Monday, April 11, 2011
Landlady Chronicles, Part I
When I was a landlady, years ago, I met an array of different people. I had some good tenants that the neighbors hated, and tenants that the neighbors loved, but were hard to deal with. I could go on and about the lady who bounced her checks almost monthly, or the guy who was married to a young Columbian woman who later had an affair with another neighbor, or I can tell you about the lady that almost was my first tenant.
Names have been changed to protect the innocent..or not so innocent.
Her name was Ophelia. Ophelia was the first person who answered my rental ad. She made an appointment to see my condo one afternoon and she seemed to be a really nice, down to earth person. We were in a hurry to rent the condo, and I was still pretty new to all this landlord stuff. I hadn’t had a clue of really what to look for; and I was just anxious to move out, rent my condo, and move into the home we were planning to buy. Ophelia, I thought seemed to be a really nice lady with good intentions of keeping the condo nice and clean.
Well Ophelia liked my condo so much, she asked to come by the next day and have her “boyfriend” come look at it. Ophelia walked her boyfriend through the condo excitedly. We'll call the boyfriend, Anthony. Anthony seemed to be a nice enough guy. He seemed really interested in some of pictures, and other things around the house that screamed: “I’m PORTUGUESE!” Was it the statue of Maria de Fatima, or was it my little souvenir dolls? I’m not quite sure. Anthony finally asked me if my family was from the Azores, and it wasn't long before we went on to talking, and then learned that his mom was also from the islands. He seemed to be a nice Portuguese guy with good intentions, so I thought.
I pretty much made up by mind by then that Ophelia was going to be a good tenant, and I was ready to call her with the good news, but later that day, there was a knock on the door, and who should be standing there, alone at my door, was Ophelia’s boyfriend, Anthony. I was a little surprised, to see him there.
“Hello Julie, I know this is kind of strange, but I feel the need to tell you something about my girlfriend, Ophelia.”
In short, Anthony went on to explain that his “girlfriend” was a nut case. Lovely. He went on and on to tell me in detail all the reasons why Ophelia would not be a good tenant. Not only was she messy, but she could not pay rent, and he had some documented incidents of her going off the deep end, where the police had been called. One incident involved her throwing a brick at his windshield, and then there was Christmas dinner at his mother's house. Apparently, Ophelia had flung the Christmas ham across his mother's dining room table in a fit of rage.
“Julie, you seem like a very nice person, and I can tell you have a very nice Portuguese family. I would feel badly if I didn’t tell you what a mess Ophelia really is. She will wreck this nice place up."
I was saddened to realize that my search for a tenant was not over like I had hoped, but I was appreciative of Anthony's warning. I went on to explain to Anthony that I was glad he had come by because I was just about to call his girlfriend and offer the place to her.
“Just tell her you ran a credit background check on her, and you won’t have to explain a thing to her.”
Good advice. Duh.. I didn’t even think of running a credit check before offering her the condo. I told you I was all new to all of this.
Well, I thanked Anthony again for his warning. I felt like he did me a great service. I guess he thought he owed me one because both of our moms were from the Azores. My Portuguese souvenirs and the statue of Our Lady pulled through once again. I did still feel very badly when I called Ophelia telling her that the condo was no longer available, but at the same time I thought her boyfriend did me a favor. I didn't want anyone to tear my place apart, nor did I want someone so impulsive and looney toon the way her boyfriend described her. Why they were still together still didn't make sense to me though.
Months went by, and while at work, I ran across Anthony's name. This is not good. I mean, I work for a county agency for Probation, so whenever a name “pops up” for someone, it’s not usually for good reasons. No, Anthony was not as good as he seemed, and then I felt badly for his nice girlfriend. I wondered if they were still together. That was all but years and years ago, but today, his file is back on my desk. Without getting into specifics, let us just say this guy is a criminal who lies so very well. So, now I don’t know if Ophelia was in fact a nut case who threw the Christmas ham across the poor Portuguese mother’s dining room table. It all could have been just another bunch of lies, but WHY he wanted to “protect me” from the “nutso” who he called his “girlfriend” still boggles my mind. May be he just didn't want her to move.
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