been really bad at putting shit people into shit product. It's happened a couple of times. Your decision making becomes based on, no one else is going to want this shit. 

After they moved, I spent a month re-doing it. It's hot now. 

So finally they split up. He moves into a 1 bedroom and she leaves. Things get better. The 1 bedroom was another problem unit, so its nice to have that off the map. 

Then, the worst case scenario. He comes to me and says he has bedbugs. 

Sidebar: If you've never dealt with these little bastards, consider yourself lucky. They say it has nothing to do with cleanliness and lifestyle if you get them. Awesome. I call bullshit. My nice clean little yuppies may be equally able to get them coming through a wall, but people that clean often and care are going to notice them quicker and deal with their eradication faster. Therefore they aren't going to have more time to transfer them to friends and family. 

In my opinion, its a problem of cheap people picking up free shit. 

So in this case, his ex came by and stayed for a few days and then tells him, "oh yeah! funny thing I did have bugs in my place now that you mention it" 

We get that dealt with. In the process, he managed to blame motherfucking EVERYBODY, but himself. It did make me smile when he had to get rid of every stick of furniture in the place. 

At this point, we're on the warpath. We had enough of this shit. 

A couple of months go by, and we manage to sneak away over christmas. We get a call from another tenant. HE has bedbugs. Fuck me. He's another story, but needless to say, he wasn't a surprise either. See sidebar above. 

So we put a notice out that we are having the dog come through and lo and behold, this guy comes to the door and says, "you know, I just saw one the other day!" 

What a fabulous little coincidence! That discovery just happened to coincide with this other guy down the hall. 

Unfortunately, its not what you know, its what you can prove. We all knew that he most likely had never gotten rid of the bugs, but couldn't prove it. 

In reality, we should have just evicted. If it failed, then it failed. 

We spent $1000 heat treating the apartment. 

Then about 60 days later, he sounds the alarm. I think I have them again. Thinking that we were under a warranty period. We weren't. 

At that point, we were done with this guy. So Dino hatched a plan in concert with the owner. 

It's called the "Fuck it, I'm done." plan. 

They let him stay for a month for free and then move. 

Not as clean and sanitary as we normally like, but here's the thing. If he got bugs again, it was either going to cost another $350ish for spray, plus any additional apartments or $1000 for heat. 

And we washed our hands of the biggest cluster fuck. On top of all of that, I think my favorite part was sometimes you could tell that you had just pissed him off and he'd want to snap, but couldn't. He would walk by us in a huff on a couple of occasions, and once I wish he'd have just let go, because I would LOVE to fire back.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Idiot of the day...

We were driving into the back parking lot when we saw one of our more colourful tenants standing on a ladder with a large laundry basket pointed towards the second floor balcony above her. We stop...get out..."umm, what are you doing?"

"my cat jumped down onto the balcony below us!" (she lives on the third floor). are trying to will the cat into a laundry basket?

Shockingly enough, this does eventually work, but not without attracting the attention of the other tenants in the surrounding apartments.

I guess there is always a chance of this happening when you have a cat-friendly buildings....unfortunately, this is the fourth time this has happened with this particular cat and this particular tenant. 

My recommendation? Maybe keep your balcony door closed....ya know, the same advice I gave you the last three times this happened.

The Hard Way

People always ask me what "the hard way" is. It is shocking how many tenants I give the speech to DON'T ask me what that "hard way" is....maybe I am scary...maybe they can sense my power...maybe they are just to stupid to throw a well constructed sentence together?

So...what IS the hard way? I use the Italian Donkey for an example:

I collected letters from neighbour below his suite, across the hall, and next to him (I already have one).

These letters list him disturbing the quiet enjoyment and threatening the health and safety. I get a copy of the 2 police reports and I also write a letter regarding his late payment of rent 3 or more times within the last 10 month and add to the health and safety issue and note that he is chain smoking inside his apartment. This also now become a damage issue. I give his an apt inspection letter....enter and proceed to take photos of all the nicotine stains on the walls, ceilings, windows, etc. and any other damage that I see.

I put together a pretty little package....which in all reality takes me a couple phone calls and about an hour to do. I march over to his door, give him a 30 day eviction notice and how him the package. Tell him what is happening....cause ya know...I dig ruining a dudes day.

