Sunday, February 3, 2013

on Superbowl sunday why I prefer croquet to football

 What sports can teach us about the local real estate market.
Gov. Scott Walker playing Croquet

Today is Superbowl Sunday and I was musing on what sports I like to watch. I do not like to watch football. I prefer croquet. Why? The simple answer is that I find there is more to learn about the world by watching vicious people behaving in a civilized way than ostensibly nice enough people behaving viciously. Croquet players are much more dangerous than football players.
A nice football player.
Landlords, or The Landed Gentry as they are called here in Hafo Safo are often much like croquet players.  New lows have been reached by landed Gentry Jill Hardin, the owner of a property at 821 N. Coronado st. in her effort to evict an 84 year old tenent who has lived there for 36 years. Ms. Hardin bought the property a few years ago and was incredibly sweet to her her tenents as she handed out eviction notices-rumour has it they all claimed she was going to reside in each of the fourplexes apartments. But one tenent, an elderly lady, resisted. The housing department was called in, along with some concerned neighbors. Many tense meetings were held (one in which Ms. Hardin's partner claimed he could not give anything in writing since he did not know how to write) and the aged resident stayed, much to the chagrin of the Hardin and Co. Now Ms. Hardin is selling the building and tried again to pull a fast one. She sent a large burly man with a new rental aggreement who told the senior she must sign in order that Ms. Hardin could sell the building. She was told it was just a formality. But the whily senior, smelling a trap, again consulted neighbors and the housing department when she noticed the new contract had been made up by:

She and her neighbors carefully read the lease and found a very serious problem in the terms.  on page one the lease states:
2. TERM: The premises are leased on the following lease term: (please check one item only) ______ month to month (OR) __x____ until __________________.
but then on page 4 it says this:
18. TERMINATION OF LEASE/RENTAL AGREEMENT: If this lease is based on a fixed term, pursuant to paragraph 2, then at the expiration of said fixed term this lease shall become a month to month tenancy upon the approval of LANDLORD. Where said term is a month to month tenancy, either party may terminate this tenancy by the serving of a 30 day written notice.
Had this lovely lady and WWII concentration camp survivor signed this document she would have given Ms. Hardin the right to evict her in 30 days. When this was explained to the burly agent, he agreed this was actually true. The neighbors, a couple of aging hipsters and members of the gentry themselves,  credit years of watching Scoobie Doo for their desire to foil Ms. Hardin's plans and help the little old lady. There is the desire to grow up and be one of those pointed to when the bad guy says "if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!"
So if you are a renter in Hafo Safo watch a couple of old episodes (before scrappy ruined everything) of Scoobie and then go out and meet your neighbors. You never know when you might get the chance to come to their defense.