Saturday, June 18, 2011

Maisonette / Gabrielle Building in Kasipagan Street

I was traumatized by this place.

I used to live here when circumstances called for scrimping of the pockets, with Blake's amortization along with incidental costs related to his acquisition and the ongoing surge in gas that time (Php58/liter! WTF!!).  I thought better to relocate from Ortigas to Mandaluyong, Kasipagan Street to be exact, and within Brgy Plainview.

The offer was too good to resist, at Php7,000 for a one-bedroom unit, only Php150 for garbage collection and an allotted parking space for me, this was a far-cry from the Php15,000 I was paying for rent at a nice condominium besides Galleria.  I figured, I can do away with some luxuries and sacrifice a bit to bloat my piggy bank.  Besides, my dear friend Sho was also renting here, at least I had somebody I can call to when there is no food on my table hehe!

This was what Nicole, the marketing personnel, laid down for me.  I thought, nice lady, easy to approach (since she immediately responds to text messages) and I won't have any problem because I live like a hermit, goes in and out and doesn't do much inside my place.  Plus, the fact that the place is owned by the son of Councilor Esteban, I thought, the place must be good vibes.

I was dead-wrong.

I read somewhere about Satan masking hell with golf-courses and buffet meals when a soul wanders around to convince the poor thing to stay with him.  So, when the courting stage is over, the soul realized that he was deceived and he was stuck with his decision, otherwise the Php25,000 security deposit will be forfeited.  I could totally relate to the poor guy!!

First issue was the parking. Nicole had said it was free and it came along with the rent and I had a space already.  She even pinpointed me where I could place Blake.  This was my primary concern, otherwise, I wouldn't relocate at all.

Came the time of moving in.  I paid the deposit 2 months ahead of the scheduled transfer so that everything will be polished.  However, the place smelled reeking of fresh paint, the bath shower-head broken, the doorknob of poor quality.. so I couldn't stay that night, least I get suffocated.  I had to stay in with Marxus (bless his soul, literally!) that night.

'Baby, ayoko sa place mo.  Malayo at di ko feel!'

I dismissed him then since I was on tight budget and I could afford to bend my body should the blankets shrink (oh diva!! English for 'marunong ako mamaluktot kung maiksi ang kumot :p ).

'Dapat sana kinonsult mo muna ako baby..', he continued.

I never had imagined that I regretted my decision then.  I should have consulted him and not let our petty quarrels affected me.  But that's another story.

Back to parking.  The following day, I noted that a Mazda SUV was in my Baby Blake's spot. I asked the guard, Bobby, to request the owner to move his vehicle as that was my place.  He said that it was still the previous tenant's vehicle and that the slot would be vacated a month from now.  To make the long story short, I had to wrestle that slot, which irked the Mazda SUV owner.  It came to a point where I had a discussion with Noel, Councilor Esteban's son.

He accused (yes, accused and didn't even hear my end) me of creating a stir.  Did he not consult his better half Nicole on the arrangements we had??  I kept mum for I didn't want to get the ire of the owner, and I just wanted to get that slot, which was given to me eventually.  The thing was, they charged me Php800/month for it, which was not even on the contract, by the way!  I said to myself, I couldn't afford to let go of the security deposit then, and I could very well afford that, at least the slot was for me already since I was paying for it.  Damn.

The 2nd situation gave me undue stress.  The water bill they were charging me was exorbitant!!  The lessor, Noel Esteban, not only explained why, but there was not breakdown of the meter reading.  He said to ask it from Bobby, the guard, but in the span of time I was leasing their apartment, not once did I see that meter reading.  Initially, the charge was at Php300 then over a span of 2 months, it rose to Php500 then it came to a point where I said, this is it, I don't need to renew my contract when I saw the Php800 they were charging!  Goodness, Php800 is nothing (humility aside) and my MAC studiofix costs me even more, but for Pete's sake, I was living alone, at the office weekdays, and partying every weekend!!!  I tried to levy it with December's charges, where I was in Baguio for 2 weeks!, which should lowered down the bill, but still it was at Php750!  Kung hinde ka man makapagmura, ewan ko lang.  Sh3t! There, I said it. Hmf.  To add insult to injury, my Meralco bill (thank heavens it was metered), ranged from Php100 to Php190 only, while my previous water bills in Corinthian was only at Php150 to Php200.  Puttanesca, leche flan galore!!!

