Friday, July 16, 2010

The Saga, Pt. 3

February was a quiet month. The house was occupied, the money for rent in the bank account, and while we would have loved to have sold it, we thought this renting thing wasn't so bad. We'd mostly just relaxed on the house front for the time being and turned our focus to other things, like our kids, our current home, and well, ahem...expanding our family!
At the end of February, in accordance with our rental documents and our discussions with Bill and Sandy before they moved in, we contacted them to arrange a time to meet with our Realtor at the property to discuss re-listing and home condition, etc. Surprisingly, although it was the final week of Feb. and we'd made it quite clear that our plan was to actively have the property listed on March 1st, we got a lot of hassle from Bill about the need to get into the house. Odd, he'd seemed so accommodating when he moved in. He even went to far to say that he'd paid "extra" in February so he didn't have to deal with showings and did we really need 2 hours to meet with our agents? In all actuality, he was receiving a discount in March to account for the property being listed and needing to work with our Realtor to allow the property to be showed. But, after a couple of fairly snippy emails, he conceded that it did make sense we needed to get in ahead of the list date and we scheduled our meetings as planned. He told us he'd have it in great condition and there would be no issues.
Imagine our surprise then, upon entering the property to find that not only were things not overly clean, but nothing was put away, piles of stuff were lying around, and in general, while nothing appeared to be damaged, it was definitely not being kept in showing condition. All this would have been disappointing and discouraging, but the real issues began upon walking into Diva's bedroom. What colors would come to mind for you if I were to tell you it would be fine to paint a room in a "neutral" color? Maybe taupe, or khaki, cream, white, possibly even a pale shade of yellow or green (though even these could be a stretch)? What about electric pink and bright purple?? Yeah, that's what I thought. Nonetheless, the walls were indeed painted in teeny-bopper shades or pink and purple, with an accessory choice of faux-leopard. Hmmm...not quite what we had in mind, and curiously, probably no more appealing to an incoming prospective buyer than the nursery shades that preceded it. Needless to say, the agents were less than impressed as well and we realized that showing the place with them in the house would be difficult, if not impossible, and we began to wonder what else that had been so clearly defined upfront would be blatantly disregarded. Well, it wouldn't take us long to find out.
The next couple of weeks were spent getting the necessary paperwork in order for the re-list, finalizing our decision on an agent, and in general prepping to put the house back up for sale. During this process we got a call from the tenants saying the toilet was leaking. Wanting to be good landlords, we called our plumber immediately and he was able to come out that afternoon and repair the leak. Or so we thought. We received a call back later that night letting us know the toilet was "gushing" water and we needed to do something else. When I called the plumber back he said if the seal hadn't fixed the issue, he was pretty sure it was because they'd let the leak go for awhile and the subfloor was now water damaged. We'd need to find someone who could repair/replace the subfloor and replace the toilet. Again, imagining that this was a pretty sizeable and urgent problem we were able to find a repair-person to do the work the next day. We called as soon as arrangements had been made (mid-afternoon) and let them know the repairman would be coming the next morning to fix the problem, but got no answer on either of their phone numbers. So, we left voicemail, sent an email, and tried calling again later that evening, all with no response. Having heard nothing, we left the plans in place, only to be woken at 7am to a call from Sandy, who was not a happy camper. How could we have made plans to get this taken care of so soon, it was a in-service day so her kids would be home (with Bill) and had invited friends over all day and why did we need to have it taken care of right now, etc. Again, trying to be considerate, we called the repairman to see if the time could be moved. He was able to push the time back an hour, but was already on his way and it couldn't be re-scheduled entirely (and to be clear, we didn't want it to be delayed, if a toilet is gushing into a sub-floor, I'd like it replaced as soon as possible, I don't want to rip out the whole house) so we called to notify them. This time we made contact with Bill, and he again tried to talk us out of the repair until later. After letting him know that we would be out of town the following week so the repair needed to happen now, he changed his story. Now, instead of "gushing" the water was just dripping and "not that bad." He informed me that he'd only said "gushing" because he was "pi**ed off" and it had been a long day. He also told me they'd called back the previous evening (at midnight) to let us know the timing was bad, but surprise, surprise...there were no voicemails, missed calls, or incoming calls from them all night, or from anyone at that time of night. So yeah, nice try. As it turns out, it was leaking significantly into the sub-floor and it's a good thing we got it taken care of right away, but our view of the tenant-landlord relations took a significant hit at that point in time.
The next week the property went live on the MLS and we had a couple of showings with mixed reviews on the show-readiness of the property. At this point being unimpressed with their ability to communicate, and wanting to make sure all our bases were covered we decided to proceed with making sure their details for an April 1st move-out were still in place. According to the terms of the contract, the initial 2-month rental agreement terminated on April 1, but unless we gave a month's notice, they were able to stay on a month-to-month agreement after that. We didn't really expect to exercise much of that clause, given their April 1 closing date, but again wanting to keep our bases covered, notified them on March 14th that we were just trying to verify their move-out date and that even if there had been a delay for some reason we didn't wish to renew for another month as we needed to focus on a sale. We quickly received a reply that their details had changed and they would now be unable to close until the 1st of May. Would we please re-consider and let them stay until May 1 so that they didn't have to do temporary housing again. We agreed to meet and talk things through the following evening. And that's where the real fun to this story begins.
To Be Continued...


kristin noel said...

Oh Liz... First, I cannot believe all you guys have been through! Second, you should write suspense novels. Seriously, you know how to execute the cliff hanger! It's just too bad it's a true story and not fiction.

Steve and Paula said...

Oh, no. More? They just seem off. We had an issue of a leak under a sink when we were renting and wanted that fixed ASAP. An issue with a leaking toilet? I'd have wanted that fixed even quicker. It's just weird that they wanted to put it off. By the way, it sounds like you and James were good, reasonable landlords. Although it sounds like you'll never do that again...and I don't blame you a bit.

MikeandJen said...

i'm so hooked. write more! :)

Liz K said...

oh Liz! This is all the reasons I didn't want to have renters! I am having a panic attack for you!