Here’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.