He has two option:
1- Take it and move. Uses me as a reference...I am honest. Has issues finding a place because of shitty reference but then learns to not give my name. Clean his apt from top to bottom, make no further issues. Spends hours upon hours trying to rid the apt of all traces of cig smoke...he'll be lucky to get half his deposit back. But, he will leave with his tail between his legs...if he has found a place.

2-Fight it. Fine. This is my fav! He has to take the day off work and go to the Tenancy and to file a wrongful eviction. He pays $50 (which, I know he doesn't have). I get notification and file my own package (see above) with all the reasons I have to evict. At the same time, I also file for an order of possession (which allows me to call a bailiff, claim his shit if he doesnt move, and have the police physically remove him-so much FUN! I love it when dudes cry). We have our arbitration case lay it all out...I must add, this is like clockwork for me. I always win. I Know my shit. This dude goes apeshit on the phone...cause lets face it, they all do. Not only do I win my case, but now he loses his security deposit, has refunds me my $50 that I have to pay to file an eviction notice, I charge him for all the damage and not cleaning (note: I dont hire cheap people), and he has no place to live because not only do I give him a terrible reference, but I also register it on the Tenant Verification website.

So this dude is having to take days off work to file his case, to go to arbitration, and now to find a place b/c with the order of possession, the branch only gives you like 10 days. Meanwhile, I have all the time in the world for a little entertainment.

Wanna fuck up a dudes week, take his house and make him pay you for it.

So remember, when I say do you want the hard way or easy way...Always take the easy way. I don't fuck is truly the easy way. At least then, you get fake smile, maybe a hand shake, and I'll give you and okay reference...hell, you may ever get some of your deposit back. Cause lets put it aint my money and in the grand of things, a few hundred dollars to the building owners means shit...BUT, a few hundred dollars to a dude that can barely make his rent now is going to fuck him.

And don't forget...I always win. I don't go into a fight unless I know I'm going to win it.

As for the Donkey (above), he got an extra month, he got the smile, and the handshake. Loses about $100 in cleaning (he did an okay job) and can go on living his life with little disruption.

At the end of the day, I don't give a fuck...just get the fuck out. You do it or I do it. The end result will be the same.

The Italian Donkey

What an absolute pile. Just moved today. 

He nominated himself for the hitlist by:

Going nuts(cocaine was our guess) in his apartment enough the lady below had to call the police. The first time, we go rushing over to the building and he had already taken off. 

Then, his toilet broke. Im my defense, it WAS still functional. He flips the fuck out. I've had people mad, and I've had them angry. He went nuts. 

He started calling me and swearing. He called the building owners and left death threats on their answering machine in Italian. He phones me back and I tell him I am going to evict him and report him to the police for leaving death threats. He says, "Why don't I just nail his fucking coffin shut". Nice. 

Basically, the little italian hamster in his head went off the wheel. 

Then the lady below calls and says he's throwing shit and yelling and swearing. 

I'm sorry, I forgot to mention...its 10pm at night. So off we go to meet the police there. 

They knock on his door and he starts speaking italian to them. They actually had to ask, "do you speak english?" He answers yes. They ask, "can we?"

So he tells them all about his toilet. They care just about as much as I do. This event has gone way past his pooping needs at this point. I'm there at 10pm, you can use a bucket and I'll still sleep tonight. 

The plan is hatched. He's going. 

So I gives him "the speech". 

"Donkey, do you want to do this the easy way, or the hard way?" 

He chose the easy way. Gives a letter, to which I obliges to give him 2 months instead of 1. 

The easy way comes with: a smiling face, and a hand shake at the end and we don't have to go through that awkward phase of throwing everything we've got against you at you in a Tenancy proceeding. 

And one more coke fueled drama bag bites the dust.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Phat Bastard

At our main building, in recent history, there was the crazy chick that I already wrote about that managed for years, but after she left and before we started, there was Phat Bastard. 

He lasted 3 months. 

I never really get the full story on things, as the owners we work for don't seem to relish in the stories of building past the way I do, but I pick things up in bits and pieces. 

He came in under the guise of being tough and effective. I guess after the better part of 8 years spent with the hippie love in, "pay what you can, when you can" attitude of the previous manager, they were wooed with the idea of actually having rent in on time. 

