how do I turn down a persistent favor-asker?

A reader writes:

About a year and a half ago, I agreed to have coffee with a company intern who was finishing up her internship and preparing to graduate. I did this as a favor to a colleague — this intern never did any work with my team or department and we never interacted prior to this coffee meeting. (Incidentally, or maybe not, she is also the niece of a company VP.) She asked smart questions about my career and department, and how to approach the job search after graduation. I gave her what information I could, told her I’d forward on any entry-level openings that were shared within my networks, and wished her luck.

Since then, I’ve received emails and LinkedIn messages from her at least once a month asking for introductions to people at seemingly every company she’d applied to (all large organizations in my industry). Some of the time, I don’t have an appropriate contact for her, so I tell her as much, but other times I do have a contact and simply don’t feel comfortable calling in a favor on behalf of a person I barely know and haven’t directly worked with.

I know it’s tough to find a good job right out of college, but this has been going on for A YEAR AND A HALF. How can I politely tell her to stop asking me, a virtual stranger, for introductions?

I answer this question — and two others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • I’m my employee’s landlord and I need her to move
  • Explaining a restricted diet at work

{ 151 comments… read them below }

    1. ferrina*

      Nah, this is what Ghosting was made for!

      I suspect the intern is spamming her network with these requests. Just don’t respond and see what happens. I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t follow up, but makes a new request a month later. Make her ask twice on a specific request, then say “so sorry, I can’t help you with this one! Good luck!”

    2. Artemesia*

      This is fine, but one attempt to clue her in is appropriate as in the suggestion Alison made. It is a good rule to never recommend anyone you haven’t worked with. I made this mistake early in my career — and it messed up a social relationship as well as not doing my work reputation any good. NEVER recommend anyone you haven’t worked in. And if they ask it is ‘Oh, it isn’t appropriate to recommend people I know but haven’t actually worked with. Not something I can do.’ END of discussion.

    3. MigraineMonth*

      Since this is someone right at the beginning of their professional career, I’d give them the full explanation Alison offered. I bet the former intern thinks this is networking, quite possibly because they’ve been told as much by their college career center.

      It was really hard for me to separate out the normal impositions (e.g. asking college professors for references to grad school) from the more outrageous (e.g. asking for a referral or even interview from a family friend). None of it made intuitive sense (why is it okay to ask a near-stranger for help, but not a friend of my parents?), and there’s a deluge of gumption-based career advice that has to do with making unreasonable impositions on other people and hoping people find it charming.

    4. Tina*

      I think a little more grace is appropriate, personally. I can see this young person thinking that this is how you “work your network.” She had a good connection with the LW and just doesn’t realize that she’s asking too much. It would be a kindness to explain the conventions here as Alison suggests.

    5. Cicely*

      Yep. Another possibility is that the colleague for who you did the one-time coffee favor take on the ‘labor’ of informing the intern on what networking means. A favor shouldn’t be a ball and chain as this has turned into, nor into what sounds like intern’s passive job hunting. forwarded job opportunities are one thing; “Hello, person I don’t know! I’d like to introduce intern, who I also don’t really know” is a heart-breakingly naive expectation on intern’s part.

      Today, I am glad to not be young.

  1. T.N.H*

    For #3, I think people understand elimination diets at this point if you just want to say that — no need to explain your underlying condition!

    1. Angstrom*

      Vague is fine — “digestive issues”, “gastro stuff”, etc. — whatever works for you. And to deflect, as Alison suggested: “tired of talking about it”, “would rather talk about anything else”, “just something I have to work through”, etc. Reasonable people will get the hint.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      I had a bad case of GERD at my last job and found this to be true. “Just trying to find out what’s bugging me” was sufficient for the very few people who asked.

    3. Straight Laced Sue*

      I don’t quite agree – I think most people (where I am, anyway) don’t know about elimination diets. They’re most likely to assume it is a very restrictive, _permanent_ or long term diet plan, and people love to be nosy or opinionated when they think you’re avoiding anything long term. Some people get weirdly stressed out by other people avoiding certain foods, and it’s all “but you need diversity for health!” or “life is for enjoying!” or “why are you trying to lose weight, you’re gorgeous!” (they just assume you’re trying to lose weight) or “but these tomatoes are organic, and I grew them myself!”
      Ask me how I know :)
      I found it useful to stick to a short, partial explanation and to leave out the word “elimination”.

      1. kupo*

        The amount of anger I’ve had to field for politely declining the birthday cakes was ridiculous. But then, I’m fat and I’m sure some of that was them being upset they can’t feel like they have better self-control than I do, just based on how I heard them gossip about others.

        1. Straight Laced Sue*

          Oh yeah, no body type is safe from their anger. I don’t know why people are like this.
          My family is obsessed with eating. (Eating whatever it is they want you to eat.) Once, as a kid, I walked past my house with a friend and we saw my dad in the window reading. My friend asked if I wanted to call in and I said, “No, they’ll just try to make me eat something”, and at that point my dad looked up, saw us, picked up a loaf of bread and pointed at it.
          No that that’s toxic but it always makes me laugh to remember!

        2. OMG, Bees!*

          People are WEIRD with diets, as if you saying foods you cannot eat is an attack on their diet so they need to go on the offensive first.

          I can eat anything, so I haven’t experienced it much; perhaps the worst was I tried to be vegetarian for a week to see if I could, since I don’t eat much meat anyway. At the end, told some friends, and the heavy meat eaters responded with variations of “ew, why would you subject yourself to that?” and joking about maybe needing to unfriend me if I went full vegetarian.

    4. Jellyfish Catcher*

      Been there and it’s worth it. FYI, it took about 2 months to get the full benefit, as the gut has to readjust and inflamed areas in there have to heal.
      “It’s just a new diet regimen, no big deal, how’s your day so far?”
      “Thanks for the offer but I’m staying on course! “
      “Of course you can eat X in front of me, it’s fine.” Lunch companions sometimes feel guilty, and not sure if they should eat “prohibited” food around you.
      Temptation will diminish as you feel better – hang in there!

