05 September 2008

When Foreclosure Hits Home.

As many of you know, I live in a tiny, but cute, basement apartment in one of the hippest, edgiest parts of town (please read: people deal drugs on the corner at 8:00am in the morning). When I moved into this apartment I figured that I'd settle into this place for a while and enjoy watching the neighborhood develop and grow (i.e. stop watching people getting arrested en masse on 11th St. NW on my way home. What's up with that? Seriously!).

Now I'm a little unsure about how much longer I will be a resident of Columbia Heights.

My landlord seems to have disappeared. I don't know if he has skipped the country, run to Montana, killed a man, or is relaxing in Dubai with Russian prostitutes. His phone has been cut off, his emails bounce back, and the utility bills haven't been paid.

I have tried contacting him numerous times.

And then the postcard arrived.

Not from him. It was from two women who work for a real estate company. They claimed that the house--the one that sits above my apartment--is on an auction list. When that postcard fell out of the mailbox, I sat on the stairs and the tears welled up.

I have paid my rent on time since I've lived here. I don't deserve to be homeless.

After the initial shock, I took action. I asked friends what they thought I should do. Luckily, I have a friend who specialized in housing law and she assured me that I would be fine, but she suggested that first I go and visit the Landlord and Tenant Resource Center located in the DC Superior court.

My friend and the people who work at the resource center are amazing and helpful and wonderful people. They explained my options to me and I know that I have to sit and wait and see what happens. I am to put my rent in savings from now on. No sense in paying rent to someone who isn't paying for the house. For once, DC's wacky laws are going to help me.

At first, I was angry at my landlord (and cried for a little while) because I thought that we had a pretty good relationship. I wouldn't have judged him, for this economy isn't the best, and all sorts of people are losing jobs (and losing houses). But I would have helped him find renters for the upstairs, and I would have helped him to help me keep my housing.

All I have now is probably a lost security deposit and no guarantee for housing for the next six months.

There's something scary about not feeling sure that you'll have a place to live. I didn't think I'd have to worry about moving for a while. I guess this reminds me that there are never any guarantees.

I know that I'll be fine in the end, but I think about possibly having to move and not being able to afford the neighborhood that is now too hip and too expensive and I get a little angry and a little upset, because I held up my end of the bargain with my landlord.

I wish he could have been able to keep up his bargain with me, or at least tell me that he wasn't going to be able to do that.

Oy. The what ifs come back strong on days like these. I need a distraction.

Cute boys of Columbia Heights? Now would be a good time for you to appear on my doomed doorstep. I don't want advice, I just want conversation and dinner.

Update: Perhaps I need advice, oh cute men of Columbia Heights. The landlord owes 845.00 to Pepco. I guess I'll be on the phone with them tomorrow trying to figure out how to keep my lights from being shut off.


finer thing said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. But I must say, that you are quite (in the this side of the Atlantic context, meaning very), quite, witty to work in the phrase: "in Dubai with Russian prostitutes."

Dexter Colt said...

That totally sucks. I hate moving (as evidenced by my refusal to leave my horrible apartment complex), but I'd REALLY hate to be forced to move. I wish I had a friend who specialized in housing law.

At least you didn't send this skip-trace another rent check. And, maybe this will turn out to be one of those serendipitous life events.

Megarita said...

This is truly awful, but I do enjoy the rallying cry to the boys of Columbia Heights. Nicely done.

cuff said...

Man that sucks. I hope you can stay there or find another place in Columbia Heights. I hope you didn't already pay the September rent.

muttley said...

What an awful thing to happen...
You sound like you've got it sorted though, I'm sure you'll find another awesome edgy place!

pascal ├ębert said...

Perhaps this is a gentle nudge in the direction of California? Maybe it's time?

susan said...

Boo indeed. This is truly a crummy turn of events.

Shawn Michel de Montaigne said...

Here in California some cynically minded horses asses tried to put a proposition on the ballot that would have, through its intense legalese, taken away all rent control in the state. They failed.

My best to you. This is a very nice blog.