He used to sit in the lobby on the first, and hassle people as they came through the door for their rent. He also threatened to remove the front door of people that were late. He made a woman climb in the dumpster to remove old clothes that she had thrown out, for some reason. Oh, and he was a bit of a drunk. 

Now, I don't have a lot of details on this guy, but as a person that has had to remove the front door to an apartment(for legit purposes), I can tell you..that's a lot of freaking work. If I were an asshole guy, and according to some, I may just be, I might be tempted to call your bluff on that one. 

I also can think of a lot of things I would rather do than sit in the lobby and chase people down for rent. You know what I find works wonders? Taking a few minutes to fill out the 10 day "pay to stay" notice. A little tape on the door and you're done! Added benefit: anyone that walks past your door sees that a) you don't pay your rent and b) if I don't pay my rent, I'll get one as well. 

I only met the guy once, and I wasn't left with a warm fuzzy feeling. We had gotten the keys early on what was to be our apartment and I wanted to paint it before we moved in, as it was pink. Who starts rolling pink in an apartment and says, "hmm, a nice neutral color suitable for all" and then proceeds to hit the yellowed ceiling with the roller repeatedly enough to have a stripe around the room. So I'm bringing some equipment in and he stops me at the elevator. 

"Hey. What er you doing?" 

"Oh. Hi! You must be Phat Bastard(the beer belly pokin' out of the ill-fitting Molson Canadian t-shirt was a dead giveaway). I'm painting our apartment." 

"No one told me about that" 

Remember me mentioning that I may just be a bit of an asshole on occasion? 

"Well, I guess you are on a need to know basis. Excuse me." 

He wasn't missed.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sometimes Talking is Their First Mistake

A couple with their kid comes to look at a kind of shitty 2 bedroom we have in one of the secondary buildings. It's been a biatch to unload. This is the one where Black Betty^^ lived. 

So I'm showing them around and they seem "alright". He's doing most of the talking, the wife seems nuts and the kid is cute but f'ing loud. Not necessarily something that is going to happen all the time, but you start to think. 

Dino and I switch off, and the first thing she notices is the wife is kind of doing the Hastings Shuffle and I had already noticed the teeth. Or lack of teeth. 

So they start telling their story. They don't have a reference from the previous landlord, because he had called Child Protective Services on them! Nice! BUT they had a letter from them saying that they found nothing in the investigation. are saying that you met, at least the minimum level of child care needed, but the landlord thought that you did not? 

I don't know, but is that grey area between "you beat your child enough" and "you beat your child too much" something we want to find out? 

Here's a Top Gear Top Tip for sketchy people trying to rent a place. SHUT THE FUCK UP! I'm very happy that you are no longer on meth. That's awesome. I however, do not take as much pride as you do. Therefore, don't tell me. You say rehab and I say relapse. It's that simple. I'm picturing this all going downhill once life gets a little tough and you are back on the pipe. Call me a cynic if you will. 

These people didn't do the meth talk, but I don't need to know that CPS was involved. You don't have a reference. Well, that's a problem. I would suggest "lie" before showing me a letter from CPS. There are ways around a reference problem, but difficult if the rest of you screams 'sketch'. 

You just walk away scratching your head remembering you wasted 30 minutes of your life on this shit.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Closer(I Want to *woof* You Like an Animal)

First rent is late. Then rent bounces. Then its more late. Then its a 10 day eviction notice. Normally that's the point where people decide to move on, as they can no longer afford life. She decided to take the 10 day notice. 


Real simple. Dino told her that if you leave the apartment clean, then you are off the hook. She told Dino to keep the security deposit in lieu of lost rent. 

So she leaves, and Dino goes in and nothing is clean. There is boxes of food in the cupboard and the bathtub. Oh the bathtub. What a beautiful before photo for comet. 

Cool. Normally we tend to chalk these things up to life lessons, and move on. Dino snapped. She actually snapped awhile ago where we've learned all the "life lessons" we need to learn, and its time for others to share in that joy. 

So off she goes to dispute resolution. Dino sends the notice registered mail, and it never gets picked up. She texts her, and the tenant asks what is in the package. Dino tells her, and the response is classic. 

"You know, my father said you'd try to *woof* me." 

My first reaction was, dude! You *woofed* us! Second, we've never met your father, so how the hell would he know any different. 

So Dino goes to arbitration and its a clear win. The judgey person actually declared a full win on the spot, which they usually don't do. 

