December 30, 2004

Well, Crap

Just got a phone call from Tweedledumb, our apartment manager, who had some news to share.


The Cake Eater Duplex will be going up on the market after the first of the year.

Oh, Joy!

Apparently, the Great White Hunter landlord has had it with renting properties out and wants done with all of this nonsense of pesky tenants asking him to do stuff. All of his properties are going up for sale, and I think he has five or six in the nearby vicinity.


Tweedledumb told me not to worry; that whomever buys this place has to honor our lease. Well, I'm not in full-on fret mode...yet. The problem is, if the house sells quickly, we're screwed because our lease is up at the end of February. Which would be a perfect situation for the new owner: they'd either be able to up the rent to an insane level or they'd be able to tell us, hey, we're not going to renew your lease because we want someone new---which is completely within their rights once GWH has sold the place. While I'm not discounting the theory that tenants who are already firmly ensconced and who pay their rent on time have something of value to offer these new potential owners, you just never know what people want to do. Never mind that a new landlord adds all sorts of potentially uncomfortable new variables we've never had to deal with in the past simply because our landlord ignores us (except on the first of the month). That is absolutely the least of our problems right now.

All, however is not lost. We have a few items in our favor:

1. GWH is asking an extorbitant sum for the building. And when I mean extorbitant, I mean obscenely extorbitant. As in, I think a snowball has a better chance of surviving hell than he has of getting his asking price. And knowing the man and his money habits, he's not going to settle for what I think someone would be willing pay for this place, which is about half of what he's asking. He may want out of the slumloard racket, but he's not going to take less than he thinks this place is worth and if that means keeping it on the market for years, he'll do it.

Mr. H., who is now Mr. Real Estate, has said that the market in town has gone from being a seller's market to a buyer's. Let's hope he's right and that GWH has put the building up for sale at the wrong time.

2. The place is a wreck. And I mean that. A wreck. There is mold in the basement. (Our former neighbors from downstairs were, at one time, considering suing GWH because their son's doctor swore the mold was the reason their son contracted Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.) The sewer line to the street needs to be completely redone because it's tangled in tree roots. (If I really wanted to screw GWH over, well, I could also tell the new owner that the sewer line backed up in the basement a few years ago and GWH wouldn't pay to have the place cleaned professionally. Because he didn't. A mop and a bucket was adequate enough for his purposes.) The building is not plumb, meaning the foundation is shoddy. Tweedledumb, when tearing out the old concrete in our little parking spot, hit the garage with the Bobcat he was driving and tore out a good chunk of the garage foundation. How the garage is still standing, I don't know. Have no clue, but that thing is going to fall down sooner rather than later, because there also happens to be a leak in the garage roof (which used to double as our deck) and it's rotting from the inside out.

If this place passes inspection, I'll be really surprised.

But the place has a new roof. It also has a fresh coat of insulation in the attic. And two years ago GWH spent a boatload of cash putting in new furnaces, new windows and new carpeting, but these were completely superficial repairs. (He would have left the old boiler in if he hadn't been mandated by law to replace it. We have laws here in Minnesota about working furnaces.) He hasn't been forced to upgrade the place seriously because he's owned this building for thirty some odd years. Meaning, he's grandfathered in on certain codes. This is the reason he hasn't authorized Tweedledumb to fix the garage. It would have to be torn down and started over from scratch. This would be a problem for the new onwer because garages have to be bigger nowadays and there's no way they could put a new garage, with lots of space, on the current lot because it's too small for it to fit.

This could be good for us. The building would have to be brought up to code, which would be pricey for whomever bought it. On top of the purchase price, I don't think there would be many takers.

Of course, all of this is moot if someone just decides they want to buy the lot because of the established trees, raze the house and start over. Which is a popular option around here. There was some sort of Cake Eater City legislation pending about our neighborhood in particular where they were trying to outlaw that sort of behavior, but I don't know if it went through or not. I suppose I'll have to go and find out.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for us, kids. All I want right now is to make it through to the end of January without an offer on this place. I just need the new lease to make its way here from GWH so we can sign it and Fed Ex it back. Because...

I really don't want to move!

Posted by Kathy at December 30, 2004 12:38 PM

Yuch! Hope things work out for you. I was in a similar situation a few years ago. My original landlord, who was a wonderfull and kind man, sold the duplex I was renting to a complete nutcase who refused to honor things explicitly in my rental aggreement: like mowing the grass. His equally loony wife would call at 2 am to inquire if the water was running since they had to pay the water bill. Finally, they refused to renew my lease and kicked me out with a 10 day notice so they could move a cousin in!

On the upside, I found a MUCH nicer house to rent and have lived here very happily for several years. In retrospect, it was actually a positive thing, although it would have been nice to have gotten my deposit back........

Best of luck to you!

Posted by: George at December 30, 2004 01:22 PM

Thanks ;) The husband just looked up the county's assessment of the property online and it's valued at $120K less than the asking price. Keep your fingers crossed.

And on a side note---how'd the turkey turn out on Christmas?

Posted by: Kathy at December 30, 2004 01:40 PM

I hope that all will work out best for you. But I must admit I am concerned. Mold in the basement? That is not a good thing. I've personally known three people who have had their houses condemned by the EPA for mold. (It was a scary thing for them to have to get into a space suit and go in - with supervision - to get personal effects.) Now I know not all mold is the bad kind, but if GWH isn't anxious to address the problem now it will just get worse.

Posted by: The Maximum Leader at December 30, 2004 02:10 PM
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