Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bring It On

I've just evicted a male renter for claiming having a penis exempted him from certain chores entailed in sharing a house with a female. He claimed there were male chores and female chores and even the chores he claimed he was good at, he was too lazy or too busy watching sports to do. My notice of this fact and the irate letter I left him really pissed him off and thus, the unfortunate reference to his royal penis. I've been married to guys like him. I have no patience for the "I've got a penis" defense.

Ms. M is now in need of someone to share the house with since I evicted her roommate. She does the usual things in this sort of situation and posts ads on the usual sites. One of the people who responded was a U of Utah med student getting ready to go on rotations. Ms. M works at a hospital. She is also a student. She knows what this means and thinks it's a good sign--this person will be too busy to be a problem. He sounds like someone with ambition and drive. So she agrees to meet him. He seems nice enough and she brings him over to look at the house and to meet me. He likes the house, but in the walk from a local coffee house, he says things that contradict his ad. He was 34 in the ad. He's 32 in person. This doesn't alarm her terribly. She asks for references. He says he'll get them together. She asks him if he wants to leave a deposit. He does. He pays it in cash.

She comes to me and gets the receipt book. I go out to meet him and within three questions, I get three terrible answers. I ask him if I can contact his last landlord. He says, she won't give him a good reference since his roommate's cousin was smoking weed in the basement, got so stoned he set the house on fire, plus he still owes her back rent. Not his fault? My inner umpire calls out "Strike One."

I ask him where he works, and he goes into a long explanation of how he's not sure if he has his jobs right now because he's living with his sister and her family and there are seven of them in a small one bathroom house and how he can't get bathroom time to get ready for work. (The address he gives on the reciept say Apt. C--not a house at all). I asked him where he worked and he said, McDonalds and so and so's nursery school. He'll have to call and find out if he still has his jobs. But he has plenty of money since he's got five grand on his tax refund. Five grand! I owned a nursery school for a year and the very best of them pay help crap. And I know he isn't making much at McDonalds. So how does he have a five grand tax refund? These thoughts run through my mind but I don't say them aloud. I think, "Strike Two!"

I say, "So are you a full time med student?" He's not sure at the moment because of the problems where he's living. "Strike Three!" But here is really where my shallow self comes in to play and fucks me up one more time. This guy is a very nice looking well built young man. Instead of saying "Here's your deposit back," I say, "Get back to me with the references and I'll think about it."

Big mistake! I should have said right then, "Here is your deposit back. I'm sure you're very nice, but this won't work for me. And there are other people interested." But I didn't.

When Ms. M gets home Sunday evening from her long day at the E R, the first thing I say to her is "NO on the renter. He just won't work. Too many red flags." Then she tells me about the six text messages he sent during her work day. So she calls him and he hangs up on her. Then he proceeds to call her five times to tell her how angry he is and then hangs up on her each time. Charming. There is no doubt that this guy is not roommate material. Now she's in tears and the hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. This guy is not only not roommate material but he may also be a little bit crazy. She just wants to give him his money back and he's threatening court action. I try to call him and he picks up, then hangs up. This is a technique that does not endear him to me. He calls her back and tells her she talked me into turning against him. Quite the contrary, he has done this very nicely all by himself.

On Monday, two days after his visit with us, and after all the harassing text messages and phone calls Sunday that end up in his hanging up on her, he calls me. I tell him the decision not to rent to him was mine, not hers and that nothing she said to me influenced my decision. It was his answers to my questions that made me decide not to rent to him. But his harassing her with calls that end in hang ups has only made me more sure that my decision not to rent to him was a good decision. I ask him how he'd like to get his deposit back? He tells me he's going to sue me and hangs up on me.

I call a male friend of mine who used to be the Director of Legal Services. I tell him the little saga and he says, "Call the police a let them know this guy is harassing you. He's trying to bully and scare you. Don't let him get away with it. This is all bullshit! Call the police now."

So I do. The female police person I talk to says, "So far he isn't really harassing you. You're tenant has a better case than you, but I'll give him a call and tell him to stop calling you." She gives me a case number.

And throughout the early part of the week he continues to text and call Ms M. His phone calls consist of his telling her how angry he is and that he won't talk to her when he's angry and then he hangs up on her. Finally he agrees to meet her to get his deposit back. She gets a male friend to go with her as a witness and as protection. Mr. Scary calls her the morning of the meeting and says he can't make it. She changes her phone number. So he calls me.

He starts by saying, "You're a really nice, angelic lady." Now for starters this really pisses me off. I'm not that nice and though I might be angelic, I'm definitely no lady. In fact I find the word "lady" particularly offensive. We live in a democracy with no monarchy and thus no lords and ladies. But I say nothing about how offensive this reference to royalty is to me. Then he launches into a rant about Ms M and how unfair she's been to him. I say, "When you call her over and over to tell her how angry you are with her and then hang up, she finds this frightening and not only does not want you to share a living space with her she wants to stop your calls." I don't mention that his calling me is grounds for me to call the cops and report him based on the police case number I have. I do tell him we want to get his deposit back to him. I say we will send his money to him via Western Union. He hangs up on me. When the women at Western Union calls him to tell him his money is there he hangs up on her. She thinks this is funny since in all her years at Western Union no one has ever been irate that their money is waiting for them. Usually people are either relieved or thrilled that money is waiting for them.

The last call I got from him was to tell me he's found another place to rent in the neighborhood and will be walking by my place every day and he drove by the house last night to get the address for his law suite against me.

Ms. M has every call and text message saved on her phone. And every call that comes into my house is logged onto my computer. So we're pretty well set with evidence that he has been harassing us. The Western Union woman isn't likely to forget his reaction to her call. I'm thinking, "Bring it on, asshole." But since we know he's driven by at night, we're leaving the house lit up like a Christmas tree--front motion sensor lights are on as well as the front porch light. The lights at the back of the house are left on all night. My outside lights are aimed at the back gate and front porch and I'm leaving them on all night. The gates are locked and if the prick calls me one more time, I'm calling the cops again.

I now have a whole new process for screening prospective tenants. And I've taken it out of Ms. Ms hands. I'll be the dragon bitch from now on.

In the meantime I'm thinking about getting surveillance cameras for the front and back of the property.