Saturday, April 11, 2015

Not So Happy Trails

     So, it all ended up with a hilarious Nigerian banker-type email I got from someone through Craigslist. The story doesn't begin so humorously. But I'm deliberately putting the cart before the ox. (Sometimes when listening to generic surf music, I fancy I'm the Quentin Tarantino of bloggers. But enough time displacement.)
     It started two days ago when my formerly even-tempered landlord of just over six years and I got into a completely unnecessary pissing match via text messaging. It stemmed from a separate pissing match he'd gotten into with his (now former) waste removal company who'd decided to pull a dick move on April 3rd (or the day Mrs. JP came back from Florida). They parked the dumpster after emptying it right in front of my car, blocking the walkway so I was retroactively in the wrong for having my car in the wrong spot, although I was parked in my designated parking spot.
     Long story short, I and not the dickish trash company got blamed for blocking egress which explains why my landlord insisted I had to move my car yesterday to make way for the platform truck that never actually arrived to take away the old dumpster. His fat-ass Ford F150 takes up almost half the driveway and I asked him why he couldn't move his truck instead of my having to move my car for a tow truck that could come at any time.
     After about a half a dozen exchanges, he finally tells me he's not renewing my lease when it expires. Nobody but Mrs. JP and me thinks this was a disproportionately harsh response to a spat via text message, the first one we've ever had in 6+ years. Furthermore, when I took Mrs. JP out to get away from it all later that night, he continued texting me and calling me names because another tenant whom he'd long since dismissed as insane now suddenly was making valid complaints about how I was parking my suddenly very offensive car because they were about yours truly. When I informed him that she parks next to me and not vice versa, he called us both clowns. In other words, I've come full circle and am in exactly the same position I was in six years ago when I finally got out of a toxic environment in which I couldn't do or say anything right. Self defense and trying to apply truth, reason and logic, at this point, just further enrages those around me. Think Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later and you'll have an idea of what we have to deal with here.
     This was delineated rather vividly when I came back from the supermarket and Mrs. JP informed me my landlord's mother called. She said I should go over and talk to her. I did and within minutes she was screaming at me because Junior (His real nickname, to this day, is "Pee Wee". No I am not shitting you. His nickname is actually "Pee Wee.") shared my private texts with her and she''d pronounced me "rude". I wasn't the one slinging ad hominems and resorting to name-calling. But, whatever. Then she actually said, and I shit you not, "Get the fuck off my lawn."
     Yeah, just like that, only minus the shotgun.
     So, despite paying my rent on time 71 of 72 times over the last six plus years, despite Mrs. JP and I being model tenants, I'm now suddenly the most despised man on my street over stuff I hadn't done that started with a pissing match between my landlord and one of his contractors. I offered to speak to him face-to-face but he refused and now he's essentially avoiding me while letting (as usual) Mommy fight his battles for him.
     He's 50 years-old, by the way.
     So, I began poking around on Craigslist as I was forced to do over six years ago while searching for suitable housing. I'd found quite a few winners on CL in 2009, let me tell you, including
creepy guys calling my house and asking if I was gay when all I wanted to know if a room or apartment was available.
     But nothing I'd experienced back then could prepare me for whatever or whoever I'd met yesterday.
     I'm sure by now we've all gotten at least one of those Nigerian banker chain emails originally written by unemployed Engrish-speaking fortune cookie writers in the 90's that are long since dead. I found something that seemed to be the trick in a city about 20-25 miles west of us. For $50 less a month, someone purported to offer the 2nd floor of a private house, 3 bedrooms, two baths, with all utilities included. So I wrote them through the email address I was given and finally got a response today.
     It was written by someone for whom English is obviously a second or third language. This is the first paragraph:
Thanks for your interest and inquiries about my house. Yes the house is still available for rent and we are looking for a responsible person/family to occupy and maintain the house now that we are not around. I work with the united nations development program(UNDP) Edinburgh Scotland and I just got a transfer that is bringing me down to West Africa. Myself and Family just traveled to West Africa for the program. My transfer would be for a period between 3-6 years, so I would definitely be renting my house to whom ever that will take good care of it.
     Wait, it gets better. "She" then goes on to state she once had a realtor to represent her all the way from Scotland but the realtor charged too high a realtor fee, which jacked up the rent, explaining why she's representing the house herself... all the way from what is now West Africa (no country specified).
     The cell phone I was given to text features an area code and exchange number from Polk County in central Florida. So, in short, we've already gone all the way from central Massachusetts, to Edinburgh, Scotland, to West Africa to central Florida all in the space of a day.
     The original Craigslist ad had meanwhile been flagged for removal, obviously by other people who'd gotten the same Nigerian banker-style email I'd gotten.
     And it actuslly gets better. Much better.
     The first email had embedded in it an "application" consisting of softball questions largely asking for information I'd already provided (name, email, phone numbers, etc).
     Within the hour, I got the marvelous news that my application was approved and that they were about to Fedex me keys and "documents" that would allow me to move in immediately.
     Meanwhile, I'd found out my new "benefactor", supposedly named Mrs Deborah Rutter, doesn't work for the UNDP (which, a quick peek on Wikipedia told me was rife with corruption, counterfeiting and other criminal activity) but is actually the new President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A quick check of the address of the listed property showed it was still being represented by a realtor here in MA who's renting not just the second floor for the paltry sum of $600 a month, with all utilities included, but the entire house for $1700 a month.
     Here's how this would've played out:
     They'd've Fedexed me some fake keys, a fake lease, then instruct me where to mail or wire the $1200 they wanted for me to take occupancy. Then I'd drive to the house and discover my keys wouldn't fit the fucking door. Suddenly my emails and calls don't get taken in Polk County, Florida/West Africa/Edinburgh, Scotland. It's essentially the selling the Brooklyn Bridge scam. They stole some photos and address of an actual real estate listing, then tried to pass it off as their own while making up some bullshit story about why no one could physically be there to show me the unit first before sending me the keys.
     So I wrote back to Ms. Rutter's illiterate doppelgänger, after she'd implored me to recite the 71st Psalm with her (Because, as we all know, godly people can't possibly be crooked. Ask Pat Robertson and his completely up front and aboveboard Operation Blessing), and informed her of these things and much more. I'd also contacted the legitimate realtor and left a voice mail asking if she''d ever heard of this "Mrs. Rutter". I'd also texted the number I was given and was given another bullshit reason why she couldn't be there in the flesh to show the house even though she was supposed to be representing herself allllllll the way from the Dark Continent.
     I never got an answer to my email when I openly flouted the idea that perhaps she should really give that 71st Psalm more than an average workout and pray that someone in the Florida AG's office doesn't get a complaint about her.
     So, bottom line, we're on borrowed time and we're back to where we started. So if posting continues to be light, this is the reason why. It seems I'm at war with everyone who's ever laid eyes on me, I'm living on borrowed time and will be evicted when our lease is up, I'm trying to put to bed a book that's already taken up nearly two and a half years of my life and a whole other host of myriad problems.
     In the meantime, if you see any rental units in central MA going for $600-700 a month, please pass it on. I'm checking CL several times a day and I've already alerted my landlord's realtor on the sly that we're ready to bust a move out of here and break our lease. I insist on leaving here on my own terms and am even willing to surrender my $300 security deposit to get that fat, sociopathic freak and his senile mother out of our lives.
     And, to quoth Baretta, that's the name of that tune.