I even heard from my neighbors, the huge increases in their water bill, and they even tried to approach Noel, but to no avail.  He would just shrug his shoulders, Ganon talaga.  I had never felt harassed in my entire life, and you know that feeling that you can't do anything because he is the lessor, the god!  I felt so puny then. :(

There was also a point where because of the faulty doorknob, I can't freaking open it with my keys!!  I had to sleep again at Marxus' place then and they wouldn't provide a locksmith and replace the darn knob.  I had to buy a good one from Shangri-la Plaza and had Marxus replace my existing knobs because I don't know a thing about household repairs!!  I really miss him now :(

When I read the new contract, for me to decide whether to renew or not (which was crazy by the way, me still entertaining the idea), I just had to laugh that they will be charging Php180/day for every visitor that sleeps at the place, who were not part of the names listed as lessee.  Hotel??

Now the last part of the agonizing journey.  The security deposit.  The contract stated that I need to inform them in WRITING 60 calendar days prior to its expiration.  In the event that no written notification of non-renewal is received by lessor, a penalty equivalent to one month's rent shall be charged!  Bongga!  My friend had to remind me of this clause.  However, this confused me with the following clause also: this contract is not renewed (security deposit will be forfeited) and lessee is not able to notify in writing lessor of such non-renewal in 90 days prior to termination of contract.  I just had to draft this notice immediately and even if I will incur debts to relocate, I will do so!

The security deposit, per contract, shall be returned to lessee 60 days after expiration.  I had to wait 2 months to get my security deposit!  I patiently waited for 60 days, issued text reminders to both Noel and Nicole that 5 days from now, I will need to get my deposit  per contract arrangement.  No replies were received.  

On the day that my security deposit was due to me, I sent another round of text messages, ending with 'please reply', where I got a message from Nicole that she has already endorsed this to the mother of Noel and that I will get them 10 days from that date and will will deposit it in my savings account.  Ok.  Imbiyerna lang but patience is a virtue.

10 days after, I sent another round of messages.  No reply.  I tried calling Nicole, and as expected, she didn't pick up the phone.  Bastos talaga.  No decency at all.  I sent another message to Noel that Nicole was not responding and could you please advise on status.  Noel replied back that it was late clearing and it didn't make it on the bank's cut-off.  I was musing, I am a darn banker and my bank account online reflects both restricted and open funds and the mere fact that it wasn't there caused great alarm to me.  My friend said, wait until the following day, maybe the check didn't make it to clearing cut-off.

The following day, I waited until 1pm to give ample time for the bank to validate the check.  I checked online.  None.  Nada.  Nil.  I sent out another message, 

'Hi Nicole/Noel.  I checked my bank online and the deposit is still not reflected and usually, it goes to restricted funds for checks that await clearing.  I doubled check with the bank and they said no deposit was made.  Please can I have the deposit slip so I can verify the details and get back at the bank?'

I didn't want to sound accusatory and put the blame on the bank, despite my strong gut-feel that they didn't deposit any money at all.

Nicole replied, 'you may get it tomorrow'

'Ok, thank you'

The following day, around 10am, I got 2 successive text messages on what was my bank account number.  If I could just curse yet again, f$#k!ng sh3t!, I calmed myself down and replied with the details.  It was only then, around 2pm, that I got Php15,000 from the Php25,000 deposit.

I consulted Sho, and she said, that in the new contract, they are deducting Php6,000 for renovation and painting costs from the security deposit.  This was not even in my contract, but regardless, what happened to the Php4,000?  Given, my electricity consumption of say, Php200, plus parking Php800, plus water of Php1000 (exag na toh), that still won't tally to Php4,000 and I should still be receiving Php2000.  I texted Nicole.

'Please can you send the breakdown of the deductions of the deposit.  Thank you'

No reply.  Until now.

These situations, though may be perceived as minor if taken in single incidents, creates undue stress that I don't deserve.  What is Php800 parking??  That's not even comparable to the Php3000 parking I spent in Ortigas, and I am willing to pay for it.  BUT the thing is, lessor should inform beforehand of such charges and incorporate in the contract, so that it will become a deciding factor also.  Don't say, it's part of the rent already and pinpoint to me where my slot is!  Heck, I am even paying Php2000 parking now, but because it has been briefed already, I am not complaining and I pay on time! Che!  

Be transparent in dealing with your customers.  If you intend to place mark-ups in your water bills, say so!  I understand well that it is business, and what is business if you don't make profit?  BUT, don't make them blinded and guessing!

Follow what you preach.  If you expect your customers to put into writing 60 days their intent not to renew, then do your end by also paying on time what is due to them.  Lay down the facts, why you deducted this much, a good explanation will always suffice.  For goodness sake, enroll in Globe's Unlimited text messages, it only costs an additional Php399 on top of your regular postpaid subscription!!  That is very, very cheap!!

I never realized there are these kind of people, even if I have heard of them.

I won't say 'hush hush' for now.  I hope that if someone out there is looking for a place to rent, and they stumble into this place, my blog gets to them first before they regret it..