Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Channeling The Godfather

Meet one of my lawyers. OK, so he really doesn't represent me here in Israel, but Cousin Neil (as pictured above) is definitely someone I would turn to for legal advice. I mean, he defends the State on behalf of Spitzer, so his legal advice is certainly up to par. And, eventhough my problem is better address to Rantz (the roommate) who practices tenent/landlord law, I always turn first to Neil (and then Josh, Rantz, my sister, and Fred who happens to really be my lawyer). That, and I wanted to let all the ladies know that shockingly Neil is still on the market. E-mail me if you're interested in the stats.

I woke up this morning pretty angry, as I didn't have a good night sleep last night because my landlord(s) have decided to screw around with me. So, I'm channeling The Godfather and taking it to the mattress tomorrow when we meet.

Here's what my landlord(s) now want from me:
1) They want me to sign the landlord/tenent contract from the post office
2) They want me to go to the bank and take out a bond that will cover the Arnon/Water/Electricity/Vad Bayit if I end up breaking the lease and they can't find someone who can take over it
3) They don't want to put in a dryer, as we had initially agreed upon, because they just don't feel it's necessary
4) They STILL haven't picked up the Bezeq box for my Internet and don't seem to think it's a priority
5) The kitchen and bathroom still aren't finished, but they're hoping it will all be done by Wednesday. So, Friday moving in is pretty much the target date
6) They want two, not one month's security deposit

Here are my arguments:
1) One of the reasons why I decided to wait for this apartment, aside from the fact that it was going to be gorgeous since it was all new, is the appeal of an American landlord. That meant doing things like we do in America, which is signing a regular one-year lease with 30-days notice and forfiting ones security deposit. None of this 2 months security deposit, and an extra bank bond crap. I spoke to a number of people here and they have it in their contracts that they don't forfeit a security deposit if given 3 months notice. Either side can give 3 months notice and then the security deposit can be collected at the end of that time period. No one I know has a bond either, they said for the amont of money in my security deposit, that should cover it.

My decision when I'm going into negotiations tomorrow - I will not take out this bond from the bank. I will provide him with the 2 months security deposit, but I want written into the contract three months notice by either party and no forfitting of the security deposit. If given less than three months notice, by the tenent, then the two months security deposit will be forfitted.

2) Put in a freakin dryer - I want a dryer. Period. I don't know if I'll ever use it, but I want the option in the apartment. We had initially discussed, when negotiating, that I wanted the bare bones in the apartment when I moved in. That included washer/dryer (I would NEVER say washer without a dryer, I'm American, why would I ever say washer without dryer. That's not an American request.) bed and kitchen. Now, I took care of the bed myself so that was an extra expense they didn't have to take care of. I didn't submit the bill for my bed, and instead ate the cost even though it was in the initial discussions. Dryers in Israel don't cost a ton of money, and he can certainly shell out the cost for a washer/dryer. Bottom line, I'm not budging on the dryer especially since I ponied up for the bed

3) I want one landlord, 2 is ridiculous - When I initially spoke to my landlord, he mentioned that the Israel landlord wasn't my landlord but just a contractor building the apartment. All of a sudden, I get to Israel and now I have two landlords. That was not in the original discussions. Who is the landlord? Is it a joint deal? Who do I deal with when I have issues. I want this to be explained and let's figure out the bed way to deal with things. I'm busy and shouldn't have to sit here and try to figure out who is who and what is what.

4) No Internet, no money - I will not move into that apartment until that Bezeq box is in. I will not forfeit the internet access I have now, which is crucial to my business, because they haven't gotten around to taking care of it. Every day that box isn't in the apartment is another day they don't get money for the month. I won't sign anything, or write any checks, until that box is in the apartment. This is non-negotiable.

Other points:
1) I was patient and waited the extra week for them to finish the apartment because I'm a nice person but guess what, for the American money I am willin to spend a month, I can find a great apartment. It's hard to find an apartment now in Tel Aviv for people who have less money than I'm willing to spend. Someone else will be more than happy to take my almost $1,000 a month rent and would set down the red carpet and toss rose petals about. There are apartment listings on Homeless so I'll just stay here and start looking for an apartment

2) As much as the apartment itself will be gorgeous, the building is a rundown dump. There isn't even an outside door! Everyone in Israel, at this point in life, has a downstairs security door that buzzes up. The outside isn't well maintained at all. My landlord mentioned that he was in talks with the owners of the building to put in a nicer lobby, but who knows when that will happen. No outside door means lack of security for the building, so that is definitely a downside.

3) Location is nice but could be better for me. If I had to do it all over again, I would move to a location closer to the bus route to school. Right now, I will have at least a 15 minute walk to the bus stop everyday. Which, let's face it, isn't a lot of fun in the awful heat or when it starts raining.

4) Each day I am not living in an apartment with a working Internet that I can hook my VOIP phone into is another day that I am losing out on my income. I only budgeted for 3 weeks not working, and now that I'm already well into my 4th week, I have lost a lot of money. I can no longer wait around for them to get their acts together, my business is way too important to me,

Bottom Line: I have options! I don't plan to back down at all and, should they choose to keep penny-pinching and playing around with me, I will be more than happy to part ways and find something else. It isn't what I want to do but I will do if it's necessary.

The bed folks called me yesterday and Avi left a message. Now, the bed which was supposed to be delivered a few times last week, and then again 100% today, will not be ready until tomorrow.

I called Avi back and left him this message: If the bed is not delivered tomorrow, as directed, I am stopping payment on my American Express card and will find another store that wants to take my almost 4,000 shekel. I got a VERY quick call back with a message saying that the bed will definitely be delivered tomorrow. Let's hope that the apartment negotiations go well, otherwise I have no idea where I'll be moving my bed into.

Wish me luck tomorrow morning on dealing with the apartment!

Song of the day is Something to Talk About by Badly Drawn Boy because Eye of the Tiger would have been too dramatic.

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