Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Own National Holiday

The Most Charming Little Town in America
As you three readers may be aware, August 24 is a special holiday around these parts. It is the birthday of my dear friend and bookkeeper Bliz.

Happy Birthday!

Bliz and I have been friends since our hair was its natural color. We have laughed together, cried together and have even gone on some fabulous trips through various corners of the United States together. Not only that, she willingly holds my hand during take-off and landings when we travel (because I am not a good airline passenger). And--to tell you what a great friend she truly is--she patiently waited, without one complaint, while I played street chess with an Israeli-Spaniard named Levi last year when we went to New England.

In the time I have known her, Bliz has introduced me to Imagine Dragons, eye liner and amaretto sours. She keeps me laughing and offers sage advice when I am at my lowest. I have never known someone so thoughtful, patient and caring as Bliz. Ever. I honestly don't think I would have survived this accidental business without her.

Bliz, Congratulations on your recent trip around the sun. Here's to many more.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Well now, I thought we were done. I turned in the former LLC's dissolution form to the Arizona Secretary of State's office back in June. And wouldn't you know it? They sent it back with the word, "Rejected" on it. That hardly seems fair. I am done. Done with partnerships. Done with LLCs, and yet the Arizona Secretary of State's office feels otherwise.

In their pre-printed letter, they said--and I am not making this up: "The document must be signed by a member of the LLC." Frankly, I thought I might actually be qualified under their definition. In fact, I am pretty sure I have the Articles of Organization to show I was not only a member, but the Managing Member. You would think that would give me some street cred, but nope. Not with a government bureaucracy.

Today I spent 29 minutes and 42 seconds on hold to ask someone in the Arizona Secretary of State's office what exactly they mean by rejecting this dissolution. Perhaps they simply didn't understand what "dissolution" meant?

The very nice lady on the phone looked up my file. She then told me I have to check some box in the corner of this document that says I am a member of this LLC and just re-send it. I don't need to provide a photo ID. I don't need to give them a blood sample. By checking the box, they will just take my word for it. When I asked her exactly why was the box on the form to begin with, as there is some sort of verbiage that says, "By signing this document you ensure you are a member of this LLC," she didn't have an answer. No matter. As soon as I get those documents to the Arizona Secretary of State's office, we will then be done. I hope.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Speaking of Property Management

Legal Owl sent me an e-mail this morning. She has a client who is looking for a good property management company. Who could I recommend? I am wondering which one of us is supposed to charge the other $200 an hour for this information.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

We Assume This Means We Are Keeping Buckaroo, Too

You may remember, this past week I wrote about the bank that called our second mortgage due and refused to work with us? Months ago they threatened all sorts of shenanigans, including a wage garnishment and selling my first born for slave labor if we didn't play by their rules. And oh yes. They would be foreclosing.

Two events happened this week that kind of threw us for a loop. First, we received a letter from some law firm in Birmingham offering to do a deed in lieu of foreclosure. All they needed was "our cooperation," but didn't elaborate. However, they are asking us to sign a deed in lieu of foreclosure. For those of you who aren't familiar with a deed in lieu, it means the bank gets the house back and we walk away with only our credit destroyed. No liens. No garnishments. No take-backs. And, I even get to keep Polly, which works for me.

Once we received the letter, we scratched our heads for an hour or so and then sent it to my Arizona lawyer for her opinion. After all, we aren't completely sure of their terms. The lawyer said if they are truly willing to do a deed in lieu, we should--which is a no-brainer for us. However, this is complete 180 from the treatment we have been getting from them for the past two years. And pardon me for saying so, I'm suspicious.

Which brings me to today. Because I have my gazillion rental homes registered on Zillow to watch, I got an e-mail alert. Apparently, this home was sold at auction a month ago. And, it was sold for about what we owed. Now, I don't know exactly how Zillow's database works, but if someone really bought that property for anywhere near what Zillow is saying they purchased it for, they were ripped off. And, I think I know a few things about pricing homes.

Additionally, and this is kind of minor under the circumstances, but we weren't notified that the foreclosure was taking place at all. In our experience (of the one home this happened with prior) we were actually told via certified letter, US Post Office letter, carrier pigeon and hologram. There was no word this time. In fact, I just checked on the Jefferson County's tax assessor site. Yep, it sold. So it looks like Polly is sticking around for sure.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Six Weeks

Mr. Ex-Partner made it six weeks. I am about to write an into letter to Mario for him. When Mr. Ex-Partner contacted me this morning, he said, "I will follow your rules."

Sweetie. These aren't my rules.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Yes, Yes He Did

Mr. Ex-Partner sent me an e-mail this morning asking for my advice.

It was early. I didn't have my reading glasses on. I only glanced at the e-mail on my phone. But the words were unmistakable, "Your assistance in helping me with this matter would be greatly appreciated."

The matter at hand, was his own doing. I already knew the ins and outs, but did not tell him so. You see, Mrs. Roebuck, who has been living at one of our homes (with Mr. Ex-Partner's blessing) was paying less-than-market rent.

