many things have happened in the last few days. our landlord has threatened to have us vacate by 31st march, because he felt we have gone around him and approached the ‘other’ landlord, and that we did all we did behind his back.
the event that triggered this spate of events began when the main, the real landlord, decided to sell the property at 93 Club Street. a few days ago, the estate agent (who was selling the property) came to clarify what our ‘dealings’ with this middle landlord were. even though we did a check online before we signed the tenancy with this middle landlord, he explained to us the ‘other’ landlord was his cousin and he was part owner of the building. however ever since we moved into 93 Club Street more than a year ago, hy and I could never be sure who the owner(s) of 93 Club Street was. we were not the only tenants of 93 club street, and all three of us tenants had no contact with the main landlord. we simply paid our rental to him monthly and there was no need for any of us to probe further. all this time everyone spoke of the main landlord as the relative and in fact cousin of the middle landlord. the other thing we knew was that the main landlord was a ‘she’ and that this owner preferred to let her cousin handle all rental, air conditioner, sewage, pest control, and really, any and all matters relating to 93 Club Street.
so when the estate agent dropped by a few days ago to have a chat with us, we found out he had no relation to the owner except for being a tenant, a tenant who had his lease extended over several terms over the years. of course we were surprised, shocked more like it, as many other rental validity and continuity matters now became doubtful and worrying. the agent herself was just as surprised, as she too was of the impression there were cousins or relatives and hence he had good autonomy over the property. but since she had found a buyer and the owner was pretty happy to go ahead with the deal, the agent also hoped to tie up matters regarding us three sub tenants. was there a problem?
yes, because our lease and our neighbour’s lease still had some way to go. the other surprise unveiled to us was that the middle landlord’s lease with the owner will expire in July this year! we had all put much effort and expense into renovating each of our rental floors, and while we were aware in every tenancy there existed the proper possibility of a property sale, we were always confident this would not happen as it was most likely the middle landlord who would buy over the premise if anything. the question as to why the middle landlord signed each of our leases despite knowing his own would lapse before ours caused further need for clarification and worry.
yet all this time we were still assured that he was able to convince the owner to somehow honor and abide by our leases. we have always been close to the middle landlord. we had meals with him, we walked our dogs together, he was like our god father. finally late one evening, we received a call from him, that it was ‘vacant possession’ by the end of July 2011 because the owner will sell the property for certain and we must vacate by then. perhaps it only became obvious to us, at those moments after putting down the phone with him, that everything had been our own wishful, trusting belief that everything he did for us he did because he had only been working hard for us to see us grow at 93 Club Street. in the moments of part clarity and part sadness, i rang him back and asked for the owner’s contact number. he gave it to us, warning us that because we did not pay him security deposit and because we did not have our tenancy document stamped, we will risk being kicked out by the owner the very next day should she find out ‘the truth’. I did not feel there to be a difference being kicked out the very next day or at the end of july. it was close to midnight. I rang her.
I did not care about what was ‘truth’ or what was ‘beneficial’. for reasons that only the owner and those involved in this matter need only know, I made that phone call with a single question – I wanted to confirm with the owner if she wanted us out by July. yes and no, for those reading this, but for now we are here to stay. I will cease to explain questions of why we failed to service the security deposit, why we did not have our tenancy stamped, why trust is a relative matter depending on whose side you are looking from. our once friend and landlord-until-july now feels that we have gone around him and succeeded to “extend our own lease” with the owner without ensuring his own deal and financial welfare. I do not know whether what we did is 100% heaven worthy. The owner has told us she will help us extend our lease with the new owner if she sells the property after July. She does not have to do this; it is not an obligation for her to honor a time-lapsed, faulty tenancy. She is certain about what she will, can, or will not, cannot, do. She offered to have us until the natural end of our lease so as to make right his tenancy with us. This is worthy. Of course she cannot extend his tenancy, since she has decided to sell the property. As for me, could I have done more?
and there is still a PART II to all this!
when I find conviction and time tonight/tomorrow I will type out the sh*t in my head and see if I can clear up this muddy earthworms of survival, luck and integrity.