Friday, October 20, 2006

Shame about the Landlord

Moving house is meant to be stressful, it's supposed to be a big deal but in the past I have always been lucky. I moved into my current place after friends had an opening, signed a lease six months later, and my landlady and I get on amazingly. I send her money, she fixes things ... walla.

Now I have a moving story.

After seeing five or six apartments on Tuesday, we found the place we liked. Not only did we like the place, but it was ideal. It met all our needs and had more space than we knew what to do with. The location was ideal, right in the heart of Katamon (Palmach) yet set away from the street in a secluded garden. There were two lounge areas, a kitchen, three bathrooms, kitchenette and massive bedrooms. The garden was equally as large, and the neighbouring building was unoccupied so there could be no noise issues.

We negotiated the price and managed to get $200/month off the asking price, and made our deposit and signed an agreement stating the apartment was ours. I went to work on cloud nine. My minds eye had decorated, arranged, invited, partied, and was already living in the new apartment. We gave little thought to the fact the landlord was a little odd, and used words like vibe, karma, jingle and zone way too often.

At 4pm, Mr Landlord "gave me a jingle" on my cell phone and told me the deal couldn't go through. He wasn't giving me any straight answers and started referring outstanding debts, lawsuits, problems with the Vaad Bayit (maintenance officers for the building) and other loose, meaningless statements.

Angry that this deal wasn't going through, I met Mr Landlord to try and get to the bottom of this and make our agreement stand, or at least get the deposit back.

To cut a long story short, Arnona hadn't been paid for three years, water bills for a year, he was being sued, and to top it all off, it wasn't his property to rent out. Mr Landlord was a tenant himself, and wanted to quick cash. IT WASN'T HIS HOUSE! Don't worry, it gets better.

He spent some of our deposit.

By now I have run out of words. I'm dealing with a guy that doesn't have a grasp on logic. His lack of understanding made it acceptable to spend our money, and then return some of it to us when he realised his scam would come back and bite him on the arse later on. The fake landlord guy is eager to return home, someone is coming round to buy his guitars from him, so I figured this worked to my advantage. I was happy to come with, and when the sale went through, I would take some of the guitar money to make up for the money he had stolen. More excuses and white lies... I go back to his house anyway.

Having taking his TZ number, Date of Birth, Bank Details, Friends phone numbers, and another document in which he promised to pay, I wasn't sure what else I could do, so I went to chill at a friends apartment.

A few hours pass and I meet with the friends I am looking to rent with and explain what went down over the last few hours. Fuming, we drive to Mr Landlords house at around midnight and wake him from his slumber to request the stolen money. Half an hour of discussion pass, and he offers collateral. He wants to pay, but can't, so he asks us to walk to the other end of the garden, he unlocks the door and puts his massage table outside, and once we hear the gate close, we can come back up the garden and take it.

There was no violence, no force, and no unnecessary hard feeling. Mr Landlord agreed that this was the right path to take, and last night he called to arrange a meeting to exchange cash for table.

In all honesty, the guy screwed us over, but something deep down made him call it off rather than seeing through his plan. We could have lost up to $8000 to this guy had the deal gone through, but something, somewhere, made him see this was a bad plan. Don't get me wrong, I do not like this man and never want to see him again, but I must give credit where credit is due and be grateful that he called off the deal.

Some people are shocked that something like this would happen in Israel. Other don't (want to) believe that this guy is an American. Personally, I don't think an Israeli would try a scam like this.

Anyway, it is back to the drawing board as far as apartment hunting goes. At least we came out of it with a story to share and a lesson to learn. Shabbat Shalom.

No comments:

Post a Comment