-- Dave Barry --
Judge shows are on TV here all afternoon, background noise and time markers for my day. I happened to catch a piece of one as I wandered through the kitchen a few minutes ago, a tenant/landlord dispute over tossed-out belongings. It reminded me of a situation I had in Gettysburg, in about '66 or '67.
I don't know why I'm still bothered by what happened. Maybe because I didn't object to it at the time, and that bothers me, and I'd like to go back and kick a little ass now, but the landlord is long dead.
I had decided to move. There had been a fire in the apartment building, and the walls were covered in smoke and firemen's handprints. Plus, the landlord's daughter had tried to kill me once already, and still hated me, and she worked in the landlord's store downstairs, and I was afraid she had access to a key to my apartment.
I found a new place, brand new and fully furnished, owned by a friend who offered me the first two months rent-free. I started to move bits and pieces into the new apartment, but I didn't say anything to the old landlord, because I needed to give him one month's notice, and I knew it might take me two or three months to decide whether the new place would work out or not (I was suspicious about that two months free part). Since I wasn't paying rent on the new place, but was still paying rent on the old place, I figured I could take my time, two month's worth, anyway. By the end of the first month, I had moved out most of my clothing, but had left almost everything else I owned at the old place.
At the beginning of the second month of transition, when I was mostly living in the new place, I went to the landlord to pay the rent for the next month on the old place and give him a month's notice that I would be moving out a month hence. Before I could give him notice, he refused to take my check and asked for the key. He said, "I heard you'd moved out."
I found out that:
- He had been showing the apartment without my knowledge for the past two weeks - strangers traipsing through my things.
- He had already rented it to someone else.
- The new tenant had already moved in!
- They had thrown out everything I had left in the apartment.
I tucked my tail between my legs and retreated.
I wish I had sued, I wish I hadn't allowed myself to be taken advantage of like that, and I'm not over it yet.