The Bad Guy

(Not) Paying Rent

Years ago I lived in a building with an absentee landlord. I met the guy when I moved in, but I hardly ever saw him after that. When I first met the guy, he opened his door and I could see wall-to-wall beer can carpeting. I’m not kidding, that entire apartment looked and smelled like one gigantic “moment of clarity.” I was a little hesitant to deal with the guy, but you don’t say no to $375 per month. And besides the horrible condition of his floors, the rest of the building looked fine. When I paid my deposit and first month’s rent he gave me one simple rule:

“On the first of the month, slide the rent check under my door. Put it in an envelope with your apartment number on it.”

Simple enough.

So like any normal person I would pay my dirt-cheap rent every month without delay. That is until I had a conversation with two other tenants.

neighbor 1: See, that old boy up there, you want to stay away from him.

neighbor 2: That guy is CRAZY!

me: Yeah, that’s what I hear…Hey, is today the first?

neighbor 2: Yeah.

me: Oh, fuck! I’ll be back in a second. I have to drop the check under the landlord’s door.

neighbor 1: Calm down, he ain’t even here.

neighbor 2: Wait…You pay rent?

me: Yes.

neighbor 1 & 2: [They enjoyed great heaps of hysterical, gut-busting laughter while pointing at me.]

me: What?

neighbor 1: [to neighbor 2] He don’t know!

me: Alright, what?

neighbor 2: I haven’t paid rent here in FIVE YEARS!!!

neighbor 1: Four, for me.

me: Huh?

neighbor 2: That guy works 300 miles away from this place, he never comes here unless he HAS to.

So after hearing more about how hardly anyone at the building pays rent, I decided to to try a little experiment. I’d save that rent money in separate account in case the landlord asked for it, but I’d see how long it took him to knock on my door.

It took eighteen months for Mr. Landlord to darken my doorway.


me: who is it?

landlord: Your landlord.

me: Oh, hey! How can I help you?

landlord: I didn’t get your rent check for this month.

me: Oh, SHIT! I’m sorry. Let me write you a check right now.

landlord: Thank you.

me: I’m so, so sorry about this.

landlord: These things happen. Have a nice day.

me: You, too.

And the next month I moved to another state. As I was loading up the U-Haul, I debated whether I should ask for my security deposit back. I know it would make a better story if I had asked for it, but I figured I should quit while I was ahead. After all, I only had to pay $375 for 18 months worth of rent.


April 22, 2007 - Posted by | apartments, cheap rent, Free Rent, rent


  1. So did you go buy hookers with all of that money you saved up? I would have.

    Comment by Myrtle | April 23, 2007 | Reply

  2. No, I just used that money for the mundane purpose of moving to Nevada.

    Comment by thebadguy | April 23, 2007 | Reply

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