January 11, 2016 by phicks2012
The fall of the year might be beautiful, but it’s also when Property Taxes are due, and the taxes on my rental properties have to be paid for both the county and the city of their location. Every year it’s like being kicked in the teeth, or at least in the bank account, at the time of year just when I’m just starting to contemplate whether or not I can realistically afford to do any Christmas shopping, even on Black Friday!
So, this year, with one of my rental units empty until mid-November, and money having to be spent on repairs and renovations, and a security deposit having to be returned, and routine exterminating being done, and two units not yet having paid their rent, I had to put one of my tax payments on a newly paid-off credit card, and was struggling to pay as much of that off as possible. However, I was working it out and figured I could just barely manage to handle it if I didn’t eat or turn on the central heat in January. 😉
But life has a way of throwing us curves, and on November 27th I got a call from one of my tenants telling me that a water pipe had broken in the front yard. Read: Geyser. She said she couldn’t get through to the emergency number of the local water department to report it and really preferred not to get a $500 water bill, so she asked if I could try to reach them.
I did — easily as it turned out — and left a voicemail message expalining to them that a pipe had burst and that something needed to be done about it ASAP. If life were fair, that should have done it. Right? However, the water department came out and refused to fix the leak because they said it was between the meter and the unit rather than between the street and the meter. Sorry, taxpayer. Not happening. Your problem, not ours.
Well, I didn’t hear Jason offering to take care of it — probably because neither he nor I really knew how how bad the damage was, and probably because he didn’t really want to deal with “plumbing” — and so, despite the fact that in my experience plumbers in general will soak you (and yes, the use of the word “soak” is intentional) for a bundle, I had to tell the tenants to turn off the water at the street and had to arrange for someone else (selected by the tenant) to come out the next morning and do the repairs.
I spent all night tossing and turning and dreaming of being buried alive in plumbing bills for damage that was very probably caused by various tenants driving or parking on the grass over the pipes after being told repeatedly not to do so, and by morning I was a blithering wreck.
So, on Friday morning when the cell phone rang I totally cringed!!! I KNEW that morning call was going to be Bad News. It was going to be Bad News no matter what, because I was going to have to pay someone to repair damages that I didn’t cause and probably couldn’t afford to fix. It was going to be Bad News because it was happening just when I was thinking I might just barely make it through 2015 without going further in debt, right? Also, when the call came in Jason was in the process of assuring me that it was going to be Bad News, lecturing me and telling me that I was probably going to get hit with at least a $600 basic bill, and claiming (helpfully, of course) that I could probably double or triple that because it was a Saturday. So, let’s revise the “cringing” to “shaking in my sneakers”, and when I answered the phone I was expecting to be told that my budget for the next three months was going to be shot to Hell, and that I could kiss Christmas shopping goodbye.
Seriously though, I do not know in what alternate reality the tenant found this guy, but he and a helper showed up at 8:30am, dug up the pipe, went to Home Depot for some materials, repaired the cracked pipe, stayed to check it, and reburied it (2.5 hours), and charged me $175 total. YESSSSSS!!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, spending $175 wasn’t really in my financial game plan either, but the alternatives were so much worse that I was totally giddy with relief. I suspect that if these guys had been real “plumbers” as opposed to “handyman” types Jason’s pessimistic estimates would have been right on the mark and I’d have been singing an entirely different tune, but this just goes to show that every once in a while miracles do still happen!!!
Can I hear a Hallellujah?