Sunday, February 28, 2010

Guest Commentary

Today, Gigi, The Editor, and Busy Body are taking a day off.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed are those of the individual speaking and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Dialing Home and/or any of its regular writers.

Ah, Haalloo! My name is Eva and I wear clogs. I come from somewhere else, but I currently live in LA, hoping to do something. I have a day job that I can't quit right now. I work in an office helping people find apartments to rent. There are a lot of apartments in LA and a lot of people who need to rent apartments. So, my job is to connect those people to an apartment.

I first take an application and find out where they want to live and what their budget is. Then I look in my computer and print out some options for them to look at. If they like something on the list, we go look at it. I usually drive my own car and meet them there because driving in LA is tricky. I like to drive by myself, because if I goof up on the rules, or get lost, it's only me in the car. Someday, I hope to have a GPS because that would help keep me found instead of getting lost and being late so much.

So we meet at an apartment (proper industry term is property) and hopefully I can remember which key it is to get in. I have a lot of keys and sometimes it is confusing, but if I'm not too late and I have enough time, I can usually figure it out.

After we get the door to the property open, I go into the kitchen and put my briefcase on the counter. I let the renters (potential residents) walk around and look at the property. I think it is better if I don't follow them around. They know I am in the kitchen if they have questions. So, I open my briefcase while I am waiting and take out a lease form and pen and clipboard, in case the potential residents decide this is THE ONE. I like to be prepared as much as I can. If the property is THE ONE, we finish the paperwork on the kitchen counter and they write a deposit check and we arrange to meet on their moving day for keys and, sometimes, garage openers or security codes. I really try hard to find good properties for the potential residents.

One time, I had a fabulous building of apartments that seemed like condominiums. The only problem was they weren't finished being built. The owner thought it would be good to start renting the units so they could get some cash flow to finish the property. The budget amount was very reasonable and some students thought it would be a great place to live.

When we met at our arranged time on their moving day, they started looking around some more. Some things the owner said would be finished weren't finished. The students noticed there were no electrical meters outside--the electricity was still coming from the construction feed. There was no gas hooked up, either. The faucets in the shower and tub were just pipes out of the wall. They were really upset because there was no hot water and no phone service and no way to set up electrical service for their unit.

I tried to explain it would be finished sometime. That just seemed to make them more mad and they wanted their deposit back. I opened my briefcase and took out my list of properties from their file and told them there was another property close by they could move into today. After all, they had all their stuff out front in a moving van. They said no. They still wanted their deposit back. I told them it was non-refundable: The deposit was accepted by my company to rent a property. They waved their lease in my face and said the deposit was for this property and it is unlivable without gas, electricity, hot water and non-functioning security gates.

Wow, some people. It was a brand new unit AND they did get to pick their carpet color.

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