Thursday, June 24, 2010

Legal Advice Re: Psycho Renters?

I know, everybody's always trying to scam free legal advice, and I hate to be one of those people--but this is, in fact, a worthy cause, and the renovation debacle has left us flat broke. So I thought I'd give it a try.

Here's the sitch:

K has been on leave from her Ph.D. program for a couple of years. During that time, we rented out the condo in Chapel Hill. We used, and have always had great luck with renters. This time, however, we got some kind of kindergarten teacher or something, and she turned out to be a criminal kook. We made lots of mistakes, as you'll see below.

First, she never sent us back a signed copy of the lease, so we don't have one.

Second, we handled the utilities in a somewhat odd way, though a way that was clearly explained to said kook verbally, and in the lease, and she clearly understood it and agreed to it. Here's how it worked: to avoid connection fees for both her and us, we included a certain amount in the lease for utility payments, based on average usage for two people. If, at the end of a certain month, the tenant was under that amount, we'd refund the difference. If they were over, we'd total up all the overages and take payment (usually out of the security deposit (or quasi-security deposit) at the end of the lease.

Third, we agreed to pay for the water.

Fourth, we agreed that her parents and their dog could stay with her for a month or so when they moved down to CH.

In about February, we informed her that she was consistently going over on utilities, using, for example, almost twice as much water as we had ever used. She noted that water was included, and we agreed, but pointed out that we had only used that as an example, and that electricity use was through the roof as well. Then she started to make weird claims about the lease being "ambiguous," but would not specify how it was, and she refused to return our calls. About a month later, she claimed that the lease was ambiguous concerning its length, in one place saying 11 months, in one saying 12. We told her she could interpret it in either way she wanted. About last month, she said that the clause concerning utilities was ambiguous, but would not specify in what way. Then she claimed that she expected a refund--thus clearly indicating that she understood and accepted the lease agreement concerning utilities. When we pointed that out to her, she quit pushing that line, and began saying that there was no lease agreement at all, since she had not returned the original. We informed her that, if she did not pat the almost $300 she owes us in utilities, we'd have to keep it out of the $1k she gave us as a security deposit (or: quasi-security deposit...I'll explain below). Today she sent an e-mail, obviously written by a lawyer, but with her signature under it, claiming that in NC one can only withhold money from a security deposit for a few reasons, and unpaid charges of the kind we're talking about do not seem to be among them. Her e-mails are dishonest in the extreme, packed full of legalese, and each refutation of one of her slimy points is met with slimy new attempts to screw us over. She is arrogant, none too bright, possibly a little crazy, and possibly kind of loony.

Of course she will not pay up when we check her out at the beginning of July, and, of course, we will keep the money she owes us out of the $1k she gave us.

More data:

Her parents and their dog stayed with her for the entire 11-month period, instead of the "month or so" we had agreed to--but there was nothing in the lease about it.

Her father just retired, and he is a lawyer--a lawyer who seems to have taken the short bus to law school, but a lawyer nevertheless.

Fun fact: according to our neighbors, they never leave the house except to go to church. No comment on that one...

So, we'll almost certainly end up in small claims court.

Any thoughts/advice on this would be appreciated.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Decoy Jews" to Fight Anti-Semitism in Amsterdam?


Apparently Amsterdam already has decoy old people and decoy gays to try to catch scumbags who prey on them.

After reading some of the recent stuff in the blogosphere about how bad the harassment of women by men is in the streets of NYC, I've though the NYPD ought to do something like this to combat it.

I also think it should be legal for any male to beat the living sh*t out of any male who harasses women, and legal for any woman to shoot any male who harasses her...but I'm not holding my breath for such laws to come about...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sarah Palin, Moron
Gulf Divine Intervention Edition

via Reddit.

Jebus, what an idjit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Light Blogging

So JQ and I are in the home stretch re: this house renovation catastrophe/debacle. The last two weeks have--in addition to our normal 12-hour work days--been spent battling the delinquents and drug-dealers in the house catty-cornered across the street. On Friday we got their landlady to kick them out (effective the end of the month), but they've already started trickling out (like nine people live in the apartment leased to three people). They're not happy about this, of course, and they know who effected this, so the last couple of days have been periodically tense. Good thing the Founders had the good sense to ratify the Second Amendment--the fact that we almost certainly outgun them is a significant source of comfort.

Anyway, as you can see, blogging will be light...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Debate + Lit Crit = Bullshit

Debate is bad for you under normal circumstances. Well, it can be good for you, too. It does tend to sharpen one's mind, though it tends to make one intellectually dishonest. The latter is probably more important than the former, though if you can manage to get the goodies without paying the price--which I think I largely managed to do--it's a good deal. But overall, debate is a rather a mixed bag.

But what's a sure-fire way to really, really screw up anything?

Add some postmoderny/lit-critty bullshit to it, of course!

Definitely check out the final link, of the guy who initiated all of this screaming at/mooning another debate coach (who is, admittedly, screaming at him, too).

This is your brain on LitCrit, people...