My life is so screwed up I haven’t even allowed myself the luxury of writing in this journal lest it distract from the survival issues I’m living with on a day-to-day basis. But it’s Friday, I’m going to the Barfly’s post-renovation party tonight, and then going to see the mighty Motorhead tomorrow night. I may be living in relative obscurity in lower Westmount for 3 weeks, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss out on any of the weekend’s festivities.
Time on my own and out of my neighbourhood has actually done me a world of good, even if I’ve had a cold most of the time. I’ve lived in my current apartment for 9 years, and in the same building for 13. My two cats have lived here all of their 12 years. Most people who’ve seen the building and know the ‘hood know I live in a prime location. I’ve called it an oasis on the Main, though I don’t know if “oasis” is the right word. Fact is, if you were to be magically transported to my back balcony on a mid-summer’s day you would be amazed to know you were on St. Laurent. It’s out of the way, set back maybe 20 yards from the street. We’ve got this beautiful back courtyard with trees, great neighbours, and the perfect place for city cats to hang out. I’m 30 seconds away from my favourite local bar (Barfly), within 20 minutes walking distance of at least 8 live music venues, and have many good friends who live close by. It’s really the perfect place for me to live. Has been for 13 years.
It may not be for longer. My landlord has made some of us an offer, and while it’s an offer I would normally refuse point-blank, I may at least have to negotiate with him. And this is weighing heavily on my mind. Part of me really wants to leave anyway. I’ve been in a rut for the last 3 years and have let the place get to state where it’s barely livable. I’m living in a state I don’t like living in. But another part of me just loves this spot, loves living in this out of the way place on the Main and in one of the best urban neighbourhoods on the world. I’d miss it dearly. Yet the amount the landlord is offering me is a joke. I’m paying a 1995 rent in 2005 in this great neighbourhood, where the rents have got out of control and are no longer viable to the very people who made it the place it is in the first place, and this guy is offering us 4,000 bucks to leave. Most who have experience with this have said accept nothing less that 10,000. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t. But there’s nothing normal about the circumstances I find myself in now. This has been my April dilemma. It’s a critical moment.
Thankfully, I live in a province that has the most progressive tenant’s rights legislation in Canada. Because this landlord is truly despicable swine. Having done absolutely no work in any of our flats this year, he’s asking for a $200 a month increase across the board. That amounts to nearly 60%. He’ll wind up getting at most 2 percent, must know that by now, yet he still insists we go through the Regie. He did the same thing last year and lost. I can’t hear the Dead Kennedys “Let’s Lynch Landlord” without thinking about him and his “consortium”. Bastards.