Here's the deal. And it shocks me how people don't get this. We're not out to *woof* anyone. We don't get a single dime from holding your security deposit. Occasionally I get paid for repairs out of damages withheld. Honey, making $50 to patch holes in your walls is a pain in my ass, is shit that I don't want to do and for the difference $50 makes to my bottom line, I'd just prefer to not do it at all. I don't even invoice for less than $100. Oh, and we also don't get paid more to spend our time chasing you through the RTB. 

So maybe when we say, clean it to the point of *woofing* spotless because we don't want to deal with it-you'll listen. 

The funny thing was, the arbiter actually pointed out that our costs were significantly less than what could have been charged. So who's *woofing* you now? 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Black Betty

First the title I chose. She wasn't actually black, but Black Betty was in the movie Blow and this story features cocaine. Fuck yeah!

We knew there was a problem whenever we had to talk to her, because she'd come around through the sliding patio door instead of the front door. Why? Well, its usually either we don't like prying eyes seeing the state of the apartment, or there is shit piled in front of the door as we have run out of room to store said shit. Notice I said its usually one or the other? This was both. 

She knew everyone in the building. Anyone else's dope that they were getting in shit for was coming from her apartment. Quite the little entrepreneur. Dino and I are vehemently against pot in our buildings. It's an uphill battle. 

So she was handy when she gave us enough dirt to evict others. I'm also going to say, she was really a nice(r) person. I wouldn't have her over for tea and crumpets, but she didn't have that attitude of the world is out to get me, and you are part of that world, therefore I hate you. 

But then someone told us about a party from the night before that featured 3 out of 10 apartments converging into a mega party, that then ended up with a hammer being wielded, dents in someone's front door from said hammer and this girl being arrested. 

We go the next day and hear about it, and first its like why the hell wouldn't someone call us, but its like watching the Hangover. What the fuck happened here last night, and we need to get this shit together. 

So we start knocking our way down the doors until finally we get to hers. Bingo! That's the look we were looking for. Stringy hair, pale, kinda smelling like vomit and a raging headache. 

In the middle of that, Dino busts out on her, "dude, I hate to pile on to your day today, but this needs to end. Are you going to give me a letter that says you are moving, or am I going to give you one?" 

And pause. 

Here's a tip. This shit works more than you realize. This is the secret between someone that looks pro, and some bullshit manager that can't keep his head out of his ass. We have yet to actually go through with an eviction. Why? They are long, drawn out affairs and until its done, you are always waiting for what damage is going to happen, and what bullshit you are going to have to go through. Ask for the fucking sale!

"Hi! Do you want me to fuck you today, yes or no?" It's that easy. Here's what fucking you looks like: security deposit? gone. Suing for additional damages? Check Shitty reference? Oh check yeah. You need a list of what I'm going to use to evict? Here it is. Need I continue? 

Or, we can bring this to an end, get you some money back from your deposit, smooth out a few rough spots in a reference call and shake hands. 

This only works if there is a hint of logic left. Some people are just too far gone. These are the people that think the way they live is normal, which ps, flip open Canadian Living or BH&G. Do you see a picture that resembles your home? Then no honey, it ain't normal. The only one that we had to pursue in this manner was the heroin addict from page 1 or 2. Obviously, logic wasn't going to work on him, although as I type that, I did convince him to sign a paper releasing any claim to his damage deposit. 

And un-pause. 

So we pull up to the end of the month, and she has found a place to live. So this just in, there is an owner of a basement suite that should really learn to properly vet tenants. 

The place looks worse than those abandoned Chernobyl apartments. The beige carpet is black. The walls look like swiss cheese. Dino had to use the washroom and called to ask if she could go in, and gets an answer of yeah, I'd prefer not. There's blow on the kitchen counter. 

Hawt. So friggin' hawt. 

The carpet guy was there for 5 hours cleaning the carpet. He said straight up that he could do a 4 bedroom house in the same amount of time.

Anyway, we made good, and shook hands. 

I did have to put my 2 cents in, and as she asked me for help in removing something, I turned to her, alone, and said, "you know, I think you really owe Dino a real thank you, because if this was my building-I'd fuck you. Straight up. This is fucking ridiculous." 

