In 2001, there was a bright, determined, willful woman who decided that she wanted a 2 flat in Chicago. This was when the market was "hot" and she really wanted it to happen. She bought a building with 2 units called a 2 flat. She bought it as a tear down forgetting that she was a teacher, and had no experience with construction of any kind. Fast forward 15 years...
This is a picture of my building. Mine is the one behind the tree. The garbage in the lawn pretty much sums up how people treat the building. The other picture is the front door. I have painted it since this picture.
There are several stories to tell about being a landlord to this beautiful building. I am going to start with the most recent one in summer 2016. I have moved out of state, and came for a visit with friends and family, and to check on my building. As I side note, I do not recommend moving out of the state when you own a rental. My downstairs tenants happily signed a new lease with a rent increase. This is amazing to me since there is so much work left to be done on their unit.
I went upstairs to see my four bedroom unit tenants. At which time, they informed me that they were moving. They were moving in 2 weeks, or maybe next month. My input was that they would move in 2 weeks, and I would stay in IL to get new tenants. I am unhappy with myself for several reasons: 1) They owe me a lot of money, and I have been a bad landlord and let them stay. 2) They were supposed to rehab some of the building, and it is just not going to happen. 3) I am already homesick as I love where I live. We all agreed that they would move, and I was assured that they would still do the work for the building jobs that we had already talked about. Yeah right! I went on to easily find new tenants who cannot move in until lots of work gets done.
I started bringing contractors to get quotes on the work that needed to be done. The builidng has a very disgusting crawl space that needs to be cleaned out. As I walked to the room where you access the crawl, I asked the contractor if he has a flashlight. You need to walk to get to the light. As we used his phone for some light, I walked toward the light fixture. As I came close to the light fixture, I stepped in something. Since this was not bad enough, as soon as I turned on the light, I saw a rat. Here is what it looked like: This is not the actual rat, as I did not decide it was the time for pictures! For some reason, I started running for the door. As I ran, I realized what I had stepped in was dog poop. Awesome! My tenants who are moving out of an unauthorized dog. The contractor pointed out to me that "they" are more afraid of me than I am of them. Thanks Buddy! That is so helpful! On the other hand, he declined going into the crawl as he said there were obviously live creatures in there. Oh, what happened to they are more afraid of us? I must also point out that there was a stink in the area of the crawl space. I am going to assume there was at least one dead rat. I went and had a little chat with my tenants about cleaning up the dog poop, went and bought rat poison, and I am hoping for the best.
My old tenants moved out August 31, 2016. Here are some pictures of how they were living when they were still in the unit. Stay tuned for pictures of how they left the unit, the garbage, and the yard.
That night I spent about an hour in shock over the dirtiness and the amount that they have left to move. After my pity party, I went to a fast food place down the block. I do eat the burgers at this place. However, I usually like their chicken. This is at about 10:15PM and I am starving. I get my food, and I walk back to the 2 flat. I sit on the ailing porch and start to eat. As I eat the chicken, I start to notice the look of the meat. I am using the term very loosely as the meat looked disgusting. I really wish I would have taken a picture. Despite my hunger, I could not get myself to eat it. I went back inside, and blew up the blow up mattress that I was going to be sleeping on. This night just gets better and better. My idea of camping is staying in a hotel. I wore the clothes I had been wearing all day as I do not consider this house being "pajama worthy."
After a fitful night of sleep worrying about bugs and rodents. I walked to the fast food restaurant with the left over chicken. After getting my money back, I did order a coffee. As I sat with my computer and sipped my coffee, behind me I hear a ruckus. There is a woman sitting behind me yelling. I do not know if she was yelling at a real or imagined person. There was a great deal of profanity and a vey aggressive tone. I texted my friend, and told her these developments. I also told her that I was too scared to turn around as I did not want to be the aim of her wrath. She did quiet down. About 10 minutes later, a Chicago cop comes and tells her she needs to leave. She trash talked him for a bit including calling him a stupid f...He asked her if she wanted to be arrested. She did leave going in the opposite direction than I needed to go. Thanks Goodness! I can handle crazy people, but aggressive crazy people are another story.
The Neighborhood my 2 flat is in
Chicago is an interesting place. Albany Park is a neighborhood in the North Western part of Chicago. It is an ever changing neighborhood where I have seen arrests, known of a drug house down my street, and seen some development. As you walk the streets, you will see people of every race, creed, and fashion sense. Later that same day, I was walking to the post office. On my way, I was asked for a cigarette. Are you kidding me, even if I had one, I am not giving it to you. I saw families, the young and the old. One young man caught my eye. For those of you whom have never lived in Chicago, it is common practice to stare at people, and not acknowledge them in any other way. I was doing when I noticed a young man coming my way. What was interesting is that he had a star tattooed on his face. As I looked at him, he looked away. My initial thought is that this is somehow similar to the tattooed tear drop on one's face. I believe the tear drop is a gang affiliated tattoo which stands for how many people you have killed.
With this in the back of my mind, I was not afraid, more curious. It was at that moment, that I remembered my downstairs tenants had given me their rent in cash. Now, I am not one to accuse anyone of being part of the criminal element. However...it did make my heart race, and I was aware of this money in my pocket during the rest of my errand. After depositing it in the bank, I was very happy and relieved. I generally only carry about $2 and change with me. Even more interesting, is that while taking that same route that next day, I saw him again. I had an incredible urge to run after him and ask: 1) What does that tattoo mean? 2) Who are you parents? What are they like? 3) What do you do for a living that you are walking the streets in the early afternoon? Now back to the contractor saga!
After being blown off by one contractor, my new tenant gave me the name of another contractor. We spent over an hour on a Friday going over all of the necessary repairs. When he left, my new tenant mentioned to me that he found him on social media. What! Social Media! Oh boy, I hope this works out.
To be continued... It would be awesome, if you would buy products from this site. NOT the partner products. This would help with my building fund!
Here are some items that we sell. Click on the picture to see more products.