The day has finally come that gives some permanence to this plan of mine to build a house. Today is the day we get possession of our cross-the-street-basement-suite. Like every step of this process to this point in time, this was full of stress and delays. Due to a language barrier with the landlord, it has been difficult to determine the exact plan for the handover.
We have been planning this day since early Sept of 2013. I found out the tenant across the street had moved out and talked with the owner about holding the place for us until we needed it this spring. A $1000 bonus and three months rent in advance sealed the deal and we were set to take possession on March 1, 2014.
The landlord found a short term renter to fill in the gap and there was some concern that the rental agreement may not be filled out correctly and that there would be no easy way to get rid of the tenant to allow us to move in March 1. Fortunately a conversation with the tenant a couple of months later show this to be a unnecessary concern and they were aware they needed to vacate by March 1.
The next stressor came about a month before we were to move in. The house alarm had gone off in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. By 7:00 PM it went off almost continuously. Shortly thereafter a carpet cleaning truck arrived. Some investigation by a nosy neighbour (me) determined that the sanitary sump in the basement had backed up. I was of course now on high alert and worried that the situation would lead to hidden mould. Fortunately the damage was confined to a part of the basement not encompassing ‘our’ suite and it was caught before the water level was able to wet the wall drywall panels or insulation. Crisis averted!
Then last week, I went to setup up the transfer of our cable and internet account to the suite. I have a business I am running and also have neighbour’s businesses relying on my network, so this was a rather critical requirement. I was told by SHAW that I could not initiate the transfer because the current tenant had not initiated theirs. I talked to the current tenant but they got back to me the next day saying they could not initiate their transfer because the place they were going to had not yet initiated THEIR transfer yet. This was getting ridiculous. Several days went by with several calls to SHAW with no joy. When SHAW informed me that I probably would be able to just bring over my modem and TV set box and ‘plug them in’, I decided to just let it ride and figure it out after we took possession. I would just leave my office at the old house until this was figured out.
Yesterday, I tried to find out from the landlord when the place would be vacant. There did not seem to be a ‘fixed’ time which was concerning. The latest time I heard was 2:00 PM so I planned for cleaners to arrive for 3:30. There was really no way to contact the tenant as the entrance door in the basement goes to a common area hall, so I could not just knock on the door and ask.
Today the movers arrive to start moving the existing tenant. The movers were done and gone by about 1:00. We were relieved. Everything is going to plan. But then a conversation with the tenant indicated that he had brought in cleaners and they would not be done till 3:00. I advised I needed to get in there by 3:00 and that I had cleaners coming that I could not cancel. At 3:30, my cleaners arrive and his were still in the suite. I advised time was up and that everyone had to get out so we could do the transfer and walk through with the landlord. I did my walk-through at the same time as the previous client. 3:45 and we had keys and the place was ours.
My cleaners with their trained eyes could tell right away that the place was still very dirty. A wipe down of back splashes, counters, and walls turned white clothes black. I suspect the place had not been properly cleaned since a chain smoker about 3 tenants ago. I am relieved we made the decision to have the place cleaned and did not cancel. Rebecca from Excellent Cleaning Service (http://www.excellentcleaningservices.com) did an excellent job.
As the cleaning was not done till close to 6:00 PM, it was too late to try and move anything tonight. I spent the evening at home supply stores buying more shelves for the kitchen cupboards, and buying a new basement entrance door and looking for a new suite entrance door. The landlord graciously has agreed to let us put in temp doors that we will cut cat doors into so that my cat Blackberry will be able to get in and out of the suite. As I only had an opportunity to raise this today, I am thankful to Landlord agreed or I do not know what we would have done.
As I get ready for bed on this last night in the old house, it starts to sink in the enormity of what I am about to do. I have to admit, I am more than a little anxious and scared!