Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Where to begin?

I am writing this from a new apartment. That's right, a lot has happened. Since it is a long and drawn out story, I am going to copy and paste the text from the papers filed with the Residential Tenancy Board. (ya, it is not pretty).

- Woman at work is posting an ad for a house on the bulletin board. I tell her that if the person ever wants to rent-to-own to give me a call.

- About a month later, she gives me a note from the caretaker of the property. Own asked him to "find the woman interested in rent-to-own".

- Conversation with Caretaker: we discuss the rent-to-own arrangement. How I would rent to own for a year and after that the owner would put the rent from that year into a down payment for a mortgage. He gives me the owner's number for me to call and discuss it with her and make an arrangement to go see the house.

- Meet at the house with my sister and my son. We discuss rent to own and the possibility of me obtaining a mortgage within the year. She also indicates that her daughter must move out of the house and that she wants someone in there as soon as possible so the house is not empty.

- Over the next month, Helena and I have numerous conversations. In every one of them we discuss the different options in obtaining a mortgage sooner than one year but always end conversation with "if I don't get approval we can start the rent-to-own thing" meaning, no matter what I would move into the house when her daughter moved out in December.

- Had two meetings with Joanne at CIBC to investigate mortgage possibilities. She suggest that I go with the rent-to-own, because after a year I would not need a down payment, that the bank would consider the rent payments, which have to be so much over the going rate, as an investment in the property and I could take that year to save up for the legal fees. I open up two accounts at CIBC to this end.

- I talk to Helena about the meeting with CIBC and she says that she is going to talk to her bank, that maybe she can help speed up the process.

- Helena?s banker suggests going through a broker to obtain a mortgage and gives us a name. I contact the broker and she investigates possible mortgage companies.

- Helena suggests that she tells the mortgage company that she is my 'aunt' and that she is gifting me with the down payment, she also offers to pay all the legal fees. She just wants to be rid of the house and appears to be willing to do anything to that end. Even at this point all conversations end with us agreeing to begin the rent to own no matter what.

- It is getting close to the date her daughter is moving so we discuss the financials for moving in on a rental basis. We agree to $675/mo and since it will be the middle of the month when I move in we agree to half months rent and half months damage deposit. Move in date is set for Dec. 13/04. Within the week I meet with her daughter to sign purchase and sale agreement.

- I show up on the 13th and she is cleaning carpets and having the furnace serviced. I won't be able to move in. This is a set back because my son has been living with his fathers and he is literally waiting on the doorstep with his belongings, he cannot stay another day. I have to take him with me to my brothers to stay the night; it is very traumatic for both of us.

- December 14, show up to get key. Helena has lease for me to sign. I admit I did not read it fully. I give her a check for $675 dated for Dec. 17/04 (my pay day). After I sign it she tells me that there is someone else interested in purchasing the house. I am stunned but at this point my things are out of storage and literally on their way to the house. My son's things are piled in the car with nowhere else to go. She tells me not to worry that the man interested in buying the house wants it as a rental property. I tell her that I hope he doesn't think I will be paying $675 because that amount was agreed to because of the rent to own option. She says I can work that out with him. She also says that if this guy does buy that she will return this payment of $675. But if I get approval for a mortgage it would be a moot point anyway.

- I hear from one of the brokers. She has approval for a 65% mortgage. She says that payments on the other 35% would be worked out between the owner and me. She tells me that after a year the mortgage would be refinanced and the owner paid out at that time. This seems reasonable to me.

- I inform Helena of this. She says to me, "I couldn't agree to that" I ask her why not? It is better than the original rent to own agreement, at least this way she would receive 65% up front. She replies with, "Oh no, I would never agree to rent to own." All I can say is "are you kidding me?" I am floored. It is right before Christmas, I am not even unpacked and I am looking at $675/mo rent on a house she is now telling me she never had any intention of selling to me. There is also no oil in the tank and I am having to get my brother to deliver it in jugs because I can?t afford to have it delivered from an oil company because they have a min delivery which I can't afford right before Christmas. On top of this, Caretaker brings the potential new owners in to see the house.

- I try in the next week to contact Helena; I can't stay in this house for this amount of rent if there is no possibility that I would end up owning it. She does not return any of my calls. Christmas eve comes and I have nothing for my son, I am tapped out and Christmas is looking grim. I check the bank and see that Helena has not cashed the check yet, so I take out $100 of it, since it is Friday night, I know the check won?t go through till Monday and I have plans to put that money back before then. Unfortunately on Christmas day the car breaks down and I have to have it towed.

- Helena calls me on Monday, (Dec. 27) she tells me the check bounced. I start to explain and she says that perhaps if I can?t afford the place that I should move out and that we should both just forget the whole thing. I agree that it is a good idea. She tells me I have to be out by the first of the month. She is also concerned about the heat and the possibility of the pipes freezing. I tell her that I will put oil in the tank before I leave.

- Dec. 28/04 I have 300L of oil delivered. ($210.11)

- Caretaker comes by with a note for me to sign saying I will 'vacate the premises' by the first of the month. Because of the holiday we revise the date until the 3rd. I give him the receipt for the oil so that Helena won't have to worry about the pipes. At this time I discuss with the caretaker the fact that Helena is now claiming that she never intended to rent to own with me. He tells me that her exact words to him were, "find the woman that was interested in renting to own", he apologizes for the whole mess.

- I move out on Dec. 3rd the place is clean and undamaged. I chalk the whole thing up to experience.

- Jan. 13/04 - Helena cashes the check dated Dec 17/04, the one she told me bounced. It did not bounce; at this point I am not sure if she really intended to do this so I give her the benefit of the doubt.

- I start calling her on her cell phone and her home phone. I get no response, and after about an hour her cell phone is turned off. I leave 2 messages on her home phone.

- Jan 14/04, still try and call her home phone until 4pm when I have to go to work.

- Jan 15/04 ? call her home phone at 9:30am. Get the message "the party you are trying to reach has chosen not to take calls at this time, please hang up." She is blocking my calls.

- That night I get the caretaker to call her to find out her intentions. He speaks to Helena's husband, Jack. Jack tells him that yes they intended to cash the check and they also have no intention of giving any of it back to me. That if I wanted to go to the tenancy board to do what I had to do.

And yes it gets better. I file the papers with the tenancy and find that she has made application to keep the damage deposit. Her reason? I abandoned the property without giving a months notice. So she wants to keep the damage deposit to apply to January's rent and wants me to pay the balance.

I know, I had the same look on my face as you do right now. Luckily I have no idea where she lives or I would be blogging right now from a jail cell.

We will see how it all turns out. My sister would have had a nervous breakdown, but the way I look at it? If it doesn't turn out? I will chalk it up to experience. I am not going to have a stroke over the whole thing.

I have to say, I really love the new apartment. I moved in sight-unseen practically but when I stepped into the bathroom, prepared to lament the loss of the footy tub, I had to catch my breath. The tub is even bigger and I had not thought that possible, but you can drown a 7 foot man in that tub. I love it.

The apartment is very cozy and spacious at the same time. The stairs would scare the average bear, but they are great for the thighs. I will get some pics up here in a few days as soon as I find the batteries for the camera.

Well I should post this before it is so long that no one dares read it, I will have to save the "three blizzards in the span of a week" conversation for another time.

Don't ya just love winter?

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