    5. Marshmallows*

      People can be really judgy and sorta mean about other people’s diets. I don’t understand it. Most of the time I don’t even notice what other people are eating… and even if we have provided food, I couldn’t care less if someone chooses to eat their own food and don’t need to know why.

      Sometimes I also choose to eat my own food even when work provides food. I don’t have a “restrictive diet” but I have sensory issues and sometimes just can’t deal with the stress of eating something that’s not a safe food for me (and other times I can…) so I choose to eat my home-prepared safe foods. But people are often really weird about it and I do get made fun of even as an adult for my weird food preferences.

      I do also have a number of friends and family members with restrictive diets for a variety of reasons (pre-diabetic, celiac, low fodmap, etc) so most of my social circles are pretty conscious of people’s dietary needs (even if they’re just texture issues, haha!), but at work… oof. People are weird.

  2. Ally McBeal*

    Ooh, letter #2 makes my blood boil a bit. OP2, a landlord, wanted to kick out one of their tenants, who was also their employee in an unrelated business, because their tenant “pays less in rent and I know I can [fix it up and] rent it out for more.”

    Landlords hate this one trick… if you pay your employee/tenant more, they can pay more in rent. (Obviously the bigger issue is a landlord who rents to someone they supervise, and OP2 may not have had full control of their employee’s salary, but still. Ugh.)

    1. LTR, FTP*

      Same same same.

      Greedy landlords are bad enough. Giving someone *whose livelihood you already control* the boot so that you can raise the rent? Ughhhhhh.

    2. Tisserande d'Encre*

      The title raised my hackles and the actual letter did Not disappoint…I hope the employee/tenant is in a better situation soon!!!

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      I agree, and I would even if my rent hadn’t gone up 50% in five years.

      You can kick her out, but unless you make sure that you treat her very, very, very well, I would not expect this employee to remain an employee for very long.

    4. ZugTheMegasaurus*

      Yeah, it strikes me they aren’t asking “is it okay to do these inconvenient updates and increase her rent,” as though they’d expect she’d stay and it would just be kind of a weird dynamic for a couple months. It’s just flat-out, “she needs to get out so I can get somebody with a higher income in here.” If it were just my landlord, I’d probably be a bit pissed (though I have had one in the past give me a very good deal in a similar scenario), but I’d see it as one of the standard crappy things about renting. But if it was my *boss* who knows (and possibly controls) my salary? Incandescent rage. No way would I be able to maintain respect for that person.

    5. Kella*

      OP2 should also make sure they are very familiar with their local laws regarding no-cause evictions. There are plenty of states where it’s not legal to just kick someone out because you want to make more money off of the property, especially if the tenant has been living there for more than a year.

      Nothing I hate more than landlords who ignore the fact that there are laws they are expected to follow.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Thank you for this. I wasn’t aware such laws even exist, and I’m sure that a lot of other people don’t either.

      2. Analyst*

        I was assuming OP was just not going to renew the lease. If they are actually evicting for this? Yikes….

      3. ypsi*

        I was going to say the same. In Canada, I believe there is a law that the tenant must be offered the apartment, AFTER the fixes are done, on a priority basis. I am not a tenant (and neither am I a landlord) so I only remember this from reading some articles in the papers but I feel for all tenants in this situation. People (tenants) already struggle as is even without constant rent increases.
        For clarity, I will say that I equally feel for landlords with tenants that refuse to move out and do not pay rent, etc., but that is not the situation at hand.

        1. Your Former Password Resetter*

          I feel a lot less for those landlords. They still have a home of their own, and they still own the property.

    6. AnonInCanada*

      I’m not sure where OP#2 was located, but this would be an illegal eviction where I am, unless either 1) the landlord requires the unit for either their own immediate personal use or that of an immediate family member (that means: child, spouse, or parent. Not sibling, fourth cousin thrice removed or brother-in-law’s aunt) or 2) the landlord requires tenant to move out of the unit to make extensive renovations, but will temporarily move the tenant to another accommodation while renovations are being made, then move the tenant back for the same rent as per the lease. If employee is in a tenant-friendly state or province, I would be demanding the landlord follow the law and sic the landlord-tenant relations board on them.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        We don’t know that they’re evicting rather than just not renewing the lease if there is one. I think if LW gives the employee plenty of notice as AAM advised, it could be ok.

        Also it gives both of them a chance to make a clean break from an awkward arrangement

      2. MassMatt*

        I live in a pretty tenant-favorable area, and even here this would not be at all difficult for a landlord to do. We don’t know if there is a lease, or if the tenant is at-will. If it’s the former, it would indeed be tough to break the lease, but if the lease ends, it’s quite simple to say “I am not renewing your lease” and no other explanation is necessary, landlords are not required to rent to a tenant ad infinitum. If the tenant is renting without a lease, generally 30 days of notice must be given by either party to discontinue.

        I’m a bit taken aback by the many angry “landlords are evil” comments in the thread; I think people are projecting their own housing issues onto the LW.

        Landlords are not exclusively to blame for the country’s housing shortage, we have under built housing for many years and demand is outstripping supply in many areas. It’s going to take years of additional building (on top of what we need just to stay level with the growth of the renting population) to make much of a dent.

        1. Dinwar*

          “I’m a bit taken aback by the many angry “landlords are evil” comments in the thread; I think people are projecting their own housing issues onto the LW.”

          Reminds me a lot of how merchants were discussed in the Middle Ages. Merchants were considered evil because people didn’t understand the economics of trade–peasants lived via a gift economy supplemented by barter (nails were a de facto currency in some places until the 1800s), and lords got rich via owning land, so to both groups merchants seemed to be cheating. That said, merchants were necessary to keep everyone alive.

          Similarly, in a situation where owning a home is too expensive the only real option is to have some company own homes and rent to individuals. This allows the owner to split the costs between a number of units (thus reducing total cost for any one unit), at the cost of taking on a significant amount of potential liability (both from regulators and from crappy tenants). But at least in the USA we tend to think of home ownership as a right, and that anyone standing between us and owning a home is inherently in the wrong. Landlords appear to be cheating to many people.

