Moving and being Pre Judged 

As some of our close friends know we are looking for a new home. Sadly the owners of our house decided to sell while I was in the hospital and it kind of gave us a bit of a shock. Immediately after opening my eyes from brain surgery I started our hunt for a new place to lay our heads. 

Now let me make a couple of things clear, had we have been given more time to sort out our paperwork, yes we would have tried to buy, but we were only given 60 days and the first 10 I was in a hospital bed. Second, I’m not supposed to be under any sort of stress. Like none. Stress sparks seizures and raised intracranial pressure in my case, so to be faced with a major life change during a major life crisis was slightly stressful. 

So here we are, a family of five, my two kids, my mother, my hubby and myself, looking for a new rental. Did I mention the dog and the cat? Add another layer of complexity to the seemingly impossible search. 

I was released from the hospital on the Saturday and had already set up a viewing of a home for Tuesday. Endi thought I was nuts, but somehow I seemed to have this crazy amount of energy when it came to looking for a new home. 

My motto was “be honest”. We have pets. I don’t want to move into a house and then after the fact tell them “Oh, by the way… Didn’t I mention Brando and Luka?” That’s super shady, and NOT the way I want to start a relationship with someone that’s letting us live in their house. Also, give good references. We have amazing references, so why not use them now? We’ve lived in our current house for over six years without a problem, the market is just too hot for the owners not to take advantage of. It sucks for us, but we get it. 

Now that brings me to house #2 that we saw last Thursday. The house was huge. It has a finished basement with a full bathroom in it, mom could hardly contain her excitement about that part. The upstairs is great, and the house kept going. I mean the space went on and on. I could do so much with it. We are in love. 

We were so excited when we left to visit house #3, which was horrible and definitely not what we were looking for in terms of space that we needed for our family. I’m not going lie, house #3 made me a little discouraged. 

I was contacted by a reporter from our local news station on Thursday as well who was doing a story about people who were looking for rentals in the current housing market and how hard it was becoming for them because of the competitiveness of the renters. I was starting to feel like we weren’t going to find our new home. But house #2 was still the best contender. 

Let me give you some more context. I put an ad on kijiji about our family and that we were looking for a new place to live and I was emailed by the owners of house #2. This is how we met. 

The house was in our old neighbourhood. My son would be attending the school my daughter went to, and loved. We would be going back to our old grocery store. It’s three lights and a roundabout away from my favourite Starbucks!!!! STARBUCKS!!! And it’s close to my best friend. 

We decided to complete the application and the process began. Names, check! Jobs, for hubby and mom, check! References, called and left messages to let them know we would be using them and why, check! Ducks in a row! Every conversation and email with our prospective new landlord had been positive, even to the point of him disclosing that him and his wife were leaning in our direction. 

With the internet being the way of the world now and virtually everyone with a pulse has access to information I can see how everyone has and will continue to google everyone they meet. I’m guilty of doing it myself. Do they have a blog I want to read? What does their Facebook look like? LinkedIn? I could go on. 

Well, something came up. 

Our prospective landlord found an unfortunate article that names my hubby in something. I’m not going to get into details because then that gives it life and since it’s a nonissue, as I’m about to get into, I’m not ever going to give such slander life again. 

After what was a very promising phone call, which my daughter overheard, I received an ominous email, attached was the article and the landlord asking for an explanation. 

My first reaction was to lie. Full disclosure, I wanted to say that it wasn’t my husband in that article, but it was, and we can’t hide that. But also in the interest of honesty, he was cleared of all charges. He was, and is, innocent. But the internet is written in ink. Or I should say permanent marker. It will always be there. This is what I hate about headline news and reporting as a whole in today’s society, they are happy to report the incident but anything past that goes on blind eyes. You’re guilty in the eyes of society, even though you’re innocent of all charges, but reporters are only interested in ‘the headline’ and not the conclusion. 

My husband was asked to provide a criminal record check. Now let’s remember, we will not be sharing the property with anyone, or will be in the care of their personal belongings, but he was asked regardless. 

This check can be done online and you can have it back within 24 hours and you get a simple “Clear” if you have nothing on your record or “Not Clear” if there is something on your record, at which point you have to go to your local police station and choose to disclose that information. The background check is done online and is fraud proof due to the multi-layer identification you’re required to provide to even start the process. He was asked a lot of questions before he could even request to submit the police check. I guess I’m reiterating that twice because he said “Holy $#!+ that’s a lot of questions to make sure it’s me!” when he was doing it. 

