Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When the toilet in my bathroom overflowed, I called the landlord. He charged me to fix it, saying it was my fault. That was debatable, but I didn’t feel as anxious to argue as he always is; I was just anxious to get it done. I don’t know if he charged the people below me when they complained about the water leaking into their apartment. But he probably did as lousy a job on repairing their ceiling/my floor as he did on my toilet, ‘cause both problems quickly happened again.

Keep in mind we’re among his most tenured tenants, paying half or even a third in rent than the newer residents of the building. He’d love us to move out so he could make more money. So pestering us is a small price to pay.

Like showing up Saturday morning unannounced, knocking on my door and lingering outside. He was there to fix everything -- again -- because the people downstairs complained. Fine, but how ‘bout a little damn notice? I called his cell and told him he’d have to wait. The reason I didn’t want to let him in right away is that Adelphia was over. Just because it was convenient for that schmuck, I wasn’t gonna let him barge in on me and my girlfriend trying to enjoy our weekend.

When I finally let him in, Adelphia was in the other room, and overheard him quibbling with me over every little thing. She was flabbergasted that my landlord is such an asshole. I shrugged; I’m used to it.

But he threw me for loop when I came home last night and found a notice on my door. On a legal form declaring “Three (3) Days to Cure Violation or Forfeit the Premises”, the landlord had handwritten the so-called violation: “Unauthorized tenant residing in the apartment” as witnessed by “himself”.

Whatta prick.

I called him and told him in colorful language that his cheap ploys at getting me evicted are bordering on harassment. If he had truly been concerned about this strange woman in my place, he could’ve just friggin’ asked me during one of his drawn-out debates about the repairs. Or called me, for chrissakes. Jumping to conclusions about an overnight guest using an official notice is nothing but passive-aggressive bullshit. He gave me a bunch of babbling excuses and explanations for his behavior, but I ended it before he could come off as even more conniving, if that was possible.

Yeah, I know all the arguments about buying vs. renting, and even just moving outta here might seem like a good solution, but I’m not ready to do any of that yet. Despite some problems, I like where I live. And I love sticking it to my landlord by paying so little each month. I plan to consult the rent control board, the city of Santa Monica and other organizations about how best to deal with this schmuck.

In the meantime, running through my head is the old Saturday Night Live sketch called “Prose and Cons” featuring Eddie Murphy as a poetry-writing prisoner:

“Images” by Tyrone Green
Dark and lonely on the summer night.
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking -- Do he bite?
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Slip in his window
Break his neck
Then his house
I start to wreck!
Got no reason --
What the heck?!
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
C-I-L-L …
My land… lord.


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