Like a seed that was haphazardly blown or dropped into just the right soil, I landed in Miller accidentally and have taken root like nowhere I’ve lived before.
Such is my confidence and contentment in the community that I’ve bought four houses here – my own and three that are rented out. Mindful of my neighbors, potential tenants go through a vigorous vetting process. This worked well, until recently.
The house I’m trying to rent out now is one most people would like. It’s a 1952 ranch house with classic mid-century features preserved among modern updates. Original (and sometimes quirky) features include radiant heat from hot water pumped through pipes in the floors and walls, custom kitchen cabinetry built on-site, an off-center wood-burning fireplace in the living room, screened wooden louvres built into the walls that can be opened for natural ventilation and a front porch whose railings are differentially spaced according to an ancient Greek principle of the ideal ratio, the Golden Mean.
Best of all, it sits on a wooded dune in a cul-de-sac two blocks from the beach, a quiet and private location. A huge screened porch off the kitchen gives wooded views on three sides for watching deer or listening to waves on windy days.
None of the applicants so far made it through the screening process. Culled from almost 100 responses to listings on Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia and Hotpads, they include:
-A man who checked “no” on the “Have you ever been sued” question; the credit report revealed otherwise. He arrived in a Porsche and has a good income, but chose not to pay bills;
-A guy who listed one year in prison for a drug offense; turns out it was actually two-and-a-half years for aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a weapon, among other charges.
-A couple with a history of three evictions whose former landlord, when asked if he’d rent to them again, replied “Hell no.”
-A couple who declined to provide any documentation of a supposed $300,000 annual income from a pension and a business, but said I would not regret letting them move in.
There’ve also been countless people who’ve insisted, despite the “no pets” designation, that their dogs are well behaved, who swear they always go outside to smoke even in the dead of winter despite the “no smokers” requirement, or who list their husbands, wives and mothers as references despite the “NO RELATIVES” notation on the application. One guy wrote “baby mamma” to describe his relationship to a woman he listed as a reference.
Fellow Millerites, I ask for your help. In addition to my immediate self-interest in renewing the rental income, it’s also about finding respectful, responsible people who will appreciate our community, possibly participate in it and at the very least not degrade it.
If you know people like that who are looking for a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in Northwest Indiana’s best little community, please give them my number: 219-616-4973. If you’d like to drive by the house, it’s at 930 N. Warrick. And I’d be pleased to show it to you if you’re just curious and like to look. I do, too.