          There’s also a strong anti-management bias in the comments section, though to be fair that’s gotten better (it was much stronger during the pandemic). And landlords fill the role of manager when it comes to residences.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think what this person is contemplating is a crappy thing to do. But the hatred towards landlords is pretty far out of proportion to this individual action.

          1. anonymous anteater*

            Rather than landlords are standing between renters and home ownership, I personally am more critical of the way landlords are expecting rental income to build their own wealth, and many do so without assuming any of the risk that typically is referenced to justify inequality.
            Either you are rich enough to own more property than what you need to live on, or you are not rich enough to do so. Expecting that rental income covers the mortgage payment PLUS maintenance PLUS management costs PLUS lost income for vacancies is greedy.

            1. Dinwar*

              “Expecting that rental income covers the mortgage payment PLUS maintenance PLUS management costs PLUS lost income for vacancies is greedy.”

              So….you think refusing to go bankrupt is greedy? And to be clear, I’m being serious here. The only cost that can even possibly be considered unjustifiable in your list is lost income for vacancies–and even there, you need to recoup some of those costs because you’re still paying mortgage costs and upkeep costs on those vacant units. And there are additional expenses you aren’t listing (repairs/upgrades, utilities, inspections, and others).

              Landlords are operating on 5-10% margins. 15% on the high end. That’s simply not egregious; I’m expected to hit 15% regularly, and sometimes more. It’s uncomfortable for the tenants–they obviously want lower costs–but that alone doesn’t make it a sin to try to turn a profit. That is, in fact, why people get into business in the first place.

              1. Some Words*

                Considering how many units aren’t owned by actual landlords anymore but large corporate entities perhaps we could have some empathy for people who are struggling to pay for housing and not take those comments personally.

                For the record, I do actually think that what large investors are doing to the housing/market is pure evil.

                1. Dinwar*

                  “…perhaps we could have some empathy for people who are struggling to pay for housing….”

                  Empathy does not preclude a rational assessment of the situation. And a rational assessment needs to look at all the costs. It is entirely possible to empathize with BOTH parties. It’s also entirely possible to empathize while still examining the question in detail. I would argue that empathy without such analysis (on a business blog no less) isn’t really empathy at all, it’s slacktivism at best–it’s by examining the situation, ruthlessly and honestly, that we can execute change to any system. Fuzzy-headed notions of “That’s not fair!!” that go no further are not actionable.

                  Secondly, unless you know something I don’t, we’re not discussing a large faceless corporation. (Even if we were, arguing that they should bleed money is a non-starter, but we’ll ignore that.) We’re talking about a specific individual. I’m not interested in engaging in a sidebar discussion that serves only to deflect from analysis of the issues involved.

                  Finally, I’m not taking any of this personally. I stopped renting out property a long time ago. This is a matter of facts. Landlords have certain expenses; if you spend more money than you take in you go bankrupt; the main income from rental properties is rent; ergo, to not go bankrupt, a landlord must cover expenses plus a little more. This remains true whether I want it to or not.

                  Remember the argument I’m responding to–that making as much money as they do is evil. Okay, why is making this amount evil in the rental industry, but not any other? Since I’ve established that such margins are acceptable elsewhere, either the argument I was responding to is logically inconsistent or there’s something about renting that makes it significantly different from other industries.

                  Again, that’s not personal. It’s a basic application of critical thinking (as defined by “Asking the Right Questions”, in case you’re curious).

                2. anonymous anteater*

                  well, I think there are areas where it is more ok to make a profit than others. Homelessness is universally acknowledged as something that should be avoided and not a reasonable price to pay for personal choices as circumstances. So that is not very far from saying, everyone should have the option of keeping a roof over their head and a safe place to be with their family and store belongings. I would argue that exploiting that need is morally less defensible than making a profit off of something that is truly optional for people (like fancy purses – don’t care how big the margins are for those). Although I am not saying that a certain profit margin equals exploitation, just that you can’t compare apples and oranges here because renters can’t really choose to rent unless they want to be homeless.

                  And I wrote and deleted a long paragraph about whether it’s really justified to have a tenant pay off your mortgage and declare that ‘covering the cost’, when the landlord stands to gain a lot of money and property appreciation (much more than just covering expenses). But the salient point is really, nowhere does the letter writer indicate that the current rent is not covering the cost, they are simply aware that they could squeeze out more.

            2. Dust Bunny*

              “Expecting that rental income covers the mortgage payment PLUS maintenance PLUS management costs PLUS lost income for vacancies is greedy.”

              No, its really not. The tenant is also saved the bother of having to manage yard care, building maintenance, etc. There is zero reason they shouldn’t be paying enough to cover the actual cost of the unit–it’s not a charity.

              Is it a problem when (corporate landlords, I’m looking at you) rent should cover the costs but that money isn’t actually spent on the unit? Yes, absolutely. But there is no reason rent shouldn’t cover the real costs. Landlords aren’t responsible for stagnant wages, either.

              1. Overit*

                Re yard work and maintnance: depends where you live, apparently. About 20 years ago in the midwest where we lived, gradually many landlords changed lease terms to include yard work, snow removal and basic maintenance while increasing rent. It was what led us to buy a home bec no way was I building my landlord’s equity while also doing all that work AND paying higher rent. And that set up is the norm everywhere I have lived in the US south.

            3. Cyborg Llama Horde*

              I’ll also point out that there are gray areas. There are plenty of areas where single-family homes are expensive enough that if you have the resources to make a downpayment on a multi-family home, the rental income offsetting the slightly-higher mortgage can be the difference between being able to afford to own, or only being able to afford to rent. There’s certainly privilege in the ability to make that choice, but it’s not necessarily as straightforward as “I want to profit off of other people’s labor without working for it, so I will buy more property than I need.”

              1. Dinwar*

                It’s also worth noting that landlords most certainly do not do nothing for the money. I mean, some do sure–there’s someone like that in any industry–but the majority, like most people, are working for the money and trying to do the right thing. They’re managing the utilities, they’re paying property taxes, they’re maintaining the place (or managing those who do, anyway, which isn’t nothing). Plus, they are assuming a significant portion of the liability associated with property ownership. That’s not insignificant by itself; the fact that insurance exists demonstrates that liability transfer and mitigation is something people are willing to pay money for.

            4. bamcheeks*

              Will add that in the UK, tenancy laws are DRAMATICALLY biased in favour of landlords and against renters (three or six-month tenancies are standard in many parts of the UK, meaning most tenants have no housing security at all), and landlords are dramatically overrepresented in parliament. Structurally, landlords have way too much power and way too little risk, and that is driving a lot of the housing crisis. It’s simply not possible for landlords to provide a necessary social good in a broader legal context whcih doesn’t adequately protect tenants’ rights.

          2. Dust Bunny*

            yeah, a friend of mine recently gave up a lease because the building was sold and the rents were going up, but the rents had been about 40% of market rate for years in one of the most expensive and heavily-taxed parts of a major city, and the building was a borderline dump that was only legal because the 75-year-old owner did all the repairs himself and never incurred any repair costs. There was no way that cheap rent situation was going to last forever.

            (And as a side note, my friend’s apartment was a filthy pit and I think a landlord could reasonably have evicted him on that basis, and my friend would have had nobody but himself to blame for that. He was just lucky the old landlord was too distracted to do anything about it.)

            So, I’m not a fan of this person, either, but the few people I know who own rental units also spend a lot of time and money keeping them up and paying for the properties (and most of them have other jobs).

          3. Laura*

            I mean, I’ve spent the last several years living in apartments owned by corporate landlords and they are awful. They use algorithms to set rent prices and they’ve decided that it’s better to keep apartments empty than to lower rents to get tenants in and it puts upward pressure on rents in ALL apartments in a given area.

          4. AcademiaNut*

            I find the views of landlords to be similar to that of employers. Your job/home are major parts of a stable life, losing them can have devastating results, and it’s not really something you can opt out of; you need money and a place to live. The power imbalance is such that a bad landlord/employer can be really damaging to the people who depend on them, and a lot of places have very limited protection for tenants/employees.

            I think the landlord imbalance can be even worse. There is more of a safety net for people who have lost a job than there is for people who are homeless, and the costs of suddenly losing your accommodation are quite high. Moving is expensive, paying for temporary accommodation while you find a place to rent is expensive and a summary illegal eviction can not only instantly render someone homeless, but result in them losing all their possessions (if the landlord changes the locks, or you can’t afford movers and a storage facility).

            However, if you aren’t independently wealthy or supported by someone else, you need an income, and if you aren’t able or willing to purchase a home, you need to rent. So getting rid of landlords or the need for employment isn’t going to work, and it’s more practical to concentrate on protections, aid for people who have been wronged, and larger scale issues like housing supply.

          5. Lizard the Second*

            But at least in the USA we tend to think of home ownership as a right, and that anyone standing between us and owning a home is inherently in the wrong.

            It’s more like, housing is a human right. And landlords – who, yes, provide needed rental housing – have been jacking up the rents to outrageous levels, and causing great hardship to people with few options.

            In my country (Australia), landlords have increased rents by hundreds of dollars a month, and many people are becoming homeless. Because even with a full-time job, it’s impossible to keep up with these high increases.

        2. fish*

          +1, I am also taken aback by the anger.

          Let’s not forget restrictive zoning laws that artificially hold down supply! (*Steps off soapbox*)

        3. bamcheeks*

          I’m a bit taken aback by the many angry “landlords are evil” comments in the thread; I think people are projecting their own housing issues onto the LW.

          weird how so many people have housing issues, what’s up with that.

        4. Not sympathetic to people who own multiple homes until everyone is housed*

          I’ve had many landlords and some of them were decent. Most were neutral. This one, the LW, is greedy and hoping to engage in renoviction to a person they manage, and not because they are losing money on the apartment (they didn’t mention that, I’d imagine they would have if it were the case) but because they can get more money. Most people are commenting on this particular greedy person.

          And cases of renoviction are going up in many areas around the world, adding to the housing crisis. Greedy landlords who refuse to take responsibility for the fact that they are providing housing for someone during a housing crisis, and that their “asset” is also someone’s home may not be the only cause of the global housing crisis, but they are certainly contributing to it.

    7. anonymous anteater*

      Actually you make an interesting point. There is a real conflict of interest here where as a boss, the OP could get the employee a raise, only to then turn around as the landlord and increase the rent. Could be seen as OP helping herself to more money from the company.

      1. Dinwar*

        Yeah, that’s a bigger issue in my mind than any particulars. That the LW can do this is a problem whether or not they do actually do it, and something that HR should be made aware of. At least in the company I work for such a conflict of interests would have to be immediately disclosed to HR, and failing to do so would result in termination of employment for the manager, due to exactly the sort of concerns you’re describing.

      2. Ally McBeal*

        That is a great point. Although given my very poor view of landlords (even worse than lawyers, in a change from how I was raised… I guess we need some landlord jokes to replace lawyer jokes) it wouldn’t surprise me at all if a LL pulled this kind of stunt to enrich themselves further. I wonder if OP2’s bosses knew they also served as their employee’s landlord.

    8. PlainJane*

      Right there with you. I had to give up my apartment to move in with my mother because someone decided a 40% rent increase on someone on a fixed income was a perfectly okay thing to do. Greedy [expletive deleted]s.

      And in this case, why is he renting to her in the first place? I’m glad Allison addressed it, but I’d think that would be first out of the gate. This is worse than having a romantic relationship with an employee. Significantly worse. He’s in a position to control her entire life. She’s probably shaking in her boots every day.

      That said, why is he talking about, essentially, evicting her so he can charge more? He’d be right in line with every other landlord to, when the lease is up, say, “I’m raising the rent by X” (preferably with more notice than… not going to grumble anymore) and if the employee is willing to meet it, renewing the lease. If not, give her enough time to find a place. This is not rocket science in terms of rentals–not exactly what I’d call moral, but commonplace… except for absolutely inappropriate situation of him being her boss!

    9. JP*

      Yeah…the “I’m letting my employee live in my crummy property, now I want to actually fix it up and kick her out so I can get more money” argument is not very compelling.

