Not a Fan of Gravity (a re-post)

NOTE: Three years ago this week, Dr. Rent didn’t have a regular blog. Instead, Dr. Rent was a contributing author on a Wausau-centered blog labled simply “WausauBlog.” After letting the dog out this morning and noticing that almost all of the snow is gone from the dog’s kennel, and noticing all of his “business” that was hidden in the snow is now no longer hidden, I remembered of a post that I did for the Wausau blog that address spring time for landlords. What follows is a reprint of that post, from March 12th, 2007:

This was a wonderful weekend in the Wausau area if you are a weather fan. High temperatures were flirting with the 50’s. People were out walking and jogging and going shopping without their heavy winter coats or 50 lbs insulated boots. The lines at the car washes led out to the street, and those clean cars seldom stayed clean for more than a mile. The future Mrs. Rent, here visiting, is enjoying this early spring (the weather she claims she brought with her).

I am a landlord, however, and spring in Wausau means that I am about to have to do a lot of work, almost all of which gravity has played a roll in.

The snow that is melting turns into large puddles. Not all of our parking lots are as level and sloped as they used to be. Some lots have puddles large enough that I have some concern about the DNR declaring them “navigable waterways.” Today, I noticed that one lot that has a drain also had an especially large “navigable waterway”, telling me somewhere in the nether regions the drain lines are clogged or frozen.

Once that snow is gone, it uncovers all kinds of things that gravity brought to the ground. Tree limbs that came down with some of the heavier snow falls are now displaying themselves. Any rocks or gravel or other things that got plowed off the driveway into the large snow piles are now all in large piles on the lawn. If you can call it lawn… more like green mud. At home, the area where the dog does his business didn’t need attention as he would go, snow would fall making it all clean, he would go, and the cycle continues. With the snow’s melting, I realize just how many cycles there have been. (Does anyone have a tractor-mounted pooper-scooper?)

Let’s not forget how saturated the ground is with the water that is the thawing snow. That is not lawn; that is mud waiting to suck the shoes right off your feet. As cars cut corners around edges of parking lots, they dip into the grass leaving large trenches. Even in my own driveway today as I backed out, I got off the gravel and into the lawn, the nearly 10,000 lbs vehicle has left a gouge in what once was the lawn over 6” deep.

The winter weather is not the best time to move, and many don’t because of not wanting to deal with the weather. Many are not able to because landlords will put in lease provisions not allowing winter move outs. Well, it’s not winter any more and may the move outs begin. And the early spring move outs are the worst; the tenants will back the moving van right up to the patio door at best leaving trenches like the one I found in my yard today. At worst, the now laden U-Haul will get stuck and the entire front yard look like an exploded mine field, the building “wearing” most of the debris.

Any of you out there who think that as a full-time landlord I have the perfect job; who think I just sit on my yacht and watch those unearned rent checks come in; who think that because I have hired maintenance staff that my hands stay clean… to those of you with that belief, I would be more that willing to have you join me for a day. Join me for the fun that is landscaping repair, making units ready (units where tenants have no idea of what things like brooms, mops, or vacuum cleaners are), join me in the manhole cover trying to unclog a parking lot drain.

Yes, I am happy that spring is here, as spring leads to summer… summer leads to softball. Summer also leads to fall… and this will be a very very special fall this year. But although I am happy about the arrival of spring, I am not pleased with gravity taking advantage of the situation.

About drrent

Wausau, Wisconsin Landlord, past president of the Wisconsin Apartment Association, Host of the Dr Rent Radio Show on WNRB-LP, 93.3 FM, Wausau, WI
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