The tyrannical belittlement of landlords cannot be over flogged; erratic rent increments inversely proportional to comfort, incessant rants on tenants in a show of superiority and forceful ejection after few months default on rents. I can go on and on.
If the aforementioned practices are norms for landlords, then my landlord is a ‘Judas’. A man in his early sixties, though not too literate in the things of law would seek legal suggestions before embarking on tenant eviction. A man with no favourites who would treat his children as equals with his tenants.
Once a tenant was in family crisis; his wife whisked away their only daughter and his savings and ghosted away. He searched fruitlessly for them and neared paying with his job. Our landlord called him one Sunday, sat him down like a father and gave him useful tips on how to handle the situation. The most astonishing thing he did that day was granting the tenant a grace of four months to sort himself out before he would worry about paying rents.
This kind and humane gestures some tenants tend to abuse by springing one excuse or the other not to pay their rents even when they had the money. They were times he would stare at their faces as they mouthed their pathetic lies and gulp down thick stony balls of saliva and wave them away afterwards. Those times they would walk away with smile creamed faces and term him gullible. They were however other times his patience failed him and he would scream at the top of his voice in resistance, playing to them his own urgent needs. Those times they tagged him wicked and insensitive. Because of the insincerity of the few, the majority often pays the price of his anger.
My landlord resisted his wife from playing the bossy landlady. There was an incidence that made me sell him my unwavering respect. One of the tenants’ children fell sick, stooling and rolling uncomfortably on the ground. The couple were in great discomfort as they looked for a way to get the child to the hospital. Though they had a motorcycle, they couldn’t drive it that night because of the curfew imposed by the government on motorcycle operation beyond eight pm. It was already somewhere beyond ten pm.
The couple ran to the landlord’s door and banged repeatedly. He opened the door and asked them what the problem was in a deep sleepy voice. Before they concluded their story he went inside and fetched his car keys and drove them to the hospital.
There is one man that price life over property, a man that would never brag with his possessions. That man is my landlord. And when you ask him why he does what he does, he would smile and say, ‘Echi di ime’ meaning, ‘Tomorrow is pregnant’.
AUTHOR: Anthony Emecheta