THE CHRONICLES OF A MULTI-FACETED LANDLORD
by Ikite Godwin
Imagine the sudden rush of strong wind as a car driving at a speed of not less than 100km/h passes you by. This incident can be likened to seconds that turn to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to months, and then a year. A tenant’s one year is equal to that “sudden rush of wind”. Gbum!! Gbum!! Gbum!! A thunderous echo piercing through my subconscious as I lay half asleep one cold Sunday morning. I managed to get up from my bed to see who’s trying to pull down my half fit door. Behold the Alpha and Omega of our compound, our landlord “Ette Uko” as he is rightly called. “Mme nsin uduah ufok mmi, dokoh ette mfo” in my local Ibibio dialect, translation “tell your dad I have increased my house rent”. My translation “please help, I have just been stabbed”.
A sixty-five percent rent increase, verbal murder and an ill-written letter from his supposed lawyer was what I had for breakfast. Our rent was due in a week and with this jaw breaking information one can only wonder how or what to do next. “Foolish man!! What does he mean by this?” those were the words of my father as anger was suddenly trickling down to rage. While pondering on his next move he said to himself “Ehh it’s my fault, I should have built my house by now.” With that, he had resorted to the self-blame game and weeks later I discovered that the house bills have been settled amicably in the bank.
As one would rightly think, a sixty-five percent increase in house bills should probably go with plans to renovate certain components of the house that have fizzled out in the course of time. If you were thinking in the same direction as I was, well sorry to disappoint you that wasn’t the case. My family and I live in a three bedroom flat that was built in the seventies, till date no renovation of any sort has been carried out. Typically, day-to-day changes have been made by the tenants in desperate times as of issues with leakages, broken pipes, decaying roof sheet, cracked walls and the like, of which the tenants were required to make certain contributions. So you see why and increment in house rent is a logical contradiction of the highest order.
Months later the “Alpha male” is asking for advance of the next years rent to settle issues in his personal life, days later he is thanking my dad for being a very understanding tenant in fact, the best he has had so far. The very next day, I am hearing heavy noises over a heated conversation, sounding like an alien spaceship crash landing in our house. Our Landlord is planning to link up the light of our flat with his own so he wouldn’t have to pay light bills again, hmmm!!! Well played!!
COULD IT GET ANY WORSE THAN THIS!!!!
– Ikitde, Iberedem Godwin
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