I digress, he completed the necessary questions and submitted the online form. Now we waited. It was tense. Not because we thought something was going to show up but at this point we were both pretty angry. With me having a background in Human Resources I knew that them asking for this check was above and beyond what was within their legal limits, especially since it wasn’t a shared residence. We were angry that reporting, being what it is today, does not offer conclusions to the smaller stories and leaves the accused looking guilty as charged. As well as being angry that a private family matter was possibly about to be disclosed to people my hubby worked with and our friends. All of these people we did not discuss this incident with when it happened, because he did nothing wrong!

Within 24 hours, the suggested time given by the background check company, we received his results, and as expected they were CLEAR! He could literally go and take these results and get a job at a bank or volunteer with children. 

I sent the results to our prospective landlord, hoping this would resolve this issue and put us back on the positive track we were on not even 48 hours before. But no. I received an email back from the landlord last night stating he may still need another police report on my husband and that now things only “may” move forward. 

I saw red. 

Didn’t we just do that? Haven’t we already jumped through that hoop? He has proven his innocence, why does he have to prove it again? How many will satisfy you? Would this have been a requirement of any other tenant? And what if it was a crime that was not reported on the internet, such as a drunk driving charge that was committed six years ago and the terms of the punishment had been fulfilled? He had fully paid for his crime, but it’s still a criminal offence. What then? That one is obviously not true, but you get my point. 

To quote my reply to our prospective landlord “As far as the police report, we have been forthcoming and very honest with respect to the article about my husband, to which he was cleared of all charges. Sadly this feels a lot like guilty until proven innocent, which he has proven to you today. I will not be asking him to prove that again. We would however be willing to try to share his results online with you.”

If you ask anyone in my family you know I will always side with the person I see who is in the ‘right’. If you’re in the ‘wrong’ in any way, shape or form, I will let you know, and I usually don’t hold back. This man is in the wrong. First off, asking for a police report is an egregious invasion of privacy, considering the only things they are supposed to be using when determining tenancy is ability to pay rent and references, both of which we provided without issue and are positive. Anything past that is against his human rights. We offered the report as a courtesy only. Asking for it again… I just, well. Wow. 

In my 39 years I have felt pre judged before. It never felt good, but it was always for small things like someone doesn’t want to be my friend, or when I was a single mother (trust me, you get pre judged a lot for that one, especially if it’s your choice! Different blog Sommer, different blog). But I never in my life thought I would have to defend my family the way I have this week. And I will defend them. If they did NOTHING wrong I will continue to defend them. 

This also reminded me about a friend of mine that was charged with assault. His face was all over the news, in the newspapers, on Facebook. It turned out the person he “assaulted” wasn’t even in same city when he apparently committed the crime. Awful right?! But if you google his name guess what you get for results? His wanted picture and what he was wanted for! Absolutely nothing about the fact that the person lied, or that person was mad at him and made up the story because the relationship was breaking down. Just that he was wanted back in 2012 for assault. Could you imagine? That’s horrific. Thank goodness I know what a good person he is and what a kind heart he has. He’s not perfect, but he was not guilty of what he was accused of in this case. But it goes to show how you can be tried and convicted in the public eye. I know people to this day that still think he did what he was accused of because of that what they saw and because they did not see that his accuser admitted to being out of town when the ‘crime’ was committed. The accusers friends that were with them that weekend even publicly came to the defence of my friend. But because of one incident my friend will forever have to defend himself. 

And so will my husband. 

This experience has taught me some things about myself too. I was brought up to treat people equally, regardless of what anyone says about them. I’ve always chosen to make judgement about people based on how they treat me and my family. That will never change. If a person decides myself, or my family is in the wrong, I do have the energy to fight to prove we are in the right. But only if we are in the right. And as much as my husband tells me to not stress, I’m going to stress. 

This experience has been the most emotionally taxing three days, and we still want the house believe it or not?! We also still don’t know if we have it for sure. We’ve been back and forth about continuing the search, but that house felt like home. But to be completely honest, now we are now a little trepidatious about the landlords. I don’t want to pre judge them, but are they perfect? Will our every move be under a microscope? Will he be asked to submit more police reports at their leisure?

This whole experience has made me sad and angry and defeated and extremely stressed, something I’m not allowed to be. 

Did I mention I hate moving?


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