Don’t rent an apartment on 69 Crittenden Blvd.
About this time last year, I and five other brave souls naively signed the lease to this house. Little did I know that Jon, Mike, Amos, Dan and two Daves were embarking on a tumultuous journey.
Someone said that the landlord lived in England. “No problem,” was the collective thought, “England’s kind system of social welfare is sure to indicate the benevolent demeanor of the landlord.”
Not having outgrown the freshman pack mentality, I deferred to the better judgment of those of us who actually saw the house and read the lease. School ended, and I headed home to live with my parents, while I sublet my room in the house for the summer.
When I paid a visit last June, I was excited to spend some time with my friends. It was my first real look at the house. The previous tenants had left it in a state similar to human feces. Tiny gifts the mice left in the pots and pans were a nice complement.
I moved in at the end of August and soon came to enjoy the half-assed existence that is living off campus. The house, although somewhat dilapidated, was doing its job, until the evil landlord perpetrated heretofore unspeakable acts.
When the city inspector came to examine our domicile in November, she realized that the Daves were living in the basement and attic, even though the evil landlord had only paid taxes for tenants to live in the middle two floors. She also indicated a number of repairs that needed to be made to make the place “livable.”
I’m not one to bitch, but Meredith Lepore has taught me that the features section is the Mecca of bitching. Consider this my pilgrimage to the position of features writer.
One day, while walking home, I noticed a group of people bustling about our house. They were tearing down ceilings, painting walls and oddly jobbing all around. Not notified of the work crew, I tried to make myself peanut butter toast, but the pantry was inaccessible.
Demoralized, I went upstairs, angry and unfed. When the crew left, there were specks of paint on our dishes and a thick layer of dust throughout the house.
When the city inspector came by a second time, the evil landlord sent Jon an e-mail telling us to move the beds out of the attic and basement and pretend that no one was living there. In cahoots with the evil landlord, we pulled the wool over the city’s eyes. But we could have easily told the city about the evil landlord’s tax evasion, or just said that the Daves had moved out, and that he must lower the rent. Sadly, my housemates weren’t saying “let’s fuck him” repeatedly.
After the fall semester ended, I stayed with the house for a few days, while everyone else had left. One afternoon, I awoke to the sound of rushing water.
“Who was showering?” I walked downstairs and marveled at the pool that was fast becoming a pond in our basement. I turned the water off and contacted Jon.
Jon sent an e-mail to the evil landlord to which he responded that turning off the water was, “quick thinking.” We don’t even have a number by which to reach him in case of emergency.
When the evil landlord e-mailed us about increasing the rent, we concluded that it was statistically probable that he was taking advantage of us.
We responded to the evil landlord with an e-mail telling him in depth what the problems were. He replied by saying only, “Your concerns are duly noted.”
The devil himself.
We’ve been fixing leaky sinks, showing the house to anyone he sees fit and doing other odd repairs that the evil man in England won’t do, despite their kind system of social welfare.
We’ve been covering his ass, yet he decides to raise the rent. None of us have even seen this evil man. He must refuse communication for fear that we will expose him as Osama bin Laden himself.
I’d like to close with some advice to those who will be living off campus next year. Meet the landlord. Maintain a dialogue with the landlord about any issues or concerns you may encounter during your lease period.
Inspect the property and take pictures before you sign the lease. Read the lease thoroughly before you sign it.
Rudolph can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.