This morning, I’m listening to another one of Les Carter’s videos from last year. I wish I had been able to see it when it was first released, but that was when we were moving from Jettingen to our current home in Breckenheim, and I didn’t have regular Internet access. December 2018 was a bewildering time for Bill and me. We were leaving what was what we now recognize was a very toxic living situation. I’m serious about this. Our former landlady was very narcissistic, and when I listen to Les Carter talk about this subject, I can’t help but nod my head.
Yet, as I write this, knowing in my heart that I’m probably right about ex landlady, I realize that “narcissism” seems to be an epidemic these days. It seems like a lot of people accuse others of narcissism when they simply don’t get along. I don’t think that’s the case in this situation. When I listen to Les Carter speak about narcissists and their behavior, I recognize it implicitly. But I don’t generally attract narcissistic types, because I am not really a “doormat”.
Thinking back on it, I remember tolerating more than I should have. When something went wrong in the house and we asked for a repair, she would generally blame me. More than once, I listened to her go off about how none of her other tenants had ever caused her any trouble. She would invite me to call them and ask, although I’m sure she knew I wasn’t going to want to do that. I also knew that she was “friends” with the people who lived in that house before we did, and that her “friend” would probably back her up.
Actually, ex landlady’s “friend” was monitoring my blogs and they were both probably sitting around, analyzing me. But more than once, ex tenant left me a comment, then deleted what she wrote. Why would she do that if she was secure in her “friendship” with ex landlady? Why can’t she back up her comments? Is the relationship not strong enough to handle her opinions publicly stated on my little read blog?
In the course of four years, I put up with ex landlady coming over whenever she felt like it, and becoming totally belligerent when we finally asked her for notice before a visit. I was accused of being “negligent”, “irresponsible’, and “dirty”. I put up with her and her husband giving me a tutorial on how to flush the toilet, even though at this point, I’ve been flushing them for well over 45 years. Later, she got her lawyer to send our lawyer a letter that accused Bill and me of being thieves who stole her refrigerator. There was also a diatribe in the lawyer’s letter about how Americans use too much toilet paper when they go to the bathroom, causing blockages in the plumbing.
More than once, she shouted at me in my own home, and went off on me for trivial things like a clump of dog hair in the door way. When she would yell at me, she would not let me get a word in edgewise. I would feel the stress level rise to the point at which I was about to explode. But somehow, I would stay quiet while she belittled and criticized me. And now, a year later, it’s still causing me problems. In fact, I’m probably as angry now as I was a year ago, when she made it clear that she was going to be ripping us off. Her lawyer’s ridiculous letter to us was a clear attempt at trying to scare us from asserting our legal rights. Despite his best efforts to scare us from suing her, we have filed a lawsuit through our lawyer, but are still waiting for a court date. It’s frustrating, because I want that bitch out of my life, once and for all.
When I think about that lawyer’s letter, particularly coupled with ex landlady’s comments, I think it’s kind of telling that ex landlady isn’t playing with a full deck. Here are a few facts.
- In February of this year, we saw an ad ex landlady put on Bookoo, lauding the fact that she’d had five American families renting her house. And yet, her lawyer’s letter specifically complained about Americans using too much toilet paper and “not knowing local ordinances” regarding the disposal of trash. I note that ex landlady has never been to the United States; she told us that when we moved in. I also note that she never had a problem telling me how I should behave in a German neighborhood. So… where does this extensive knowledge of American toilet habits come from, if not from prior American tenants… whom she is obviously courting? She said she’d “never” had any problems with prior tenants, most of whom were from the United States. And yet, “Americans”, as a whole, use too much toilet paper and don’t know the ordinances, even though she doesn’t have a problem telling her tenants what’s what. It makes no sense.
