Saturday, September 01, 2007

Breach of trust

We're in a little pickle.

It would appear our landlord was not paying his bank for the house. We've been paying him... Anyway, he's gone missing. Won't return phonecalls, won't reply to certified mail. The home is in foreclosure and will be auctioned on the 10th of September. Add to this, we have reported a couple of problems with the property to him which need to be addressed and haven't been. Little things like, oh, the CO2/smoke detector going off intermittently and the sink in the kid's bathroom spraying water underneath when the water is turned on. We have made the decision that even though the middleman (middlewoman as the case is) assures us that Eric (the landlord) has it all under control, it is time to move... again. I'm not a legal eagle, but I think he's in breach of our lease. Even if he wasn't, he's in breach of our trust. This latter point weighs more toward my disappointment than anything else. The sheer anger and frustration are almost overwhelming as I think of the impact on the kids having to move again... the impact on Jax in hunting for a new place with me... the financial impact of moving, deposits, utilities, the whole lot. All of this incurred through the actions (or inactions as the case may be) of someone else.

What have we done? What could we have done differently? Nothing really. I didn't set his rent price (I negotiated, but he set it.) I don't control his finances. I have enough on the table already putting food... well... on the table that I don't have the time, inclination, or the forethought to run a credit check on my landlord and counsel him on finance. It's not my place.

But here's my quandary. At what point am I able to break my word? Do I withhold rent? Sure it seems to be an easy fix... and we'll certainly need that money to set up a new home. Can I assume we'll get our deposit back? He has no further vested interest in the property. Doesn't seem to me that he'd care if the air filters were changed if the house is being foreclosed upon.

I've never sued anyone. I think I might need to soon.

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