Here's how karma works: sometimes I slams you over the head, and sometimes it slips right underneath your nose without you noticing it. Other times it tickles your funny bone, or at least your irony bone (Is there such a thing as an irony bone? Or am I thinking "ironing board"?).
Anyway, no sooner do I finish posting a rant last night about the Pope and the Catholic Church, claiming their good deeds are done only for their own selfish purposes, when my phone rings. Who is it? Why, none other than the St. Pius Charity, offering me assistance for a problem I didn't even fully comprehend yet.
A little background: one of the activities that occurred while this blog was on hiatus was my having to evict the tenant in the Unsellable Condo in Vinings. He lost his job around last May, and thereafter paid his rent sporadically, in installments, usually delivered in person and in cash (usually in denominations of $100s). By August, he stopped paying altogether and by September I delivered 30-day notice to leave. It took about 37 days to get him out.
According to the condo by-laws, only 25% of the units can be leased, and all existing leases, like the one that I had with my tenant, got grandfathered into the 25%. But according to the rules, upon termination of the lease, I had 90 days to get a new tenant or else lose my grandfather status, and I was told that there was a long line of owners waiting to lease out their units. Since I couldn't sell the condo, I was financially dependent on the rent to cover my associated expenses.
The trouble, however, was that I was spending most of my time then in Portland, and the tenant left the place a real mess. It needed re-painting, extensive cleaning, vacuuming, a carpet shampoo, etc., as well as several repairs. All that's difficult to get done when you're on the opposite coast. To complicate matters, I managed at one point to lose the keys and had to spend more time getting them replaced. By the time I finally got the condo rentable once again, it was mid-December and I had only two weeks left on my 90-day window, and those two weeks were through the winter holidays.
By Christmas Eve, I was getting desperate, but a new tenant finally arrived. He seemed somewhat less than credit-worthy - he couldn't pay the whole deposit at one time, had no real credit history, etc. - but I was able to confirm that he was employed as a security guard at Morehouse College, carried a real gun and everything, and he had a lovely family - a wife and two adorable kids. I decided to take a chance, as I didn't have much of an option since the 90-day window was closing.
Things went alright through January, February and March, but early this month (the 9th if you care) he called to tell me that he was going to be "a little late" with April's rent since he had lost the security-guard job at Morehouse, but was going to be starting a new job real soon, and could pay me in a week or two. I agreed to wait (what option did I have?).
So, back to last night. After finishing my post about the Catholics, the phone rings and St. Pius' asks me if I'm planning on serving my tenants with papers.
As it turns out, the family is struggling to meet the rent, and have applied to charity to help them out. The good folks at St. Pius heard their case and decided to help them, providing of course that their story checked out. The call to me was part of the fact finding. "We'll cover it for them," the rep said, referring to April's rent, "but we want to make sure that they come up with at least part of it." Okay, whatever.
It truly saddens me that the family is struggling and appealing to charity for assistance. The children are so sweet and well behaved -they deserve a better life. And I hate it that the father has to admit that he can't provide for his family, and is forced to accept hand outs. But at at the same time, it concerns me that my tenants can't pay their rent. I'm not going to do anything sudden to them, and I do not want to put them out on the street, but I do have to make some hard decisions, especially if I'm going to pack up a moving van and move to Portland for good. In that case, I need a steady and reliable tenant, not a family on the dole.
But isn't it ironic that I question the charity of the Catholic Church, and then I turn around and am immediately the beneficiary of that very charity? Go figure.