On Initially Nice But Later Incompetent And/Or Crooked Landlords

My last landlord was a GEM. Backstory: We lived in FL. She was an older (late 50s/early 60s) woman that had lived in Maine her whole life with her husband, and then they saved up to buy this house in FL, but he died of some fast-moving cancer before they got to move in. She didn't want to sell the house, but she also didn't want to live in it alone. As far as I know, they never lived in the house themselves. She was an OK landlord at first. She did have an annoying habit of finding excuses to come by our house 2-3 times a week, but she was kind of motherly and never stayed long. She always complimented my decorating and housekeeping skills and played with our pets. I could write a book about this woman and our time in her house, but here are some highlights: 1. Despite the fact that we were not her first renters, she didn't have a lease. She preferred month to month. My dad is a property manager, and this ain't my first rodeo, so I insisted on a lease. She let me write it myself. In a surprise to no one, it was shockingly biased for the tenant. 2. She did not ask for any sort of deposit for us or for our pets, but they were mentioned by name in the lease. Halfway through our time in the house, she decided that she didn't like our pet rabbits and demanded that I get rid of them. She suggested putting these (old, geriatric) rabbits into outdoor hutches (in FL in August) or that we give them to anyone we might know living out in the suburbs with more space. I refused, on the grounds that we had specifically gone apartment-hunting with our pets' well-being in mind, and this was a dealbreaker for us which was why it was in the lease. I should mention that while rabbit hutches can get gross and she saw them on a particularly gross day, we cleaned the cages weekly and we took very good care of them. 3. When I got a new job in another state that would mean we had to break our lease (something I specifically planned for in the lease so that we could do it with no penalty; we just had to give 30 days' notice), she tried to get us to give her an extra $1000 for breaking the lease. This was not our monthly rent or any other reasonable number - she pulled it out of her ass. I declined. I offered to try to find new tenants, which wouldn't have been hard given the popular neighborhood and low rent, but she decided that renting was too much trouble and we were taking advantage of her so she'd just rather sell the house. Our last month there we were instructed to keep the house (in the midst of trying to pack for an inter-state move) "show ready." She never showed it. 4. When we moved out, she left a series of abusive voicemails on my phone about what disgusting pigs we were and how her house would never be clean again, etc. Please note: I was 6.5 months pregnant on moving day, and I spent HOURS cleaning on my hands and knees. It was much cleaner than when we had moved in, and even the realtor that did a walkthrough with her commented on how much nicer the house looked. She complained that the whole place smelled of cat, that there were tufts of CAT HAIR under the FRIDGE, a splatter of GREASE on the side of the stove, and worst of all, a bit of ONION SKIN in one cabinet. For these things, she wanted $250 for cleaners. I refused and told her that all of those could be easily cleaned in seconds, and reminded her of the money she promised my husband for painting the outside of the house that she never paid him. More grumbling about how we were taking advantage of her, etc. I finally had to block her number so she would quit calling me to yell at me, and we never gave her a forwarding address since there was no deposit to worry about. I saw the house on Craigslist a week later with photos specifically of upgrades my husband and I made talking about how "pristine, well-kept, and immaculate" the house was. She was a total nutjob.

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm 1

On WWYD: Too Many Work Expenses At Once

Is there no way that they can book your flights/hotels directly? I work for a university, and when I travel to conferences and such they reimburse some of it (food, car rental, gas) but pay the big expenses up front. Maybe see if they'd be willing to do that? Of course, then your travel itinerary is at the mercy of your finance person, which can be a whole other set of issues...

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 12:08 am 0

On Who Will Bail the Iron Out? (But More Importantly, The Post Office?)

@Mike Dang Right, I get that - I was just asking specifically why people keep moaning that they can't get their packages on Saturday. They still can. Packages will still be delivered on Saturday, just not regular mail. That's all I was getting at. It's right there in the section you quoted: "cutting Saturday service, which would mean no Amazon or eBay deliveries over the weekend." It's incorrect, and I feel it distracts from the actual story, which is that the USPO is in trouble.

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm 0

On Who Will Bail the Iron Out? (But More Importantly, The Post Office?)

Why is everyone freaking out about not getting packages on Saturday? The 2nd sentence of the linked Reuters article: "The cash-strapped mail agency will still deliver packages." Am I missing something? Both the Esquire article and this one appear to have it wrong.

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:18 am 0

On The Librarians Have it Under Control

Turns out the risk of getting bedbugs from a library book might have been overstated a bit: http://www.edrants.com/the-bedbug-bunk-how-the-new-york-times-used-fear-and-misinformation-to-spread-public-library-hysteria/

Posted on December 10, 2012 at 8:39 am 0

On People Holding Up Pieces of Paper, In Order of Smugness

@craygirl AAAHHH THAT AD. I always laugh/yell when it comes on, because yes, let's worry about those poor, poor souls working white collar jobs in their air conditioned offices with HUGE windows. I mean, I like to sneak out of my office job early like everybody else, and this is a silly TV ad for vodka, but it just kills me for some reason.

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm 0

On Let's Not Lose All Our Teeth

I haven't had an appointment with a dentist in a little over 2 years. I have dental insurance, but I moved for work and never found a new dentist and then just kind of forgot about it. Since pregnant ladies can have all sorts of weird dental problems (and my teeth tend to be soft/cavity-prone anyway), I've been meaning to go... There. Just made an appointment. They said they wouldn't do a cleaning at the first appointment, just look at x-rays. Is that normal? Why wouldn't they clean my teeth? I am very suspicious this is some weird thing that will just end up costing more.

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm 0

On Let’s All Throw Some Money at Our Problems: August Check-In

@ilovetobudget Oh my gosh, thank you so much! We mostly just feel very lucky to be doing well enough to pay stuff off.

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm 0

On Let’s All Throw Some Money at Our Problems: August Check-In

Up until about a year ago, my husband and I never had real jobs at the same time. During a particularly bad couple of years, we lived (as in, bought groceries and paid rent) on credit cards, which led to a total credit card debt of about $15,000 across 6 cards. I've had a real job for about 2 years, and we were able to actually live (barely) on just my salary. When my husband got a job in September of last year, we decided to put about 75% of his weekly paycheck to paying off credit cards after we took care of a few immediate expenses (car repairs, ugh). In 11 months, we have paid off the 3 credit cards with the highest interest rates (about $7000, all with interest rates above 25%). We are about a quarter of the way through paying off the 4th card, and the two remaining cards have pretty low interest rates. We are on track to pay off all of our debts by next Feb/March, which will come in quite handy since I am pregnant and due in February! So, for the August check in: We are paying off my Chase Amazon card, which was maxed out at $5000 by paying tuition for a summer class in grad school and then moving expenses to start my new job in a new state after grad school. The minimum payments are $76 and the interest rate is 13.24%. July 2012 balance: $4440.37 August 2012 balance: $3293.30 Tomorrow is my husband's payday, and we will be putting another $300 to the card, which will drop the balance below $3000 for the first time in years. We will pay a total of $1500 to this one credit card this month. I'm very excited about this, once we pay all the cards off it will be the first time I am free of credit card debt in my adult life! I am glad the Billfold gives me a place to share this excitement, because this is not something I really talk about with friends. You'd better believe I am going to ask Mike Dang for a congratulatory note when I pay all this off! :)

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm 5

On Places I've Lived: A Trailer, the Wilderness and Converted Storage Space

I didn't even make it down to the "tranny hookers" (ugh), but why would you write out your landlord's name in the first one and then insult her decorating style, so that if she ever happens to google herself, this will come up?

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm 3