A Goodbye, and the Echoes of an Empty Space

On Saturday, our tenants, our ‘downstairs friends’, pulled a U-Haul up in front of our house and began a game of Tetris, loading boxes, bookshelves, chairs, tables, and every bit of their belongings up into the back of the truck. I distracted myself from what was happening with my knitting and episode after episode of Portlandia and Bewitched. They’re off to bigger and better things, new adventures, new experiences. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead of them, but I was sad to see them go. 
After their truck pulled away, I wandered through the empty apartment, acknowledging the end of something. They were our first tenants and, after almost two years, to be completely and utterly alone in the house felt odd. The wide open space echos. It feels smaller without their presence.
This apartment will be empty for two months, and it’s probably good that it is. We have a few things to address down here: new windows; a little waterproofing; a cheap dryer that needs either replacing or repair, whichever is worth it; paint – I’m thinking a neutral light grey this time. 
At the end of August, the apartment will be occupied again. Sometimes, I worry. What if it’s not all they expect it to be? What new unexpected situations will come up? Will we have to deal with personality conflicts? As our tenants drove away, I acknowledged that what I was saying goodbye to was trust, security, and friendship. We’ll be able to find all these things in our new tenants, I’m sure but none of those things happen immediately.

Good luck with everything, J and D. You will be missed!

0 thoughts on “A Goodbye, and the Echoes of an Empty Space

  1. aw, you always talked so highly of your tenants- i hope you like your new ones just as much. Does the construction upstairs travel to the basement? Just wondering what it was like for them with Operation Raise the Roof (yes, I just named it that)

  2. Our new ones come with a recommendation from the best person possible – my dad! – so there's a good chance we'll get along just fine! Still, there's the slight niggle of uncertainty…

    J and D never complained and were always very supportive of our reno efforts. But, we also have always done our best to make sure our renovations have been as unobtrusive as possible. So, no working late into the night as much as possible, and making sure we keep the door to the shared back entrance tightly closed when dealing with drywall.

    Hopefully, we'll finish the attic reno – or as much of it as possible – before our new tenants arrive, but the work that needs to be done in the basement will take precedence for the next little while.

  3. I can totally relate. We used to rent out extra rooms in our old place and some roommates we’re still friends with. We are actually thinking of doing it again closer to beginning of the school year and after some house updates:)

  4. I hope you like your new tenants just as much!

    Advice I'd like to give to landlords, since I've been a renter and I'm finally venturing into home owner territory: if you don't let your tenants paint the walls, please do a nice white or grey colored walls (love that you're thinking about doing grey). I absolutely hate seeing apartments with those weird off-white, or yellowish walls.

    Don't do shody work. We ended up repairing a lot of things in our apartment, because our landlords did the cheapest and worst work possible, like leaky windows, they just duct taped them up, which made us loathe our landlord.

  5. It was such a strange week, taking that space from cozy to chaos to empty. I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys do with it, the gray sounds great!

    I'm sure your new tenants will love your home and family as much as we did, we'll miss you guys!

  6. Seriously? Oh, man, that sucks… The windows in our basement are terrible, which is why they're near the top of the list of things that must be done this summer, but we only had problems with leaking in the last month or so, with the very wet spring we had. Hence, waterproofing also being on the top of the list!

    I like to think we were always accessible and addressed issues (and there were a few of them over the two years! It happens in 100 year old houses.) as quickly and completely as we were capable of.

    I was trying for 'builder beige' when I painted last time, but somehow ended up in the realm of 'peachy'. I have never been good at picking our colours! So, since I didn't even love it, we gave our tenants the option of painting if they wanted to. But, they chose to keep it! And then decorated with a lot of pops of green, which looked amazing with the walls. But yes, grey this time. I think it's harder to mess up grey…

    (Though, the last time I tried to pick grey, I ended up with purple… Yeah, I need to repaint the mudroom too…!)

  7. After the experience we've had over the past two years, I would definitely say you should do it! Though, we have a separate unit… I'm not sure how happy I would be sharing my own space with a tenant over the long term. Then again, we only have 600 square feet of that space! Perhaps I would feel differently about it if we owned a larger home!

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