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Landlord from Hell (Part 1)

I moved to Cape Town in April of this year, and needed to find a place to live. I had a few choices, but eventually settled on a house in Kenilworth - a very nice double storey house with a garden, swimming pool, big braai area, DSTV, DSL, and so on. The current tenants of the house were George (the owner and landlord, a fifty or sixty year old Irish guy with a pony tail), David (the large Kenyan guy who told me about the room in the house) and Johan (whom I saw about four times ever, creeping around at night, never saying a word).

After a month or two, things weren't so good. David moved out (I found out later that he had used me to replace himself in the house so that he could leave without forfeiting anything in the lease), and Johan apparently disappeared with all his stuff in the middle of the night. This left me with George, who was just unpleasant, and who spent most of his time sitting on the couch in his socks and watching TV. The place was not homely.

George's domestic worker was called Isaac, and I got on well with him. I used to tip him R10 or R20 to take my laundry out of the washing machine and hang it up to dry. One day I came home and found that George had told him to leave it sitting in the machine. George told me that I was no longer allowed to ask Isaac to do stuff for me. He did not explain why he had gone behind my back and told Isaac to leave my laundry to rot, instead of telling me face to face that I should stop asking Isaac for favours. I found out later, from Isaac, that George had done this because he was angry with me for not helping him to install anti-virus software on his computer, and this was his way of "getting back". Shortly after this, Isaac disappeared, and George hired somebody else called Jeffrey to work for him.

The house was in fairly bad condition, for all that it was a good house. There was no hot water in the kitchen, so it was impossible to do any washing up, which made cooking unpleasant. The shower downstairs had no water pressure and no hot water, rendering it unusable. The bath upstairs had a leak and strange habits when you varied the hot and cold water, but was usable. The front door had to be literally kicked open each time. George repeatedly said that he would fix these things, but it just never happened.

One day, I came home, wanting nothing more than to cook and go to bed, and I discovered that my food was no longer in the freezer - it had disappeared. On asking George about it, he admitted that he had eaten it, because he had been "too lazy" to go and get his own food, and he thought it might have been left over from when David had lived in the house. He said he would replace it sometime. A few days later, he phoned me and told me that some of his bananas were missing, and asked me if I had eaten them. I was almost speechless, and could come up with nothing but a "no".

It was round about this time that George cut off my access to the house's internet connection, stating that it would be "safer" for him to leave it disconnected.

To summarise, living in that house was utterly miserable, and I only went home to sleep, bath and change - I spent all the rest of my time elsewhere, with friends, or maybe reading a book in a restaurant, or otherwise passing the time until I felt I could go home and just sleep. In the last month or two, several new tenants have moved into the house, and some token efforts to fix up the problems have been made, but it is really just a case of too little, too late. I decided that I needed to move out.

Read the next installment to find out what happened.