Thursday, January 06, 2011

Why I moved in to a camping trailer

I have to say, for a business letter it's not bad. Primarily worth reading if you're interested in the sad state of tenant's rights.

Monday, 17 September

Dear Harmon Property Management,

Thank you for your notice of 12 September.

I have engaged in the ritual burning of sage once in the apartment, on moving in, as befits a cleansing ritual to a new space. It is impossible that what you found in the sink was ash. It seems likely to me that what was found was potting soil, as I use that sink to water my plants. I appreciate the management's concern for the resident's welfare.

Smudging, in violation of neither the lease nor the house rules,* involves burning bundled, ritually blessed herbs in controlled circumstances similar to the safe burning of incense. As the risks are similar to incense burning- which is not against fire code- I had no reason to believe that engaging in this ritual posed a significant hazard to anyone. If it is against fire code, I offer sincere apologies for the risk to people and property, and shall not smudge again (as I probably would have for Samhain) outside the fireplace.

As for the smoke detector, I too have noticed its absence, and would greatly appreciate its return--as per my move in checklist.

I request that the management provide me a read and signed copy of my move in checklist, which I returned in a timely manner on the 15th of August in accordance with the instruction given me.**

I have never wanted to stop Harman Property Management from finding someone else to live in bedroom B and split the utilities with us. The "nasty note" I placed on the bedroom door is a Gandhi quote, reading, "in the past we have had the options of violence and nonviolence; now we have the options of nonviolence and nonexistence." For literate readers it refers to nuclear proliferation, having nothing to do with the rental of the room or not. Though placing it on the door of a private room not rented to me was unwise, the outward facing side of the door constituted, aesthetically, public space. As neither the contract nor the house rules make reference to decoration of public space, I naturally assumed within reason this would be left to the discretion of residents. I repeatedly checked with the other residents about my use of public space, and received no notice from the management about wall hangings before it was removed. Once more, I request it returned.

The "nasty note" on the bathroom mirror merely requested that prospective tenants make the residents aware of their visits. It has caused significant emotional stress to the residents to have management in their home so constantly without proper notice, and for the management to make such strange and frequent demands, obviously based upon visits they had made without proper notice when the residents were not there.

Because this would have been more acceptable had the management been troubling themselves to maintain the residence, the note also referenced the most inconvenient of the unsatisfactory conditions, the plumbing/ hot water situation, and was posted next to copies of the work order forms previously submitted. It was to make an honest disclosure of the true condition of the property, and to convince the management to improve the condition of the property, as there are many problems that would not be perspicuous to one who has not lived there. The exact text and location of the note has been documented and is available upon request.

The only thing I have threatened anyone with is legal action. This is not grounds for eviction.

The bookshelf and plants in the hallway were not against contract, house rules, or fire code. Upon being asked to move the bookshelf, I filed a work order within days to have it moved to a location more suitable to the management's liking. Despite that it was instead moved to a location that blocks my access to furniture in my bedroom, that I can't move it anywhere myself for fear of further injuring my back, and that none of the other residents object to the bookshelf's original position in the hallway, I have kept nothing in the hallway since the bookshelf was moved except for the remaining wall hangings, which were not mentioned in the notice.

The objects I stored in the bathroom have all been grooming related. If the management wishes to limit the resident's right to store their hygiene objects in their bathrooms, this should be stated in the house rules, and in a more specific way than "the bathrooms are not to be used for storage" unless the residents are not to be permitted to keep anything in their bathrooms at all.

While there is nothing absurd or disturbing about a resident's right to a reasonably maintained property and the quiet enjoyment of the space they've paid for, I sincerely regret that your business experience leads you to believe otherwise. Neither should the ancient rituals of my faith, practiced safely and legally in my home, provoke such epithets. If you are uncomfortable with smudging as a religious practice, you should have said so earlier and should say so now directly, rather than resorting to disparagements such as “absurd” and “disturbing”. It is illegal to discriminate in provision of an open market rental on religious grounds, but reasonable people can often accommodate each other without having to resort to legal gotchas.

If there is any other way in which the management believes I am in violation of the lease, I here request that they please notify me so that I may comply.

Here also I request that the management respond to my correspondence to them dated September 12, an additional copy of which is attached.


P. S. In all future correspondence, please use correct names. At a minimum, that should include both the proper legal name and DBA, if any, of your business unit, the name of the responsible property manager with his or her license number, and the names and addresses of the landlords of this property. The Utah Department of Commerce appears to be unaware of any such entity as Harman Property Management.

* The office staff employed by Harmon Property Management would do well to take care that they do not falsely present the nature or existence of the house rules, and that they actually present them with the contract before signing; it seems this has been a problem on a number occasions in the past, and could create great inconvenience to all involved should this carelessness continue. They may also take into consideration a policy of conducting themselves with courtesy and respect towards the residents and any others they may encounter in a business setting.

**This should be accompanied by the addendum to the move in check list which I was given permission to make (and which I obtained a copy of at that time) that was turned in on the 16th of August, when I discovered further parts of the residence in need of repair. It should also be accompanied by copies of the work orders I turned in on the 16th of August, when I received “the house rules,” and on the 1st of September.


___________________________ said...

Y'know, I think you owe me at least one e-mail. Hunh, are you still neopagan? For some reason I never connected you to neopaganism.

Day said...

Pagan enough to smudge, and celebrate festivals and the occasional sabbat. I'm sort of anti-theist and secular, though, especially now. I was never a believer in in-authentically-revived/appropriated gods, but I believe strongly in the value and psychological power of ritual and community.

I accidentally fell in with this circle for awhile--I thought they were a discussion group, but they were an actual, functioning circle. I was generally pretty quiet during ceremonies, but I did experience whole year with them before I moved, and it was pretty awesome. They were very cool, age range about ten to sixty, generally quirky, artsy, and smart.

___________________________ said...

Ah, got it. Yeah... I have a very difficult time integrating to community. I am very private. I also am enough of a misanthrope to make that effort difficult.

That's interesting.