New tenant selection
Evictions are stressful, but the process of showing an apartment and taking applications from potential tenants is its own special circus.
It starts with a phone call. “Do you accept DSS?” Of course I do. And the show begins.
Entire days have gone by with me sitting around waiting for people who don’t show up. It may be rainy. It may be sunny. For whatever reason, the 12 people who were scheduled to see the apartment never arrive. One girl claiming to be on DSS told me later she was out buying a car.
About half the people bring their boyfriend to see the apartment, too. “Is he moving in with you?” I ask the girl who’s on DSS and she always tells me No. One girl’s boyfriend grabbed an extra rental application and a pen so his girlfriend’s fussy 2-year-old would have something to scribble on. One girl came with her mother and got confrontational when I asked her to fill out an application. The first DSS client I got came with her mother and they didn’t understand why they couldn’t walk through the apartment while I was waiting for the lead test to pass, so they began stalking me, showing up at odd hours to intimidate me. Before the girl moved in, there were notes left at her door by a boy who expected to crash there. One woman claiming to be on DSS said she had three children who weren’t living with her but that the apartment was just for her. She put down half the security deposit. I got two calls from her case worker, the first one saying she would be getting her rent paid by DSS, the second one saying it was a mistake and it turned out the woman owned a house somewhere. When I told the woman to come back and get her partial security deposit refunded, she began to threaten me, saying the money belonged to her boyfriend and he was going to beat me up. She threatened to sue me and she called the police on me, telling them I had taken the money under false pretenses, and she reported me to child welfare to retaliate because I hadn’t approved her application.
My favorite applicants are the ones who report their profession as “dancer.” One girl came to see the apartment with a cane; she was supposedly on SSD and DSS. I walked around the corner to see her holding her cane in one hand and kicking the door hard enough to rattle the frame. Her references were other “dancers” who lived in Florida. I made the mistake of renting to one dancer whose boyfriend was a lawyer, albeit a shabby one, who wound up representing her at her eviction. She got on DSS back when they issued payments directly to the client, and the second month realized her rent could be paid, or not, at her discretion. After she was evicted, she brought a big tough girlfriend to try to knock me over for the security deposit and they assaulted me in my parking lot.
They were disappointed because I don’t carry cash on me, and one of my tenants looking out the window called police even though the two girls vandalized my cell phone.
In retrospect, I think the stripper mentality is pretty common to local legislators, Rochester City Court judges and legal aid attorneys, because they all must look at landlords the same way: like we’re a bunch of walking ATMs waiting to get knocked over for instant cash.