      1. Dinwar*

        How do you know it’s crappy? It could very well be that the property is perfectly fine, just that tastes have shifted. The sort of amenities I want (family with multiple young kids) are not going to be the amenities that someone in a different situation (say, a childless couple) wants, and as demographics change it’s perfectly reasonable for landlords to update their properties to fit the new client base. Literally every other business does this routinely.

        This is an overly-hostile interpretation that makes far too many assumptions about the living conditions that simply aren’t warranted by the letter.

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          Except there is someone – the tenant – who wants the apartment in its current state.

          1. Dinwar*

            That’s nice. And the landlord can obviously choose to continue renting to the tenant. But the landlord is (barring laws and contracts to the contrary) not obliged to continue working with that particular person.

            Think about this in another business context: Would you accept that because you used one plumber, you are obliged to continue using that plumber every time you had an issue with your sink? Or would you want to shop around and find the best deal? If it’s the latter–and I hope it is!–why would the landlord doing that be wrong? Why is the renter the only one who’s opinions matter in this business relationship?

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              Should LW be able to fire the employee and hire someone cheaper? That’s the actual equivalent of your plumber analogy, and I hope you can see why I found it distasteful.

              1. Dinwar*

                “Should LW be able to fire the employee and hire someone cheaper?”

                This happens all the time in business. It’s often cheaper to move the person into a new role in the company (that way you don’t lose institutional knowledge), but firing people to hire someone cheaper is so common that business language has numerous terms for it (restructuring, right-sizing, outsourcing, etc). As a matter of linguistics you can assume that anything that a culture has multiple words for is something that happens fairly frequently in that culture.

                Is it distasteful? Sure. But it’s not immoral and it’s sometimes necessary or advisable from the business’s perspective.

            2. Not sympathetic to people who own multiple homes until everyone is housed*

              The apartment is not just any asset, it’s someone’s home. It’s different to other kinds of assets. If someone is going to be a landlord they ought to take responsibility for that, or else invest in other assets.

              They may or may not be legally responsible but I’d say they are ethically responsible. Nobody forced them to invest in housing stock.

              1. Dinwar*

                And no one forced the renter into renting this particular residence. A rental agreement is a business agreement, subject to all the normal stresses of a business agreement. Ideally it’s a mutually-beneficial relationship; when it stops being mutually beneficial it needs to end. And either party can do that (within limits, obviously).

                This goes back to what I said about merchants in the Middle Ages. What you’re saying is that landlords are cheating–they’re not following the rules of the culture the way you understand them. They’re following economic rules, and you’re insisting a priori (and without substantiating the claim, and no “I need this” is not substantiating the claim) that economics is irrelevant. And as long as you insist that economics isn’t relevant to a business discussion, I don’t really see any possibility of a meaningful path forward in this discussion.

                1. Zap R.*

                  Lolololololol try renting in Toronto for one year and see if you’re still so charitable towards landlords at the end of it.

                2. Not sympathetic to people who own multiple homes until everyone is housed*

                  Try renting in any major Canadian or Irish city and see if you’re still sympathetic to landlords. In some places there is literally no choice if you are evicted. People are living in RVs or mass emigrating. Those who aren’t lucky enough to have friends or family to stay with.

    10. samwise*

      Subject to the terms of the lease or the rental agreement, and compliance with any pertinent laws, a landlord is within their rights to ask a tenant to move out when their tenant “pays less in rent and I know I can [fix it up and] rent it out for more.”

      Landlords own their property and can dispose of it as they see fit (again, subject to contracts, laws, etc). That’s why they own the property and then rent/lease it out, to make money. If they can improve the property and make more money, that’s their right. They aren’t “greedy” for wanting to make more money in rent, any more than an employee is “greedy” for wanting a raise.

      The icky part in this situation is that the tenant is the OP’s employee. That’s the problem. Asking tenants to move out in order to make more money from the apt, well, that’s not the problem.

      1. Canadanon*

        No, it is greedy to want to remove someone from their home who has done nothing wrong, when the motive for doing so is solely profit-driven and the justification for jacking up the rent is only cosmetic improvements. This is called renoviction and in some places it’s illegal.

      2. Lokifan*

        no, they are greedy. wanting a raise isn’t the same thing as hoarding a vital resource. kicking someone out of their home so you can make more money is morally wrong.

    11. Canadanon*

      Right? They’re literally asking if it’s ok to renovict their employee so they can jack up the rent. Classy.

      (And no, it’s not ok. It’s not even legal in some jurisdictions.)

  3. Jellyfish*

    Oof, that landlord question. “If I kick an employee out of their home because I want more money, will there be any negative consequences for me?”
    I expected a bit more justification than just “I know I can rent it out for more.” Maybe they’re a destructive tenant or the landlord needed the space for an aging relative or something. Nope, just cashing in on skyrocketing housing rates.

    Realistically, there won’t be any negative consequences for the landlord, only massive disruption and money loss for the renter. I get that owning property isn’t a charity, but it still looks like a pretty cruel and selfish thing to do IMO. It’s more of an ethical consideration than a workplace dilemma.

    1. fish*

      I mean…I’ve been a tenant for a long time and sometimes having to move is just part of the deal. I’ve done it a lot. I don’t get the expectation that a one-year lease is anything but that.

      1. Andromeda*

        This almost definitely falls within the “give LWs the benefit of the doubt” purview, but when I read “tell her she has to move” I 100% assumed she meant “kick her out early”. Which, as you rightly point out, isn’t necessarily true (and to be absolutely fair, it sounds like LW wants to do some renovation to the property which is a more ‘legit’ reason to give someone notice than naked profit.)

        For me the bigger red flag is that LW is both Employee’s boss and landlord.

        1. MassMatt*

          I assumed “tell her she has to move” meant either the lease was expiring or (more likely) the person is a tenant at will with no lease. That flexibility cuts both ways.

          I agree having someone be both a tenant and an employee is a bad idea.

      2. Jellyfish*

        I’ve been a tenant for many years and to many landlords too. I think this is a case where people’s personal experiences are inherently going to color their responses.

