Thursday, 6 December 2012

Mothballs and The Soldering Shop

With every new building comes 'that tenant' and he (or she) usually nominates themselves pretty damn fast. I am not talking about the shit tenant or crackhead tenant or even the dirty tenants....I'm talking about the tenant that bitches about EVERYTHING. Lights are too bright in the hallways. I can hear the toilet flush from the person who lives above me. There was someone smoking on the sidewalk and the wind blew it into my window. It is not hot enough. It is now too hot in my apartment. Can you vacuum my baseboard heaters. The old manager didn't fix this. I pay $600 a month ($250 under-priced) for a premium apartment and I want it to be like Buckingham Palace. Lucky me, this was the first 'new' tenant I met.

This guy has a list of complaints a mile long and feels the need to share it with me the second I meet him. He also feels the need to put me at #1 on his speed dial so he can remind me on a daily basis of things he wants me to deal lightening speed. Unfortunately for him, these 'issues' that he has are bottom of the barrel random maintenance problems that do not need to be fixed with any urgency. So, my phone is constantly ringing off the hook from this guy and the minute I step foot in the building he comes running. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad as he has the city police on speed dial too and apparently calls them if someone farts too loud to complain about noise.

He lets me know his bathroom fan isn't working at perfection. I humour him, and get the hubby to pull it out and fix it thinking that if I do one thing on his list, he will shut the fuck up for a couple weeks. The problem is you can not buy parts for the old fan so you need to buy new part and modify them. This isn't an easy process and can take a couple hours. We tell him we will give him a call when we find the parts and its ready to go back in...expect a week or so.

So, of course that does not satisfy him and he calls almost daily to ask about his fan. Finally, I have had it. He picks the wrong day when I am in the middle of dealing with five thousand other things to call again. "Hello Dino, this is xxx. I need to talk to you about another problem I have: silverfish". Now, silverfish a like to a housefly or spider. They are everywhere. Every building has them due to age and environment but there is no impact to life. I see them every so often in our bathtub at night, but they don't bite...munch on things like dust or drywall at such a low impact that is not noticeable. I roll my eyes as he goes on and on and on about these damn silverfish. He wants me to spray. Spraying is very expensive and usually doesn't solve the problem and usually you need to do a whole building which is a HUGE impact to the other tenants and the bank.

My solution? I told him to buy mothballs. Do they work? Who knows...and really, who cares. What is my goal? To make his tiny-ass apartment stink of mothballs along with all his belongings. I told him to go to the dollar store and buy a couple boxes and sprinkle them around the place. He continues and asks about his damn fan. I explain to him again that it is being worked on and as the words are coming out of my mouth I am trying to think of some bullshit reason the hubby can't go put it in that second (you need to work yourself up to go work in his place). The fan is at the soldering shop! Yes, it is at the soldering shop to be modified and we will have it back in 2 days for installation. He is blown away by how seriously I have taken this fan-modification. I am brilliant.

So now buddy is tickled pink sitting an apartment that REEKS of moth balls while his bathroom fan is in the soldering shop.

Win for me!

The Sad Sack

So, we took over a new building at the end of August that had a live-in caretaker. His contract was terminated upon acquisition as there was no need for him once we were present. He was given proper notice by the previous owners of the building and we (new owners and us) decided to do the nice thing and allow him to stay for the month of September for free. Although the guy had to go, I did feel a little bad that he was losing his job and house within a month.

Sad Sack is in his late 40s, maybe early 50s, boring, meek, a little slow, and all around pathetic. He and I had a few interactions in the first few weeks to go over some paperwork, collected building keys, and to discuss his future. I already had an idea that he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed after having to pick up the pieces of the pending arbitration case in the previous blog post so I wasn’t expecting he would provide much help or information regarding the function of the building and tenants within it. He has failed to sign tenancy agreements with 21 out of the 28 units, ever given a proper notice, and literally let the people living in the building do whatever they wanted to do. I had no information on where people are parking, personal belongs were stuffed all over the building, only a few phone numbers, people paying ridiculously low rent, and a number of less-than-desirable people milling around.

 I started to probe Sad Sack in regards to his future as I needed to know if I had to rent his apartment for the following month. Every time, his answer was, “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it”. Great.  So I pushed him a little. I needed him to make a decision: Stay, or Go. Stay and sign a proper tenancy agreement at a rate that is at market value or give me your notice that you are moving.

He had phoned the building owner behind my back to ask if he could stay on and work at the building. Owner phones me to tell me about it and we have a bit of a chuckle. What is it with these people thinking they can go over my head? My owners give me carte blanche. I work hard and I am good at what I do. They love me.

So I see him the next day and gently remind him that I am at the top. You can’t go past me. I have final say on everything. He shrugs his shoulders. I push him again, “What are your plans?” It is now almost the end of the month so I am not going to be renting the apt should he decide to leave last minute. I go over his options again and he stares at me like I have a fucking horn growing out of my head. Do you know how hard it is to have a conversation with someone who is clearly read at a grade 4 level?