Once he went solo, he wrote Mrs. Roebuck an abrupt e-mail saying something along the lines of "I expect you to cough up more money if you want to live here." Of course he didn't call her, introduce himself, ask her to explain her situation, show any amount of interest at all in why she was paying less-than-market rent (which he knew why, but still!). Nope. Six days into being my ex-partner, he pushed. I know this because it was Mrs. Roebuck who immediately contacted me. What was going on? There was an agreement in place?? Why was he doing this?

Fast forward a month. Mrs. Roebuck and Mr. Ex-Partner had another disagreement last week. Fortunately, I only heard about it second hand from Mrs. Roebuck (who apparently called him a coward for not actually picking up the phone and calling her if he has a problem, but whatever). Anyway, Mrs. Roebuck told Mr. Ex-Partner, she was moving. She would be gone by next week and she would leave the key.

When Mr. Ex-Partner contacted me this morning in a mild panic, he told me basically he was bluffing. He would be willing to let Mrs. Roebuck stay if she would just pay a teensy bit more (which he never mentioned to her this expectation). Heck! He said he would even let her stay for what she was paying now. I honestly was not sure what I could do at this point. He just lost a good tenant for a hard-to-rent home. And he didn't have to.

What I did do was tell Mr. Ex-Partner, contact Mario (he has already burned the bridge with Luigi, and there are so few reasonable property management companies in Birmingham). I offered again to send an introduction e-mail for him if he was interested. I told Mr. Ex-Partner Mario will shoot straight. He will tell the truth. And even if he doesn't hire Mario, they can at least have a conversation so Mr. Ex-Partner will know what is what (and hear it from someone other than me).

In addition--and only because he asked for my help--I told him if I make this introduction, Mario's name is "Mr. Property Management Owner" until Mr. Ex-Partner is told otherwise. I also said Mr. Ex-Partner is to mind his Ps and Qs and realize not all money is created equal, especially Yankee money. In fact, until he has some credibility, consider himself an outsider--because he is one.

If I were to wager, I would say that Mr. Ex-Partner will completely ignore the advice he asked for. And a month later we will have the same conversation again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Pam and Murray

So Murray and Pam, a retired couple, have rented a home from Mitch and Tanya--the world's most fabulous landlords and friends. The house is located in Gilbert, a suburb of the greater Phoenix area. Frankly, they are lucky to have this place. Rentals right now in the area, especially in Gilbert, are scooped up the day they go on the market. This one included. If I had listed it for rent, there would have been ten applications on this super-clean, well-cared for place in the first 24 hours.

When Murray and Pam looked at the home, they chatted merrily with Mitch, Tanya and me. They mentioned how handy they are. How they will take great care of the place. How responsive they are and rent will never be late. They also looked good on paper, so a lease was created.

Since then, these folks have driven me batty and I am not even involved. First, they wanted to move in early. That doesn't work when the tenants who ARE LIVING THERE aren't moving out until the end of the month. That didn't stop Murray and Pam from asking. And asking. And hinting. And asking again. Somehow they could not fully comprehend THERE IS SOMEONE LIVING IN THIS HOUSE WHO HAS EVERY LEGAL RIGHT TO DO SO EVEN THOUGH YOU WANT TO MOVE. Ask all they wanted, they had to wait. And wait they did. In fact, the keys went to my office and Murray and Pam had to pick them up there.

I would like to tell you that wasn't an ordeal, but no. I was in San Diego and I got a call from Pam. Where exactly is my office? I gave her the address. However, she explained, as if I was a toddler needing to be told for the third time I cannot have a cookie, she has my address. She simply can't find my office. It turns out she didn't bother to drive another mile--as she admitted the GPS told her to do so. It was at that point, I decided these folks are too helpless for their own good. What would they have done if I hadn't answered my phone? I would hope they would have followed the GPS, but I suspect they would have called Mitch and Tanya (who don't live in Arizona) and asked them for directions.

This past week, Tanya asked me where she could find a washer repair person for Murray and Pam. That struck me as strange for two reasons. First, I was pretty sure Pam mentioned they were bringing in their own appliances and second Pam and Murray made a complete episode about the fact Murray was super-handy and they would never need to ask for anything.

But that's not all. Not only did they want the washing machine fixed, they wanted it fixed that day. Therefore, could Tanya stop everything she is doing and find someone right now. Why? Because they were leaving for vacation (ah... the reason for an early move-in) and didn't want anyone going into "their home" while they are gone. Tough. With a two-day notice Mitch and Tanya can have anyone they like go into that property and Pam and Murray would just have to deal.

Tanya has indicated they have asked for a few other things too. I don't know how much of this bugs Mitch and Tanya, but it bothers me a lot. Tenants who have a sense of entitlement are high on my pet peeve list. I understand it is stressful to move. I understand there are schedules, and deadlines. But come on tenants! Figure some of this out yourself. You aren't the only ones out there who have jobs (which Pam and Murray do not), a life or deadlines. I fully understand there is a contract in place too. But nowhere in this contract does is say Mitch and Tanya have to kowtow to a tenant's whims. Additionally, this isn't an inclusive resort. It is a home.

My experience is that those who squawk up front tend to calm down and be wonderful tenants. The other kind are those who squawk and can't figure things out for themselves up front also tend to whine and use up all of their goodwill in the first few weeks of the lease. I am hoping for everyone's sake, Pam and Murray calm down.