Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Getting a camel through the eye of a needle is supposed to be easier than getting a rich man into heaven, right? Well, today I've been trying to thread a needle with a camel, or it feels like it anyway. (The rich guy is on his own.) Some things are just impossible to do, but I had to give it a try.

Yes, I've been fighting Madison City Hall again. No power can be turned on until the property passes the city's inspection. The city won't inspect until the property owner has obtained a bond, and the bond can't be issued without a complete background and credit check. Even though I started on this process a week ago, we still don't have the bond, the city won't issue the permit for power, and my renter has moved in all her stuff and has no lights. She had to spend last night with a friend. She will have to do the same tonight. I'm pro-rating her rent for the inconvenience, but still it's turned into way more trouble than it should have been.

They've done all they can do to discourage property owners from renting out their houses. By the time I get through jumping through all their hoops, I will have spent several thousand dollars and still have an older home that doesn't quite measure up to their standards. I'm beginning to wonder if my civil rights are being violated.

I got a call last Saturday from a woman in Tampa who had seen my ad for the house and called to inquire about renting it. She had talked to a realtor who told her there was NO rental property in the city. "All our residents are home owners," she was told. When I told her the house was inside the city limits, she asked if I knew the city is saying there is no rental property there. Oh yes, I told her, I'm well aware that they would like to get rid of all of it. With all the new regulations, they're doing everything they can to discourage those of us who own rental property.

The Tampa lady is retiring and plans to buy a house, but wants to rent first to be sure she likes the city. Madison was named as one of the best retirement cities by Better Homes and Gardens, she told me. Even though I'd already signed a lease with our new renters, she and I had a long conversation about Madison and how snobby city officials are. I suggested she look over here in Rankin County around the Reservoir, and I gave her my friend Pam's name and telephone number. There are a couple of condos for sale in our complex, and it's the perfect place for laid-back living.

I've got thousands of dollars of work to do on the Madison place. They did agree to approve the power, before it's all done, so maybe I got a little bit accomplished, but we've still got to have trees and bushes trimmed, some totally removed, cyclone fence removed, house painted, etc. etc. Haven't these people heard there's a financial crisis going on? Maybe it hasn't hit them yet, but it certainly hit me today.

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