Friday, January 07, 2005

From the "no good deed goes unpunished" file...

I have a relative, whom I'll call "Relative", who owns a house that's
converted into two apartments, which he rents our for extra income.
Usually, all is well, except for the occasional minor catastrophe. For
example, there was the tenant's toddler who flushed a toy down the
commode to watch it disappear, and caused a major plumbing issue in the
process. Whoops.

Actually, there is a third apartment in the basement, but Relative
learned a few years back that the township only allows houses to be
rented to two tenants, not three. He found this out when he let a
friend who was in poor health live in the basement apartment for a
while, until he got back on his feet. Said friend, unfortunately,
passed away IN the basement apartment, necessating the authorities to
come in and make sure that no foul play was involved. All was well on
that score, as the unfortunate friend died as a result of his illness.
However, due to this sequence of events, the township got wind of the
third apartment and told Relative not to rent the basement apartment
out anymore. He complied; hence, the basement apartment has gone unused
for several years.

Enter another relative, whom I'll refer to as "Tenant". Tenant had an
apartment with his g/f, but when she broke up with him recently, he was
having trouble managing the rent on that apartment alone. Relative felt
sorry for him, and offered to let him stay in the unused basement
apartment temporarily until he could find another place. Even though it
was rent-free, this arrangement would probably still run afoul of the
township's rules and so all this was supposed to be Kept Quiet at all
costs. I'm quite sure that Tenant was made aware of this need to stay
off the radar screen on this matter.

So what does Tenant do? Fall asleep while smoking and cause a small
fire. No one was injured, thank God, but the fire department did have
to be called in. Once again, the authorities are now aware that a third
party was living in that basement apartment, when zoning only permits
two apartments per house. It was only intended as a short-term
solution, but now it's going to have to be even shorter than expected
because he'll HAVE to find a new place to stay.

So much for Relative's attempt at doing a good deed. Twice in a row, he
found out that no good deed goes unpunished. Sigh.

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