Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dear Landlord

My landlord shares a name with a duck. He is both an idiot and an asshole, and he is unlikely to bag Lea Thompson. I'd like to share a recent exhange he and I had via telephone. It is important to understand the pretext. Our lease expires at the end of April. Last month, we were under contract to purchase a small palace, but our closing date was not going to be until the middle of June. I politely requested that he extend our lease 2 months, so that we didn't have to sign another 12-month lease. Even though someone else in his office told me that they have done this in the past for people moving into condos, Landlord informed me that we would have to sign another lease and then sublet. Essentially, we were to do his work for him, as a reward for paying rent on time every month for the past 2 years. Fine, asshole. Send us another lease. Someone from his office emailed us a lease renewal, informing us that we had until April 10 to re-sign.

Well, the deal for the small palace fell through in the last week of March, on account of unreasonable and non-negotiable seller demands. Thus, we were back house hunting. We found another place a little over a week ago, and we are closing before the end of the month. Hence we did not re-sign our lease.

On Friday (April 11 -- the day after our deadline to re-sign), as a courtesy, I emailed Landlord to let him know that we were not re-signing our lease and that we would be moving out by the end of the month. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from him that said, "Please call me today to discuss." I also received a frantic voicemail from him that said, "GMYH, it's Landlord. Please call me as soon as you get this." I was worried that he had accidentally thrown a molotov cocktail into our apartment (since he knows I'm a tsarist), so I called him back, leaving him a voicemail that was something along the lines of, "Look you Bolshevik mothertrucker, that intimidation shit may fly in Petrograd, but here in America, two-bit proletariat hacks like you are a dime a dozen. By the time you receive this message, your entire family will have suffered the same fate as my apartment. Feel free to give me a call at work or on my cell. Tootles!"

About 26 minutes later, he called me at work. At this point I was covered from head to toe in strawberry-kiwi-flavored massage oil and doves' blood, wearing a black latex mask, and in the middle of receiving a rusty trombone in my office from some Irish-Cuban chick with a tongue ring named Sadie while listening to Danger Danger, as it was Hair Band Friday. Regardless, I answered the phone.

Me: "Ground Leaf Leaf Removal. You rake 'em, we take 'em. This is GMYH. How can I help you?"
Landlord: "This is Landlord."
Me: "Hey, how's it going?"
Landlord (confused by my question): "Um, uh, okay."
(awkward pause)
Me: "Good."
(awkard pause)
Me: "So, uh, what did you want?"
Landlord (on the verge of tears): "I just want to know what happened."
Me: "Well, we were under contract on a place that was supposed to close in June, but that deal fell through and we found another condo where we can close by the end of April, so we don't need to sign another lease."
(several seconds of silence)
Landlord: "Well, I guess I'm just a little taken aback."
(pause for several seconds as I simulatenously reach climax and try to digest why he would be "taken aback")
Me: "Uh, okay. I don't know what to tell you. You guys emailed us the lease renewal and said we had until April 10 to re-sign our lease. We didn't need to re-sign, so we didn't."
Landlord: "So you didn't sign another lease?"
Me (confused, since I assumed he could comprehend English): "Right."
Landlord: "I guess I'm just a little confused."
Me: "Okay."
Landlord (speaking as if he hadn't given me until the day before to sign a new lease): "Well, we're going to be scrambling to find someone to lease the apartment, and we're probably going to be in and out of there several times on Saturday and Sunday showing it."
Me: "Yeah, Woman from your office already emailed me and said you would be showing it tomorrow at 1."
Landlord: "We'll try to give you as much notice as possible about showing it, but sometimes people just walk up to it and call us and we have to show it to them. We're really going to be scrambling."
Me: "Okay, well, as I told you in the email, give us as much notice as possible because our dog is a shelter dog who was abused, so she gets skittish around strangers. For everyone's sake it's best if she's gated off when you show the place."
(silence for 7 or 8 seconds while I assume he stared blankly at the phone, given the obvious gravity of the whole situation)
Me: "Landlord? You still there?"
Landlord: "Yes."
(pause for another several seconds as I expect him to react in some manner)
Me: "Uh, okay, well, just give us as much notice as possible."
Landlord: "Okay. Thanks."
(he then hangs up)

What the hell just happened? "Taken aback?" Are you kidding me? If anyone should be taken aback, it should be me at the fact that he was so absolutely dumbfounded by the fact that we didn't re-sign a lease by the deadline he gave us. And then the man has the balls to put up a sign that says our apartment has central air. Technically, there is air in the center of our apartment, but it is not conditioned in any manner. He knows this because he told us that there was central air. When we called him after we moved in to ask him how to turn our central air on, he nonchalantly said, "You guys don't have central air." I'm no lawyer, but I'm sure there's an Illinois Consumer Fraud Act violation in there somewhere. The tsar will have his revenge.

No comments: