Wednesday, June 04, 2008
  Tell me if I'm unreasonable
These tenants, omg.

So these people are moving in the condo.

I've written about them before, I think. She wanted a $7k paintjob for the place, when all it needed was a $2k touch-up. And since we had said, yes, we'd paint the place, they were acting as if we should have to pay the extra $5k. To pay to paint all the ceilings, when they needed no work... We reached an agreement on that issue, thankfully, but not before yelling in person and over the phone. They're putting new carpets in and, in exchange, we're paying the first $4,500 of the paint job, which is going to end up being about $5,500, even with his contractor friend doing it.

Their lease starts 7/1. They said their furniture was going to be delivered in June, around the 20th. We said that was fine. The wife said she was coming down at some point in June, too... they have relatives and stuff down here, so I didn't think about where she was planning on staying. And I didn't really care. We had no problems storing the furniture at the condo for them and, heck, if they moved in a little early, whatever.

Well, I got a message last night that the husband is coming on 6/10, so please leave the keys at the front desk for him. Three weeks before they start to pay.

So when I called back, I said, okay, that's fine, but I'm assuming you'll be paying something for the month of June. The lady went apeshit, as I was half expecting. She was doing the thing again where she was yelling at me that THIS IS THE WAY IT'S GOING TO BE and I was going to listen. I'm like, uhhhh... yeah, I don't think so. If you want to be like that, then we can follow the lease exactly and you can wait until July 1 to move in. I didn't say this, mind you, but I was thinking it... The lease is the law, and if you want to be assholes, we can follow it to the letter. Again, I didn't say this, but I was thinking it. She ended up hanging up saying they'd pay from the 18th and on and then I would be the one dealing with all the furniture deliveries. I said fine, as I have been going there EVERY DAY since I got back from vacation anyhow.

The guy calls me back and starts yelling at me. I literally had to take the phone from my ear because he was yelling so loud. "If everything is going to be a problem with you, then maybe we should just find somewhere else to live," he said. I knew his wife had riled him up, but he seems pretty reasonable in the past, so I tried to calm him back down. I told him I wasn't TRYING to be difficult... It just seemed to me that if they were going to be there for 2/3 of the month, they should pay SOMETHING. We didn't realize we had to have the place whipped into shape by the beginning of the month... And, well, it just doesn't seem right. Does it? I mean, a few days early, that's one thing. But towards the beginning of the month before? Does that seem right???

We've already given them some allowances... First off, a price break on the rent, significantly less than they were paying last time. ANd we agreed that they could have it for the second year at the same price, which is a killer deal on their part. Second, the paint job. Third, we're fixing it up really nice - we just had the marble done (EXPENSIVE) today, we're having the cleaning lady come do a good job on it next week. He keeps bringing up that they're doing the carpets for us, but that's because they want those carpets. We've done plenty for them in return.

He pointed out that when they rented last time, they moved out 2 weeks early, and they didn't come to Chris for a refund for those two weeks. I said, dude, that's because you were in the lease until the end of the month! You didn't let us know so far in advance that we could rent it to someone ELSE during those 2 weeks, so why would we ever, ever refund your 2 weeks worth of rent? He responded, "Well, I could've let my friends stay there for the last two weeks." I said, AND THAT WOULD'VE BEEN FINE WITH US! It was your place, per the lease!

He said he was not coming on 6/10 for his sake; it was for mine. They had numerous deliveries coming over the course of the week, and didn't want to trouble me with them. And then he pointed out that it cost $150 to change his ticket to fly in on 6/10, and actually said that he didn't come to Chris expecting that $150, so why were we being so nit-picky about money? At this point, I basically asked him ON WHAT PLANET would Chris be responsible for his airline change fee?

I was on the phone for an hour. He accused me of being "the problem" since he never had problems with Chris. I reminded him that last time they rented, they tried to get out of the lease when it was but half over, to move back to Montreal. When Chris said, fine, but you'll lose a month's worth of rent, they backed out. And at this point, they tried to get Chris to lower the monthly rent. !!! They were in a LEASE, folks. So I explained to him that that is why I was the one calling, not Chris; he doesn't want to deal with tenants anymore.

Eventually, it got to the point that, after mini-conferencing with Chris while the guy held on the line, I told him that this was not worth the headache. We could refund their money and the place would sit empty or we would rent to someone else; honestly, we didn't care.

