Asking for a friend. She currently lives with 3 other people in a single family household in the Boston area. Recently her landlord/roommate sent the entire household a very passive agressive email and she'd like some opinions on how to deal with it.
posted by thekiltedwonder to Human Relations (52 answers total)
Here's her question:
So I currently live with 3 people - we're all around the same age group (early-mid 20s). One of the roommates is the landlord (let's call her Pam) and owns the small house we live in. The other roommate is the landlord's boyfriend (Tom). The third roommate (Anne) is just like me - a random craigslist find. The house is small - we see each other daily, all of the bedrooms are upstairs and within a step of each other.
The house is clean and tidy. Anne and I keep to ourselves mostly, we don't own anything that is outside of our rooms. We are allowed to use the kitchen, use the living room, etc, like any normal living situation. When I say the house is clean, I mean, it's EXTREMELY clean if you compare it to most other people our age group who live with roommates. Dishes get done promptly (you know, within reason after completing a meal), but every once in a while a dish or two will sit overnight, we had a cleaning schedule that worked fairly well up until Tom moved in, no trash left anywhere, everything has its place, etc.
Tom recently moved in - so a new cleaning schedule was put up on the fridge door. I'm not even sure if Tom is paying rent or not, to be honest. At first Pam told me she was going to decrease the rent because he was moving in, but then because property taxes went up she didn't.
Then, yesterday (a day after the new cleaning schedule was put up), this email was sent to the entire household. I already find the idea of sending out emails when we sleep a step away from each other a little annoying, but oh well - but this time, the email has made me feel very akward and unwelcome. I would appreciate input from you guys on how to reply and deal with this situation. Here it is:
I wanted to share a couple of updates and reminders for the house [HOUSE ADDRESS].
First, a new weekly cleaning schedule has been posted. A few reminders regarding weekly cleaning:
Weekly chores should be completed by Sunday evening. To avoid confusion around who's responsible for what chores each week, there will be no extensions into the following week. When your chores are completed, please mark the date next to your name. Any assignments not completed by Sunday evening will be assumed to not have been completed for the week, and will be noted as such to avoid confusion around weekly assignments.
Although there are formal chore assignments each week, we all have a shared responsibility to keep shared areas and facilities clean and usable by other members of the house. This means that everyone should be helping with the following:
Taking out the kitchen and bathroom trash bags when they're full (and then putting in new trash bags)
Promptly washing your own dishes and prompty clearing pots / pans / food items from the stove area and counters after use
Rinsing dishes thoroughly before putting them into the dishwasher (the dishwasher will not clean off dried, crusty food if dishes go unrinsed)
Emptying the dishwasher once dishes have been cleaned (note that Anne and me handwash our dishes after use, so we should not be clearing dishes as frequently as those using the dishwasher on a regular basis)
Avoiding use of outside shoes in carpeted areas (e.g., bathroom rugs, upstairs carpet) so we keep these areas free from outside dirt / moisture, etc.)
A new addition to the weekly cleaning schedule is the "Last TP / PT Purchases" (Read: Last toilet paper / paper towel purchase). To avoid confusion (and so we don't end up going 2 weeks without paper towels), please capture your name and the date of your TP / PT purchases. If your name hasn't appeared recently on the list, it's probably a sign that it's your turn to next contribute to the TP / PT stockpile.
That's all for cleaning and house upkeep. A couple of other general house reminders:
Any requests for adjustments to systems / facilities that impact all house residents (e.g., heating / room temperature, hot water temperature, etc.) should be directed to me. This will help ensure everyone's needs, rather than solely an individual's preferences, are being taken into consideration.
Any activity that is illegal under local, state, and /or federal law (this includes use of drugs and other illegal substances) in the house and / or on the premises / property of [HOUSE ADDRESS] is not sanctioned. Any legal actions or consequences resulting from illegal activity by a resident that becomes noticed / reported by members of the community, or otherwise known to local, state, or other authorities, are the sole legal responsibility of the individual conducting illegal activities.
That's all from my end. Any questions, suggestions, etc. at all can be directed my way (in person, or via e-mail / phone / text).
This seems extremely passive aggressive to me. "Residents" - um, ok? I mean in the past the emails just started with "Hey guys!". And seriously, we're all the same age group - and sometimes we even hang out / drink together. Then, she goes on to talk about the dishes - which I think is insane. Is she going to be so petty about how often someone clears out the dishwasher? How many dishes I put in the dishwasher versus how many she does? In that case, I should not have to clean the dining or living room - since I NEVER use them. Did I mention that our sink is dish free for 95% of the day? Everybody does a really good job of cleaning up. I'm not sure why she thinks it's a problem. Additionally - she talks about "facilities" towards the end. She is hinting at a situation that happened recently - I was using an electric heater in my room and shut off the gas heating to my room. The electric bill went up so they asked me not to use the electric heater - fine, no problem - I stopped using it immediately and haven't touched it since. But they (Tom and Pam) also told me not to touch the heating control under any circumstance, since Pam manages it. However, my room is MUCH colder than the rest of the house, so I usually come home to a freezing room and am not allowed to use my electric heater. So there have been a few instances (maybe 3?) where I came home and turned up the heat in the house by 2 degrees without asking for permission first. They never said anything to me about that, so I assumed those few instances weren't a big deal - but I guess they are.
The other thing is - come on. Is she going to punish me if I don't do my chores? The way she phrases it makes it sound like it. First of all, we're all grown ups. If you see that something's dirty, just clean it up. Sometimes we're all in a hurry and don't get things done until a few hours later. And there's nothing in my lease about doing chores - but I'm a decent and sane human being, so of course I'll contribute. But the way she phrases is makes it sound like I am breaking the law or something by not cleaning the house 24/7.
Speaking of which - the last paragraph in that email was directed towards Anne who smokes pot on a fairly consistent basis. Obviously I think that Pam should take Anne aside and talk to her in private about it and not put Anne on the spot like that in front of everyone else. But I guess she wants to let everyone know not to do that.
Finally, I want to add that our roof leaks. It started with some windows that were leaking. Then, in december, the roof and window in Anne's room leaked too - onto her bed as well. The next day it happened to me and I had to sleep on the floor that night since the roof was leaking onto my pillow. A few weeks later it rained again and the bathroom floor was soaked when I got there in the morning - there was a huge area of the roof that was leaking in the bathroom. Pam has done nothing about this roof leak - she hasn't expressed that she plans on doing anything about it either. She just said "oh, wow, that's not good". No, it is not good. She has an inspector come and he told her why the roof is leaking, but she has not done anything about it since then.
So yes - at this point I'm extremely irritated, I feel unwelcome in the house, I don't want to be there at all. I will be moving out in June, but until then, I have to deal with this. And now I'm wondering - how can I express to her nicely and reasonably how I find this email petty, annoying, unfriendly - and explain to her that we are all adults and there's a better way to deal with these "issues". My initial reaction was to hit reply to that email and tell her that there are better ways to phrase things - that she is making and promoting an unfriendly environment in the house, and that she should fix the goddamn roof before counting how many dishes I put in the dishwasher and how many times I've emptied it (needless to say I usually am the one to put dishes away).
Hopefully I explained everything well enough but I'd be happy to clarify on anything that might be confusing. How would you reply to this email and not cause more drama?