I ask him if he wants to stay for October and pay rent so he can have more time to think. It is hard to be a bitch to someone so pathetic. Fine. He pays, and I keep asking what the plan is. Nothing. And, more nothing. I have had enough. I tell him, “make the decision or I will do it for you.” “Do what you have to do then.” So I draw up all the paperwork to give him a 1-month notice to end his tenancy based on termination to his employment contract. Standing at his door, I ask him one more time if he would like to sign an agreement and he said that he needs more time….again. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. All of a sudden some lady pops up from behind the door announcing that, “Mr. Sack is an intelligent man and weighing his options.” I stifle my laugh and say, “umm, okay” as I look around to seen half a dozen tenancy branch papers stacked on his kitchen table. AWESOME! You are going to try to fight this. I know my shit…he hasn’t got a leg to stand on. I hand him the eviction papers and leave as I hate having to dumb-down my language for too long when talking to people.

I hear nothing for a few weeks except a few tenants who have told me how creepy Sad Sack is and how he just hangs out and stares at people. Our random interactions get less and less friendly until I just ask, “So, Sad Sack…are we going to be dealing with this in arbitration?” He says, “no” and I ask him if he phoned the branch to clarify that everything I told him was legit and he needed to GTFO. He said, “yes”, and I told him I am going to start showing his apt.

Fast forward to a couple days ago. End of the month time, his apt has been rented to a new tenant, and he is packing when I run into him going into a closet that is ‘building’ property. I take a quick look at his keys and realize that he never surrendered ALL the building keys back in Sept and that he still has a master key. Awesome. I make note of it for when we have out final interaction. At check-out time I was waiting around as he was slow (shocking) and running behind. I start to inquire about keys, garage remote, forwarding address (in case I need to take him to arbitration post-move out) and he starts to get an attitude. I am in no mood. Grid and I have had a very intense last two months in our personal and work lives and I am in no mood to deal with Sad Sack’s bullshit.

He announces he is not returning the garage remote without me handing him $40 right then and there. That’s not how it works. I don’t give money out of pocket to tenants for deposits they have paid for anything, especially without a receipt. They get a proper cheque mailed to their forwarding address from the account for the building. I tell him this and he says he isn’t giving it back if that’s the case. I say “fine, do what you want” and I walk away. I am done. I have spent 3 months dealing with Sad Sack and his shit show. I am done being nice, feeling bad for him, and dealing with the shitty tenants he rented to. So, I call my henchman Gridlock. “Deal with this”.

Grid flies down to the building happier than a pig in shit as he loves this stuff. I take off to do more building errands and eagerly await updates by text. After watching Sad Sack dumb around for another hour, Gridlock finally tells him that’s enough, no more, time is up, lets end this.

Gridlock: “Alright, Sad Sack, can I have the keys?”

Sad Sack hands over the keys for the apt and lobby door.

Gridlock: “All the keys, Sad Sack. Dino saw you with a master key the other day which, by the way, you were supposed to hand over months ago and clearly didn’t.”

Sad Sack gives a defeated look and hands over the keys as Gridlock says, “You really didn’t think we’d let you keep those, did you?”

Gridlock: “And now, the garage door remote”.

Sad Sack loses his shit and refuses to hand it over. Apparently this is the sword he chooses to die on- the fucking garage remote. He wants the $40…this is all bullshit…he will take it with him…blah blah blah. Grid stand there listening and simply says, “Sad Sack…you don’t really think I am going to let you walk out of here with access to the building and compromising security seeing as you just tried to steal the master key?!”


Gridlock: “We have actually treated you well”

Sad Sack: “BULLSHIT!” and slams down the garage remote.

Gridlock: “Really!? Let’s make sure we are crystal clear. We have not screwed you over. You lost your job before we even took over the building. You were never part of the plan. You were fired before we knew who you were and to BE NICE we allowed you to stay rent FREE for a month to give you time to get things together. You took advantage of that by doing NOTHING! We offered you to stay here as a tenant, sign an agreement, and not lose your house.  We gave you the offer to leave without official 30-day notice. We offered you every opportunity to make the choice and you did not want to pay market value for the apartment. This isn’t a ‘bid your own rent’ building! It is a business. We didn’t push you out, you pushed yourself out.”

Sad Sack: “You evicted me!”

Gridlock: “Don’t think for one second that we evicted you. You evicted yourself. It was YOUR choice. You have had 3 months and to show you that we are STILL being nice, it is December 3rd and we are still standing here! You were supposed to be out 3 days ago.”

Silence. He had nothing to say. He can go on about how we were horrible and his crazy lady-friend can sit there and feel bad for “Mr. Sack” while shooting me dirty looks, but we don’t. We had no choice. I couldn’t allow anyone to live in a building with no tenancy agreement and to have never paid a damage deposit. It just can’t happen.

He grabbed the last of his things and slowly slithered like the sad sack he is. At one point I did feel bad for him but, he had every opportunity to avoid this. He had been offered job at other buildings but never followed up. He never looked for another apartment. He honestly just thought I would go away and have some random person live in my building who had a set of master keys, access to everyone and everything, and pay whatever rent he saw fit.

So, another one bites the dust.