I talked about this on the show today a little bit – here’s the long version of the story, in text format so all the search engines can pick it up.
This is the story of how I almost beat up a tired, sociopath, middle-aged Tyler businessman this afternoon.
I’m referring, of course, to my landlord, Bert Powell. The whole verbal altercation started simply enough. The man, over the last year has stolen, by his own admission, around 3-5 campaign signs from either public property areas or from my house directly. Shortly after I left for work, he showed up at my apartment, and began berating my wife for an old bowl of rice I had poured out the window (we don’t have a garbage disposal), and the campaign sign I had placed in the window of our bedroom. She repeatedly asked him to stop yelling, and that he couldn’t come in, she was becoming upset, and the baby was kicking inside her. After about ten or fifteen minutes of her being verbally assaulted by Bert Powell, he then left.
She called me up shaken and asking me to come home, relaying part of the story, mostly that he yelled at her, and that he had upset her. I told her I’d stop by his office, and then come home.
My office, Bert’s office, and my apartment are all within a tenth of a mile from one another. I dropped by the office, and the hapless maintainence man was there, but of course, no Bert.
Whenever Bert sets an appointment, there’s about a fifty/fifty shot he’ll be there. It depends on whether you need something from him or he needs something from you. He hired me a few months ago to do some programming work for him. I put together a simple ticket management program for his maintainence crew. Whenever it came time to talk deployment and pay the bill, of course, he would return no phone calls or emails nor show up for meetings.
I digress. I apologized for laying into the maintainence man, but he said he understood why I was upset, and that he would relay the message. I don’t trust that method of getting to Bert, as it has usually failed me in the past, but I let it go and was prepared to go home and console my wife.
On my way out of the car, I decided to be charitable and to remove some stray pieces of the rice I had tossed out the window the night before. There, I spotted Bert talking to some neighbors.
A fence seperated us, and he approached the fence starting in on me, “Mr. Hopkins, I have some things you need to do….”
“Mr. Powell, let’s first begin with the fight you started with my wife who is nine months pregnant! You simply don’t start sh!t with a woman who is about to give birth!” I retorted.
The subsequent exchange of words is a little muddy in my mind, but I know I hurled some expletives at him since he then decided to escalate the argument instead of apologize. I do know that the jaws of the neighbors dropped when I kept on about him starting an argument with my expectant wife.
At some point, he said: “Fine, you’re evicted, and I’m calling the cops.” He then proceeded to run, not walk to his car, and peal out of the driveway.
I walked back around to the parking lot at a brisque pace to intercept him, as he was coming around the corner. He slowed his car down next to the parking lot and flipped me off and then tore off.
I jumped into the car, and sped away after him, chasing him effectively back to his office.
He ran up the stairs in such a manner I didn’t expect possible from a wimp like him (I don’t use the word wimp lightly here, as I myself am not a statuesque figure of manliness, but I definitely think the term wimp applies here). He stood at the top of his stairs looking down at me with arms at his hips and began berating me in much the same way I imagine he yelled at my wife, tossing out every minor infraction from the previous year and a half I’ve rented from him.
I, in colorful language, pointed out that in no uncertain terms I would not stand for him coming to my house ever again and yelling at my wife. He then accused me of abusing my wife, a claim that is absolutely ludicrous. During the course of this I had stepped up the stairway a bit, and he had come down a bit. We were nearly nose to nose at this point, and I was restraining myself not to escelate this argument to a physical one.
I told him that’s a ridiculous claim, and he recalled a bit of something my wife had supposedly said about being afraid of me.
I told him despite he being an ass and dead wrong about my abusing my wife, if he wanted to fight someone, instead of picking on pregnant women, he should choose someone like me, instead.
“That’s it,” he said. “I’m evicting you as of today.”
“On what grounds?” I queried.
“On the grounds that you’re on a month to month contract,” he replied.
He had me beat on that. For the last six months or so, I’ve been on month to month. He can legally terminate the rent agreement for no reason whatsoever, given he provides 30 days notice.
I reminded him that he wasn’t completely without wrongdoing in all this either: “You evict me, I’ll see you in court. You’ve broken into my household and stolen property.”
“I’ve not stolen anything from you,” he said.
“What about the campaign signs you admitted to stealing to my wife, you f*cktard,” I retorted. Yes. I got to use the word f*cktard in a sentence, one of the few highlights of today.
“I’m calling the cops,” he said, as he dialed 911 on his celphone.
“Fine. Call them,” I said, as I began walking away. I could hear him describing his version of a domestic violence report that supposedly was in progress at my house.
I drove home and went back to talk to my wife. She was calmed down, but I related to her what had just happenned, and just as I was finishing my version of the story, the police arrived. We stepped out on the deck entry area, and related to the police what had occurred, leaving nothing out. He took my information, and asked who it was that called it in, and I told him Bert Powell. The officer started laughing.
“He pulls this [crap] all the time,” he said. He put his notepad in his pocked and left.
During the show, my wife sent me a voicemail saying that Bert had dropped off a note terminating the lease.
And that is the story of how I almost fought my idiotic landlord this morning.
For more interesting soundbytes, listen to this phone call between myself and Bert, as he tries to evict me over an ashtray last year.
Update (6:16 PM CST, 4/24/2007): A message from a former Bert Powell tenant via MySpace…
lol i saw yer post. yeah me and me mum rented a house from him way back in 97. The carpet was so unsanitary ( the previous tenant had small dogs) that he promised he would replace it shortly after moving in. Never did though. We almost went to court over it. Even after that, he only replaced it in the bedrooms, not the rest of the house. We did not renew our lease……
i dont mind [you posting my comment] at all.
Infact, everyone I’ve heard of that has rented from him has had some form of problem or another. He’s shady and the rent on his properties is always too high, especially once you factor in what you have to put up with…..