Renter Blues, AC Edition
Renting instead of owning is definitely not my preference. We do it because we have no choice. Though we do enjoy the upside of being debt-free, including mortgage-free. But there are times when you cannot help but being extremely frustrated by the lack of control that is present in your life when you rent.
Case in point:
My husband and I spent our night having a contentious and extremely unpleasant phone conversation with our landlord, discussing his demand that we amend our lease to agree to professional installation of our air conditioners, at our expense, in order to please his insurance company.
This is a great example of how the financial services industry just fleeces people. Because I have never once heard of an air-conditioner falling on someone. I have heard of many other things falling on people and, in fact, I am paranoid on windy days in NYC because things are constantly falling off buildings and injuring or killing people – masonry, construction material… cranes!
But air-conditioners? The NYPD does not compile data on how often they fall out and injure someone, but by all accounts it is exceedingly rare. So, score for the insurance industry.
We asked our landlord what exactly this requirement entails and how much it will cost. He could not tell us. We asked if we could get all the details before changing our lease and he went off the deep end, turning into an Olympic-gold-medal-Catholic-guilt-inducing-martyr-mother. He has treated us so well… he has kept our rent down… he is not going to be able to sleep tonight because we are so ungrateful and clearly our relationship is never going to be the same.
Oy vey. Super sensitive landlord + evil insurance industry = we lose. We finally just agreed on the spot to sign whatever he wanted because we could not take the interminable emotional drama and the guilting. The fact is, as renters we simply have no control. He does charge us rent that is below market rate. He dropped his usual bomb that always shuts us up: “I’m sure other landlords would be charging you $200 or $300 more than I do.” My husband and I shared an ominous glance. Try $1K more.
It is stressful to be reminded that you lack control in life. Though, of course, it’s possible that any perceived control that we do have is a fantasy anyway.
So we chalked it up and are just dealing with it. Doing lots of walking meditations today as I hurry from errand to errand and deep, deep breathing. We’re heading out of town in a few days and I’m just trying to keep my eye on the prize and not give in to rumination or to stoke my own stress and frustration.
Does your landlord make you pay to have your AC professionally installed?
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