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Pacific Heights
Old 05-25-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
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Pacific Heights

well, after reading a number of recommendations on the forum, I netflixed Pacific Heights & watched it last night. So, if you haven't seen it, there will be spoilers...




First of all, I'm really glad nothing happened to the cat. I was worried, when they made a big deal out of taking care of it, that something awful was going to happen (animal torture makes me completely homicidal).

That said, I honestly don't understand why this movie was recommended. It seemed very unrealistic. Obviously, the landlords made some serious mistakes. For instance, if I was Patty & saw Carter there the first time, & didn't have a signed lease & deposit, I'd tell him he needs to leave until the money goes through. period. If he didn't comply, then I'd call the cops.

Cutting the power was stupid, & Drake's swearing & freaking out at the cops just seemed asinine & contrived. I don't know if it's being female, or being raised by good parents, or what, but I would *never* cuss out a cop, for any reason...what would the point be? All it did was make him look really bad, & make the cops sympathetic to Carter.

And then, when Carter & Drake were talking, IN FRONT OF THE COPS, why didn't Drake say anything like "So, when I was banging on your door, why didn't you answer it?". And why didn't Carter call the cops on Drake for the noise? He could have asked he other tenants to call them too, or at least back him up when the cops got there (or was the couple portrayed as Asian to make a whole 'we won't talk to the cops for you, because of racial discrimination' type thing?).

Which leads to the whole locks thing. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it is illegal for tenants to change the locks without offering the landlord a copy, right? I am not up on my landlord laws, but the last time I checked, a landlord is supposed to have the key, in case some emergency repairs need to be made.

I could continue on, but I think anyone that's read this far got the picture.

So, my question: What, if any, parts of this movie are relevant/a good example of real life? I can certain understand deadbeat tenants that are absolutely AWFUL leaches. But Pacific Heights seemed to be more of a guide of what NOT to do if you get a tenant like that, than an actual, good example of what happens.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:58 PM   #2
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OOOooo. The memory of PH makes my tummy hurt. Let's see. I've had tenants build a campfire in the middle of a garage and try to pull the front of the garage out with a cable. They also poured draino around the bases of the trees and destroyed the water meter. I've had a very respectfull long sleeve shirted young man devolve into a outre skinhead neo-nazi, complete with SS tattoos - very attractive to underage girls, which made the Dads unhappy. He and his roomate were fun to throw out. Another young couple had a "friend" move in with them who was really into "brawl for bucks" fights as a participant. When they got freaked out and wanted him out guess whose skinny butt got asked to move him down the road? LOTS of tenants have no problem letting the landlord know about the anti-social nature of their neighbors but absolutely want no part of being mentioned to the evil-doer or the law-dawgs. Now - as far as tenant/legal system support.... a 24 hour notice does not mean the tenant is gone in 24 hours - far from it. first you post the notice, then you file the papers, then the tenant is served, then the court date in 10 days or so, then the tenant can choose to contest - a new court date is set, then etc.... Oops - landlord screwed up some detail in the service? back to square one. I had a court date, showed up, got a default judgement as the tenant didn't show, was to pick up the paperwork in the clerk's office two hours later - turned out the tenant showed up an hour late and the judge voided the decision and re-heard the case - i had a failure in the timing of one of my notices and the tenant got a brand new timeline. Same tenant was later carted off to jail for dealing meth (one of the main reasons i wanted her out). Two weeks later the police wanted access to her apartment to search again - offered to let them in but they didn't want that - just the keys. When the key didn't work for them they destroyed a nice transom-window door and frame to get in. I didn't shout at the detective, but when I asked what the deal was he sure got up in my face and let me know they had the right to destroy property in the furtherance of doing their job. City said the tenant could pay for that. yeah, right. Disposed of 1 1/2 tons of stuff from that apartment, after storing it and making REAL sure I covered my legal bases. This was a nice lady with 3YO and 15YO daughters.
PH has a lot of hooey in it - but there is a bunch that rings true - and a really smart tenant with the desire can sure foul up a well meaning landlord's life.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:45 PM   #3
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oh - and quite right - landlord should have keys to the locks. Now, tenant changes my spendy master keyed locks for something my keys don't work with. I can request that they be changed back or i can evict the tenant. Unlike the police, and short of smoke and flame coming out from under the door, I really don't think I have the right to break and enter into a tenant's apartment, nor do i have the desire roll the dice and have a judge inform me of my rights in court.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:05 AM   #4
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hmmm...maybe they should have used you are a real-life basis for the movie.

