the lurking landlord

The landlord’s starting to creep me out some.

And he seems to be leading a witch hunt to get me out.

Shortly after I’d deposited the rent in his mail slot, he appeared at the door with a receipt and document in hand.

“We’re not going to renew your lease for next month.” (The lease is month to month.) “Here’s your copy.”

“What?! On what grounds?”

“After our talk yesterday about the scents.”

“As I said, the diffuser’s gone, packed up, with the oils. I’m not using scented candles or burning incense.”

He looked at me disbelieving because he doesn’t want to believe.

“You’re using candles in your apartment,” he said.

“Unscented tea lights in small votive holders,” I responded.

(I use them for protection on the window sills because I live on the ground floor and my windows face a grassy dirt path between two buildings. Not a lot of people pass through the shortcut but when they do, it’s alarming and shadowy, especially at night. I’ve not felt safe because of it so the candles let passersby know someone’s home.)

“I also use battery candles in the votives. From now on, I’ll use only electric candles. Done.”

I’m creeped out. The only way he’d know about the candles is if he were in the passageway at night near my windows in the middle of the passageway. Otherwise, they’re not visible from either end of the long narrow building.


Then there’s this.

“Yesterday I smelled vinegar around your door.”


I use a solution vinegar and water in a spray bottle in the apartment from time to time to freshen and cleanse the air. The scent lingers no more than five minutes. As part of my cleaning, I’d sprayed it around the interior door frame.

From the outside, you’d have step up verrry close to the door for a slight whiff.

“I use vinegar for cleaning,” I said. “Is that acceptable? Or is vinegar also banned?”

This is on the heels of something else a couple days ago. The landlord was in the boiler room and thought he smelled incense. (I’m sure he immediately thought of me since he’d told me recently not to burn it.)

So he went down the hallway sniffing door to door to find out where it was coming from.

He concluded that it was from my apartment.

Only: I wasn’t home. I hadn’t burned incense in a couple of weeks. And my diffuser was not in use.

When I relayed these facts, I don’t think he really believed me — because he doesn’t want to.

Something weird’s going on with the landlord. A witch hunt. Efforts to railroad me out. It’s weird, strange, spooky and kinda creepy learning that he’s sniffing and lurking around in search of reasons to evict me.

In the absence of scents from candles, incense or diffuser, he’s latched onto vinegar. (The lease does not ban use of vinegar.)

What’s next?

I took the copy of the 30-day’s notice he handed me — note: I moved in only a month ago. He said he’d rescind the notice if I quit the candles. I repeated that I would and would use only electric.

Instinct tells me that this isn’t over. That he’ll turn over every stone, sniff at my door and peek down the dark passageway for any ANY reason to get me out.

He’ll use the scent of cooking, claiming it bothers the residents with respiratory ailments (himself included). He’ll say he still keeps smelling the scent of candles I’m not burning or vinegar or fill-in-the-blank.

He’s on his witch hunt and I’m not even a witch! Just a gal living — tryg to live — in a studio apartment.

If he continues, if his actions become weirder and weirder, more and more invasive and prying, I’ll need to consider speaking with the building’s owner. I’ve had many landlords through my years but none like this.

Creepy. Halloween comes early.


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