And she did. It was truly sincere. In the end, I hope a little bit she makes good on her promise of getting her shit together.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Let's Talk Morris Court

First, it's on a completely different system than any other building. We report to a property manager. We go in to interview, and the office is straight up 1972. They have a typewriter, and it gets used. The furnishings read like a who's who of craigslist's 'free' top posters. The shut down elementary school was a huge score. I'm not going to lie, I checked under the conference table for gum. 

We have an informal interview, which is kind of weird. It's like he asks a question, and then there is the awkward moment of which person is going to answer. Dino does. All of 'em. I end up sitting there looking pretty. It really is weird out-numbering the interviewer. 
It’s also weird knowing the guy. 
As the interview is wrapping up, Dino asks a usual question, "how many others are you interviewing for the position?" 

"Well, given that you guys are normal, and speak english, I was kind of hoping you'd take the job. I don't want to call the others. They're crap." 

Well, that's cool. On that note, we're going to just take a raise right away. True story. We asked for an additional 30% on the spot. PS-what is it with these jobs appealing to angry eastern Europeans? That was our competition anyway. Apparently it was one resume after another of communism`s left-overs. 

Then we`re told about the owner. His routine was: he enters the building, goes to his office, goes to his bathroom, then exits the building. So, take a guess what his complaints may pertain to?Well, weeds growing along the stairs to the back door. Leaves in the stairwell. Lint in the laundry room. That is the extent of the concerns he has with the building. My list grew to be slightly more expansive. Did I mention Cokie the Bear lived here? Yes, leaves are a concern, but a heroin addict hardlining on the first floor is fine. 

My favorite was the lighting. The hallways were pitch black. The halls are about 30-40 feet long, and there were 2 florescent tubes-one at each end. In fact, it was so dark that the red glow from the exit signs cast more light. If you want to make your building look appealing to crime-turn the lights off! It had this seedy underworld thing going for it. You know all those creepy apartment buildings they show in the movies? The ones where the bad guy is holding out, and the good guys end up shooting him? Yeah, filmed at Morris Court. 

There used to be lights. Lights use power. Power costs money. Money cuts profits, ergo-nuke the lights. We actually had to sneak the bill through as an ‘emergency repair` to avoid the wrath of the owner. Easy to do as walking down the hall didn`t enter into the routine. 

You know what else costs money? Heat. If you just go and turn that off, you can save a fortune. There was a switch installed that cut power to the whole heating system. He`d pop by in the afternoon when it was warm, and turn it off. Then leave. We`d get a call at around 10pm-you know, that sweet time when you are climbing into bed when you get a call from someone asking who they have to fuck to get some heat. 

These were annoyances. We managed to ignore them. Then I started to work on an apartment. That`s when it got interesting. 

One of the units needed to be painted. I was doing some of the prep and I wanted to fix the texture of the ceiling, as some of it was peeling. Now, i know enough not to make love to this shit, as it contains some bad stuff, so I take a blade and quickly flake off the loose stuff. As soon as I touched it, no word of a lie, a square meter slowly started peeling off the ceiling, in slow motion. 

Nooooooooo. That sucks. The stink was unreal. There is nothing quite like the smell of disturbed mold. And holy fuck! The ceiling under the texture was black with it. At this point, my nice little 2 day rehab was over. I decide to investigate a little further and see how far it goes. I cut a hole in the closet and discover this green and red stuff growing in a semi-circle pattern. 

Oh. I should mention-it was already rented for occupancy in 12-13 days. 

I have a remediation company come the next day and even they didn`t know what the green and red organic aids was in the closet. Encouraging. I tell them the scoop, and he makes a few phone calls. Comes back with a plan. Pending pricing approval, they can have a crew in the next day, peel everything, contain and remediate over the weekend, and you should be able to have drywallers working in like 4 days. I do some quick math, and it should be able to be done by the 1st-barely. Of course-the mold guys wanted $8000 minimum plus extra work, and we`d be left with a destroyed apartment. My drywallers would have been good for probably $1500 on a rush job. BUT-its rented, and mission impossible, she`d be able to take possession. 

I make my rushed phone call, and I`m told-we`re going to need a second opinion. We`re sending a guy. He comes, and takes forever and tells us he should be able to have a quote into us by next week. 

Next week? Dude-the other guys were going to be done by next week. 

And then we hear nothing. We finally step out on a limb and rip up her lease, as we wanted to do originally. Thanks to the whole situation, that gave her about 5 days to find a new apartment. 

