So, we made the move. It was rough. The puffed up pile of "used car sales wouldn't have him" real estate agent said we'll get our entire deposit back. Said we left the place better than we found it. Which we did.
It's been 48 days, still no deposit. This is the guy who, at the first "landlord is selling" get-together, insisted that state law requires a deposit be returned within TEN days. Luckily, we knew he was lying even as it rolled off his tongue, so we're not too panicked yet. Yeah, he said that to keep us from making any "we won't leave" noises.
What an asshole.
While the law seems to say we should have had the deposit back within 45 days, the renter protection laws here only speak to landlords with more than a certain number of properties (I believe it's five). We emailed the landlord last week, and he has--can you guess? That's right, not answered. Because that's what Scott does. He doesn't answer. For weeks. My money is on this--he didn't keep the $1950 deposit set aside for refund. He threw it in with his cash and is now near-bankrupt and doesn't have it. The old place STILL hasn't sold. Remember how they told us we couldn't stay until it sold because "houses in this neighborhood don't last a week in this market?" Yeah, my ass. I knew that was a lie then. Not only is our old place still on the market (it went on the market July 1st--you do the math), but remember how they tried to palm it off on us? For "low 300s?"
The price has been reduced a number of times now. They're now asking 249K. In other words, they tried to rip us off for over fifty grand.
Next step is, I guess, to send a demand for our deposit via certified mail. And then, I guess, small claims. Which is incredibly scary because there is the chance that, even though we have the pristine walk-through in writing, even though the time period allowable for submitting deductions from the deposit is well gone by, we could wind up with a judge who decided he likes landlords more than he likes tenants. We could wind up with a judge who is an old golfing buddy of Scott's. He has a lot of them around here.
It is so unfair that he would do this to us. By his own reckoning, we were "the best tenants ever." By his agent's reckoning, we "left the place in better shape than it was at move-in."
Way to reinforce the "scuzzbucket slumlord/all landlords are thieves" stereotype, Scott.
So, other things have changed. Pretty big changes. Our boy, who has been homeschooled since day one, announced that he wanted to go to school. Understand, this is an abrupt about-face--every time I've suggested it, even as recently as last spring, he's shut me down with pleas to not make him. He sprung this on me a mere two weeks before the start of school, and made it clear how important it was to him. At first, I demurred, and he became very despondent, saying he understood, it was a stupid idea. Broke my heart. Understand, I have NO experience with the public school system, other than my own 30+ years ago. I scrambled, I hoop-jumped, and I got it done.
We decided on part-time, just a couple of classes. That way, if it turns out it's horrid and he hates it, it's not a huge deal. So it's a sort of "getting his feet wet" thing. He's got Guitar Ensemble and French. He seems to be enjoying it, and he's making friends. He joined the Gamer's Club, Drama Club, and the Planning Committee. Has get-togethers at a local burger joint and a sleep-over this weekend. He gets to have his picture in the yearbook, and was even issued a laptop.
He's excited. So are we. I hope it turns out to be all that he wants.
Silly as it will sound, the lack of yearbooks has always troubled me. Hubby and I both have all our yearbooks, and I've always been sad that our boy wouldn't have that. Now he will.
Haven't been to a doctor since January. I'm having a terrible time with my weight, and I just can't bring myself to deal with the constant, devastating disapproval from doctors. It's hit the point where I am just so humiliated and so completely overwhelmed with anxiety that not going is the only option I see. I know how stupid that is, I do. But I just can't. Walk in, first thing they do is throw you on the scale and an eyebrow cocks just a little. Stress so bad by the time they take the blood pressure that it feels like a full-blown anxiety attack is in the offing. Doctor finally comes in, and the disapproval is palpable. Is that disdain in her exotic eyes? Doesn't matter, because it feels like it. I'm almost in tears just typing this. So I don't go.
The new place, btw. You know all those horrendous, petty, obstructionist, self-righteous nightmare stories you've ever heard about home owners associations?
Yeah. First thing, first day, we ask the real estate agent if we can put in a gate so our dog doesn't run away. Yeah, fenced yard, no gate. He says we can't, HOA won't allow it. Yet we've driven around and some folks have gates. Some are nice matching gates, some are cheap, fake wrought iron that don't match at all, some are plastic baby gates, and some, like our next-door-neighbor's, are crappy white latticework leaned against the gate posts. So we took two solid boards, put them together, painted them to match the fence, and attached magnets to lightly keep the thing in place without it actually being attached. It took ONE day for a note to be taped to it, telling us that it's not approved, and giving us an application to the design board. Problem is, the design board application requires permission of all neighbors/OWNERS whose properties adjoin OR who can SEE the "addition." Yeah, not likely; these are all rentals, none of the OWNERS actually live here. Plus, plans, photos, proposed paint colors, and cost/construction proposals must be submitted in advance.
For a damned barrier to keep the dog in.
So we figured maybe it was too tall. So we disassembled it, removed the magnets, and just leaned it like the folks next door with the cheap, ugly latticework. We were taking it up when the dog came back in, but one evening we forgot. By 7 am the next morning, another note, nastier, telling us that the "partial barrier is unapproved." Again telling us we must submit an application. And then another nasty note, telling us that we cannot have bird feeders in any form. Which means I'm stuck for at least two years with no birds. Bastards. I cried while taking them down.
I was very upset, made my way to the website to read the HOA guidelines and there was no mention of bird feeders (though there was mention of bird baths, which was scary). But then I dug deeper, and discovered we're not in that particular HOA--we're in a SUB-HOA specifically for Condos. And it doesn't allow gates AT ALL. Because our front yards are considered part of the "open area." That's right--our front lawn is actually part of their open space. No wonder they MOW it.
So, in other words, their nosy-assed neighborhood narc is handing out design applications that will not be approved because we're in the Condo area.
Here are some pics of the new place--it's not as nice as the old, but it's also not awful. The carpet is a cheap Berber, which concerns me on the vacuuming front, and the master bedroom is a giant (19x19) loft-type set-up with no door. The stairs are murder on my knees (four flights of 8 stairs a pop to get to the bedroom), and the kitchen is minuscule (we had to leave most of our cooking stuff packed because there's just no room). But the blinds are nice, and the front yard is nice (even if we can't have a damned gate), and the stove is gas. The tubs are slightly larger, and being two floors up keeps the TV from driving me nutty at night. We don't know much about the neighbors (other than the chain-smokers across the way who throw loud parties and beat each other up), but those awful rat-children are no longer our neighbors, and that is everything. I can let our boy walk to school or Hapkido without worrying that those kids are going to ambush him.
So, all in all, it works out slightly to the better. And I will take that any day.
And finally? If you're reading this and you see an Amazon.com shopping spree for Christmas in your future, please consider using my Amazon link, which is the search widget below. This public school thing, with yearbooks, ensemble uniforms, daily lunches, etc., is pretty pricey. Christmas is coming, and every bit helps, especially with the landlord tugging us about on the deposit.