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Our Tenants

One of the strong selling points of our current house was the presence of a mother-in-law apartment downstairs and its occupant: a single, quiet young woman who was rarely home, but who paid rent monthly. 

We’ve always had it in our minds that we would like to have investment properties generating some income someday, and this was a good place to start. Honestly, we couldn’t make the monthly obligations on our current house without this rental income.

But having a renter down stairs was not without a downside. First, because she was in her space before we moved in, we always had the feeling that we were on her turf, even though it was our house. And second, I was always overly conscious of the amount of noise our two boys made, thumping, bumping, banging and dropping large toys on the floor, and how that noise transferred down stairs.

We tried so hard to get them to be quiet and to be cognizant of our down stairs neighbor. But they are little kids, and they couldn’t always help it. I was often stressed and irritable after a Saturday morning of shushing them, and we can only shush them so much before we start crushing their little spirits. Then there were the times that she blasted the music, just to let us know how frustrated she was. And we can understand that. Nonetheless, we were also a little glad when she moved on.

We interviewed a few new applicants for the apartment. I was looking for another single, quiet individual, but Stephanie came across a young couple and immediately had a good feeling about them. And the seemed nice enough. We were glad to have them.

And I know I can be overly particular. I often like things just so. My first issue was with having a couple rather than an individual. Two people use twice as much water. They flush the toilet twice as often. The open a close doors twice as much. It’s twice as much wear on everything for the same rent.

And two people have two cars. Stephanie and I have each have a car, and our renter had a car, so that was three in our driveway when we first moved in. Now Jamiee has a car, and our renting couple has two cars. That’s five cars in our driveway. It looks like a parking lot. Especially when our renters have a friend, with a car, come visit.

During their first interview, we told them very openly about our kids and the noise they make. We wanted them to know we were sensitive to the issue, that we’d do everything we could to keep the bumping to a minimum, but that kids are kids. At least they went to bed early. The renters assured us this wasn’t a problem, and we felt better knowing they had been warned.

About a month after they moved in, our new tenants bought a new flat screen TV and accompanying sound system. Of course when you get a new toy like that, you have to let it stretch its legs and see what it’ll do. And so we experienced some full volume, deep bass sessions, but we politely ignored it. I understand that. I remember when I had my first apartment and bought my new stereo. I had more than one neighbor knock on the door and request I cool it.

Lately though, the thing that is getting us the incessant video games. We don’t know for sure, but it sounds like they alternate between Guitar Hero and some machine gunning, beach storming, canon firing, thunder rolling war game. The deep bass rumbles right up in to our living room and bedroom. The other night I was in Jacob’s bed in the far corner of the house and could still hear it. At two in the morning.

Believe me, I would have no problem asking them to pipe down. It is my house, and I don’t mind a little civil confrontation. But I also know how much noise our children make. At seven in the morning. Seven days a week. And I just can’t bring myself to be so hypocritical as to tell them to knock it off.

But something may need to be done. They had a friend over yesterday when I got home from work. He was there all evening as the guns of thunder rolled on. It was going when we went to sleep at midnight. It was going when Toby went to the bathroom at 2AM. It was going when I woke from a bad dream at 530AM. It was going at 6AM while I drank my coffee. It finally quieted when the friend left about 8AM.  

What to do? 

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 11:36PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | CommentsPost a Comment

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