        A few of my landlords have been great! For most of them though, there’s a disconnect between their business income and my home. What do they care if all their apartment-dwellers are stuck with a permanently flooded laundry room? It’s no inconvenience to them, just a business expense they don’t want to pay.

        So when they spend that year’s lease ignoring all the issues they’re technically obligated to fix and then announce that I have 30 days to get out because I’m too poor for their preferences, I’m going to be resentful. If it was my boss, that would be doubly true.

        The landlord-boss has all the power in this situation. Trying to move and job search at the same time is very difficult, and it puts the renter-employee in a rough spot just for the sake of money. I guess that makes me a bad capitalist, but it rubs me wrong. I don’t see any consideration or compassion for the employee at all, just dollar signs.

    2. Feckless rando*

      The ONLY way I can imagine feeling okay about this if I were the tenant (and by “feeling okay” I mean I would limit my rage to my journals and venting with friends rather than raging litigious-ly) would be if the landlord gave me 6-12 month of notice before I have to be out, and if I find a new lease/home before that time is up, the landlord instantly releases me from the lease terms. So, if she gives me 12 months to move and I move out in 3, I’m not responsible for paying the additional 9 months she offered me.

      I would also need monetary compensation during the 3 months (or whatever length it takes) that I’m still there, which could come in the form of free utilities or 25-50% off of my rent bill monthly. Anything less and I would be absolutely exhausting my legal options in addition to leaving that place of employment.

      Oh and I WOULD alert HR regardless of how the landlord handles it. It’s a conflict of interest even if it all goes as smoothly as possible.

      1. Ally McBeal*

        100%, that’s the only way I could be persuaded to not explore my options with a tenants’ rights lawyer. And/or informing my grandbosses that my boss is also my landlord and they’re doing me dirty.

      2. Gumby*

        There is no law that a landlord has to keep renting to the same person for any longer than the length of whatever lease they have already signed. In my experience, most leases are for a year and either renew annually or switch to month-to-month after the initial year. There is no legal obligation for the landlord to give any more notice than required by the lease / local housing laws. And I can think of NO law that would require 12 months notice to move (assuming this is residential lease; commercial leases are an entirely different animal).

        I rent. I have lived in my current place for more than a decade. But I know that my landlords could ask me to move out at any time. At this point they are only legally required to give me 30 days of notice. And after my lease ends, what they do with the place really isn’t my business. If they renovate and double the rent? Fine. Don’t renovate and rent it cheaper to a relative? Whatever. Turn it into a crack den? They can deal with the consequences.

        The only thing complicating this is that the landlord is also the boss. But while that might require more of the landlord for social/work politics reasons it doesn’t confer any extra legal rights on the tenant.

        1. Meat Oatmeal*

          “There is no law that a landlord has to keep renting to the same person for any longer than the length of whatever lease they have already signed.”

          That’s not accurate. There are some places that do have that rule, at least under certain circumstances. For example, homes in Los Angeles that are covered by the city’s rent stabilization rules (about 2/3 of all rental units in the city).

          I’m not saying this specific letter writer is subject to that rule. But in general, renters and landlords should look into their rights and responsibilities instead of assuming there’s no applicable law. Sometimes there is one.

  4. fish*

    My state has specific laws about housing provided by an employer. (It can only be a certain fraction of salary, to avoid gouging, and there may be other rules too.) Not sure about your situation but something to check.

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      I think those laws are about when the housing is part of the employment package, like staff at an isolated resort or an on-site super in an apartment building. This situation has two separate relationships: landlord-tenant, and manager-employee.

      1. fish*

        Could be! But something to check. I knew someone where housing was not part of the package, but she a) gave her friend a place to live and b) employed her, and she had to be very, very careful.

    2. Potoooooooo*

      I’m not sure whether that would apply in the case of a middle manager who also happens to own and rent out houses/apartments, rather than the business owning the residence that the employee lives in.

      There’s definitely some conflict of interest going on regardless, and LW should have brought it up to their bosses as soon as they figured out the situation.

  5. Andromeda*

    I suspect Alison is going to have to close threads on #2 within the hour, because jeeeeeeeez.

    (I’m moving this month and apartment hunting has been exhausting and incredibly stressful — and depending on where you live, a lot of notice may not even be that useful since landlords all seem to want you to move within 2 weeks. Also yeah, I would be nervous as hell if my boss was also my landlord. What if I decided to end my tenancy, caused them a financial loss and they retaliated at work?!)

  6. Cheshire Cat*

    I’d like to add to Alison’s advice to LW2–it’s not a good idea to rent to/from anyone you work with. I rented a house from a colleague once and they were slow to make some needed repairs. Pressing them on these was difficult because I felt that it would negatively affect our working relationship.

  7. BellyButton*

    #1 you would be doing the young person a service by using Alison’s script. We all learned business etiquette from experience and coaching from people who knew more than us. We expect young people to know these things, but they aren’t taught them or get really bad advice from parents and college employment centers.

    1. MassMatt*

      Yeah, more than 18 favors/networking requests is a LOT. I would be reluctant to put even a very close contact or friend through that.

    2. celticcat*

      A lovely entry-level person in my workplace was stressed out about “maintaining her network” so I talked to her about it. Turns out, she had been told by her (government run) employment centre that not only did she *have* to reach out to all of her network at least every quarter, but that it’s better to reach out every TWO WEEKS TO YOUR ENTIRE NETWORK when job hunting!! The poor girl was also told to reach out via various methods and to try calling people first!
      There is some incredibly terrible advice being given out there and you would be doing this person a service by gently replying once and then leaving it.

  8. Juicebox Hero*

    I just hope Uncle VP isn’t filling the young woman’s head with the notion that bugging the heck out of everyone you know is the right way to get ahead in their industry.

    1. BellyButton*

      I know it isn’t the LW’s responsibility to teach this person business etiquette but we get so many letters from people who were given really bad advice from family and employment centers. But then at the same time we expect people to just KNOW these things.

      1. Ell*

        This intern’s behavior very much reads to me as if she’s received some very very bad advice regarding connections and networking. It would definitely be a kindness to set her straight because OP is almost certainly not the only person receiving these requests from her.

