So remember a week ago when I was feeling totally stressed, and one of the reasons for that was because my landlord was not only snitty about me being late with the rent (the first time in over 16 years!) but he also said I would have to pay a percentage of the recent roof painting, amounting to about 400 euros? Then he said “not to worry” as he would divide it up so that I’d “just” be paying an extra 30 euros a month.
Well, this 30 euro a month thing keeps coming up, and I think this is Pepe’s way of finally getting me to pay it. What happened was back when I took this flat, and was also allowed to keep on the one I had moved out of (across the hall), I had a sit down meeting with Pepe one morning to discuss all this. I explained that renting the rooms next door, if I provided bedding, dishes, etc, would be like having flatmates to help me pay my rent (which is what I did for eight long years) only they’d all be living next door. No problem. And then we agreed on a price for the apartment I’d be moving into, so I was pretty surprised when I got the contract for it a couple of weeks later and it was for 30 euros more than we had agreed upon…
Pepe said not to worry, that the extra he added on was just “on paper” and that I would always pay 30 euros less. Huh? At the time I thought that was weird but then figured either his wife or daughters must have given him hell for giving me such a cheap rent (it really wasn’t, all things considered, but they probably thought so). This also meant that the yearly increases were based on a higher rent, but what the hell, he was also letting me sublet next door, so I didn’t quibble and just paid him 30 euros less a month.
And then Nog moved in and Pepe started with quips about how I wasn’t living alone anymore I could afford to pay that extra 30 euros that he had taken off my rent “as a favour”. Say what? I told him that wasn’t what happened but usually chose to ignore him whenever he brought that up – which he did a lot. And I didn’t even argue when he put up the rent up to 7-8% each year (the usual is 3-4%) factoring in some bizarre “contributions” thing that I know I shouldn’t have been paying since, you know, he was letting me sublet next door. Likewise when he made me pay for half a new washing machine. My contract says I am responsible for the maintenance of electrical appliances, though I don’t think this means I have to replace them once they’ve died, especially as they were all over ten years old when I moved in. And then he also made me pay half when my water heater rusted through, which I thought was totally unfair as this is basic equipment and not an electrical appliance, but I let it ride because – that’s right – he was letting me sublet next door.
But as of last July I am no longer subletting the apartment next door. I was served notice a couple of years ago that Pepe’s daughter was taking the apartment back for her own use – a few years ago Pepe “gave” each of his three daughters one apartment in the building in order to get some sort of tax break. But then I got sick and so they let me keep it on until this year. Fine. It was time to let it go anyhow.
Which brings us to this week and my huge argument with Pepe about not paying for the roof painting – enough is enough already. I mean, sure, my rent is a bit lower than market prices but I’ve lived here for 16 years and anyhow there’s no lift, no heating or airconditioning, the doors & windows are rotting away and don’t close properly … but I love my flat and especially all the light and the views.
So imagine my shock when I got home last night after a very long day (I attended a Top Chef competition – as Press!) to find there was a post office notice that I’d received a “buro-fax”. Well, the last time I received one of these was when the daughter served me papers to take back the apartment next door, so I went straight to Pepe’s and asked him if that’s what this buro-fax was all about, that he was going to kick me out. And he said they want me to leave at the end of my contract next March! I was stunned. I’m still in shock. And I have no idea what to do.
My friend Paco is a lawyer and is checking into rental laws today, though I know Pepe’s son-in-law is also a lawyer and probably feels sure about being about to get rid of me or they wouldn’t have sent the buro-fax. Which I’m not going to pick up – as long as I don’t sign for it I haven’t legally received notice. Meanwhile, I don’t actually have a contract anymore. My original one (for a year) gave me a five year option to stay, and somehow we never got round to making up a new contract. But I mean, WTF? Not only do I not want to move, but there’s no way I could afford to. I’m barely making ends meet as it is. And what if I have to go back on chemo in January? Oh, this is not helping my already stressed out situation at all…