Bill said that the landlady explained the 100 euro charge for the dishwasher handle because she claims she has to buy a new machine. The handle can’t be replaced because the machine is old, even though it still works fine. So apparently, it is incumbent upon us to help her finance a new dishwasher because of a cosmetic defect with the old one. I would imagine her reasoning is the same for the hood over the stovetop. Yes, it works fine, but it’s slightly off-kilter, so she “must” buy a new hood. And we have to pay for it.
It amazes me how concerned she is about sprucing up that house for the new tenants. It’s even more amazing that she thinks she can force us to bankroll her efforts. According to what I’ve read, security deposits (Kautions) in Germany can only be used for specific purposes. She was supposed to have put the money in a separate, interest bearing account, and it was to be used for things like unpaid rent, unpaid utilities or taxes, or actual damages. Most of what she submitted to us were charges that were cosmetic in nature. Moreover, even if she was justified in asking us to help pay for a new stovetop hood and dishwasher, she is only allowed to charge us a percentage of the actual worth of the item. Now, whether or not 100 euros for the “askew handle” is fair is up to the law. My guess is that she’s charging much more than she is actually entitled to. I could be wrong, but I’m willing to ask a third party to find out.
I am certainly not an expert on landlord-tenant laws, particularly in Germany, but I think the fact that she sent us her bills for other, unrelated stuff, like washing the roof on the carport, is a sign that she knows what she’s asking is unreasonable. If she feels completely justified in sending us bills for things like a crooked stovetop hood and an askew dishwasher handle, why would she need to include a bill she paid for carport washing? That’s irrelevant, and not our business. She’s trying to guilt Bill into letting her get away with this because she and her husband are older and, I guess, on a fixed income. She’s also very cheap and entitled.
Little does she know, Bill used to be married to a woman who pulled this kind of manipulative bullshit. He’s been dealing with FOG– fear, obligation, and guilt— his whole life. And he’s made significant strides in overcoming the need to please other people. It would be so easy to just let this go and get on with our lives. We don’t miss the money. But it just seems like that would be morally wrong, because there will be people renting that place after us, and if we let her get away with this, she’ll try it again. For the good of the innocent people who will follow us, we have to take action.
And yes… we definitely must speak to the housing office in Stuttgart and let them know about what’s going on. Chances are, they won’t care, since I would presume this is the first time she will have been reported. But if we don’t say anything, she could continue to do this for as long as she’s targeting Americans. And since she is advertising on Bookoo, we know that’s who she wants in her rental, probably because we don’t stay as long and we pay a lot more than Germans will.
Bill was reluctant to call the “Schade” hotline because he has to leave town in seven working days. He has work to do and no time for this nonsense. However, my thinking is that is exactly why he should call a lawyer. It’s their job to handle this crap. If he gets a legal representative, they can deal with the ex landlady and he can focus on his work. We have the insurance; we might as well use it. And chances are good that a letter from a lawyer will persuade her to stop trying to fuck with us. Or, it could lead to us going to court, but if we go to court, then I can write a cool blog post about it.