Going to rehab. How to tell my landlady I'll be incommunicado till May?
March 14, 2017 1:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm leaving next week for a 45-day treatment program. Friends are staying over to watch my place and feed my cats. I need to figure out some way to inform my onsite building manager of the situation, as well as advise her that she won't be able to contact me during that period. (She generally contacts me via phone or email once or twice a month about various matters, and in rehab I won't have access to my mobile or a computer.) I'd prefer, of course, to avoid divulging any embarassing or potentially incriminating details. Can anyone help me think of an appropriately euphemistic explanation?
posted by zeichen des tieres to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"This is just a courtesy note to let you know I'll be unreachable until May. I will have a caretaker staying over to watch my cats and make sure everything's in order. If you need anything, contact X. Rent will arrive as usual/Here's rent until that time.".

Delivered in writing. Ask your friend to follow up to make sure it's delivered.

Tell your friend what to say in response to questions, possibly including truthful variations of "It's kind of a private thing" and/or "I don't know all the specifics" and/or "I think it's a kind of retreat, one that he'd rather just experience and not talk about".
posted by amtho at 1:48 AM on March 14, 2017 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Well, you don't have to tell them anything. Just say you'll be out of town for a few weeks, and that your friends who are housesitting can deal with any issues she may have.

She isn't entitled to any information about your life. At all.

But, if you need to give her something, you could say you're going on vacation. Hiking and camping. Out of mobile phone range. You like the quiet.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:51 AM on March 14, 2017 [23 favorites]

Do not do it the AskMefi way, which is generally to give more info than is necessary to provide context. Send your landlady this note:

Dear landlady,
I'm leaving next week for 45 days and will not be reachable. Friends are staying over to watch my place. Please contact them if necessary.
posted by Kwadeng at 1:55 AM on March 14, 2017 [20 favorites]

Yeah I would suggest this is a good situation for a white lie to keep your life hassle-free but to make it clear that there is no point contacting you, that you will not respond.

You're either going abroad, on a meditative retreat, or on a holiday outside of signal range.

"Hey Landlady,

I'm going to be unreachable for the next 45 days on a retreat. X will be house-sitting, so please contact him/her for anything you would spoken to me about. If it can wait, I'll be back in range on X date. Thanks!"
posted by citands at 1:58 AM on March 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I told my building manager I was going into hospital (well, I did - for a hysterectomy) and he didn't ask what it was because that would have been rude - when I let him know I wouldn't be around and asked for a recommendation for a cleaning because of recovery requirements. I dunno - would it work to say that you were having a medical condition treated, you will be away and this person and that person will be looking after your place and your pets so coukid he email them until x date?
posted by b33j at 2:00 AM on March 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

A family member is going through medical treatment until May, so you'll be out of town and won't have cell service. It's not even a lie.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:00 AM on March 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

As long as you having someone who is not on the lease stay there is not a problem, I think you're over thinking this. "Dear Gertrude, I will be out of town from [date] until [date]. My friend Cornelius will be housesitting while I am away. Rent will still be paid via the usual method. If you need anything, please contact Cornelius on [contact info] during this time. Regards"

Then tell your friend to say you've gone on a vacation/retreat.

All the best for your stay in rehab :)
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:01 AM on March 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Good suggestions above on not saying anything, but if you do want to give a white lie, these reasons are so common nowadays that no one would even blink an eye: 'digital detox retreat', or 'wilderness retreat'.
posted by moiraine at 2:27 AM on March 14, 2017

Plenty of options above, just make sure whichever one you pick to emphasize with it that rent checks will continue to come in on time. That's the main thing your building manager/her company will care about relative to the situation.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 6:02 AM on March 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

As long as you having someone who is not on the lease stay there is not a problem, I think you're over thinking this

Yeah, to the OP, make sure you're in good standing on this one. I've had several leases over the years that did not allow anyone besides me to live in the apartment for more than a week or so. Saying friends would be stopping by to pick up mail/flush the toilet/feed the cats would have been fine; saying friends would be living there for six weeks would not. I'd double check your lease just to confirm you aren't about to proactively notify your landlady of your intention to violate its terms.
posted by telegraph at 6:47 AM on March 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

As long as you having someone who is not on the lease stay there is not a problem, I think you're over thinking this

IANAL nor am I a landlord but this is tricky. In California at least, I believe anyone who stays 30 days acquires legal rights with regard to tenancy. Perhaps don't tell the landlord that a friend is staying that whole time, but rather that they will be stopping by every day or two to check on the cat and the mail. Ask your friend to keep a low profile so that the landlord doesn't get upset. Even if there are no problems, if she thinks you have some sort of illegal sublet going on she may not renew your lease when it comes due.

You could tell her that you're scheduled for a medical procedure with a long recovery period and that you'll be convalescing somewhere else with family. Hell, tell her you're having back surgery, that has a long recovery period. At least then she'll get it and she won't think you're off backpacking in the Andes and subletting your place.
posted by vignettist at 7:47 AM on March 14, 2017

Check your lease. We're landlords and our lease definitely has rules in it about subletting and habitation by people other than the lessee. We live in an AirBNB age, and landlords are rightly freaked out about people living in their places long term without having been through any scrutiny. If I were in this situation, I'd be perfectly happy with our renters telling us "medical thing coming up, I'll be away and unreachable XX days, here's the contact info for the person who'll be watching my cat, etc." I'd even be happy to meet with the folks coming to watch the place so they know my face, and trust me enough to call me if something goes wrong.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:18 AM on March 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Friends are staying over to watch my place and feed my cats.

I think something vague like this is good. "Friends will be in and out looking after the space and my cats" and then maybe give her contact information for more than one of them including something like "For an emergency, contact this person" which indicates, to me, that you really will truly be unreachable. This spreads around the responsibility, makes it clear you're not AirBnB-ing out the place but that you have multiple responsible parties on top of it. And in this note, if you're telling her how long you'll be MIA (I might say "A few weeks") make something clear about the rent payment in case there might be some concern that if she hadn't seen you when rent comes due that there's a problem.

Some of this depends on how close you are to her and what your usual back and forth is. It's possible that the manager could be helpful if they knew the outlines of the situation (not the personal aspects, just the "I'm gone for 45 days for real, FYI" bit). I wish you the best getting it all sorted.
posted by jessamyn at 11:29 AM on March 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Nthing jessamyn's advice to a T.

Vague up the time to "several weeks" and vague up the caretakers as "in and out" rather than staying there. Let her know in advance how the rent will be handled. If the landlady asks your friends what's going on, I like the suggestion of saying that you're taking care of a family member with a medical issue. Make it "out of the country" to get around the no cellphone thing.
posted by desuetude at 3:07 PM on March 14, 2017

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