Saturday, November 2, 2013

Passing on a tradition

Growing up, my parents owned 5 6-plex apartment buildings.  My Dad had built them and we lived in one of them and they did all the landlord/maintenance work themselves.  This included cleaning and painting empty apartments as old tenants moved out and new ones moved in.

The Casa-Linda Apartments on Willow Rd in Guelph, thanks to Google St. view.

As landlords, my parents have hundreds of stories of deadbeat tenants and just as many horror stories of the mess tenants left behind.  There was the vengeful tenant that they evicted for non payment who dumped a carton of milk in the fridge, unplugged it and shut the door so that it was a sour mess by the time they got in to clean.  Angry people who smeared baby poop from diapers in every electrical outlet, and some who's level of day to day filth was just so horrible that I wasn't even allowed in the apartment while they cleaned.

As a kid, I hated that we had to look after the apartments.  It meant putting out smelly garbage for everyone once a week.  It meant picking up litter from the lawn since the apartments were between a corner store and a bus stop. It meant sitting around in empty apartments while my parents cleaned them.  The only up side to that was that often the tenants cable hadn't been shut off yet, and my Mom would set me up with a lawn chair and a portable TV so that I could watch Saturday morning cartoons.  We didn't have cable, so this was a real treat. I did have one job to do anytime my father had to paint an apartment.  I had a bucket and my own screwdriver and I had go around and remove all the plug and light switch covers for him.

As a teenager and young adult I vowed to never be a landlord.  Who wanted the headaches, the dirt, the middle of the night phone calls from drunks who had locked themselves out?  Karma is such that I ended up being a landlord anyway.  Our current house has a basement apartment that we rent out.  It's only 1 unit, and we are 2 for 3 for having had good tenants.  The latest ones have moved out, and unfortunately they fall in the group of "level of day to day filth" that is going to require some major cleaning and painting before we rent it out again.

In preparation of painting, I am passing along a tradition.

I wonder if one he will be a landlord too?

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