Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Margaret – The Landlord

A few years ago, when my friend and I were looking for a place to live we feared we would never find a place that was just right. There were places in good locations, but they were too expensive. Or places that were within our price range, but had no A/C. Or places that were perfect in every way, but we couldn’t convince the current tenants to move out.

Are patience was growing thin when we stumbled across an old Victorian house. We both fell in love with it immediately. It was to be ours, we felt it. The only person who didn’t feel it was the landlord who was renting the house. Her name was Margaret.

I don’t know Margaret’s exact age, but if I had to ballpark it it would be around 112-113 years old. She looks like someone you would cast in the role of the Cranky Old Landlord who loves studying the credit checks of her unsuspecting applicants. She wears the waist of her pants up just below her breasts. And to be honest, I’m not sure if she’s pulled the pants up to meet the breasts or if the breasts have finally fallen far enough to meet the pants. I really don’t care to examine her close enough to solve this mystery.

Margaret has one way of assessing a person: Their credit. I had terrible credit and therefore I was a horrible person who should never have shelter over my head. My roommate, however, had stellar credit and was praised by dear Margaret.

Because I was crime spree waiting to happen Margaret decided to do some checking up on me before she allowed me the privilege of renting from her. First she called the HR department at my job. Once she confirmed that I actually worked there she then proceeded to ask the HR lady if I was a good employee and if I was going to be fired any time soon. Seriously. The HR lady called me immediately after the interrogation in fits of laughter.

Once she was convinced that I wasn’t going to get canned she decided to call my roommate. And warn her. About me. She called the roommate and told her that I had really bad credit and she should know this before deciding to live with me. The roommate thanked Margaret for the warning but then informed her that she had known me for years, and had even lived with me before, she was not worried about me not paying rent. Margaret was still not convinced though.

She called me up and told me that my credit was horrible. As if this were some sort of news to me. I told her I knew that, but that I had great renter’s credit and I was willing to pay whatever deposit she wanted in order to get the house. Margaret finally gave in. Not because she had any faith in me, but because, “Well, your roommate has great credit, and maybe it will be good for you to be around her. Maybe she can help you.” Now Margaret has me in a 12 step program, wherein my roommate is my sponsor. Lovely.

I moved into this house 3 years ago, and Margaret continues to be a stellar landlord.

When I call her she says, “Oh hi dear, how are the kids doing?” I don’t have the heart to tell her I don’t have any kids.

Whenever I call for a problem her response is, “Fire, flood or blood dear, that’s the only reason we come out to the property.”

In the last three years I’ve had three roommates, the first one left for a job out of town, the second one bought a house and left (people are willing to take on 30 year mortgages just to get out of living with me). All of these roommates have had great credit. And even though I’ve always paid my rent and never caused any problems Margaret still says, “I’m just so glad that you have such responsible friends. Someday these roommates of yours are going to rub off on you.”

Doesn’t she just warm the heart?


Heather said...

Dear, dear Margaret. I had forgotten her lovely ways and your bad credit!! That's why you get to write a blog -- you actually have a memeory and thank god too because I'm losing mine quickly.

Pizza Toppings said...

I think it's wrong for Landlords to check credit reports, because things like this happen. A person is not their credit report. Just like they are not their clothes or car. This lady still thinks you are an irresponsible person even though you've been a rock solid tenant for 3 years. Go figure. That's about 2 years longer than most average tenants. She should be happy you are living there. What will she do if your next potential roomate has worse credit than you?