BACKGROUND

A landlord talks back about his heartless tenants

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN December 3 1960
BACKGROUND

A landlord talks back about his heartless tenants

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN December 3 1960

A landlord talks back about his heartless tenants

WHAT TENANTS DONT LIKE about landlords is as well known as what husbands don’t like about mothers-in-law, and often not quite so funny. To hear tenants tell it, all landlords are tight-fisted tyrants with hearts of stone and inborn aversions to the human race. Well, there’s another side — the landlord’s. Reuben R. Dennis is one of Canada’s biggest landlords, if not the biggest; he owns 25 apartment projects in Toronto and collects about $8 million a year in rents. Here’s a partial list of what landlord Dennis doesn't like about his 4,000 tenants.

* they try to smuggle pets into no-pet premises. Celebrities, says Dennis, are among the worst pet pests. A famous Canadian female recently brought two wolfhounds indignantly to Dennis’s office after she’d got a polite reminder that dogs weren't allowed. Her point was that her dogs didn’t smell. Dennis said he didn't say they did. “If we let one tenant bring in dogs, I’d soon be running a kennel, not an apartment,” he said.

* they defrost refrigerators by chipping at them with pen-knives, whacking them with heels, or by putting

the electric kettle under the freezing compartment, closing the refrigerator door and plugging the kettle in, which builds up enough pressure to buckle the refrigerator walls.

^ they turn up their TVs full blast, then as soon as they turn them off. complain that other tenants’ TVs are too loud.

^ they choose an apartment because it’s attractive and well kept, then hang laundry out the window to dry.

* they drop their keys down the elevator shaft, borrow the master key from the office and forget to return it. phone the superintendent at all hours to be let in. An exception was a young man who, rather than bother the superintendent, tried to get in through the milk box and got stuck at 2.30 in the morning. Police and firemen freed him by taking his clothes oil and greasing him.

* they leave cigarette burns on floors and counter tops, break toilet mechanisms by cooling beer in the tank, secretly redecorate apartments. In one of

Dennis’s biggest buildings, a tenant painted every door in the apartment a different color, and one wall solid black. An artist painted a mural over his bed. which looked, says Dennis, “as if someone had thrown paint at the wall.”

^ they expect super service, but they’ll complain of the floor being washed if it means they have to make a slight detour. They complain of heels on floors above them, ticking steam pipes, the sound of fountains. The landlord’s most dreaded tenant: a husband at home with a cold.

* they leave all the windows open and phone the superintendent that they’re not getting enough heat.

^ they hold the elevator at their floors while they go back to make phone calls. T hey spy on one another (some bachelors use binoculars), squeal on one another, turn up late in the laundry room and throw out the day’s washing schedule, compare rates but don't tell one another the truth.

* and occasionally, says Dennis, tenants lock their wives out in the hall.

ROBERT THOMAS ALLEN