An Unwelcome Intrusion
A day or so ago, an email arrived in my inbox which shook me up. Not initially of course, but as you will soon discover, people can be unpredictable as can our reactions. The email was from the property agent advising me that an unnamed person and their property representative
wanted to, nay – were about to- enter our home as our property had been identified as one said unnamed person, would like to purchase.
Rather an unexpected interruption to our normal Saturday morning routine, to say the least. Particularly as we rent the home and have a rental agreement that has not yet expired. I also hasten to add that this property is not on the market for sale, and the owner had no plans to sell before this stranger approached him, especially given that we had, a couple of months before, negotiated and signed off on a longer lease. He had actually asked us to sign on for at least another year.
Now, as I said, initially I was a little taken aback about the email, what with receiving little more than 24 hours notice of this unexpected intrusion, but I did appreciate being advised beforehand, at least. I was not required to give permission for this “entry,”at all. It was an advice, not a request!
However, there seemed little chance I could have denied the entry, as the property manager stated we did not have to be at home at all and the strangers would enter regardless. It is true, I do not own this property, I merely rent it. However, all the contents are mine and I do pay good money to live here- more than most around, and in return, I expect that I can quietly enjoy residing under this roof.
What I didn’t expect was my own extreme reaction to this visit.
Perhaps I may not have had such a reaction if the prospective buyer was, at least, a little humble or respectful? Clearly, humility was a lesson this stranger had missed at school.
Upon her arrival, Mrs ‘I am Used to Getting my Way’, bustled into my home, her family in tow, completely ignoring me as she walked past, as if I was some invisible, enslaved home help, completely peripheral to her consideration. [I know – that is SOOO judgemental, but bare with me, as I AM writing this in retrospect.]
Perhaps I should have stopped the rest of her family at the door, and given permission for just one person to enter, with the rep, as per the entry notice?
I don’t know.
My head started spinning with a range of thoughts.
Perhaps I should have followed her around? Is that polite or allowed?
Prone to ‘worst case scenario’ my thinking was immediately: Who knows if her child might have decided to pocket my jewellery or valuables as they sifted through our rooms, one after the other? These days we have to beware of all kinds of scams and who we open our door to, but then I decided I was being far too paranoid.
The MOTH wasn’t on hand, either. He had taken the polite option of scurrying off for a walk with the growling Miniature Schnauzer, which to be truthful, would never bite. Our dear little girl does, however, sound a lot like a cross between the death metal band, Slipknot and the character Regan in the creepy movie, The Exorcist, to any stranger that darkens our doorstep. [you have been warned]. I decided to make myself scarce out in the garden, with one ear directed to the goings on, inside.
The lady’s first comment on entering our premises was a condescending –
“Oh – it’s so small.”
To which the Real estate agent, intent on securing a sales commission or spotter’s fee, entered damage control:
“Well,” he said, collecting his thoughts.
“It really comes down to how much furniture a person has.”
Do I have too much furniture? I thought, suddenly questioning myself.
The next step in Mrs Stranger’s inspection offensive was to order her daughter to get out the tape measure and to measure the dimensions of the rooms and plan out the furniture placement and layout for their new home! This took some time.
Vocal criticism of our “settings” periodically burst forth from her mouth, like the water spilling over Niagara falls.
“You wouldn’t have THAT lamp.” And -“That chair doesn’t go THERE,“ she continued unabated.
I was, by then, a little aghast.
She had barely been inside for more than five to ten minutes. As the whole group continued with their inspection, I wondered if they had indeed been checking out our property during the last week or so?
Suddenly, I felt vulnerable and chided myself for not hiding any valuables that might lay trustingly about. And Mr Real Estate didn’t really supervise them either, standing casually with his hands crossed behind his back near the door.
I also began to feel as though my privacy had been violated. An extreme reaction – maybe, but it seems one really has few rights as a tenant to secure a rental property and rest comfortable in the knowledge that you don’t have to continually lock away any valuables, given that strangers may enter a rental property on an email and little more than 24 hours notice.
What if we had been away on holidays and not able to check email?
When Mrs ‘World is MY Oyster Stranger,’ disappeared into the garage, I took the opportunity to slip upstairs. Some time later, I overhead the conversation in the living room to be something like,
“Well, naturally, I’ll be wanting a second inspection before submitting an offer [to buy],“ to which the real estate rep enthusiastically agreed.
He then finally mentioned us.
“There is the small matter of the current tenants – but they won’t be here for much longer.”
I gulped! – WHAT?
We had in fact, recently extended our lease with the landlord until our new house, the [Home by the Sea], was completed.
Mrs ‘World is My Oyster
Stranger/potential Narcissist’ pounced on this piece of information.
“Oh,” she said with an authoritative rising tone,
“Well, I’ll just rent it.”
Now, I am not sure if she meant she was planning to rent our house out to others, or for herself to become the new tenant, but the real estate rep clearly, like me, took the comment to mean the latter.
“Why would you do that?” he worryingly asked – (seeing his commission as water swirling down the drain-hole).
Some whispering then took place that I was not privy to, and in any case, my mind started spinning. It seemed unfair that someone could roam around the suburb where I live, pick out a place that took her fancy, eye it over and within a little over 24 hours, have gained somewhat unsupervised entry, under a whim that she might make an offer to buy, (or rent), this or any property, just as she wished, without any regard for the folk who might be/were PAYING a fee, to live in that premises?
Please tell me if this is a completely unfounded, knee-jerk reaction that is founded in insecurity? If so, I will back off.
I defintely need some objective perspectives here from the blogosphere.
Tenants’ Rights – Something I’ll be Pondering About