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Lord, Send Me an Honest Landlord — My Last Word on This

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I have to share one last story about the search for affordable housing. This story sums up what I’ve experienced during the past week in my quest for affordable rental property. Now, I know you’re going to think that I’m making this up, but I swear every word is true.

After looking at a million houses in the area, I came to the conclusion that property owners are, for the most part, out of their minds. You wouldn’t believe how some of these shacks are described in the classified. One ad in particular caught me eye and that’s the one I want to tell you about.

I was perusing the paper yesterday when I saw an ad that read “Neat Two Bedroom $X per month. Well, I was paying more that $X for my 3 bedroom rental house that I had to vacate, so the lower rent would be a break.

I called the number for the “neat two bedroom” and spoke with the owner. I asked him how old the home was and he just kept telling me that the outside didn’t look all that great, but he was going to take care of that and that the inside was really, really nice. Well, my mind started a little celebration all the way out to GrandLake .

After just about wearing out my GPS, I arrived at the address and saw what the guy was talking about. The place didn’t so much look like it survived Rita as much as it looked like it might have been built while Rita was hitting.

The weeds around the house were about 2′ tall. I tried to keep an open mind. After all, the guy said the inside is “really nice.” I had doubts for the place, but I couldn’t wait to see the inside. I was rather eager to see the inside. The owner finally opened the door and I tried to take it all in at once.

The first thing I saw when the door was opened was that the blinds were literally falling off the windows. Well, I thought, “I can fix that. It’s no big deal. That was when I turned to notice that there was a hole in the wall about the size of a soft ball. Right next to the hole was what was left of a thermostat. Only a metal plate and a few bare wires were left. I had seen enough, but I wanted to be polite.

The sheetrock along one wall missed going all the way to the floor by about 7 or 8″. The whole place smelled like a wet dog, but I still hadn’t seen the big selling feature. It seems that the master bath features a garden tub. I could tell that the tub in question had once been either yellow or blue, but now it just looked vaguely moldy.

Needless to say, I was discouraged as hell. Not only was the place not “neat” as it was described in the paper, this guy wanted the same amount of money for month that I had been paying for a real house with 3 bedrooms. I thought he had a nerve wanting a deposit. What on earth could someone do to that place that hadn’t already been done.

The guy tried to rush me by saying that someone else was interested in the property. That was pretty much the last straw. Now, the guy was lying to my face. I broke away as fast as I could and drove back to Lake Charles. What a total waste of time and all because this property owner was a liar. Even when he was showing me around he kept insisting that it was a real bargain at $X. The place was so disgusting that I went straight back to Lake Charles to look up my medical records to make sure my tetanus shot was up to date.

Here’s the kicker to this story. I looked at rental property all weekend and I had the same experience with every single property. A few places I went to check out were so bad that I didn’t even bother to get out to look.

The extreme rent is bad enough, but when you couple that with the fact that many of the property owners are lying about the condition of their property, it becomes a huge mess. Without exception, every house I toured was worse than the one before.

Still, I will not give up. I have a list of homes to look at today. I know that, out there somewhere, is an honest property owner. It will interesting to see where I end up.

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