Landlords are a piece of work everywhere in the world and popular myths about landlordism are no surrogates for accurate knowledge. The folk-devil image that they have come to be reckoned with has drifted since like forever, having been brought into vogue by notorious British landlord Peter Rachman, a man whose practices inspired the obscure noun Rachmanism—a word now used to describe “the exploitations and intimidation of tenants by unscrupulous landlords.”
With the urge to become independent and follow our own whims as well as ushering on the privilege of mindless sleep-overs and wild house parties, more young are renting today. This should come as no surprise. It is like the Millennial Agenda to kill the housing market and force future generations to wane on nothing but avocado toast and the ephemeral satisfaction of a good fidget spin.
Whether this latest upsurge in renting is a millennial plot or, perhaps, a result of economic relapse, wage stagnation, housing crisis and the rising cost of living, the fact remains that most of us are currently renting and in some cases, a good number of our landlords are just annoyingly bad and mean human beings.
It all starts with the misrepresentation of apartment amenities on rental ads. Once you’ve signed the lease, it’s a difficult situation to back out of. You are legally allowed to end your lease if it was presented to you that a certain property had amenities that it didn’t actually have. However, a lot of petty landlords will still report it on your credit if you terminate or walk the lease. It’s f*cked up how landlords get away with straight-up lying in online listings because residents don’t want to face the potential consequences of fighting back.
Landlords also come up with discrete charges or reasons why the security deposit can’t be refunded. I never get that.
As if the above is not evil enough, it is common knowledge that getting your landlord or leasing office to fix broken appliances or make routine repairs can be difficult. The reason for this could be a combination of disorganisation and misplaced frugality. A friend of mine’s old company managed tens of buildings across the country but only worked with a couple of different contractors or plumbers that gave them sweetheart deals, and work orders piled up as a result.
How about we also add price gouging to that? All renters can expect a slight increase in their rent from year to year, but this is supposed to be a small inflation based on the value of the property. But, honestly, unless you’re in a rent-stabilised or rent-controlled building, you’re largely at the mercy of your landlord when it comes to pricing. Beyond sucking it up and paying, or choosing to move, there’s not much you can do.
We have also seen a lot of landlords engaging in what’s called “self-help,” or trying to evict tenants without going through the proper legal channels. Sometimes it’s an investment decision where they want to flip the house, other times it’s because of non-payment of the rent situation. Either way, it is illegal in most jurisdictions for a landlord to use tactics like cutting off a tenant’s utilities, changing the locks, removing property, or making verbal or written threats to get an occupant to move out.
Tell you what, behind every renter is at least one rental horror story: a landlord who hoisted up the rent unexpectedly or harassed tenants for made-up infractions. Some landlords are unfair, they lie, cheat, and steal. You have to be vigilant and take control over your own destiny. You probably have seen landlords use several common tactics to scare residents into silence or conformity. Often, these ploys are illegal.
Several musicians have been warning us about this for decades, but we didn’t know any better then. Bob Dylan sparked the conversation with “Dear Landlord” back in 1967. Dead Kennedys were so riled up that they urged us “Let’s Lynch The Landlord”. Serious Bizness expressed similar exasperation in “High Rise Tenements”. The Coup couldn’t take it anymore and they plotted to “Kill My Landlord”. Arrested Development’s “Mister Landlord” was another blatant middle finger to their proprietor. Rob Rosenthal’s “We’re Gonna Stay,” was an anthem of resistance to greedy and fiddling landlordism.
The list is infinite, and that serves to remind us how mean proprietors can be.
Rapper R.Peels is the latest voice to raise a red flag on the plight of a tenant in the face of annoyingly petty and mean landlords. Those who have followed his work for years know firsthand how focused the rapper really is. He has great self-confidence and believes he is on earth for a greater cause. And for now, that cause is to make a rap artist like himself thematically relevant and go mainstream. It is not much of a challenge for him since his music has been part of cool kids’ cultural platform from the start, having experienced life from both sides of the urban strata. While many of his peers are dabbling in fantastical bullshit of high-hated trap music and facsimile hustling anthems, he writes cutting-edge honesty, witty, incisive lyrics about young urban culture as well as its decay, which makes him something of a missing link between Ti Gonzi and Sharky.
With his latest visual release, “Landlord”, the tweenaged rapper laid bare an empathetic story of a young, untamed whippersnapper who’s always at odds with his confounded and irritatingly overarching landlord played by nonesuch rap videos harlequin DJ Towers. The issues they quarrel about are trivial and could be anything, but it’s funny how they can use rent money and boose to make up.
The video was shot by director SimDoc and although there are quite a few pickable hiccups, he did an applaudable job in storifying the tale. A myriad of emotions is encapsulated on this release, from anger and indignation brought on by poor treatment by R.Peels landlord, to resilience from a strong sense of mastering the art of keeping up with just mean proprietors.
It’s a mid-tempo afrobeat song with simple elements cleverly weave together to form a complex, syncopated interlocking pattern. It is groovy and danceable, and will definitely be spinning at my next dance party.
Check out the video below and relate: