Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why I Hate Renters and My Brother is Engaged!

Hey, I've been a Renter. A lot, really. Off the top of my head, I know I've rented exactly...6 places. It would be 8, but those other two places didn't count because they came with the job. Point? I know what it's like to Rent. I know what it's like to feel the sting of "throwing" away money month after month, living in conditions that I can't really change because the landperson wouldn't approve.
But I was a Good Renter. The difference, dear reader, between a Good Renter and a Bad Renter is fairly subjective. And relative, I guess. For example, renters who pay their rent on time could be seen as Good. Some landlords only want that --rent on time, and screw the property. Other landlord-owner-people want more, though. They like respect for the property, the yard, the neighbors, the walls, the plumbing, and even the appliances.

I always assume that my landlord is the latter. I assume they want me to treat the property with care, as if I owned it myself. Call me crazy, but doing anything less goes against my entire being. I was taught young to respect the property of all people --not just myself. I was taught to be kind and considerate, and I daresay that it flows into the stewardship of things --tangible objects we use daily for our use and comfort.

I had a friend once say they did something on accident to the carpet in their condo, and their reaction was "Oh, well, it's just a rental!" I laughed when she said this and replied "That's funny! Usually I freak out at the kids for drawing on the walls BECAUSE it's a rental." I did not doubt my friend has good intentions (in fact, I love the woman dearly), but you could see the difference in mentality when it came to the respect of ownership.

Our home in California was gorgeous. We tried to take care of it the best we could --but with four kids running around...? Our landlord was gracious and knew there would be wear and tear. How could there not be? But I did my best to keep things nice. We told our landlord of any problems or things that needed to be fixed immediately and in a timely manner. Her kind-of-weird vinyl chairs in the kitchen got torn (badly), and so we had them reupholstered and paid for it without question. I replaced everything back to the way it was (window coverings, drapes, etc.) when we moved out. I wasn't perfect, but I sure tried. She seemed satisfied --and she wasn't upset with us over anything.

Our Renters? Partially I blame our Property Managers. They signed the contract with our renters before informing us that anyone had moved in. Before the renters moved into our home, the property agency re-painted the house, but must have felt too rushed to attempt taking down the wallpaper (luckily it was just the border paper around the top of the walls). This was minor, though. I thought. See, we had payments.

But then the phone calls started.

Our neighbors informed us about what our renters were doing. Nothing out of control, but it was obvious they had family living with them --as many as three families at once. They also saw smoking in the yards (front and back), and the children terrorized our neighbor's dog (and family). There was concern about junk in the yard/driveway, etc. and our neighbor's were not happy. A few emails/phone calls with our property manager alleviated some of these things. They cleaned up the driveway, the extra families were gone, and the smoking seemed to stop. To be sure, these folks were not bad people. They were kind in word to us and to the people of our ward. After the first 6 months, the complaints from neighbors stopped. They were still not happy with some things, but they learned to live with it. Which I appreciated. Because this family in our home desperately needed compassion and love, not judgement.

They had a contract until July (this summer). When we realized we would be moving back to Utah, we asked them if we could offer them an incentive to leave a month or two early. That would mean we would rent a house for a few months before moving back into our home. Ironically, they had come under some financial strain and wanted to find something smaller. Immediately. They were gone within 2 weeks! Holy Cow! We weren't expecting that. But we appreciated it. It almost made up for what was to follow. Almost.

They left the house clean. Fridge, appliances, bathrooms...all clean. The carpets were cleaned (I'm guessing by the property manager people). But there was one thing that they had lied to us about the entire time.

They were smoking in our house. In the Master Bathroom/Bedroom.

Not sure who or what, but they swore up and down that the person who smoked only did it outside. The smell must be "from the clothes and bedding" in the bedroom. But after Brandon had cleaned the walls, used an air purifier, cleaned the carpets and let coffee/vinegar/whatever-the-heck else you use in the room, the smell still stayed. And it mostly came from the bathroom.

Smoke lingers, yes. But not from a second source --and not that strongly. My theory is that the person smoked in the Master Bathroom with the window open (or shower on, whatever), hoping the smell wouldn't stay. But stay it did. And I am so angry.

Our contract said no smoking on the property. ANYWHERE. Not even the yard. When we had heard about smoking in the yard, that one was taken care of immediately. Our neighbors no longer saw smoking. But obviously, we were deceived. And now I am living in the remnants. With asthma.

The bright side to this dilemma, however-- and I promise you, dear reader, that there is a bright side --is that now we are re-doing our room and bathroom. New carpet, new paint, new ideas. Hopefully new sink, toilet and shower, too. This has sparked a huge renovation project for the entire house! We're looking at painting, windows, re-finishing floors, re-carpeting, new appliances, etc. etc. Of course, this will all take a lot of time, but the ideas are rolling.

So, the moral of Why I Hate Renters? Don't smoke in your rental, okay? And don't be stupid enough to think nobody can tell. And please don't be a Bad Renter. Be a Good one. Then people will love you!
My Brother is Engaged!

