So a friend of mine was served a notice to quit at minutes to 5pm yesterday. Yes, you read right.
The landlady said she wanted back her apartment to live in (even though she lives in the multi-bedroom unit to which it’s attached). This comes barely a month after both signed off on a new lease and the landlady raised the rent.
“Did you see it coming,” I asked.
“Had a gut feeling,” she answered.
“Do you mind if I write about this,” I asked.
“Hell no!” she said. “Tell it to the world.”
If the landlady felt no shame doing what she did then what’s it to her if we share her deed with all and sundry. This is the same lady my friend overheard the other day reprimanding her two bickering children—at the top of her lungs in the backyard—to stop fighting over foolishness and love each other.
You see, the landlady has been building her house for the past four or more years. Yes, the same one she lives in which is attached to my friend’s apartment. My friend didn’t mind paying rent to a single, working mother determined to build a home.
Well, she asked the landlady to notify her whenever there’d be loud hammering or drilling. After two years of the landlady obliging—but most times not—my friend had the audacity to complain.
Yes, she did the unthinkable. She dared to protest an instance of heavy drilling which caused her heart to jump and ears to go numb for days.
She also dared to remind the landlady to notify her whenever there’d be similar noise in the future. (I actually heard a recording of the drilling, and, folks, it was bad.)
Based on the landlady’s terse reply, tacked-on, by-the-way apology and non-responsiveness to messages thereafter, my friend could sense retaliation was at hand. She began house hunting.
Surely enough, the notice to quit came late Sunday afternoon on Christmas Eve.
So, as I help her scour through rental ads, I also encourage her to be of good cheer. Because soon she’ll be:
**Saying goodbye to the ants coming up through the kitchen sink and the cockroaches crawling out from underneath.
**Saying adios to the cracks in the walls and ceilings and the sagging drywall above the staircase.
**Waving toodles to the toilet that the plumber has come to fix three times and still can’t get it right—not to mention the water that’s been overflowing from the toilet tank and dripping through the light fixture downstairs.
**Saying farewell to the same plumber who thought the best fix for the leaking toilet was to seal the light fixture downstairs.
She’ll be waving au revoir to the flying cockroaches that compete with the moths at night to get inside her room.
She’ll be saying so long to windows that let in rain and rough walls and doors that snag her clothes and scratch her skin whene’er she brushes by.
There’ll soon be no more stinky dog kennels and whimpering chained-up dogs, no more scattered garbage and overflowing trash by the front gate, no more tatty backyard loved by rodents, both big … and bigger.
My gentlefolks, when looking for a short-term or long-term rental property in Jamaica, don’t forget to do your due diligence. If you can, inspect, inspect, inspect in person or be guided by a trusted friend or organization such as the Jamaica Tourist Board and Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments in the case of vacation rentals or by the Rent Assessment Board in the case of long-term rentals.
Ensure you have a solid, written agreement and receive detailed receipts for all payments if ever you decide to rent.
Take pictures of the place, including any damaged areas or furnishings before you move in and out.
During the tenancy, instead of verbal communication, opt for written. It’s sad to say, but, there are landlords here too who expect much from the tenant but have no problem infringing on their tenants rights.
Yes, that phrase “Jamaica, no problem” isn’t always a positive thing.
Best wishes to you all during this season of love. Thanks as always for taking the time to read. And, listen mi, call on a friend, neighbour or acquaintance who you suspect may be alone this Christmas.
Peace and love,
- A notice to quit doesn’t mean the tenant has to be out on the street once the effective date comes around. In Jamaica, the tenant does have rights as per the Rent Restriction Act. The Rent Assessment Board can advise the tenant of those rights.
Image “Exit Door” courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net