- There were two toilets in the house. One of them never clogged, even when we used fancy American toilet paper. The other one, supposedly an old fashioned “water saver” toilet clogged three times. If the issue is simply that Americans use too much TP (really, a whole nation of people uses too much?), why didn’t the other toilet ever clog? Why have we not had repeated issues with clogged toilets in every house we’ve ever lived in? And why didn’t she ask us to pay the plumbing bills for the other two times in 2015, instead of when we moved out? Those bills are out of statute, so she can’t legally demand that we pay them. And yet she has.
- We have written communication from her expressing relief that we wouldn’t be moving out. She even told me, back in 2017, that she was glad Bill didn’t take a job in Italy. And yet, when we moved out, she claimed we were the “worst” tenants she’d ever had. We weren’t so bad when we were paying her regularly, but suddenly we were shitheads when it came time to make a determination about our deposit.
- I pointed out the leaning awning that eventually led to our ultimate falling out. She sent her husband, a man who clearly didn’t make a living repairing things, to fix a heavy, potentially dangerous piece of equipment instead of hiring someone to do it. She did that because it was cheaper than hiring a technician. We have written communication explaining that the awning was “old” and she didn’t know how long the repair would last, but that it was fixed. So I used it on a hot day. A gust of wind blew it down, and suddenly I’m “negligent and irresponsible” because I wasn’t sitting under it when it collapsed and can’t predict sudden gusts of wind. And the awning, which was determined to be worth about 300 euros because it was 17 years old, is suddenly worth 2800 euros. Bill and I have looked up new awnings and we learned that a 2800 euro awning would be pretty fancy indeed. I highly doubt she would ever purchase something like that for her tenants’ use. Moreover, she had NO CONCERN whatsoever that if that awning had fallen on me, I could have been seriously injured or even killed.
- She repeatedly criticized us for being “negligent”, “careless”, “irresponsible”, and “dirty”, but we were paying her to cut the grass. She never did it on a regular schedule and would often let the grass get high. She also didn’t do basic landlord tasks like a proper check in protocol and a yearly accounting of how she used our “Nebenkosten”, which is required by German law. When we called her on not doing the accounting, she falsely claimed that we had an agreement that she didn’t have to. That is definitely NOT TRUE, because although the requirement is clearly spelled out in the lease, we weren’t even aware that it was the law until our lawyer pointed it out to us! So if we didn’t know about the law, how could we have excused her from doing the accounting every year? Now who’s the “irresponsible”, “negligent” one? Seems to me that if you’re going to demand perfection from your tenants, you’d better be perfect in kind.
- I’ll bet that if she has problems with the people living in her house now, she will claim that she “never had a problem” with her other tenants. And yet, that isn’t true, because she’s having a big fucking problem with us. We are suing her! And we also had her blacklisted in the military community.
- Bill and I have never had a landlady or landlord as unprofessional and unfair as our last one was. And yet, because we are decent people, we still feel badly about all of this and would have preferred to just let it go. We would have, if it hadn’t been so clear that she’d intended to cheat us all along. But there are innocent people who are coming after us, so we have to take action. Plus, Bill in particular has been victimized by narcissistic, extortionate assholes before. This time, he’s going to fight back.
- Seriously? FUCK her. I am angry that we spent four years paying to live in her crappy house, putting up with her constant intrusions, tolerating her insults, and letting her treat us like employees instead of people who were paying her for a service. How dare she blatantly STEAL our money, while making false claims about our characters and trying to deny us the right to defend ourselves? It’s absolutely infuriating! And as she’s stealing our money, she’s falsely accused us of theft!
It would be so nice if I could just let this go… but I can’t in good conscience let her do this to us, knowing that there will be others who will be scammed. She seems like a nice person at first, but once you see her true colors, you find out she really is a narcissist and she doesn’t care about anything but her bank account. She’s a bully, too. I hate bullies, and I’m tired of being fucked over by people like her. So… as much as I think going to court is an expensive, annoying hassle, we have to do this now. She went way too far when she accused us of theft. Hopefully, the courts here are fair and reasonable, but if we don’t do something, it will continue to haunt us.