Getting out of a property deal
Q: I bought a vacant lot a few years ago on the Internet, sight unseen. Turns out, the property is unusable because it’s on the edge of a development and on a deep slope. I found out that it is part of an association, and the dues now have exceeded the value of the property. I want out of the deal but am afraid of the ramifications. What can I do?
A: Never buy anything sight unseen. You must always do your due diligence. As the owner of the property, you are responsible for all the obligations, such as association dues and property taxes. You can’t simply give the lot back unless the seller agrees to take it. But if the seller lied to you about the property, you may have some recourse in court.
I do not recommend stiffing the association on the dues because you could become personally liable and end up with a judgment against you. In that case, the association could garnish your wages. You should also make sure that the property is being maintained until you are able to unload it, because you don’t want to be hit with code enforcement fines that could make getting rid of it more complicated.
If you can’t find another buyer, strongly consider giving the land to a local charity. Contact real estate agents and charities in your area to see if they may be able to help.
— Gary Singer,
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
Emails automatically deleted
Q: Some emails that are on Google seem to disappear when I delete them. They are not in the trash or spam. Frequently I need to return to a message and cannot find it. Where are they?
A: Any message you delete from your Gmail inbox is moved into the trash folder just in case you decide you need it later. But that grace period only lasts 30 days. After that, Gmail automatically deletes the message from your account for good.
The spam folder works a bit differently. Deleting a message marked as spam causes it to skip the trash folder altogether, so you have to be careful not to purge your account of useful emails that accidentally got caught up in Google’s spam filter. That’s easy to do, since Google gives you the option to delete all spam messages with a single click.
If you’re still seeing this problem, even with messages that aren’t 30 days old, you should consider changing your password and taking other steps to secure your account (Google provides more details on that here: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/78353).
— Tyler Dukes,
Raleigh News & Observer
Boss undermines supervisor
Q: My manager, “Melanie,” is undermining my relationship with my staff. Shortly after I was promoted to supervisor, my employees began going to Melanie with work-related concerns. Instead of involving me in these discussions, she tells me afterward how I should handle their issues. When I asked Melanie to start directing employees back to me, she seemed reluctant to do so. She sometimes spends up to two hours a day talking with them, but if I mention it, she says she’s just chatting. I was initially excited about my promotion, but now it seems like a nightmare. I explored transferring, but Melanie found out and was not happy about it. Our differences have created a lot of tension, so I’m afraid she may retaliate on my performance review.
A: This situation has gotten so far out of hand that the real problem is being completely overlooked. Instead of tallying up the hours Melanie spends with your staff, you should be asking yourself why employees don’t feel comfortable talking with you. And instead of shutting you out, Melanie should be developing your supervisory skills by involving you in conversations. If Melanie responds to this peace offering, you will have taken a big first step toward avoiding a bad performance rating.
— Marie G. McIntyre,
Minneapolis Star Tribune