  9. BellyButton*

    No one is going to bat an eye at LW showing up with their own food to a catered meal. You may get one or two questions because you used to eat the meals, but it really isn’t a big deal. So many people have restrictive diets for so many different reasons- I think the majority of the world is used to people saying they have some diet restrictions and won’t make a big deal of it.

    1. Nightengale*

      Unfortunately people may bat eyes depending on the culture, and it sounds like the culture here is that everyone eats work provided food at lunch.

      When I was in medical school there were often talks at lunchtime for which food – usually pizza – was provided. People joked about coming to the talk only for the pizza. People came, took pizza and left before the talk. I got a number of nosy comments because I came to the talk to hear the talk and sat there eating a sandwich from home. In other news, I drew a lot of comparisons between medical school and high school for a reason. Where I work now, sometimes lunch is brought in and people ask if I want in but no one pushes when I say no and eat my own thing.

    2. kupo*

      I tried to bring my own food to catered events. Was told no, they feed everyone and that they would find something. The event was offsite and far from any restaurants. The office admin did not include anything that I could eat. I tried to just eat the protein bar I had packed as a backup. was told no, they feed everyone, where can they order a mea from. They ended up getting me Uber eats from a restaurant I had not vetted. Thankfully I brought my test kit and was able to test the food before potentially making myself sick for days.

      This continued to be a problem 4 times per year at these events for 3 years or so until a new office admin took over my food orders. He was wonderful. But I just wanted to pack myself a PB&J.

      Anyway, no people absolutely do care. Way too much. And they won’t stop commenting, insisting, asking questions, etc.

  10. mango chiffon*

    I’m so curious as to which came first in #2, the person working at the job or the person living in that house. I feel like that should never have happened in the first place.

    1. WellRed*

      I’m assuming the employee got the job first and then needed a place to live at some point and OP said, hey, I can rent to you!

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        I really hope not, because both of them should have figured out that was a really bad idea. I’d like to think that the tenant already lived there and then applied for the job without realizing she’d be working for her landlord, in a small-world sort of situation.

        1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          It’s a terrible idea, but it also seems a lot more likely to me than the coincidence of the tenant happening to apply to this job without knowing. (That said, I’ve never lived in a really small town, so maybe it’s more probable than I think.)

  11. tw1968*

    Persistent Favor Asker: “You know, your aunt/uncle (company VP) might be able to help you better than I can! It might carry more weight if s/he refers you.”

      1. Prickly Pear*

        I wonder if Favour Asker is intentionally not asking their Aunt/Uncle to avoid just that.

  12. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

    Regarding OP#2: Is renoviction legal where you live? There’s your answer. Although morally, the idea of forcing someone out of their home so your can make more money is reprehensible.

  13. Karma is my Boyfriend*

    Landlord: in most jurisdictions, you’re required to give quite a bit of notice if you’re not renewing a lease. If they’re on month to month, this lowers to a month notice. However, if they’re in the middle of a lease, I am not certain you can “kick them out” because you want more rent… I’d love to have the employee’s info so I could tell them this!!!

  14. Coverage Associate*

    It’s possible that LW2’s employee was in the unit before LW bought the building, and the employee’s original lease was with someone totally different. Apartment buildings are often bought and sold occupied.

    We often talk about unions and other collective action for employees to get better results at work. I have to say, the ending a tenancy to renovate and raise the rent would be expensive and hard for the landlord in California and very expensive in our biggest cities, due to rent control. Landlords have to compensate tenants.

    Not that it never happens that a landlord tried to force a tenant out to raise rents. There’s been a series of newspaper articles in San Francisco just this month about an investor buying a building where the tenancies were decades old (I think 70 years in one instance. You can “inherit” rent control from family if you lived with them.) and trying to kick everyone out.

    Also, it’s not mentioned, but I assume LW intends to renovate the whole building, even if one unit at a time? They’re not picking on the employee tenant? That would change the picture, rent control or no.

    1. WellRed*

      I don’t think rent control is really a thing outside of NYC and maybe SF. I assume the employee is paying a lower rent for whatever reason and the OP absolutely wants to renovate that unit. I don’t see how that changes the picture. Happens every day in my area.

  15. Mostly Managing*

    As someone with weird and wonderfully complicated food restrictions, I have perfected the line, “Oh, I’m allergic to food with ingredients, so I’ll just bring my own lunch. Now, about that project…”

    I actually say, “Food With Ingredients”. I do not list them. I do not go into detail.
    It usually gets a laugh, and so far it has never led to any follow-up questions.

    1. BellyButton*

      My boyfriend says “I have the palate of an 8 yr old, so don’t worry about me!”

  16. BellyButton*

    I had a basement apartment rental in a previous house. One year I chose not to renew the person’s lease because I wanted to renovate the unit. I had completed the renovations on the main part of the house, but the basement suite had not been updated in over a decade. My renter did pay less because it had a dated look and older appliances. I wanted to update, I needed have plumbing work that was going to require the only bathroom in the suite to be ripped out, and yes partly to be able charge more in rent, and also to increase the value of my property. That is what you do- you have to maintain the property, which sometimes means renovations, and you do want to increase the value of your home.

    I feel bad the that housing prices and rentals are so much that people can’t afford to live like I did when I was their age. I don’t want to get into a big discussion or debate about why that is- I just wanted to share that sometimes the decisions aren’t as greed driven as you might think.

      1. BellyButton*

        I am aware how money works, thanks for asking.
        Most people need to recover the cost of the renovation and you do that by charging more in rent and increasing the value of the property.

        1. Ally McBeal*

          Thanks for mansplaining; we’re aware of what typically happens when landlords renovate. But if you “feel bad” about the overall environment for renters, and are in a position to do something on a very small scale to change that environment but don’t, then you’re just another run-of-the-mill crappy landlord who doesn’t actually “feel bad.”

