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The Electric Grapevine | Lord of the Dings | 01.17.09

The term "Landlord" is long overdue for a politically correct overhaul. It seems the inclusion of the word "lord" has gone to some property owners' heads. A recent exiting of an apartment by someone I know was a textbook example of what should obtain you a 100% damage deposit. Not so it would seem, as this building owner decided to whittle the damage deposit down to a paltry 13 dollars through a series of fabricated costs and violations. Sure there is legal recourse for this, but who really has the time if they've recently relocated and were renting to begin with? Most of us who have to leave our space to do our laundry don't exactlly keep our lawyer on retainer for such occasions. Why can't a landlord for once simply say, "Yes, the place is clean and undamaged with the exception of acceptable wear and tear, what is your new address so I may send you the deposit? Thank you for paying for my Jeep Cherokee for the past 24 months." Is that really so hard? When I moved to Vancouver three years ago I met the king of all obsessive compulsives who eventually became my landlord for one year. I honestly would not have been surprised to have been asked for a urine sample from this active sheriff. I showed up to his required meeting place, International House Of Pancakes, with references ranging from RCMP members to the Mayor of Grand Forks, yet this man was still as hesitant as a flight instructor training a Saudi Arabian how to fly. If someone had just spent month after month paying me to utilize a space I would be an absolute darling afterwards. I would realize that the space was left intact within reason and continue to rent it on to others. Most of the ones I have come across act like you are betraying them by leaving for another space much like a jilted lover. I say most because, of course, there has been the occasional good one. Obviously I'm including my current ones as I'd hate to come home to belongings in the street, and they are genuinely good people. My ire is reserved for the types that disregard the receipt you left for steam cleaning the carpets and insist on billing you for another pass. Have you noticed its always just a bill for their own hours to go over the same area? You don't see them outsourcing this to a professional. They simply fabricate an hourly rate for themselves, or their significant others, and make you pay. One incident which resulted in black mould plaguing our bathroom was summed up as being the result of wet towels on our rack. Somehow the fact that the window-less room also lacked a fan was overlooked. I had one in Vancouver bill me because a single stream of remaining cleaner had streaked down a surface and he felt his wife needed the afternoon to amend this. This is the same man that said if I were to meet any ladies that he would have to know immediately. I'm sorry, but if I were even single at the time I sure as heck can't picture myself dialing up this psychopath after asking a lady back to my place. I'd say calling your landlord to ask for his approval of your one night stand would chill the room colder than the hallway that joins Conan and Jay. My first solution is to retain a spare key until your damage deposit has been returned to the amount it should be. If that amount does not come, I say we should simply return to the space and defile it in some heinous manner. You may as well get your money's worth. Were you billed for excess carpet cleaning? Well then hold a motocross in the space and make sure the cheap "Lord of The Vista View Complex" gets their money worth in the cleaning process. Dinged for the repair of picture hangers? Punch a hole in the wall. My personal favorite comes from a friend who was harassed to his wits end at which point he funnelled the contents of his cat litter box into the furnace on his last day of occupancy. Now that's a sendoff.