Open letter to a landlord

Open letter to a landlord You gave her your word: a room in your house, kitchen and bathroom to be shared, $600/month, starting Dec. 1. On Nov. 25 she drove 150 kilometres to deliver to you a cheque for first and last month's rent. On Dec. 1 she loaded h

You gave her your word: a room in your house, kitchen and bathroom to be shared, $600/month, starting Dec. 1. On Nov. 25 she drove 150 kilometres to deliver to you a cheque for first and last month’s rent. On Dec. 1 she loaded her possessions into her truck and arrived on the doorstep of her anticipated new home.

Have you any sense of how vulnerable a person is, in the darkest month of the year, in transition between homes? Apparently not, as you chose that moment to tell her there had been a change and she couldn’t move in. You lacked the courage to provide an honest explanation. Another person informed her you felt that because she was First Nation she would be unreliable and all her family would move in.

Have you ever heard of asking for references? I would have been happy to tell you that this woman was the most responsible tenant I could wish for. She left my place in better shape than when she moved in, even cleaned lighting fixtures. You may also have learned that she works every day as a traditional healer, teacher and artist, she is a cancer survivor and the only family she has is a son who is in the Armed Forces. Instead of doing some research to address your concerns, you took her money then pulled the welcome mat right out from under her feet when she arrived to move in. Racism’s ugly face sneered over her as, stunned, she returned to her truck to ponder her next move.

Just where is a person supposed to go on Dec. 1 when the door to their housing is slammed in their face? That was her problem, not yours, right? Do you feel any richer now, in money or in spirit? I hope you will treat future tenants with more respect. Sadly, this story illustrates that word-of-mouth deals afford no protection and tenants should be advised to get their deal in writing.

Jane Vincent


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