Over the past five years, we have endured our share of “issues” with landlords in Beijing, but our current landlord (let’s call him Gollum) really takes the cake and eats it too. Technically, Gollum is no longer our landlord since Gollum sold the apartment one month ago out from under us. At the time of signing the papers, the new owner sent a text to my wife reassuring us that she would honor the terms of our lease. She went on to congratulate us on no longer needing to deal with Gollum and his tyrannical reign. Yes! But, no.
Although a very nice couple bought the apartment and agreed to let us finish out our lease, the furniture we are using still belongs to Gollum. Even though we no longer pay Gollum, Gollum is still holding on to our deposit until Gollum gets Gollum’s furniture back. Gollum likes Gollum’s furniture, especially Gollum’s 57-inch flat screen TV. It is so precious to Gollum, that Gollum measures it to make sure we have not swapped it for a smaller one. In zoological parlance, Gollum is an ass.
Funny story. When we signed our lease (the stipulation that we use our own blood for ink should have raised a red flag), we mentioned to Gollum that there was too much furniture. At first, Gollum was happy to offer to store some, but when we pushed on the rental price, Gollum said the storage problem was ours now. We informed Gollum of our intent to store the furniture at an empty and unused flat owned by Guo Ayi (let’s call her awesome) and Gollum said Gollum was fine with that. For clarification, Guo Ayi owns several apartments, including the unused one that will be her son’s after he gets married.
Now that Gollum’s apartment is sold, Gollum says a friend of his is interested in the furniture in storage and Gollum wants to take pictures to show his friend. When my wife approached Guo Ayi about this, without hesitation, she said no. Since Gollum never treated us with the proper respect, Guo Ayi will not let Gollum come see the furniture unless Gollum takes it away and gives us back a portion of our deposit. She added that since we wouldn’t do it, she had to stand up for us. According to Guo Ayi, this is the Chinese way.
No word yet on how Gollum feels about this. I no longer care. From now on, Gollum can deal with Guo Ayi’s ire. I’m also taking her to any future contract signings.
Photo: hectorir (flickr)