Landlords Beware!

houseHere’s my wonderful house in Southwest Harbor, Maine. I’ve rented it for the academic year and in August for the past 10 years. Fabulous renters have included a Jackson lab scientist from San Diego, a Hungarian College of the Atlantic student and her man, a couple who said my house “feels like a hug.” I once had to evict a woman who kept the shades drawn and made boat slipcovers all day — maybe she sold drugs, who knows.  Boozers and teachers, filmmakers and professors have lived there. The worst renters were a family with a young mom who’s still revered as the primary yoga teacher in town. I understand wanting your kids to be autonomous, free and creative, but kids carving their names in my dining room table, drawing all over the newly painted white walls, parents lying about having two dogs who dug up my  yard seemed a bit much.

Landlords beware! I’m now dealing with the “non-renters” who were supposed to move in Sept. 1.  Yesterday the non-renter told my SWH next-door neighbor they’re moving in next month. “Everything is fine,” the young, charming neuroscientist from an Ivy League university said as he picked up the extra bed he bought and stored in my garage over the summer.

“EVERYTHING IS NOT FINE,” I emailed him yesterday, unable to hold in my anger. The non-renter drove eight hours in July to see my house. We clicked. He gave me a security deposit and drove back home.

Yes, what a perfect arrangement! He was going to rent my house for multiple years. He asked for an 11-month lease. With his beautiful family he would spend school vacations at my beloved seaside home. He would be there for a week or two every month setting up his new island business.

Aug. 23, the date I was supposed to receive the signed lease, first and last months’ very reasonable rent, which even included the fastest wifi on the island, came and went. Whaaa? I called. I emailed. Multiple times. Okay, I’m a sucker for neuroscientists.

I’ve always trusted my perceptiveness, my ability to check out people. I’ve had good luck with renters. Now I have none. Worst of all, I’m questioning my ability to trust seemingly decent people. If the non-renter would have only responded to my emails and calls, told me by Sept. 1  that he wouldn’t be able to rent my house, I would have understood. No details asked.

Now I’ve missed real renters for the academic year from the Mount Desert Island schools, COA and Jackson Lab. I hope it will return, but for now I miss my sense of trust.

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5 Responses to Landlords Beware!

  1. Sheila Lepley says:

    I read your article while taking a break at Tucson Blvd Eegees. I was waiting for more potential renters for the small 1940’s adobe because the sweet young lovely girl who signed a one year lease in May just broke it….long rather colorful story….but she’s out now. Prior to her I had listed the house on Craig’s list and received a response from London: young PhD working for NOAA coming to U of A for 1 year with wife and 9 year old daughter. Wants measurements of room for furniture he is ordering to have delivered to this little house of mine. I run down to the house, spend about an hour measuring all the walls, email him. He sends me a HUGE check for $9600 to cover furniture costs which I was supposed to put in my account, take out my check and send it to the furniture moving company down in Florida (I figure he was in cahoots with them) Long story short, his check bounced and like you, I was “fit to be tied”. This whole thing took three weeks, I lost potential people, I was supposed to let Craig’s List know about this, but I didn’t because I was upset….and then this young girl comes along, signs up and breaks her lease. In the 30 years I’ve been renting the little house, I haven’t had problems like this ever, nothing near it. My heart goes out to you. I still trust people, but am more cautious than ever. BTW, the picture of your home up there in Maine is wonderful. Where is the guy? He can’t get into the house without a key, and he never gave you first and last month’s rent. I hope you won’t have to go back there to take care of this…..I am on the verge of handing over my property to a rental agency because I am tired of dealing with all of this aggravation.

  2. sheilawill says:

    Always appreciate hearing from people going through the similar stuff. We’ll both get through it! Although I’m worried something will come up. Will keep you posted. Thanks for your story.

  3. Marilyn says:

    This may be the time to break ties and sell the house. Having a “no show” may be the best thing that could have happened.

    It is a little like watching a child grow up: at some point your ways separate. You always love your children, but they grow up, and you never get to live those childhood moments over. The memories are sweet. The children begin new adventures, and they would never get the chance if you didn’t let them out of your household.

    It is the same way with a house, our needs change, and sometimes our needs can’t be met by living in the same structure that sheltered us in the past. Sometimes it is time to risk it all and move on to new structures.

    How about that!

  4. marilynfo17 says:

    Could it be time to break ties and sell the house? The “no show” may be the best thing that could have happened to you right now.

    It is a little like watching children grow up. At some point, they separate and go their own ways. They no longer need our shelter. In fact, if they stayed in our household, it would hold them back.

    Although your Maine house sheltered your dreams for awhile, you may now have the freedom to choose a new dream which somehow doesn’t fit in the old structure. A dream which requires a new structure.

    How about that.

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