on candles, complainers and cooperation

A lotta bucks flew past me yesterday.

And I don’t mean the four-legged sort. Rather, the sort in the bank.

The deposit for the studio on the hill behind the library is in, which both holds the place until the lease is signed and removes it from the rental market. A considerable sum it is too. Ouch. Moving into apartments is not cheap, what with the deposit and non-refundable cleaning and administrative fees.

Speaking of cleaning, this property management company does something new to my ears. The clean team employs a black light in cleaning carpets between tenants. I first thought: “Wow, that’s intense and exacting cleaning.”

Then the reason came clear upon reading the lease. “Extra charges may be assessed for stains, wax removal, pet odors, etc. upon vacating.”

Ahhhh!

Best not spill any coffee or wine there! And since the place is carpeted, save for the kitchen & bathroom, I’d best designate the kitchen with its linoleum floor the room of activity!

A buddy rents from the same property manager, that’s how I found out about them during my search. He’d said that they’re very strict and the fees quick and high for late rent payment, violations and such.

My experience to date confirms that. They don’t mess around. The paperwork, including the lease that I’ve reviewed (but not yet signed), spells out everything clearly. I’s are dotted and t’s crossed, that’s for certain.

Not complaining. It’s how it should be and I like that the conditions and terms are clearly defined and documented, likewise the consequences of violations. You can tell this large property management company has been doing this a long time and likely is no stranger to attempted lawsuits. The handiwork of lawyers is evident in all the documentation.

What isn’t on the lease — which is as equally important as what is — is a ban on candles. I actually checked on that before I committed to the space.

My current lease bans, in addition to smoking, “incense and candles and anything else that could damage carpets or walls.”

Incense I can understand; the odors can be very hard to remove from walls or carpet.

Candles on the other hand …

I’m intelligent enough to know not to place a burning candle beside a wall. Intelligent enough to know not to leave a candle burning unattended.

Early in my tenancy, I got rapped for burning candles. These were the tealights inside votive glass holders set on a window sill. They were neither near a wall nor carpet, therefore endangering neither, and therefore did not truly violate the lease.

However, in the eyes of the landlord and subset of tenants with whom he has friendly and/or long ties, I was already being branded an uncooperative troublemaker.

The truth contrary was irrelevant. My immediate and cooperative corrective action to any admonition or information from the landlord (i.e., no candles allowed including tiny ones inside votive glass, after which I immediately switched fully to LEDs) was not regarded or appreciated.

Perception is everything, they say, even when it’s a lie or untruth. The landlord and few tenants had it in their mind that I was an uncooperative troublemaker.

Outside the landlord, not one knew me.

Not one had met me.

Not one approached me for my side of the story.

Not one stepped forward on my behalf. Not one — namely the landlord who did have the power to change the course of events — put in a good word for me to the absentee owner who no doubt heard nothing but complaints about me.

When I requested the owner’s phone number so that I could share my experience and side of the story, essentially speaking up on my behalf, I was denied.

That’s when I knew that the only solution was to proceed with the move.

Legally I could’ve fought it. When I asked the landlord several times on what grounds my monthly lease (leases here are month-to-month) was not being renewed, he had no answer. Merely repeated: “We’re not renewing your lease.”

It was personal. I knew it was personal. He knew it was personal. And personal doesn’t stand up in court.

But why take on that legal battle?

Why take on that stress and high costs? Even with law and right on my side, why invest in a battle to extend my stay in an unfair and unwelcoming environment with chronic complainers who’ve displayed no interest in meeting in the middle and genuine problem-solving? Tenants & to great extent a landlord who’ve displayed zero recognition or appreciation for my character and immediate responses to ANY problem or complaint?

I don’t belong here. Don’t want to be in this climate. Don’t feel it’ll ever support me, listen or care to hear what I have to say.

Groups — even small groups of two or three — are more powerful than one individual. That can be good when the cause is positive and bad when used for ill or directed against another(s).

Guess that’s all I have to say on that today.

On a positive note, I’m moving in a matter of days. I’m anxious because I’ve been stung and somewhat traumatized here. I’m anxious because of the unrealness of this residence. Even my writer’s imagination wouldn’t have come up with this!

However, the next setting IS a better one. For starters, it’s a triplex rather than an enclosed complex of 18 residents and each tenant’s door opens into the outdoors rather than shared hallway. Better setup from the get-go and hopefully bodes well for positive tenancy.

This writing reminds me that I need to keep letting go and to keep forgiving these tenants, the landlord, myself and this situation. Better lies ahead. I just know it. I just need to clear the inner space and prepare to receive the good that awaits and is promised with this move. In four days and counting! 🙂

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