My baby brother, J, returned from his mission last year. He immediately started the summer/fall track at BYU-I (where he went before his mission). He did not lack for dating, but nothing too serious. However, by the time I went to visit the family at Thanksgiving, he had himself a great girlfriend! They worked together, and then started dating this last fall. She's from TN, and so when the track was over (winter semester), she went back home. It didn't take long for my brother to go out for a visit, which solidified their feelings for each other. She came back out to Idaho on March 31 (weeks before school started) for what I can only understand as a desire to be near my brother...? Tell me if I'm wrong, okay, R? Anyway, he wasted no time! He proposed on April 2nd in Idaho Falls right across from the Idaho Falls Temple. How romantic! (I have a soft spot for the IF Temple since that's where Brandon and I were married). He even had his friend arrive to take pictures. I'm sharing it with you in shameless pride. Aren't they just adorable?!
They are getting married in the Atlanta, GA Temple in August. I'm so excited for them!
Congratulations, J and R! I'm so happy for the both of you. :)


Kelly A. said...

That renter story is horrible! Yes, smoke lingers, you can tell. SO sorry. But yee ha on the remodel. Except, still, crappy smoking renters!

Congrats on the engagement.

Jill said...

I'm sorry about the smoke in your house, yuck, yuck, yuck! Make sure when you paint you use a really good sealing primer or that smoke can come out through the paint on the walls. Good luck! And, congrats to J, I alos love that temple, thanks for the pic!

Anonymous said...

One of the apartments we rented had obviously been occupied by smokers before we moved in. The carpet was replaced and all the walls were repainted, which helped but in the bathroom the steam from the shower started to bring out the old nicotine in the walls, I guess--we had these lovely orangey streaks running down our walls. It was nasty.

So my advice is to scrub down your walls really good (especially in the master bath) before you paint them.

Hurray for weddings and happily ever afters for little brothers and trips to weddings without the kids!

Julie said...

What fun! Congratulations -- his gal is very very cute.
I'm sorry about the renters. We actually moved out of a rental because the people below us smoked so much it made our apartment smell like we smoked. It was awful, so I feel for you. Hope you don't have to tear down any walls to get past the smoke.

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Bad renters...arg! We've rented for our entire 8 years of marriage, but we tend to be more like ya'll (take care of it like it's our own). Bad renters are sooo annoying, and we're surrounded by them! :(

As for the engagement, what an adorable couple! I clicked on the pic to enlarge, and noticed a cute little ducky couple in the water behind them...two cute couples in one picture. :)

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Ok, I just clicked on it again, and there are actually 4 ducks in the water!

Leslie said...

Yes...very cute couple...very cute. Congrats...

So're making me nervous...we are currently renting our house while we are away...the scenario you described is exactly what I feared and why we almost sold our house instead of renting. We do have a little advantage in that our renter is single, works for BYU-I (meaning she has to have a current temple recommend) & seems to be taking care of it better then I would be able to with my kids.

The home we are renting now is another story...The people who lived here before us had dogs...I don't know what they let their dogs do in the house, but I know that the house reeked when we were ready to move in. It's a long story and I blogged about it a long time ago, but here's the short version...the house had to be completely repainted, all of the flooring and subfloring had to be replaced and a corner of the island counter has been forever damaged (it has now been patched, but you can still see where the damage occured.

I love good renters & alas...I also do not like bad renters...I wish there was only one kind.

Summer said...

Oh man, I would be so upset about not being able to get rid of the smoke smell.

Congrats on your brother's engagement!

Desi said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your bad renter...but at least you get to redo it bigger and better than before, right?

That picture of your brother's engagement makes me homesick. I grew up in IF and spent a lot of time down by the river feeding the ducks, going to festivals and just spending time with friends. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Rochelleht said...

Cute girl!

OOOOOHHHH!!!! I would be SOOOOOO mad about that smoke smell. Is it too late to keep their deposit? Not that it will help much, but I seriously feel like they should pay! Oh, that would make me so mad.

Cheryl said...

I'm sure your renter is a Good one!

No worries. They did NOT get their deposit back!

Amber said...

HORRIBLE renter story!! But your brother - he didn't waste any time at all! I have a soft spot for IF as well. That is where I received my endowments!

Lizzie said...

I feel like bad renters were those kids when you were in school who asked to borrow your pencil and then returned it to you three weeks later with teeth marks all over it.

Sorry Wayne forgot to help you guys move in! It's that crazy time before summer selling season started, and in all the extra hours it just didn't make his mental list. If you need help/ideas for redecorating feel free to bounce ideas off me. My nesting hormones are making me extra creative right now, I just painted a mural in the new baby's room that I think is pretty artsy (pictures in my blog).

Janelle said...

Cheryl, I just read your comment on Jaimi J's and "Book Crack" is quite possibly the funniest thing you've ever said. (In reference to the twilight series)

Bad renters = total house makeover? Totally worth it.

Never A True Aggie said...

We are renters and are totally paranoid about the place. We don't even hang a picture...and that is hard for an artist. The one thing I hate though is the landlord used matte finish paint, which shows every finger mark ever made and is NOT washable. So, we will repaint, no problem.

Cheryl said...

You are too good! No hanging of pictures!? Wowzahs!

Ha! Well, too bad that's my funniest thing. How can I top that? But I'm glad you liked it. :)

Jamie J said...

What lame people! I'm glad you kept their deposit, but hooray for a remodel! I agree, "book crack" is hilarious. I think I'm just going to break down and buy the books instead of waiting for them at the library...I need my fix! LOL

FluffyChicky said...

Boo for bad renters, hooray for remodeling, and double hooray for weddings! :)

I love that temple too...I also got married there. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh Man.
I hate renters. They are miserable trash of society.