Rental Horrors

Today for my Retro Monday is a look at rental properties.  Things have not changed much since this happened to me in the 1990’s.

So a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there were two young ladies who needed a place to live. They were in a cheap townhouse in Pasadena that was built with adobe, pressboard and bubble gum. The closet leaked and it really was pretty small. Living Room/Kitchen downstairs, 2 bedrooms and a bath upstairs. Not much in the way of storage but we were actors, worked at AIDS Project Los Angeles and didn’t have a ton of money. It was $800 a month and we wanted out.

When we found a new place a few blocks away we did what you normally do. We bribed our actor friends with beer & pizza, rented a U-Haul and packed things up. Let me tell you, moving a fridge in the pouring rain over New Years weekend is no fun. They are slippery.

Anyway, we went back and cleaned the cheap ass town house. The only damage was the carpet on one stair that was clawed all to hell by the cats. So the pet deposit was shot but everything else was clean.

Now the Landlady was from Vietnam. We’ll call her Mrs. Lu. I have no idea if she was married though who would want to deal with this shrew on a regular basis is beyond me. Her shrill voice was always the highlight of my day.

She provided a “theft proof” mailbox in the garage to deposit your rent check into. You put the check through a slot and you are unable to reach in or open the box. However there was a lip by the lid and sometimes when you put the check in, it would get caught in the lid. Here was a conversation I had with her:

Lu: Where your check?!
Me: It’s in the mailbox
Me: Look again, it is there.
Me: Look, sometimes with that box, sometimes the check gets stuck in the lid. Look there. I guarantee it’s there.
Me: Look in the lid, the lid of the mailbox.

Do you see a pattern? After 5 or 10 minutes or an hour – it seemed like an hour – she gave up, looked and … wow, there was the check.

So when we moved out, we got a screetchy call from Mrs. Lu screaming about the damage to the townhouse and we weren’t getting ANY of the deposit back. Why? Because one of the blinds by the window on the landing was destroyed and there was a ring on the carpet upstairs in what was my room. Now when we moved out, we had filmed the townhouse. The “destroyed” blind had one (1) end that was bent. One.

We told her that the blind was not destroyed, it was not “custom made” as she claimed and if she insisted we could buy her another one to replace it ($10). In regards to the circle on the carpet, we were at a loss. I insisted (since it was my room) that there was no mark on the carpet when we moved out.

We decided to meet her at the townhouse in the morning to look at the damage. She opened the townhouse and… it had already been rented. To about 50 Samoans. In fact, she didn’t let the Samoans know we were coming. She opens the bedroom door and there was a guy, IN BED, with her screetching and pointing to a circle on the carpet which was obviously caused by the bottom of a paint can. We told her that when her nephew repainted, he didn’t set the can on plastic and the paint from the rim got on the carpet – so not our fault.

It was uncomfortable to be in the room with some guy that she just woke up that wasn’t dressed. We left as fast as possible. We informed Mrs. Lu that in this country, when you are a landlord the price of doing business was “normal wear and tear”. After a few years, you had to repaint, you couldn’t charge for normal wear on the carpets, one bent blind, or similar. The cat damage is valid and you can keep the pet deposit but you must return the security deposit or we will take you to court and sue you.

We finally got the deposit but were glad to be rid of her.

Anyone else have scary landlord stories?

Posted on October 11, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have a couple and I’ll give the short versions

    When I first married, we had a landlady that had remarried after her husband died. The new husband had a serious case of crotchety, bitchy senile old man. Every morning he would take a walk with his walker around her property and ours. If one thing was out of place, he’d beat on my front door and raise hell.

    He started looking through the windows of my house and bitching if there was a cup on the counter or the front room needed to be cleaned.

    I asked her to make him stop but she did stuff and couldn’t babysit the old bastard all the time. So I started calling the cops on him for trespassing. His mind told him since ‘they’ owned it he could do what he wanted. The cops told him different. They started getting tired of having to come out for my peeping tom calls and started getting nasty with/at them. It pissed off the landlady but WTF am I supposed to do when the old man pushes open my bathroom window to peep in and I’m in the shower? I threw a can of shaving cream at his head and screamed and called the cops.

    I had an old couple and the husband would show up to fix things with no notice. He wouldnt knock, call. Just walk in like he lived there. I’m all for fixing things but if I’m cleaning house in my panties and bra with headphones on, I dont think it’s cool at ALL to turn around and see some old fart wrenching on my kitchen faucet.

    When you rent property you pretty much give up the rights to anything except for ownership of the property. You can’t just effin show up whenever it suits your thong. California law says you must give proper notice. If you don’t, and you walk in on a redhead, it’s going to end up in stitches from heavy objects like vacuums and shaving cream cans being lobbed at your head.

  2. As the other person in that room who was not Mrs. Lu, or the Samoan kid (I actually remember her opening the front door and us having to step over several other Samoans who were asleep on the living room floor, in various stages of sleepy undress — was she running a Samoan smuggling ring?) I had to admit this is one of my weirdest most hilarious memories of the various rentals I’ve lived in over the years. I’ve told this story to several people, and none of them believe it.

    And, by the way, I was driving past that townhouse complex not long ago and it is now TRASHED. Not surprisingly!

    My other favorite story is the landlord who tried to charge my husband and I for blown out lightbulbs after we moved out. We said we’d pay only if he reimbursed us for every lightbulb we changed ourselves while we lived there.

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