Dear Gayle,

I own two houses. I live in the one and rent out the one next door. It just came open again, but with the way things are going, I’m almost afraid to advertise it. Whoever I rent to will become my neighbor and the neighbor to other people around here I care about. How can I know I’m not choosing a heroin addict from the people who want to rent it?

— Too Confused to Choose

Dear Confused,

You may not be able to tell a drug user from someone who does not use such things; people have lived with drug users and not known. Anyone whose addiction is so advanced that it simply could not be missed is unlikely to be looking for a house to rent. That individual is much more likely to be crashed at someone else’s place — if he or she has not run out of friends willing to house them. By that point, the addict is thinking of nothing else but how to get that next fix, and where to inject it since about all veins originally available have long since collapsed.

In fact, I have known of persons who had certain unmentionable body parts poised for amputation because those had been being utilized as the last usable injection site, the practice of which was causing that body part to die even faster than the rest of the body. Yes, it really can get that bad. If you are expecting me to tell you to look for what are called “needle tracks,” which are those lines of dots up an arm showing where injections have been placed, I cannot, because there are just too many places you will never see on another human’s body where those tracks will be visible only to the addict, and eventually to his or her healthcare team — if the addict even makes it that long.

Further, if an applicant shows up in a jacket or shirt with long sleeves, and you asked the person to roll up a sleeve for an arm inspection, guess who would be in trouble. Yep! You.

My best advice is to do something far too few landlords do — go read all of your state’s laws and statutes affecting the process of renting. Surely your county courthouse has a law library with a librarian available to point you to the books containing that information. If you have never read these, it will be eye opening. You are likely to see rules you have been breaking without your having realized it, perhaps even including your tenant selection process which sounds potentially out of compliance to me. Beyond that, if you are starting to be even mildly fearful about renting to others, consider selling that house instead.

Dear Gayle,

My wife wants to travel. My idea of a great vacation is my own back yard. There are no long drives, nerve-wracking flights, or train rides, etc. I don’t need a passport, shots, etc. I can eat my favorite foods, wear casual clothes, and have my choice of entertainment on the TV at any hours I please. To me, a vacation is anything that lets me not have to think about work for a nice amount of time, and with staying at home, I don’t end up needing a vacation to recover from my vacation. What can I say to my wife to make her understand this?

— Stay At Homer

Dear Homer,

I think that she understands your point of view very well already. Allow me to point out that what I read in your letter was “I,” “me” and “my.” There was not a single “she,” “we” or “us.” Because it would appear that you both may be used to living separately in at least some ways while under the same roof, I am very surprised that the two of you had not long ago arrived at one particular solution that hit me: take separate vacations. You and some buddies could sit out on your back veranda sipping strawberry-mint lemonades, or some equally enticing liquid refreshment, as awaiting the start of the big game, while your wife and her girlfriends are being served other fare on a plane headed for Paris, or wherever. You never mentioned that finances were a sticking point with travel, only preference. Perhaps you could offer to buy your wife’s ticket and a second one so that her best friend could go, if affording such a trip were an issue for that person. You would get to stay at home as a hero as she gets to travel with someone who is more like minded. At the ends of your vacations, you would have stories to share with each other. Consider talking about this option with your wife.

[Write to Gayle at: LV MY TAKE ON IT, 435 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242, or send email to Anonymity will be maintained in keeping with all current HIPAA standards. Not all letters can be answered, but those that might have broader interest among our readers are more likely to be chosen. If you believe that you have something useful to add to a published response, please send it in; it will be considered.]

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