Wer den Pfennig Nicht Ehrt

My tenants stopped paying the rent on time last fall. They kept reassuring me that they’d fallen on hard times but asked me to work with them so they could dig out. As time went on, however, they fell further and further behind through the months and finally moved out owing me over $6,000 in back rent.

Since their deposit was only a little over $2,000, they knew they had nothing coming back, so there was no incentive to even do a cursory cleaning. The place was as dirty as I had ever seen it. Bolt holes everywhere in the walls. I had to repaint the entire house. You didn’t want to see the space under the dryer or fridge. There was dirt everywhere.

Here is what got me though:

The house was littered with change. There were pennies on the carpet in every room. I found countless pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters. Several dollars worth. There was money in the washing machine, under the dryers, in drawers, on the carpet in closets, on the floors in the hallways.

Here are people who can’t pay their rent, yet they don’t pick up the money off their floors before they move out.

There is an old German proverb:

Wer den Pfenning nicht ehrt, ist des Talers nicht wert

Translation: He who does not respect the penny does not deserve the dollar.

And now I know why they couldn’t pay the rent.

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