Landlord Nightmare Before Christmas

After working several months to ge my upstairs office suite converted to an apartment, which also involved downsizing and decluttering, I was not prepared for the onslaught when I put the ad for the apartment up on FB Market last week. What a nightmare! If I didn’t believe there was a housing shortage before, I am a true believer now.

Because of the relative low rent, $450 per month that included utilities and Internet, within 30 minutes of posting, I was being flooded with inquiries and quickly became overwhelmed. I had people that were homeless, many desperate stories, in addition to a large number of not-so-desperate inquiries. The desperate stories really pulled at my co-dependent, resuer tendency that I had done so much work on through the years and the subject of a separate post later (maybe).

I had one inquirer that was homeless and living out of his car, or should I say, her car. She was trans with numerous medical problems. Another, was in a very dysfunctional family situation and being kicked out of her mother’s home that night with nowhere to go. Yet another, a mother with two children, that was homeless. On and on the stories went. This went on for two days. As a mental health counselor (retired), my red flags lit up. Many of these people had some serious psychological issues they needed to work on. This was not a counseling job. These crazies were asking to live right above me in my house. No way! It is one thing when, as a counselor and in a professional counseling situation, you can send them home after the session. The boundaries are very firmly delineated.

While I did enjoy meeting and interviewing a few of them, I had soon talked to and interacted with more people than I had for years, since doing continuing ed workshops back in the early 2000’s, I’m thinking. This caused dissonance in my hermit mindset to say the least.

Luckily, both of my daughters have very strong business heads. My oldest, Elian, quickly counseled me to tell everyone that I was only now showing the apartment, interviewing, and taking applications. That I would make a decision by the following Monday. It was Friday when I kicked off this adventure. And my youngest, Amy, slapped me repeatedly (metaphorically) when I made an early decision to rent to the woman that was sexually abused, had PTSD, and was going to be homeless that night. “Dad, you are such a rescuer! You are trying to rescue that woman!” Her persistence got through, finally. I had slipped down the co-dependency rabbit hole. Shit! Amy kept reminding me, “Dad, this is a business decision!”

This story has a happy ending…

I ended up going with the very first people I had shown the apartment. They were looking for their daughter, who was now living some 23 miles away on the other side of Greenville, which made her drive from them over an hour+ usually with all the traffic and construction. She was looking for an apartment closer to her parents, who lived just about 7 miles down the road from me. As it turned out, the mother was a friend of one of my fellow faculty members at Clemson University that I had known since the late ’70’s, and we had attended the same church with them for some 30+ years. Plus, their daughter had gone to school with both my son and Amy, and Amy knew both parents. I didn’t find the latter out till I had already decided to rent to their daughter when she interviewed the following Saturday. Most import, she’s sane and rational.

I can say, this was a most unenjoyable experience overall. I am so glad it is over with. I felt sad about all the people I had to say no to, but glad to be able to turn my attention back to the rest of my life.

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