Whether because of what I said or because he had time to calm down and think as I talked with Chris, his tone changed. We eventually worked out that he is paying 1/3rd of the monthly rent and can take possession on the 10th. I think that's totally fair... I would've settled for less, but I did think that they should make some sort of offer of funds if they were going to move in so early. The dude made sure that there were no hard feelings before he would hang up. I said all was fine. I didn't call with the intent of getting in a fight, but what can you do when they just start yelling and not listen?

I mean, in all honesty, Chris would have probably just let them move in to avoid the argument, so maybe I am the problem. But I think that they've gotten their way enough already, and Chris more than agrees... For them to continue to set the rules, however unjust they were to us, was just not going to happen. And it is not a good precendent to set for a two-year tenant. Moving in a few days early.. Heck, even a week early... That's one thing. Easy to let slide. But stretching that out into getting nearly a full month's rent for free is really taking advantage of the situation. And there is nothing I hate more than feeling that someone is trying to take advantage.

We hung up in a friendly manner, thankfully... With his advice to just agree to anything his wife says in the future and then call him and deal with him. I am thinking his wife is often difficult.

So tell me, readers, if you got this far -- am I being unreasonable? Would you ever expect someone to give you 2/3 of the month for free?

Oh, the wife did call a bit later to apologize for yelling and all that. She said she starts screaming and then feels bad about it afterwards. I said it was okay. But damn. I sure hope we don't have any of these tiffs in the future, because it's far more stressful than it's worth.

Wow, venting feels GREAT. :)
Nope, you are not being unreasonable at all.

It sounds like they are just used to dealing with Chris who, no offense to Chris, has been a bit of a pushover with them in the past.
maybe it's just because i've only rented from rental companies, not from individuals, but i'd expect to be paying at least the prorated, what, 21 out of 30 days for June, *if* i was even allowed to move in early. you all are so much more than reasonable (and i suspect the fact that both you and chris are such nice people is at least a little bit of why you two seem so good together).
oh, yeah, and that comment above there is me, but posted with OpenID from my LJ.
shannon - chris can be a pushover - because he's so darn nice, which makes him really good at his job. but when it comes to stuff like this, he's happy he has me to hand the phone to. :)

and yeah, ike, that's what i figured. i never would've expected these allowances like these folks seem to think they're entitled to.

and i'm a LITTLE nice, but chris is a lot nicer. i realized with all this stuff that THAT helps us to be a good pair, too.
I think you were being completely reasonable! It seems like that woman is trying to be the one in charge of everything and it bothers her that in this situation, she can't be. You just keep doing what you're doing or else they'll really start trying to bully you too.
First, this was well written! :)
Second, you're totally in the right. Once people feel that they can take advantage of you, they will continue to do so. My thoughts are that they felt Chris was easier to push around, so they wanted to feel you out. I'm proud of you for sticking your ground and staying reasonable the whole time. The fact that Chris has your back should be more than enough to make you feel like you did the right thing, but I'll be happy to cheer you on, too!
I think they are still taking advantage of you, should be paying more than 1/3rd not to mention all the crap you have to go through AND paying that much for a paint job. If they wanted anything besides plain whatever white that should be on an apt/condo before you move in kind of thing, they need to pay for ALL of it. Course I'm not anywhere nice :) Which is why I wouldn't want to be a landlord. You need to be more forceful in putting them in their place. Its YOUR home and THEY'RE renting. Next time she yells at your tell her you're getting a lawyer and breaking the lease? Maybe she'll calm down and think twice before doing it again :)
Thanks, guys. I agree with all your comments, and I appreciate the support. The guy was real nasty on the phone, so I really do appreciate the backing-up.

Their friend said his company would do the paintjob for $4500. Now he is saying $5500, so they're paying the extra $1k - it's in the lease! This makes me happy.

I wouldn't have agreed to some of the things that they're getting away with this time, for sure. I said no-way to the second-year-at-the-same-price thing, esp. since they're paying so much less than they did last time, but Chris had already agreed to it and wouldn't go back on it.

But I have learned lessons. Next time we rent, it's cut-and-dry by the lease. If tenants want to come a few days early with their stuff, that'll be OK - but they'll be asking as a favor, not insisting meanly that they're entitled to it. From now on, it's by the letter, no exceptions. You give people a little consideration and apparently they walk all over you.

They also forgot to give the security deposit. I told this to the wife, and she was supposed to pass it on to the husband. I am waiting for an argument about that when I see him next year. Yay.
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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