Monday, December 29, 2008

"Great Moments in Landlord/Tenant Relations"

A post by Megan McCardle on her Atlantic blog about her D.C. rental market travails prompted this comment from commenter "TallDave":

Pity you're not in southern Wisconsin. I'd gladly rent you a beautiful little 1900 sq ft townhouse I've been advertising for a couple months -- and, of course, you'd get my special libertarian discount.

Instead, I'll just share a "Great Moments in Landlord/Tenant Relations" story I had from a college tax teacher. A friend of her husband's had a nonpaying tenant (an old woman) in an Eastern state where it was very hard to evict people (had to go to court several times, pay a lot of money). After six months of nonpayment, he went to the tenant and told her "Look, I will give you $2,000 to move out." Her reply? "No way, if I move I'll have to start paying rent."

So the landlord is at a bar, telling this story, and there was a guy there who was due to report to prison in a week. He wanted some prison money, and so he offered to get the woman moved out for half what the landlord would have paid the woman, $1000. The landlord agrees (they make no terms as to methods, of course). So the guy breaks into her apartment, tells her she better move, and breaks her arm to prove he's serious; she moves out in terror, he pockets a grand, and the landlord gets a paying tenant.

Is this a classic failure of government regulation, or what?


Sanyaya Patal said...

The American version of the cast [sic] system?

JK said...

This is why its always a good idea to have some friends in the lumpenproletariat.

A Garth Brooks song some to mind here.

DaveinHackensack said...

As I mentioned in the comment thread on McCardle's blog, a real estate investor I know sticks to commercial real estate because of the difficulty in getting a judge to rule against a local residential tenant.