May 1st came with no rent increase notice. June arrived notice free as well. But oh, July--July arrived like the falling of the other shoe. Frau delivered them in person, as I mentioned to you before, and stayed to explain the one-time fee for codes enforcement that she is entitled to charge us. I looked it over, said "okay, good, fine, whatever." I mean, it's not like I really expected her not to raise the rent this year. Last year when I received the increase, I noticed the rent amount looked a bit high. I had done the math previously in expectation of the increase to budget for the extra amount, so I knew about how much it should have been. I whipped out my trusty calculator and sure enough, it was too much. On the first check of the increase, I wrote her a note that said something like "Hi. I know you must get confused with all these tenants so I just wanted to let you know that your math was incorrect. My rent should be this much a month, so that is what I shall pay you." I never heard a peep from her and figured she was trying to pull a fast one. How clever of me to thwart her efforts.
Naturally, I was not about to accept this year's increase at face value. I sat down with the notice and did the math. Current rent multiplied by her generous 3% increase = @$19. (yeah, the rent is dirt cheap which is why I stay in the first place) The amount she listed as my new rent was about 10% more than my current rent. Whoa Nelly! So, today, I enclosed a letter with my check that read much the same as last year's. I showed the math for her [this x 3%=much cheaper rent] and ended with "unless I hear from you I will assume we are in agreement and this is the amount I will include for August's rent and future rent payments." I got a call, but not before I got caught downstairs by Latina Gladys Kravitz who gave me the scoop that Frau hasn't been well lately. Poor Frau; bad knees. Oh and the dude who got arrested a week or so ago? [whisper conspiratorially] Drugs.
Because I didn't warn my neighbors last year, I thought I'd rectify it this year by giving Gladys the heads up. I said, "Hey, just to be on the safe side, check the math on your increase." Knowing her English isn't good, I repeated myself slowly and clearly. I even said, "Have your daughter check the math because my notice wasn't right." She repeatedly told me, "no, there's nothing I can do because remember last year I paid too much so that's why my rent is too much." It made no sense whatsoever and I hope she asks Jennifer to check the math, but I doubt it.
Anywho, Frau called and I went over the math with her via telephone and she acknowledged her error. She apologized and said there are just too many tenants to keep track of. She asked again about the water leak (it's fine) and ended with "You need to keep your place tidier. I know you're busy but you can always find time to clean." Um, thanks Mom. I told her I'm not a housekeeper and it's as tidy as it gets. "Well, you need to keep it clean to keep the bugs out and it's better for your health." Okay, now I assure you that while my apartment is cluttered it is by no means filthy enough to breed vermin. It's certainly not as bad as this one (someone likes All detergent). I told her, "I don't have bugs. It's just cluttered. I'm fine with it."
I can only assume that Gladys put this idea in her head. Last week during the ungodly heatwave there were numerous "water bug"(yes, I know they're cockroaches) sightings in and around the house. I didn't have any but Gladys told me she had two and the neighbor had some. I found a dead one on the front porch but the apartment is roach free. Gladys was hellbent to find the culprit who brought down this plague (I blamed the heat and the garbage on the side of the house from the frat boys next door). I'm sure she gave me up to save her own hide.