Some days I think I'm better at getting rid of applicants than I am at actually renting my apartments. I already knew on the phone that I wasn't going to rent to this girl. She had all the right answers: yes, I have good credit and rental history. My income is from SSD & my child gets survivor's benefits because her father died. But something was being left unsaid. Still, without a concrete reason to deny her, I agreed to an appointment to see the apartment.
When she came (with her mother) she elaborated: she'd been living for the past 2 years with her mother in Austerlitz, but she didn't have a car, and wanted to move somewhere that she could get around and "have fun" without one. I lived in Austerlitz, coincidentally on the same road as they do. Nobody lives there without a car. Even George the Hermit had an old Jeep!
I told her that it would be hard to get through the screening, because she hasn't rented anywhere in the past 2 years, and her sources of income are protected -- in other words, if she didn't pay her rent, it would be impossible to get the money from her social security checks. Her mother offered to co-sign -- said she was a professor in NYC for 20-plus years.
Things that made me go "hmmmmmm":
1. Austerlitz. No car. Hmmmmm.
2. Why was mamma so quick to offer to co-sign, effectively getting rid of her "disabled" daughter & granddaughter, hmmm?
3. She had no visible disability -- she was an attractive, late 20s girl with all her fingers and toes;
4. Getting social security money garnished if she wigged out & didn't pay would be impossible;
5. Her mother actually got the check in her behalf. (Why wasn't she in charge of her own finances at 28?) Hmmmm, hmmmm, and hmmmm.
But the weirdest thing was that, about 20 years ago, I had an almost identical situation in the very same apartment!
In that case the mother was a lawyer, they lived not far from these people today, the girl had no car, mom offered to co-sign, and stepdad had her things on the back of the truck the same afternoon. I lived to regret taking her, as she was a big druggie who got back in the groove when she moved to Hudson. It was a short and tumultuous tenancy.
So today, as I was making polite small talk, a loud voice in my head was shouting: DRUGS! DRUGS! DRUGS! Still crazy after all these years. (Sorry, Paul.) And I may have to get a shaman to cleanse the place now.
P.S. Is the Chatham/Spencertown/Austerlitz area the place that parents bring their children to dry out? And do they really think Hudson is the place to re-introduce them into society?