Greetings, friends. As the title suggests, I am still hunting for a rental property with an October 1 move-in date. We applied for one house but lost to a couple willing to sign a 4-year lease and pay two years’ rent upfront – about $50,000 in cash. Keep in mind this wasn’t a charming yet roomy character home that Brad and Angelina lived in while filming a movie here in Calgary. It was a reasonably modest 3-bedroom in a very forgettable suburb.
While this might raise a few red flags with some people, the property owners were happy to hand over their house to this unusually cash-rich couple desperate for this particularly mediocre property. I bet it will be a grow-op within six months, but I was back at the square one either way. I wish the owners great happiness with their…windfall.
Within the last two weeks, I’ve probably looked at 15 properties. Most of the people I’ve met were pleasant to talk to and willing to deal fairly with renters. Many property owners are still looking for a September 1 move-in date, which suggests there are droves of tenant-hopefuls wandering the lands in search of a home for three days from now. Perhaps I’m out of touch, but do many people wait until the last minute to look for a new place to live? Of course, I’m not referring to extenuating circumstances that require a quick move – a sick relative, a lost job, or a fire. So far, these owners are still finding these unicorn renters at the last minute, so I’m still looking.
Not everyone’s experience has been fair, however. At one of the house viewings, I spoke with a woman looking for a place for her family of five. We got onto the topic of our respective searches, and she told me a story of how a landlord had kept her on the phone for 45 minutes to ask inappropriate questions about her family. She hadn’t seen the property yet, and he didn’t want to show it to her until she filled in a complete rental application (financial info, employment info, credit check permission, etc.). He also requested a picture of her family be submitted to him so he could make his decision. I urged her to contact the police about this landlord, but I don’t think she wasn’t interested in pursuing it.
I live in Alberta, Canada. For those who aren’t familiar with my province, we are considered the Texas of the north. While I love many things about the proud, fiercely independent people with whom I share this province, we have a blind spot to certain business practices. This practice of demanding sensitive personal information before I see the property is an open invitation to perpetrators ranging from privacy hackers to sexual predators. For landlords who’ve asked me to send them my data, I’ve questioned whether they want me to be as careless with their property as they want me to be with my personal information. Are they going to follow up with an email from a Russian prince asking me for money?
Nonetheless, my hunt for rent October continues. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting adventures.
The article title is a play off a movie title for those who don’t know – The Hunt for Red October. It was a brilliant Cold War-era spy thriller featuring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, and a Russian super-sub.
Photo by AH Het on Unsplash