Saturday, 24 March 2012

Playing the waiting game

In January I attended our monthly community meeting. There were tenants at the meeting with valid and serious concerns. Several units have set up an escort service with a sideline of drug dealing in one of the mostly senior buildings in our complex. Used condoms are being found around the building and people are getting propositioned in the elevators. Plus people on those floors are trying doorknobs to see if any are unlocked. Seniors are sitting in their apartments listening to their doorknob slowly turning back and forth, not knowing who's outside. They were terrified. Yes, the police are involved (and were at the meeting). Meanwhile the woman representing management scoffed at those tenants and informed them we live in the best buildings in the area. If they didn't like it they could move.

Next came my rent increase. My rent goes up every single year without fail. Last year it went up by $7 and I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe, I'd lived here long enough that they weren't going to soak me with a maximum increase every single year. February rolled around and nope, this year I got the maximum increase again. The increase was $23, we're not talking 'selling a kidney' huge, but it bumped my rent over the $1,100 mark. I gasped when I saw it.

I remembered management's words then and my mind flashed to a building I wanted to move the kids into a few years ago. It was perfect for us but I couldn't get son into a special ed class there so we never moved. At the time, the rent was almost $100 more than what we were paying. But our rent had increased by about that much too. I looked the building up online and found pictures of the laundry room, gym, and indoor pool. Suddenly moving looked like a viable option. I had a whole list of concerns and, as the days went by, they all got knocked down one after another like dominoes.

My first concern was the price. Sure, I'd found a website with a list of rents for each size unit but that didn't mean they were current. I just looked up our current building on and the rent listed was about 2 years out of date. I called the building and, yes, the rent was accurate and included utilities. One worry down.

Then came calling the school board. No use in getting my hopes up if son couldn't go to school in that area. But I was assured he'd be in a small class placement in the fall. Maybe not the exact setting he was in now, but it would be a small class with plenty of EA support. One more concern gone.

What was the area like? We had looked at townhouses near where I used to work a few years ago. They looked great but, when I talked to a friend, her police officer husband informed her that the complex was in the worst area of town with heavy gang activity just a gunshot away. Obviously we didn't move there. I called and messaged friends for advice and got conflicting stories. However the friends who had lived in the area thought it was great and I got glowing reviews from both a friend who lived there previously and a friend who's friend currently lives there. The final cap came at the March meeting when I talked to a police officer about the building and was assured it was a quiet building with a lot of seniors in the area.

The final domino of concern was viewing the building in real life. It looked great according to the website and other people liked it but I hadn't been in that area in years and had never been inside the apartment. I took my son to look at the building and we were both thrilled. The unit we viewed was a good size with a big balcony and lots of storage. The whole building was well kept and in good repair. Then the lady brought us downstairs. Storage lockers for every unit in the building. A work room for those with tools and hobbies. A room with a pool and ping pong table. Two exercise rooms (one for men and one for women) and, the grand finale, the indoor pool, complete with lifeguard. I took a photo to show my parents...

We walked out of the building and realized there's a huge park right next door, complete with a skateboard park and trails to the nearby library. And there's a shopping mall not even a five minute walk away.

Now comes the final dominoes. We have to give 60 days notice where we live. But we also need to have a unit available where we're going. The staff needs to give 24 hours to the current tenants for a viewing and we have to give them information about myself to check, including references to call. Since the first is on a Sunday, the staff thinks they might not get notice for those apartments until the second. For the life of me I can't fathom how I'd view an apartment (with 24 hours notice), have the staff call my references, and give notice all on the same day. Anyone have a time machine I can borrow? I offered to drop off my information ahead of time so they could call people and check me out in advance but they need to have a unit I'm putting an offer in before they can do that.

I hate playing the waiting game. I want to know now thank you very much. I've done everything I can to be ready for a unit. All my information is printed out and ready to go. The staff know me on first name basis after my regular calls just checking about a unit for June 1st. Now I just need to accept that my move is dependant on the promptness of people I don't know, people who have no idea I'm waiting for their notice.

My son commented earlier that this move had been a breeze so far, without a single worry or concern. Meanwhile I've already had nightmares about packing and haven't even given my notice yet! Heck, last night I dreamt I found a Christmas tree behind some stuff in my living room.

Hopefully I'll be writing a new blog within the week, all excited about our new place. Otherwise, next weekend I'll be too busy eating Tums like candy and telephone stalking the rental office to post.

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