Toadfrogs / Atlanta

The Joys of Renting

I am ready to buy a house. It will be nice to have our own space and be able to paint and remodel, but the biggest reason is the absence of a landlord. Although everything seems to work out in the end, I have never had a great renting experience – especially with a house. All of my rented apartments have been through large companies so in the end they return deposits and don’t charge for normal damages. They also have the convenience of having a full time maintenance staff.

Renting a house is a whole different story. Wade and I decided to try to find a house to rent in Atlanta after we got married. We had decided on what we were willing to pay and looked around to see if it was feasible. We found a cute little yellow bungalow in Midtown Atlanta. The landlord seemed really nice and even agreed to give us a discount on rent in exchange for repairs on the house. That was perfect for us! That way we could change things the way we wanted, be reimbursed for materials, and get the cute little yellow house. We should have realized we had a problem when it took weeks of phone calls and some strong words to get the money for the repairs. I don’t think we ever had a phone call returned in less than a week and never on the first call. When it came time for our lease to end, we asked if we could go month to month until we decided if we would be staying in Atlanta. After much waiting, remember he doesn’t return phone calls, our landlord finally said no and he was raising rent by $300 a month if we wanted to sign a year’s lease.

Wade and I decided this was ridiculous. We quickly found another house that was bigger and closer to my work. Our landlord now returned phone calls because he wanted to show the house and make sure we weren’t there. He eventually found a tenant, and ended up only raising rent by $100 a month from our discounted rate. I did warn the prospective tenants I met about the lack of communication between landlord and tenant.

Because of our previous issues, Wade and I were a little concerned about getting back our security deposit of a month’s rent. We cleaned and cleaned and patched holes and painted. We made an appointment with Rob so that we could go over everything with him and fix anything he noticed. He said it looked great and he would mail us a check in a few weeks. Right. At the end of a month, the time to have a check specified by the lease, we began calling him. Of course he didn’t answer the phone. Wade mentioned that he would be looking into court proceedings if we did not have our check by the specified time. Now Rob calls back. He leaves a message saying “You didn’t get my note? You know where to reach me.” Wade called him back and I have no idea what he said, but it must have bothered/scared Rob. (Rob is taller than Wade but physically intimidated by him. I have seem him shake when Wade uses a stern voice.) He called back and said he was mailing the check that day, certified mail. The funny thing here is he wouldn’t tell Wade how much the check was for and he told Wade if he called again he would be in violation of some law.

To make a long story longer, we got a check in the mail for the full amount. We laughed to see that the check and the letter were backdated to comply with the month deadline, but of course the postmark on the envelope told the truth. We have deposited the check and are hoping it clears. As well as we can figure, Rob is overextended financially (he owns a house and has two rental houses) and probably just didn’t have the money. If he had just told us this, we could have worked something out. However, did he think we would just forget about the money?

Our current landlords are wonderful and we don’t anticipate having any problems with them. However, I think our next location will be in a house of our own. I had at one time thought leasing property would be fun, I have definitely changed my mind!

Leave a Reply