Monday, November 25, 2013

From Shibuya to Shinjuku: Closing Chapter of the Worst Landlord

Looking over the past year I haven't really changed much in appearance but especially in these last 3 months there has been some big life changes.

Namely, for the first time in 3 years I am leaving Shibuya. With Ash getting married and with child (now married and given birth to a healthy baby boy! congrats!) and my gyaru-sa no longer together, I don't really have too much of a reason to be in shibuya anymore as most of my close friends are now in Shinjuku.

For those who are planning on moving to tokyo looking for a place to live beware of a landlord named morris who often post listings on craigslist. He is a nightmare of a landlord and I warn you against renting from him at all costs. Why ash and I stayed there for over 2 years was just merely because it's expensive to move in Japan and with all the late fees he charged us (her) we never were able to come up with the money to move out until recently.

Firstly, in Japan sub-litting is illegal. We didn't know it at first but Morris is a sub-litter. Meaning he rents from someone and rents out to a 3rd party for a higher price making profit. He seemed like a good option at first because he only required a deposit and the rent was cheap for a place right in the middle of Shibuya. Sure the place was old but it sure as hell beat Sakura House's prices and size and on top of that he was charismatic and nice at the beginning. We moved in without any problems and a week after we settled in, the big earthquake hit and from then on our nightmare began.

There were many problems with many things I rather not go into all the details but in general he just never helped us with any of it. For example, our a/c broke and he didn't fix it til 6months later and we had to suffer the summer heat in our house at 37C at 80-100% humidity. It was awful. On top of that there was a pipe problem and so our shower flooded often, and the toilet kept running water. This apparently was a problem before we moved in that he failed to specify. The water bill turned to about 50,000yen for a month. We couldn't afford that and the water company went after Morris to do something about it. But he never helped us. I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture.

Ash is in charge of the rent and she was often a couple days late because at first it was hard to get a hold of him. He complained that why can't we just pay by bank transfer like everyone else. The fact is we tried but couldn't. He changed ridiculous late fees and in the final last year or so he started to get into shady methods to extort money and make our lives hell. The next part might be comical to read but it is really what happened.

In Japan you have to not pay for about 3months then get a official document to leave. Then it takes another 3 months to process a court order to really make you leave. We were never more than a week late with rent. And we always paid each month plus late fees. (which is funny he never gave receipts or actual amounts, he just made random numbers depending on his mood it seemed) He started to harass us from May of this year. Starting by locking us out of our house. But I was able to open the door by breaking locks and so on. By law he had no right to lock us out of our house if we paid rent each month regardless of it being a couple days late. Then it escalated to bigger locks. I was at home at the time so was it a properly made house, I would have been locked in but I managed to get in and out of the sliding door/window (like a ninja! yeah!) until one day winds were strong and knocked our window out of place and it broke. He was supposed to fix that but of course he didn't so we did it ourselves but he kept on tearing our fixtures apart. From the locks came him nailing boards up. over our window so we cant get in and out. (So, I took the lock out again) There have also been times he would break into our house to see if we were home several times. I can tell because he would step on things and a couple times we were home when he did that.

Around october and november came the hardest part. He started to nail our door shut. While ash and I were already planning on moving out by end of Nov, he was getting worse and worse trying to get us out faster. Ash was already staying mostly at Taiyos house and I already have a new place ready so I was just waiting til my school work quieted down before I attempted to move. But instead of only around rent time he came almost every day to board up our house. I was smart and brought a screw driver in my bag and opened up every time I came home to grab my things. But it really made life difficult. I really wasn't planning on moving til end of november but because of the circumstances I had to waste precious project time (which took a big toll on my 3rd term project) on moving my things. I could only take a little at time and I was only planning to just take a couple items one day and the boards got worse so I decided to move all my essentials out first. Unfortunately I was wearing 6inch heels and twisting my ankle on my way out. Needless to say, just when the weather was getting perfect for looking good I had to wear sneakers... which matched none of my clothes so I had to borrow jerseys... (on top of my hair finally being long enough to mori, it was summer so I had to wait an extra 3-4months to look good again and then this happened. Plus this years winter trends.... I'll get into that another day )

From that day I knew I had to get my stuff out as soon as I could but with 3rd term coming to an end projects and homework was heavy so I didn't have much time. It got worse again as he broke into our house again and stole our lights this time. You want us to move out but you make it hard for us to get our things. You want us to pay you money yet you want us out asap. Sorry but it don't work that way.

The very last day of our rent I finally was able to make it out there to do my last move. During that time one of his dogs broke in to yell at me to get out. I was already on my way out. He wanted me to clean the house like it was new as well and get out at the same time. Um sorry? You can't expect me to do all that in 2 hours. Well, the main person they were after was Ash since my name wasn't on the lease. Ash already had most of her stuff out already so I just packed my things and left too. I didn't bother cleaning since it's not like he's gonna give back our deposit (which btw, our super nice neighbour never got his deposit back. Morris knew he was leaving the country so he just made himself scarce and not answering contact.) and I wanted to show him a piece of the hell he put us through.

So now I live in Shinjuku and Ash lives in Saitama. We still phone each other often though. Things won't be the same but it's not necessarily a bad thing. We all have to grow up someday. Sometimes things happen faster than expected. But hopefully with a new family Ash will finally flourish and become more responsible. I know she works hard under pressure so surely, she will be ok. She always made sure she would. This chaotic mess was mostly due to a crazy landlord but Ash was not completely free from fault either. Her procrastination has landed her (and me in the process) in a lot of trouble with other household things on top of giving the landlord an excuse to make our lives a living hell. Hopefully for me as well, there will be some more stability in my life because I'm really tired of working soo hard only to have to work 2-3x harder just to prevent other peoples mistakes from impacting me so badly. Its just like driving. No matter how careful and safe of a driver you are, you can still get into an accident because the driver next to you isn't.

The gloomy truth of things are;

No matter how careful you are, you can still get into just as much trouble as the dare-taker next to you just by being there

Love is not all you need. Just because 2 people love each-other dearly don't mean they can be together. Unfortunately as it is, circumstances have a huge play in relationships.

Just because a person is good at heart don't mean they won't do bad things.

Just because someone is talented or smart don't mean they will be successful.

In otherwords, while hard-work and being a good person counts some, life is more at the mercy of luck than one would like to admit and circumstances/enviroment can really make or break people no matter how good or bad of a person was to begin with.

Pure-heart, and natural talent, and handwork stands nothing next to experience and luck. But no matter how short of the end of the stick you get you can only live-on and hope for the best.