I just thought, based on what people said here about the movie, that it would be a bit more realistic.

At any rate, between watching the movie & then reading what you just wrote, it's definintely given me 2nd thoughts about whether or not I'd be cut out to be a landlord. One thing is for certain - if I still think I'm interested in it, I'm going to make damn sure not to tie up ALL of my money in it.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:45 AM   #5
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I remember that movie. Not the worst I've seen.. Hey, it's a movie; suspension of disbelief plus popcorn, yeh? I liked the cockroach trick. The point was that IIRC the newbie landlords weren't up on their rights, all the more likely that a tenant could take advantage of them. Same std. as the idiots who move into the "haunted house", thinking they're immune because they are attractive and educated and well-off. You know how it will end!

FWIW, my grandparents got to FI by accumulating a few small houses and renting them, mostly to young couples in the service. It's doable with a lot of work. There weren't problems of dealing meth back then, but there sure were frequent stupid headaches (grandpa convened for ridiculous stuff like changing light bulbs and killing spiders). A couple times I gather they were left with a trashed house, but all in all, it worked out for them. When living standards rose beyond their Depression-era mentalities, they eased out of it. What they had seen as a perfectly good place to live was no longer what the market dictated.

I'd imagine it depends a lot on the area and also how one goes about trolling for tenants. Good tenants and good word of mouth (friends and relatives of the above) can go a long way. I personally wouldn't take it up as an absentee proposition without a good property manager and a good cash flow that would cover said manager's services.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina View Post
... The point was that IIRC the newbie landlords weren't up on their rights, all the more likely that a tenant could take advantage of them. ...
FWIW, my grandparents got to FI by accumulating a few small houses and renting them, mostly to young couples in the service. It's doable with a lot of work. There weren't problems of dealing meth back then, but there sure were frequent stupid headaches (grandpa convened for ridiculous stuff like changing light bulbs and killing spiders). A couple times I gather they were left with a trashed house, but all in all, it worked out for them. When living standards rose beyond their Depression-era mentalities, they eased out of it. What they had seen as a perfectly good place to live was no longer what the market dictated.

I'd imagine it depends a lot on the area and also how one goes about trolling for tenants. Good tenants and good word of mouth (friends and relatives of the above) can go a long way. I personally wouldn't take it up as an absentee proposition without a good property manager and a good cash flow that would cover said manager's services.
Right on the money, including what you say about standards changing: our requirement for a place is that we would live in it, or in the case of our student housing, would have lived in it happily. If the apartment or house wouldn't meet our living standards for whatever income level, then we can't expect others to live there and care for the place. Now, however, we're having single college students looking at studio apartments and asking about the dishwasher. Uhh, the dishwasher is in the mirror. Many students are renting new $950 3-bdrm townhouse apartments and sharing the costs with roomates rather than renting our old studio apartments for $375. It's cheaper for them and gets them more ammenities. Frankly, I never cared for a roomate who wasn't sharing my bed, but for many today the loss of privacy is nicely offset by the dishwasher and the Motel Six familiarity of all the units.

In 20-odd years of renting places we've run into some .. interesting .. people, but the duds are far outweighed by the folks to whom we've rented apartments and houses in different towns - moving from place to place but keeping us as their landlords. People whose art shows we go to, people whose weddings we attend. We're now starting to rent to children of people we've rented to in the past!
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