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Top Ten Unanswered Requests Sent By Certified Mail To My Slumlord Who Claims To Have No Email Address

certified mail

January 14, 2017


#1: July 1, 2016.

I request that you reimburse me for having to purchase, upon move-in, a working carbon monoxide detector, three tubes of Super Glue to fix the broken toilet, two bottles of Drano Snake Plus Tool + Gel System for the clogged tub, and supplies (and four hours of labor) to scrub the black grime off the floors and windows and to caulk the cracked tiled bathroom walls.

#2: July 5, 2016.

I request that you repay me for the cost of hiring a locksmith to change my door locks, necessary because, upon move-in, I found in the living room a stained twin mattress and box-spring belonging to your on-site super, John [hereafter referred to as “Super Duper”], who’d been squatting in my apartment because he broke up with his girlfriend, with whom he was previously living in your building’s basement. He told me he didn’t want to live “far” and have to commute to his job, so he decided he might shack up at my place instead. I request that you permanently remove him from the premises. Thank you in advance. (P.S. I’ve tossed the mattress and box-spring down the stairs.)

#3: July 29, 2016.

I ask that you replace the building’s sole washing machine, an agitator model from the 1980s, currently shared among twenty-five residents. Clothes come out dirtier than before the $3.00 wash (I have photos). Please.

#4: August 8, 2016.

According to the lease, parking is included with rent, however when I arrive home in the evenings the lot is always full. I request that a parking spot be forthcoming immediately and for the duration of my lease. Reminder: The City does not allow overnight on-street parking. I will send to you for reimbursement any tickets or towing fees that I incur. I will also deduct from next month’s rent the $100 parking lot gate remote control fee, paid to you upon lease signing, since Super Duper never supplied me with a remote control and “the parking lot gate” has been busted for the last three years, say the neighbors.

#5: October 17, 2016.

I don’t care that you have three broken boilers and 2,000 buildings to “maintain.” As originally reported two months ago, and 3-4 times per week thereafter, my living room window leaks pools of water whenever it rains. For the last time, I request that you make repairs ASAP, otherwise I will report this situation to health inspection services. I’m aware that other tenants have referred them to this building before.

#6: November 9, 2016.

I request that you ask Super Duper, whom you still for some reason employ (and pay under the table), to refrain from sending me harassing and/or sarcastic texts about my requests for repairs. I am keeping records.

#7: November 21, 2016.

I request that you evict Craig, one of your tenants, because he wakes up the neighbors by screaming from his window every night at 2 a.m., and he deals drugs from the old black BMW that’s presently sitting without plates in our parking lot. He is a crime magnet.

#8: December 5, 2016.

I implore you to stop evading the health inspector’s certified mail and half-dozen phone calls about how the roof needs to be replaced and/or the building bricks repointed in order to stop the rain from leaking into my apartment. Your violation fines are adding up. Don’t you care? I request that you show some humanity.

#9: December 16, 2016.

Although I know you won’t comply, I ask you to acknowledge that we have a problem.

#10: January 11, 2017.

Now, I request that you return to me all rent paid for the last six months, totaling $8,700, plus an additional $2,500 for out-of-pocket costs for therapy needed due to the psychological distress suffered while living on your property. I expect these funds to be forthcoming within seven (7) business days, otherwise I will sue you for breach of contract. For your benefit, once I receive these funds, I will be able to afford another realtor fee and all other costs associated with finding a decent apartment, and will therefore move out and stop sending you requests.


The 2015 Boston Writers’ Room Fellow in Nonfiction and former essays editor for The Rumpus, Tracy Strauss is not known for her satire. She has published memoir and essays in The Huffington Post, Salon, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, xoJane, Poets & Writers Magazine, Writer’s Digest Magazine, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, The Feminist Wire, The Dodo, The Southampton Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, Beyond the Margins, and other publications. In 2014, Tracy appeared on The Steve Harvey Show as a relationship blogger for The Huffington Post. Bustle has highlighted Tracy as one of eight women writers to follow. Follow her on Twitter @TracyLStrauss and at tracystrauss.com.