An Open Letter To My X-Landlady

Why do people have to be so…so unappreciative.  Gawd Amighty.  I wanted to start this open letter with “the f-word you”, but I refrained.

I’m not like most renters.  I take pride in ownership, even though I don’t own the place.  Because I like to live in a nice, clean, maintained home.  So I’ve fixed a lot of properties with almost no compensation for doing it.  I fix things that break without calling the landlord.  I buy my own paint.  I take care of the lawn.  I buy my own fertilizer and weed killer.  But I do expect, at least, for it to be noticed.  Somehow, four walls, a roof (this one needs to be replaced very soon by the way) a door and a window here and there is all anyone really notices or cares about.

This is my case in point.  I lived in your house for two years.  During that time, these are the very noticeable things I did to your property.  Things you had not seen until last night when you showed the house to a prospective tenant without my lease being up until the end of the month.  The first thing we did was clean the dump up.  It was almost uninhabitable except for mice, but you said you had just had it cleaned, and the carpets shampooed.  Truth is that was, if at all, two years ago when you put the house up for sale.  All that did was loosen up the carpet in every room and stain the wood on the stairs.  In short, you got screwed.  We started by repairing two broken drawer fronts, replacing all the cabinet hinges, cleaning and re-grouting the tile and putting new switch plates and covers on outlets.  Decorative ones, ones I’m taking with me, so the two missing outlets covers that were there when we moved in are back.

Then we put a series of 2 X 6 beams in the ceiling of the kitchen to improve the look and reused the 2 X 6 beams that were falling down around the perimeter of the kitchen in the open vaulted area.  Beams that had been nailed and nailed and screwed and nailed to keep them from falling off the wall.  The architectural detail in the kitchen is a very noticeable change.

The beams in the kitchen ceiling. You can see the trim detail along the perimeter. That's where the beams were attached originally and were stained a darker color. The built in micro-wave is on the right, over the repaired stove door. The doorway is new also.The refinished stair railing. They used to look like the railing above.

We then painted the kitchen and breakfast area after replacing the base molding and refinishing the stair railings.  Taking down the track lighting fixtures in the kitchen to paint, made us want to gag.  They hadn’t been cleaned since the house was built.  And let us mention how we replaced the stove covers and burners because they were beyond cleanable, the oven with it’s broken door, now repaired and cleaned, and the built-in micro-wave that was replaced with a matching one purchased at a garage sale.  And the Jenn-Air grill.  It took my wife two days to clean that to a point where it could be used.  It needed a new outside vent and new filter.

The dog ate the vents and the siding. The new dryer vent.

Speaking of outside vents, your dog had damaged the back of the house, as you pointed out he wanted to chew up everything and he did.  I started by replacing the vents for the dryer, the Jenn-Air vent.  Both were missing or chewed to the point of being useless.  We also repaired siding, and recaulked joints.  We fixed that missing board in the rotting deck as well, just to replace the piece of wood that was just lying over it.

The framing for the "short wall" extension before sheetrock.

We built a short wall to add detail to the entry way and took out the railing that was there.  The stairs were rebuilt to curve into the door.  We painted the living room and entry using a two-tone color that highlighted the shadows.  I might add that repairing the walls to my satisfaction to paint, took longer than the professional painting job that you must not have noticed.


The mouse food warehouse discovered in the bookcase.

There’s a lot more, but what’s the point?  If you didn’t see those things, you won’t care about the others.  Like the mice that had invaded the basement, and had a food store of dog food under the built-in cabinets in the “family room.”  The mice droppings that fell out of the wall around the toilet paper holder in the “downstairs bathroom” when I repaired it.  I’m putting quotes around those words because I’m not really sure that’s what those rooms were.

The new garage shelving. You can see the workbench in the rear center.

I have to mention the garage.  The hodge-podge of ridiculous shelves and work benches with thousands of screws.  It took my daughter and I over three days to gut the thing and start over.  We put in new shelving, repaired the single garage door (It was off the track.) and adjusting the double-door side.  A new sturdy workbench and peg-board storage completes the new organized garage.

Yeah, you have 2667 square feet of badly designed room in a tri-level three bedroom house.  And you leased it to me for $1,500 no utilities included.  You had it on the market for sale for 2 years and we came in and rescued you by offering to maintain the property and option to purchase in two years.  Now you’re advertising the property on “craigslist” for $1,500 a month with water, garbage and sewer included (a septic by the way – you should quit lying to your prospective tenants).  You’re an idot.  Do you have any idea what the water bill is there during the summer to keep the lawn green.  Of course you don’t, you let it die.  I brought it back.  Back to the point that it is looks better than the lawn of the lawn service guy that lives next door.  The lawn service guy says you owe him for over a year of taking care of the property for you while it was vacant.

No, you didn’t mention any of these things when I asked you if the prospective tenant’s were interested.  All you said to me about everything you had spent 45 minutes walking through, while I waited in the front yard sitting on the rock wall, was “they’re very interested but they’re worried about the smoke?”  The what?  Yeah, the child has allergies and they’re worried that the smoke smell will affect him.  Lady, if the kid has allergies, it won’t be the smoke smell in this house that gets him, not in Reno, Nevada.

I’ll have to have the house specially cleaned, you said.  They do that kind of thing now.  Oh, I’ll bet they do, real niche business.  Let us get that smoke smell out of your house from those tenants who didn’t follow the lease terms and smoke in your house.  It’s a permanent clause in most canned lease documents now.  Then you want to know when I can be out because you need to get that done before they move in on the 2nd of August.  You never mention the new gate and repaired fence, the trimmed junipers, the beautiful lawn, the re-landscaped front rock garden.  You just say, “well keep me informed.” 

Fuck you.


Your X-Tenant

The new three section gate.

P.S. I’m sorry I had to put you readers through this, but I had to vent to somebody.  Starting today, I’m turning off the water on the lawn.  It needs to be mowed but that’s no longer my problem.  I’m not wasting my time cleaning anything, and I’ll be out of the house on the 31st.  See if she notices that.   




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