Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Those Darn Tenants!
“Pick up!” says Lyle as he holds his cellphone to his ear. “C’mon! Aren’t you going to answer?!” he continues. “Who are you calling?” I ask as I enter the living room, taking a bite out of my sandwich. “The tenants. They didn’t pay this month’s rent on time; just like the past two months. They’re screening my calls because they’ve given me several excuses already. This is my third try calling them today! I’m getting sick of it.” “Yeah, I can imagine! It’s not right. You’ve already given them enough chances for the past couple of months,” I reply. At that moment Lyle decides to give up on the call and hangs up the phone. Sitting on the couch with a sigh he takes my sandwich right out of my hand. “Thanks for making me lunch,” he says taking a large bite. “I’ve already taken a bite!” I gasp at his rudeness, though, it hardly surprises me considering this is how I’ve known my older brother to be for the past eighteen years. “So, what are you going to do about those darn tenants, sir Landlord?” I inquire. “I don’t even know. I guess I’ll have to try to get ahold of them again tomorrow and, if they answer, see what their excuse is this time,” he replies. “Yeah, I suppose that’s a good plan. Or you can evict them!” I say attempting (and, judging by the expression on Lyle’s face, failing) humor. “Well, since you stole my sandwich, I guess I’ll go make another,” I continue and exit the living room.
I walk into the kitchen still thinking about the tenants. “It’s ridiculous,” I think to myself, “If you’re going to rent a home you should be responsible enough to pay the rent on time and if you absolutely cannot pay it on time, you should notify the landlord. It’s that simple.” Frustrated, I begin to create my sandwich. For some reason this sandwich doesn’t seem to taste as good as my first creation. I blame it on my frustration. At that moment my mom walks into the kitchen to find me eating my sandwich with a very upset look upon my face. “What’s wrong?” she asks. “The stupid tenants! They’re late with the rent this month again! Lyle didn’t tell you?” I respond. “No, I haven’t seen him yet. I left to work before he left for school and he left for work before I got home. Has he tried calling them?” she replies. I proceed to explain the situation to her. I tell her of how the rent is ten days overdue. She, too, becomes upset.
The next day I wake up to find Lyle attempting yet another phone call to those darn tenants. Finally, he is successful. “Hello?” answers the woman groggily on the other end of the phone call. “Hello, this is Lyle Lucero. I was calling concerning your rent this month. It is ten days overdue. I was curious as to why it is so late.” The woman proceeds to give excuses as usual and Lyle, frustrated, explains to her that she cannot continue to pay her rent late and if she does, she will be evicted. Lyle is very understanding when it comes to payment issues and usually offers a bit of leeway, but by this point he (as well as the rest of the family) is fed up. The woman has taken advantage of Lyle’s generosity. When he hangs up he explains that he’s given the woman a second chance and she is to pay the rent by the fifteenth, five days from today.
Five days later, the rent still has not been paid. By this point, everyone in my family is extremely frustrated. Lyle calls the tenants yet again and this time the woman is quick to respond. When she proceeds to give yet another excuse, Lyle informs her that it is too late; she has done this one time too many. Lyle allots the woman two weeks to pack her items and leave the home. Though it may have felt horrible, Lyle knew what he was doing was right, the woman had signed a contract and hadn’t fulfilled her duties as a tenant. “It’s horrible,” says Lyle as he enters the kitchen, “I didn’t want any conflict to arise. It felt even worse when she started crying on the phone.” “I know,” I respond, “But it is her fault. She didn’t pay her rent on time and she didn’t even let you know in advance. She was the one being irresponsible. I know you probably feel like the bad guy right now, but it was the right thing; she signed the contract, she knew what she was getting herself into. You weren’t her friend, you were her landlord.” “Thanks, Kelly,” responds Lyle, “Now we have to find different tenants...” “Oh, boy. Let the hunt begin,” I conclude.