Saturday, August 14, 2010

14 August 1956 "I'm no Ethel Mertz"

I am a horrible landlady, well horrible in the sense that I hate doing it. I always end up with the worse tenants who make a mess, destroy the house (doors unhinged, glittery stars spelling out a child's name that are glued onto the drywall, and my prized koi pond I had for 10 years completely dry and uncertain where all the dead fish ended up) Lucy and Ricky they ain't.
Although technically Ethel and Fred were the building Super I believe, not the land lady. All I know is I spent the day showing a house that was filthy, piled so high with boxes you could not enter certain rooms and a destroyed pond with no yard maitenance. Needless to say, I had no takers today for the house.
So now tomorrow I have to be there from noon until 5 showing potential new tenants who hopefully will not become more destructive then the last. If our real estate market hadn't had a meltdown I would consider selling, but that seems hardly an option at present.
I therefore ask you forgiveness for now proper post these past two days. Maybe someone will feel sorry for me and leave me some comments of encouragement and joy to placate my sad soul. Nothing makes me despair more of the human animal than my continual trust of people's innate goodness only to be proved wrong every time a tenant leaves the house in shambles with seemingly no remorse. I have to accept that others Won't do as I would do.
Maybe I should do as William Holden did in this episode of Lucy and turn the tables. I could go to the tenants next house and knock holes in their walls, destroy their garden and paint their rooms hot pink and see how they like it.

Of course we know what happens to Mr. Holden in the end of that scene. I suppose I will go on being the patsy from my tenants and hoping, somehow, that people do have some goodness deep down inside.
Until tomorrow, Happy Homemaking.


  1. I don't know if this is helpful, but I wish you were my landlady! Our landlord is useless - we have had a broken window since January and when he came to do an inspection he complained that the inside frame of the front doorway was too dirty! Please. The rental business is so tricky, finding a good tenant and a competent landlord is like winning the lottery for both involved. But hopefully you'll get a great family in next time :)

  2. Hi Dear,

    Tess is right! I was the apartment manager for a complex of 32 units for something like 18 years before I bought my house. I know it boggles the mind to see how people will leave a place, much less how they must have LIVED while they were there. (You talking about the glittery stars on the drywall reminded me of one apartment where they had hung a plaque-I'm assuming ceramic - and sprayed it with some type of shellac while it was ON the wall. My best friend had came over to help me clean the place so it was fit for human habitation again. We scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed but could not get rid of "the ghost of Mickey Mouse" as we dubbed it! When maintenance came, they tried to repaint it, but the paint wouldn't adhere to the surface where "Mickey's Ghost" was. I'm assuming they either found a way to prime it or Mickey is still living on in that unit somewhere!)

    But I can honestly say that the overall statistics aren't quite as grim as they might appear. Yes, I had my share of horror stories I could share, but I also had a large number of people who left and kept the place respectable. And I also had a few where were angels and left the place spotless! Completely ready to rent to a new resident.

    Might I suggest increasing your deposit? Maybe not the INITIAL deposit, but have it to where with the first three to six months rent, they have to pay and ADDITIONAL amount for that deposit if they can't pay it up front. You could always offer them the incentive that if they leave it ready for re-renting when they leave that they get it back with INTEREST. (Or the majority back if it's within normal wear and tear...) Just a thought dear. Those helped our complex increase the odds.

    Please don't give up! Like my grandma used to say "What goes around comes around!" You are gathering gold stars for Heaven for every tenant you are kind to, even if they are less than thoughtful or deserving!

    You are an inspirational woman, and I always look forward to reading your posts or getting on the Apron Revolution. (I just wish I could figure out how to get involved in the discussions!)



  3. Oh how disheartening for you! It puzzles me how some people can have so little respect and consideration, especially when living in a rented property.
    Chin up though, everything will get sorted.
    I so enjoy reading your blog, and it's something that I look forward to, to find out what you have to say every day.

  4. I really feel for you. We have not had many happy experiences as landlords in the past.

  5. Your poor girl...keep your chin up. Life is full of discouragements and I know you'll get past this. We had 8 years of the one good tenant before we sold our modest property next door. (We had the Real Estate look after things for which they took a small commission. I think they had inspections every 3 months.)We see plenty of horrid stories reported but we were very fortunate. I'm sure there are good and bad tenants and I hope it's your turn for the former. We're hoping this house that we're in now, will sell rather than have to tenant it before we leave. I'd rather simplify in this stage of our life and not have the worry and responsiblility of the upkeep of a rental property so I can understand why you'd consider selling if the market was better. Linda

  6. Donna you are a good hearted and wonderful person. The world today is just full of ungreatful people, and that makes it hard for people like myself who are decent to rent with out landlord fear of his tenents. so sad. I agree with the increase of security and business references are best as personal ones can always be friends who lie. Do away with the pond, and move plants you love. This will have to be a plce of business and not dreams. keep your love of a home at home or your heart will be broken. Do back ground checks too of all adults renting. good luck.

  7. Thank you so much for your kinds words and sound advice. I am only now just home (7 p.m.) and have been showing the house all day. I have some semi-good leads, but so many families with many children, some with serious health issues and such and it makes me sad that a family with four children and pets are without a home. I am not sure if it is due to our real estate market or just bad planning on their part, but I can't imagine having to find a home last minute with so children, a slew of pets, and various medical issues (all of which are expensive). It shall be hard, indeed, to choose the right one and I will have to let my heart ice up a bit and focus on the business end of it. Who knows, maybe I will find a good family that can buy the house from me in a year, that would be good for me and make my heart feel good that one less nomadic family is out there.

  8. Hubby and I rented our first home to 2 consecutive couples who tore up the house and got divorces (negotiating the divorces contributed to tearing up the house). We didn't learn our lesson and later rented a different house to a woman from another city who had excellent references but lived a Goth lifestyle guessed it. . .tore up THAT house, moving out and leaving us with every imaginable kind of filth to clear out.
    We repaired the house and re-rented it.

    The following tenant broke windows, sold drugs out of the house, defrauded a property insurance company, and brought in all kinds of low-life subtenants before we could finally get rid of the original tenant and his cohorts.

    At last we realised we were too softhearted to be a landlord and lady! We quit renting houses and have lived happily ever after.

  9. judith-that sounds the road I may soon be taking. I only hope I can find tenants who might like the house enough to get a loan and be the new proud owners of our old rental property. A big IF, I know, but a gal has to try. I no longer can stick to my 10 year plan of holding onto the house to sell for part of our retirement. Quality of life seems to need to win out here, I think.

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