Addendum:  I couldn't resist tweaking this spammer with the answers I should've given to their "rental application." It'll be interesting to see if I still pass with these answers.


LEASE APPLICATION FORM 
1) Your Full Name? Would an alias do? I'm obliged to use several in my line of work.
2) Your Full Address? #10 Downing Street
3) Phone Number? I could give you one but it'll be for a burner. I'm obliged to use a lot of them, too, in my line of work. Think BREAKING BAD.
4) Are you married? For now. I love getting married so much, I'm a widower "seven times before." Just kidding. I've been widowed ten times, all by the same cause of death. Fancy that.
5) Age & Email Address? Age is just a number, wouldn't you say? And my email address is DrLectersNumber1Fan@comcast.net
6) Occupation? Does "aspiring serial killer" count? How about professional crack whore pimp?
7) Picture of the occupant If Available? Check FBI.com. I might or might not still be on their Top Ten list.
8) Do you have a pet? Do other peoples' children count? If not, then no.
9) Do you have a car? Again, I go through a lot of cars in my line of work. You can get a lot of pimped out ones at the police impound yard, btw.
10) When are you ready to Move In? Uh, how do you know I already haven't?
11) How many people will be living in the house? It depends on how many people need a place to, uh, crash until the lights and sirens go away.
12) How long are you willing to stay in the property? Until the house is staked out 24/7 by fake-looking florist and plumbing vans with suspicious antennas.
13) How soon can you make payments? Depends on when my ho's cough up the money they owe me, the bitches.
14) How many months rent can you pay upfront? See above. The bee-otches are holding out on me. This is why they say pimping ain't easy.
15) How soon do you want to receive the keys/documents? Wow, I don't know how to answer this. I can't recall the last time I actually entered a house with keys.

5 Comments:

At April 11, 2015 at 8:07 PM, Anonymous ShortWoman said...

Classic scam! We sometimes see variations of this a couple times a week on a real estate forum I moderate.

Legit landlords do not tell you about their missionary work or their cancer or whatever their sad story may be. They do not ask you for money before you see a unit. They do not send keys to anybody who has not signed a lease. And they do not rent units at substantially below market rates. In short, legit landlords are businesspeopleThe only part of her letter I can explain away is the area code: lots of people don't bother to update their cell phones to their new area.

I always recommend that renters who are not going through a licensed property management company take a few minutes on the county recorder's website to make sure the person they are dealing with is the owner of the property.

Good luck finding a new place. I'd know who you should talk to in Vegas but I know that's as helpful as a chemistry lab full of kindergarteners.

 
At April 11, 2015 at 8:33 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

SW:

I didn't have to go through the county recorder's website to know this asshole was more queer than a $3 bill. They still haven't gotten back to me after I let them know the jig was up.

I think I'll keep having fun with them until I finally tire of them. They really fucked with the wrong person this time.

 
At April 12, 2015 at 10:29 AM, Anonymous CC said...

"For $50 less a month, someone purported to offer the 2nd floor of a private house, 3 bedrooms, two baths, with all utilities included."

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

I've hunted for rooms to rent as well and have seen such a scam in various forms.

Any chance that you can let your current landlord keep your $300 deposit and then subtract that amount from your final monthly payment to him? Because if you pay for your final month in full, you can expect him not to refund your deposit, given the bad blood between both of you.

Even if it's against MA law, you may have some leverage with him. First, he wants you out. Second, what will he do if you simply pack up and leave in the middle of the night - after you pay him your final rent minus the deposit? Third, depending on local laws, you may even be able to squat in the property until he grants you more favorable terms.

I say you negotiate your exit instead of rolling over for him.

 
At April 12, 2015 at 10:40 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

CC:

I don't see leaving him in the dead of night bereft of an income as "rolling over for him."

Yeah, I've thought of giving him just $350 my final month. That, too, is an option.

 
At April 12, 2015 at 1:53 PM, Blogger MJ said...

If you leave the place in good shape, take pictures as you go out the door. When (if) he punches holes in the walls to go after the deposit you give yourself evidence that you left the place in good condition and he is not due the deposit. Normal wear and tear (for example carpet wearing down) is not something he can keep the deposit for. Holes in the walls from hanging pictures and what not is.
Also, after the lease is up (here and in WA state, at least) if your bridges aren't too badly burned to do this, if the landlord accepts a rent check (and write on the "for" line what the check is for, and make a copy for your records, your bank can cut you a copy of the endorsed check when cashed) you are then in the place as a month to month tenant. He accepts rent, he has rented to you for the month.
If you need to buy yourself a month or two before you are ready to move, it might be an option.
We have had some experience with rental management, that's how it goes in WA or NV.

 

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