In Montreal, many apartments are floors of a former single-family home, and have stairs on the outside as a result. Our landlord liked to perch on this staircase, literally right outside of my window, and argue with various contractors.
My landlord was not always my enemy. I have had plenty of wonderful landlords, and landlords I haven't thought twice about. In fact I think my landlord is a good guy deep down, he is just very interested in money and very distrustful of his tenants, in a way that antagonizes us and has pitted us all against him. The process of renewing our lease is just the latest struggle with him, but I feel we've emerged relatively victorious. Here's how it happened.
"Well, I knew when I bought the place that I wasn’t long for Ohio. I was there for a job and was only going to buy a rentable property. I decided to become a landlord because this condo was in a larger building, maybe 60 units, and within walking distance from the capital. I figured if I couldn’t rent that, then the whole state had collapsed into a sinkhole."
Having evaluated the cleanliness of many an apartment and done the dirty work required to get it into shape for a new resident I know how to ensure nothing gets overlooked.
I never met the landlord at my first rental. My first week in the U.S. was spent in the fog of jet lag, hormones, and tears that came with moving halfway around the world only to find that you kind of forgot to find somewhere to live. I spent a week going from one house to another with growing desperation, trying to choose between the woman who wanted me to sleep in her living room and the landlord who promised he'd finish the kitchen "soon" and forbade overnight guests. I found a good house, took the room, and came back to sign the lease the next day only to find that the toilet had been removed. Everything was awful, until Chris showed up, quietly carried all my bags up the stairs, built my bookcase, and put me with a minimum of fuss into a house of messy, friendly stoners.
Any elisions in this timeline represent long stretches without unpleasant interactions with landlords, and uneventful tenancies make boring stories. I rented many apartments throughout Iowa City and Chicago before my first full-scale landlord-induced meltdown, which set into motion a series of motifs I'd revisit over the next eight years.