Procrastination Techniques for the Modern, Internet-Savvy* Landlord:
A Page-A-Day Calendar

*Don't worry, sir or madam, all we mean is that you claim to use email.

My most recent tenant-landlord interaction went something like this:

Subject line: "[Address] windows, again," which was supposed to simply be a factual statement, not a whiny complaint implying the landlord ignored the last window request, but a title that reflected the fact that I have new issues with my windows.

Politely and clearly worded, lengthier than this: dear landlord, would you please put my screen that fell out by itself back in, and look at the window that is now cracked, and remove the one storm window that didn't get pulled out of the way. Also, you should know that a faucet is dripping and costing you money, ditto the fridge door that doesn't seal all the way.

Three days later (ah, the convenience of instant, electronic mail), I learned that my landlord's computer had been down the last few days, but he'd come in the next two. Those days have come and gone, and my screen's still rattling around in my window.

In April, I emailed about having the storm windows removed, and over a week later learned that he'd "missed my email a week ago" but had recently "caught it." The email before that, I waited over two weeks (admittedly far too long) for a reply, before sending it again with the suggestion that he hadn't received the first one. Oh no, he hadn't! He'd send someone right over (didn't) to remove the old mattress and box frame that had been completely blocking the stairs of our fire escape.

Today, I started to think about this. Maybe he has a stack of ready-made excuses, and he keeps using the same one on everyone until one tenant contacts him/complains more than once, at which point he moves on to the next excuse in the stack for their benefit. Or when enough time has passed, say a week, a week and a half, he moves on to a new one regardless.

I admit, this may overestimate his organizational aptitude. And it's not like the explanations are totally random—many are season-appropriate. There was the time his workers couldn't get to measuring our windows for storms in December, because they were busy shoveling snow at all the properties. All day. (Our driveway remained completely iced-over for most of the winter, complete with a two- or three-inch thick slide of ice down cement steps to a basement door.) Or there's the time the entire first floor of his giant, old, mansion of a house flooded, destroying much of what he owned. That connected to actual weather conditions.

Okay, I believe that one. I probably believe them all. Or most of them. But I like the idea of a weekly calendar, with one or two suggestions per week for why you couldn't get to that email. Or why your team can't make it out to this property promptly. They're seasonal, they're varied, they're hard to argue with. A great way for the busy landlord to buy time in this ever-more-hectic world.