About a year and a half ago, my 87-year-old mother Ginny called my sister Hailey with some interesting news. As I’ve mentioned, she has rented her condo for almost 19 years. Not only has the two-bedroom unit been comfortable, it’s in a great location, reasonably priced and the realty company that manages it has always responsive and kind to Ginny. It’s been a perfect fit. At one point, we were told that the owners are a couple from Germany. They have always been ghost owners. We gave up long ago worrying whether they might want to suddenly retire to Florida; effectively removing mom from her home.
Mom wanted Hailey to know that the realty company called and explained that the owners are coming in from Germany to see the condo the following week.
This was alarming. Why were they coming now? Are they thinking of selling? Doing a renovation? Upping the rent? This could be a game-changer with mom’s living arrangements.
The visit happened. Everyone was cordial and the couple appeared pleased with the unit and took several photos. They even took one of Ginny. They were incredibly impressed that mom was 87 and living independently. Apparently, the man is 73. Language was a barrier so it was difficult to determine their intentions.
We waited a couple of weeks to see if management would call with the dreaded news. We were sure something bad was going to drop. Finally, with great concern, Hailey called to see if management knew anything. They did not, but Hailey learned something interesting. For almost a year now, unbeknownst to us, Ginny’s apartment had been moved to a month-to-month lease. How did we miss this? It’s an annual event when Ginny gets the new lease in the mail and calls to say whether the rent has increased and by how much. Nothing was mailed that fall. It’s possible we were distracted with Hurricane Irma moving through right around lease renewal time, but I’m embarrassed we missed tracking this important annual renewal.
Thankfully, the management company’s motives (and the owners too) were to help mom. They probably surmised that at her age, something could happen quickly and she would move into some type of facility. She’d be forced to pay some lease penalty for an early exit.
Update: May, 2019
It has taken a year, but the call has come. The owners returned to Florida to meet privately with the realty company and have decided to increase the rent and revert back to having Ginny sign a year lease. I hold no ill will towards them. It’s business. It’s almost like they gave her one additional year, month-by-month to move out on her own. It just didn’t happen.
Now that we are accustomed to the monthly lease, however, we aren’t really interested in locking Ginny into that. On the other hand, the monthly costs for the independent/assisted living facilities are 2.5 times more expensive than her current rent. Aside from her vertigo and occasional memory lapses, she remains in relatively good health. We could sign the lease, accept the rent increase and take it month-by-month ourselves. If we needed to break the lease, then we would. It is something to consider. The new lease will take effect September 1.
Or, is it time accept the significant cost increases and revisit the Groves facility? Look at another place? If we choose this option, however, what if there are no available apartments in the allotted time given to us? An hourglass has suddenly turned, and we are feeling the approaching deadline.
I just want to add here that I encourage readers to set alerts for renewals of any kind for their parent(s). Leases, insurance policies, memberships etc. Don’t rely on a mailing or email as the reminder. It’s easy to believe that you would never overlook an important renewal or deadline, but you can.