I Fought the Law – And – I Won

I just received three tickets in the mail. THREE! From the City of Harper Woods.

It seems that the fine people in their Building Department believed that I was on the wrong side of the law when I bought two properties in their fine city earlier this year. And then again when I rented one of them a couple of weeks later.

Three stinking tickets. And not the kind you can simply pay to make go away. Nope. These were court cases slated for a hearing on 11/17/08 in District Court 32A at 10:30am. Fines of $500 each.

Serious stuff.

At least for most people it would be.

To be honest it really wasn’t a big deal to open the envelopes. I was more curious than anything else when I was asked to sign for three pieces of mail from them sent certified return receipt. They were very official looking.

Two of the tickets accused me of – the horror!- having the AUDACITY to buy a home there and not get a Certificate of Occupancy after I bought the home. The third one was kind of funny. And it was a pile-on: it was for RENTING a home that (they said) I had bought without a current Certificate of Occupancy.

Reading all this stuff made me feel like public enemy #1.

But they were all wet. (The people in the building department. Not the letters)


Because I do things by the book in my real estate business. And you wouldn’t believe the grief that I get for doing it that way.  Seems folks just love to cut corners and save a few bucks here and there if they can get away with it.

But instead of my blood running cold and a sweat breaking out in beads on my forehead and seeing $1,500 vanish before my eyes I smiled and calmly walked over to my file cabinet and in about three minutes found the documentation that I needed. Because I had a process that made sure that nothing fell through the cracks AND because I followed that process.

And after 1 fax, 10 minutes on the phone and three apologies from the fine folks at the City of Harper Woods all three tickets were dismissed.

Now don’t get me wrong – even though they’ve been a little disorganized lately, Harper Woods is a great city to buy in and the city employees have always been great.

It’s just that that $1,500 looks much better in my pocket than in theirs.