Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Landlords: They Say The Darndest Things!

A colleague of mine, we'll call him George, had a client who need a studio. The budget was around $1500 a month, not big at all in Manhattan, and it had to be a no fee apartment. A background check on the client revealed that he'd had some non-payment of rent issues in the past and in New Jersey he "may or may not have caused a small fire" in a building where he once lived. While most brokers would have written the client off, George was committed to finding him a place.

Eventually, George did, in a studio in upper Chelsea owned by a guy named Big Nick. Big Nick was an obese, 60-something Greek man who hung out in his restaurant all day long, and was always happy when ladies came to see his properties. He was a sweet man, but always wanted to get to know his tenants a little bit before they signed leases.

A few days before Easter, George brought his client over to see Big Nick and hand over the paperwork.

"Are you going away for Easter?" Big Nick asked the client in heavily accented English.

"Easter?" The client asked. "No, I'm not going away. I'm staying here in Manhattan."

Big Nick looked at the client quizzically. "Tell me," he said, and waved his hand in front of his crotch, "Are you...circumcised?"

George wanted to bury his face in the paperwork. But Big Nick wasn't finished.

"I'll tell you what," Big Nick said. "If you don't pay your rent, it's OK. We'll just throw you in the river. You understand, yes?"

George was convinced his deal had just fallen apart, but Big Nick assured the client he could have the lopsided $1500 studio.

Out on the street, George tried to do damage control. "I'm so sorry about Big Nick. He's a very sweet man. He's just kind of old school, you know?"

The client smiled. "Are you kidding me? That guy is awesome! I'll have checks for you tomorrow!"

And there you have it: another successful landlord/tenant match.