Those of you who know me, probably know that I have a problem with rent controlled tenants in my apartment building. Today, the saga took another turn. After a lot of negotiations and, sometimes heated, discussions, I finally reached an agreement with three out of the four tenants who rent the stores in my building last week. Specifically, I would pay them an amount of money — I think of it as blood money — and they would hand over the stores. I thought that I had finally solved part of the problem that has been plaguing me ever since I became responsible for the family finances after my father passed away.
Apparently, I celebrated too fast. After getting the lawyers of all parties involved to agree on a meeting place, not an easy task, I finally thought that I could put this episode behind my back. Little did I know that the greed of these tenants knows no limit. They had already made me fork over large sums of money to get back control of my own property, but apparently that was not enough, they thought that they could defraud me of more money by having me pay for their unpaid taxes. It didn’t help that my lawyer appears to be either incompetent to in cahoots with the tenants.
Part of the paperwork that I expected to receive during the handover was a paper from the relevant government department clearly stating that the tenants had paid all the taxes they were due. None of them, not a single one, had this paperwork ready. When I asked them for it, they kept insisting that they had stopped using the stores for several years — which just goes to confirm that they were holding my property hostage to get blood money — and that therefore they did not need to pay any taxes.
When I asked them for paperwork confirming that they had notified the relevant authorities that they had stopped using the stores for commercial purposes, they refused. As a matter of fact, they refused to provide any paperwork other than the “declaration of inheritance”, I don’t know the proper English term for this paper, it is uniquely Egyptian, but is sort of like the default will of a deceased parent clarifying who gets to inherit his/her property.
At this point you may be wondering why I care about their taxes. The reason that I care about this is that the Egyptian government, again in its infinite wisdom, had decided that when a tenant leaves a store, all the taxes that he/she should have paid now become the responsibility of the owners of the property — i.e., me.
I asked them to go home and only contact me when they had this paperwork ready, I was not going to be responsible for their taxes. After they left, I decided to do some investigation of my own. Here is what I found — the person who owes the government the least amount of taxes owes them 30,000LE! That is 30,000LE I would have had to cough over in addition to the blood money, significantly more than this amount, that I would have paid them to get back my property. So not only are these people thieves, they are barefaced liars. I am eagerly waiting for the day when this ludicrous law is repealed and I can finally get back control of my own property. Socialism sucks!