Lightbulbs and Life Lessons

Remembering my days as a Landlord to Colorado College students often makes me smile.  One of the properties that we owned was a seven bedroom house across the street from campus, and it was rented each year to a group of students who wanted to live together.  One of the infamous “Party Houses of CC” because so many kids lived there, it was certainly an eye-opening tenure for my husband and I.

Each year we were taught new things in our experiences with Colorado College students, so we added new things to our Lease annually that we never could have foreseen when we started that venture. Inevitably, one of the student’s parents was a Lawyer, so we became very adept at how to cover our bases and protect ourselves from partying students who had not yet learned to value the property of others.

Don't try this at homeThis particular home had a lot of light bulbs and high ceilings. Since my husband and I were the ones who prepared the houses at ‘the changing of the guard’ for students coming in the following year, one of the things that I grew to hate was changing light bulbs with the 10’ ceilings.

It was in their lease when they began their off-campus living experience with us, and they had to initial that paragraph indicating that they would be charged $5 for each light bulb that needed to be replaced when they moved out as all of the bulbs were working when they moved in. It was also in their move-out form that they would be responsible for certain items being in good working condition, one of which was the light bulbs.  And it was in an addendum that we mailed to each student prior to them moving out, explaining the basics of what we expected of them.

Inevitably, no one seemed to remember this when they got around to moving out, and I assure you that I charged them for light bulbs. (My contention was that not only did I have to go to the store and purchase the bulbs, but I also had to go up and down a ladder ‘X’ number of times to change the bulbs.

So it was with sadistic pleasure that I included $215 on what we were withholding from the Security Deposit one year when the students left me with 43 light bulbs to change.  Immediately we received an official letter from Daddy informing us that he would take legal action if we did not return that money.  So I sent him a copy of the Lease, a copy of the move-out form, and a copy of the Addendum (ALL with the signature and initials of their precious child) indicating the consequence of burned-out light bulbs (and all of the other things that they hadn’t done prior to move-out).  We never heard from Daddy again, but I’m sure Junior heard about the consequences of signing documents.

If you would be interested in investing in a Colorado College rental, or purchasing any real estate in the Colorado Springs area, call Mimi Foster.