Dear Landlord

JOANNA SCHRECK, Queens College Student / Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Letters for Change Writing Contest.

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Dear Landlord,

For six long years you have collected my rent check, your smile genuine. The first time money exchanged hands we each had trash in the other. The last time, we were preparing for the warmer days ahead with a driveway car wash. Your hose had been punctured and I lent you duct tape for a temporary solution. Though our encounters have been few and far between due to our opposite schedules, they have left a superficially pleasant impression. It is because of this that I find it hard to approach you face-to-face regarding the topic on which I write to you today. You are kind. You have delivered to my door my mail, you have offered me your weekday paper as you know I subscribe only to Newsweek due to cost. You have fed me leftovers and offered idle conversation. And even still, I implore you to change your ways.

The truth of the matter is that for every good deed you perform, I am wracked with a sense of guilt. I have cursed your parking daily, hating that the street space in front of our home is communal and your guests claim the curb more frequently than I ever manage to.

Every holiday your decorations not only outshine my own, but seem to adhere to some sort of schedule, tinsel and flags magically hung before I’ve frequented the dollar store and then somehow, as if the decorations marched themselves off the property in a timely manner, disappear months before I find the time and energy to tear down my own.

There is a saying– No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers.

I believe wholeheartedly that this motto has never before found its way to you. I would even go so far as to say that your American Colonial home holds no pencils; you complete the Newsday crossword in permanent ink. And as expected, your penmanship is flawless.

Amongst my grievances are complaints that…

The rent is too high.

The laundry machine is forever full.

The heat is nonexistent at best.

The refrigerator is never stocked.

The Fourth of July, Superbowl Sunday and New Years Eve bring so many people that if I weren’t invited to the parties you host, I’d be sure to have another complaint!

Alas, it’s begrudgingly that I come to you with my request that you step back, accept the reality of our cohabitation, and alter your behavior towards me. I deserve no more complimentary girl scout cookies when you order too many boxes, no homemade Irish soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day and certainly no chocolates on Valentine’s.

If anything, mother, I deserve a cool stare and a monthly invoice. I no longer wish to hold this grudge against you as I feel it’s affecting our home life. Just last week around the dinner table I withheld from adding my own two cents about the town’s decision to implement housing for young professionals as I thought of how grand it would be to finally be free of you!

That being said, this month’s check is on your dresser. I’ve added an additional five dollars for turning the heat up last night. If you need me, I’ll be upstairs in my room.


Your daughter/ tenant.

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