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TOGETHER DECATUR

Watch now: Decatur landlord gives away another home

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Chad Baker gave away the last of his rental houses to 84-year-old Maggie Reid. This marked the second time Baker had given away a home to a longtime tenant.

DECATUR — It’s hard to top Chad Baker’s gifts.

Last year, shortly before the holidays, Baker gave away one of his rental houses to the home’s tenant, 63-year-old Ruby Jones.

Well, he did it again.

His most recent gift was handed over to 84-year-old Maggie Reid a few months ago.

“I offered it to Maggie at the same time I offered the other one,” Baker said. “At that time she said no, she didn’t want it.”

The rejection was difficult to understand for Reid’s family, as well as for Baker. “Why wouldn’t you take the house,” Baker said at the time. “You get to keep your rent.”

“I’m too old to be owning a house,” Reid said, remembering the conversation.

After discussing the offer with her children, Reid contemplated the decision, then eventually accepted the Southside home as her own. Her only request: one of her son’s should be listed as part-owner.

“Just in case something happens to me,” she said.

Baker contacted the attorney who organized the previous house gift. “He did all the paperwork for it,” he said about the pro bono work.

Although Reid was aware of the offer, and had initially declined the gift, she said she was excited and happy to be owning her own home. “She thanked me, I don't know how many times,” Baker said. “She followed me to my vehicle thanking me.”

The two-story home has three bedrooms and one bath, ideal for Reid and another son who lives with her. She has rented the house since 2005.

“Another man owned it when I moved in, then Chad bought it from him.” she said. “So I’ve only had the two landlords.”

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Baker may not be Reid’s landlord any longer, but the two still have a close connection. When someone is the recipient of a house, a bond is usually there. “He’s too cool,” Reid said about her former landlord and now friend. “I’ll take this house, but don’t think you’ve gotten rid of me.”

Baker isn’t ready to leave the relationship either.

“I come by and make sure she’s OK,” he said. “I changed her furnace filter a couple of weeks ago.”

As the months have passed, Reid has begun some refurbishing and redecorating of her home with the help of her son and Baker.

Baker is an independent contractor and the owner of C. Baker Remodeling. Some of his responsibilities included owning and repairing his rental properties, until now. Reid’s home was the last rental house in his possession.

Baker remodels houses, often with his father before he passed away three years ago. “He would just always show up, and that’s how we got to know Maggie,” Baker said.

Even without the need to collect rent money or the family partnership, the relationship will continue between Reid and Baker.

“Now, anything I need I’m going to call him,” Reid said.


Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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