The owner cancelled everything. Too expensive. And so far, it has sat there-for a year. So what`s more expensive? The remediation would have been paid for by now. Instead, we have a dead apartment that still needs to be fixed, and we are now a further $9000 in the hole. 
Ultimately, we gave up on trying to improve the building. We have yet to rent an apartment for a dollar more than it was previously rented for. We then even stopped trying to actively maintain the building-even that was running up against a wall. We now do the bare minimum needed to make the phone calls stop-and its not from laziness, but pure frustration.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Moron Manor

We were talking to a building owner about taking on her property. It was like 12 units maybe? Can't remember. Anyway, we are standing in a bachelor apartment having our meeting, and already, I'm feeling this whole, "I don't like, nor trust you" vibe. She was pretty, and dressed well, but just had this stink about her. 

We start talking about the building itself. It's a dump. It gets vacuumed about once every 2 weeks, the halls haven't seen paint in decades. Then we're talking about rents, and she says the apartment we are standing in goes for $775. W-T-What the Mother F? I wish I had taken a picture. Some tiles had fallen off the backsplash, and were just replaced with any tile that fit. There is a leaky fridge stranded in the corner. Shitty laminate. It was just a dive.

She continues on telling us about the building-and it gets better. She has a fantastic tenant that lives downstairs. She’s been there for years-pays like $500 a month. Her apartment is beautiful. 

So we asks a very logical question, “well don’t you do annual rent increases?”

“Oh, the branch allows you to increase it, what $20 a month, what’s the point?”

So we table that for the moment. 

We get back to the rental system. She explains that the building makes like no money, so apartments can’t sit without a tenant. If we get to the end of the month and we don’t have a tenant for a unit, then she’ll come out and put anyone in it, and deal with whatever happens. 

Remember that great tenant paying $500 a month? No relevance at all, I’m sure. 

So we talk money, and here’s the offer. Sorry, wait. Just wanna throw out some stats. We have: 
-increased rent revenue by 20% at one building
-increased individual apartment rents by a minimum of $100 per apartment
-basically rocked the shit job wise. Took this on, and so re-defined what the job entailed that we started teaching people how to do it in other buildings. 

Cool. That said. She offered us $300 per month. For that, we got to rent out all the apartments, deal with the phone calls from all the tenants and work for some Gucci wearing chick that had no interest in the building whatsoever. 

I’m standing there, in an apartment I swear god built himself with his own two fucking hands to teach low income people about the value of education listening to her offer me $300 per month to take it off her hands. Honey-$300 isn’t going to cover the gas, nor potential bullet holes from driving to this godforsaken hellhole. Yes, for the purposes of this story, I am saying that God himself built it, then forgot it. 

So I try to put a different spin on it-maybe there is value in a cost-plus arrangement. I tell her, we’d consider acting as a rental agent. You have vacancies, and we’ll take care of renting them. For a price. I would want $100 per apartment. No vacancies=no money. More vacancies=more money. Phone calls bill out at $30/hour. 

Let’s be clear, on the spot I just saved her: the cost of an onsite manager. And let’s be clear, an onsite manager here is going to be recruited from Insite. The cost of driving out from downtown everytime a tenant calls her. And it saves the cost of her time. She can officially set it and forget it. If we don’t get used, she doesn’t have to pay. 

I thought I was pretty brilliant. Especially with 10 seconds of thought. 
And she starts trying to negotiate on the fact that 2 vacancies isn’t nearly twice the work of one. No shit. I’m trying to scrape together a deal here that makes it at least plausible that I am a little interested in attaching my name to this Bedbug paradise. If that means we actually make money for coming to the 7th circle of hell for 2 apartments rather than one-so be it!
Finally, we ended up saying yes just to end the interview and get out of there. I was so thirsty from talking, and definitely did not want water from that building. We get in the car and had an e-mail sent before we made it home saying we changed our minds. 

We could have turned that building around. We could be the assholes that went up to the wonderful tenant living in the “beautiful apartment”, and told her she has 2 months to vacate. Here’s a check. We could be the jersk that handed out rent increases for everyone. Maybe make sure that the halls got cleaned more than twice a month by a man that wasn’t blind. Dirt was ground so far into the carpet that it was growing new dirt. We could have done it on a shoestring budget. 

But we weren’t going to do it for free.