          1. BellyButton*

            I didn’t mansplain anything. I was responding to a ridiculous post. And yours is even more ridiculous. I spent $30,000 fixing the plumbing issue and renovating and updating the suite. My renter was so happy with how I handled everything, the apartment renovations/updates, and me as his landlord, he rented a temp place for 3 months and then came back. I increased his rent by $300 to cover the loan payment and gave him free WiFi and cable– his rent, even with the increase of $300 a mo was still below the average for my area. So F all of you for your bias an uneducated view of how the world works.. I am not the enemy here.

            not everyone who is a landlord is an evil greedy person.

          2. BellyButton*

            If you are looking for a rental property would you want that is so out dated and looks like it was last updated in the 90s?? No, no you wouldn’t. Renters want a nice home too, and I wanted to fi the plumbing issues and I wanted to provide a more updated property to attract renters. JFC. Not all landlords are the evil greedy enemies you think. I was a single woman who was fortunate to be able to buy a home. I NEEDED the rental income, that is why I chose the house I chose. I spent $30,000 on the renovations and I increased the rent by $300 to cover that loan- I also gave him free WiFi and free Cable. My renter was so happy with me and what I did, he went to a temporary housing until I completed and then came back. I am not the enemy here. I am just a normal person who had a rental property attached to their home, and I was a good landlord.

            F U and your bias, not everyone is an evil greedy or bad person.

      2. Dinwar*

        Tell me you’ve never rented property without telling me you’ve never rented property…..

        Renovation isn’t “Slap some cheap paint on it and call it a day.” For one thing, renovations have to comply with building codes. Even something as simple as installing a new water heater can end up costing thousands if the old one was a few building codes behind (can happen in older buildings, as older construction is generally grandfathered in). Have you been paying attention to water pipe regulations? The requirements for electrical outlets? For light fixtures? If not, you’re going to be in for several nasty surprises. (And if your landlord tried to skirt these responsibilities you’d be complaining about how little they care for tenants’ safety!) Further, a lot of renovations require licensed contractors–this isn’t stuff you legally can do yourself. And that can get expensive quickly.

        Unless your rent is absurdly high, any renovation worth doing is necessarily going to require a rate increase to cover the costs. Even if you wanted to just break even, instead of making a profit (which isn’t how businesses work), you’d have to increase the rent.

      3. MassMatt*

        I am curious whether you’ve ever accepted a raise or promotion at work, or changed jobs at least in part to get more money. If so, why? You know you could simply ask for the same wage you had when you worked back in high school, right?

        I don’t know why we expect landlords provide low rents in perpetuity, or renovate property (potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars) while still charging the same rent.

        And no, I am not nor do I ever want to be a landlord.

        Rent is much like a wage or salary: it’s based on quality and what the market will bear. No one owes you a low rent nor a high salary.

        1. Kyrielle*

          And, like anything, the costs of managing a property will go up over time because…costs go up over time. The contractors doing the renovation, any employees or contractors doing routine maintenance, etc., will need to be paid according to the market…and the market generally goes up. Hopefully some portion of the rent has been earmarked for expenses all along, but you can expect to pay more for an appliance today than 20 years ago, so eventually the rent has to go up to account for that.

          That doesn’t mean there aren’t jerks of landlords, or horrible reasons and ways to handle rent increases. Those things also exist, too. But not all rising rents are strictly the enemy.

          Written as someone who owns their place and really needs to get a couple appliances replaced, alas….

        2. Tea Monk*

          The problem is that if the rents are above what people can pay, the problem is outsourced to society by creating a homelessness issue. it’s a big mess!

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      You say you don’t want to get into a big discussion or debate about why housing is so unaffordable. (No, it’s not just expensive. It’s unaffordable.)

      I think you’ve explained perfectly why that situation is.

      1. BellyButton*

        *rolls eyes* Yeah the single lady with a one bedroom basement suite to rent out is why rents are unaffordable. I am not the enemy here.

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          You’re the one who’s kicking someone out to increase the value of your property.

          1. BellyButton*

            HAHAHAHA no that is not what I did. At all. If you are looking for a rental property would you want that is so out dated and looks like it was last updated in the 90s?? No, no you wouldn’t. Renters want a nice home too, and I wanted to fi the plumbing issues and I wanted to provide a more updated property to attract renters. JFC. Not all landlords are the evil greedy enemies you think. I was a single woman who was fortunate to be able to buy a home. I NEEDED the rental income, that is why I chose the house I chose. I spent $30,000 on the renovations and I increased the rent by $300 to cover that loan. My renter was so happy with me and what I did, he went to a temporary housing until I completed and then came back.

            I am not the problem, and people like me aren’t the problem.

          2. Anon for This*

            I’m renting a property to a friend at well below market rate. I’d like to be making enough money from other sources to keep doing that for as long as friend needs a home, but if my finances hit the point where I need the increased rental income of charging market rate, well, I guess I’m an evil person for wanting to pay my bills.

        2. Hiring Mgr*

          I was wondering who to blame for all this mess. Now I realize it’s BellyButton, from AAM.

          I bet you’re sitting on top of your pile of cash, lighting a cigar with $100s

    2. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

      I mean, I think this is a reasonable approach–if you’ve renovated the rest of your house and want to renovate the basement apartment, yeah, you can choose not to renew a lease. Just give the renter plenty of notice and let them out early if they find something before the lease you’re not renewing is up. And sure, once those renovations are done, you might increase the rent *some*, but it shouldn’t be drastically more than it was before. Just be a human about things.

      It’s the kicking someone out *just* so they can jack up the rent part that’s heinous. It’s treating people like their personal atm, not like people. The fact that the LW pretty much says they just want to get more money out of the renter, and that it’s not really about renovating/etc. is what makes it greed. It’s compounded by them also being said person’s boss. It’s also not always the smartest approach for the landlord to get rid of a good tenant. If you know you have a good renter and you get rid of them, you could just as easily end up with a bad renter who’s late with their payment or trashes the place or causes other problems.

      Or you could have trouble finding a tenant at all–this is what happened to a favorite business of mine–the owner of the location jacked the rent up each year until they were paying literally 3x what they had been paying 5 years ago (2k vs 6k) and the business just could not sustain that rent price. They went out of business 2 years ago. That storefront has been vacant that ENTIRE 2 years. No renovations have been done, either. That is a LOT of rent money the location owner could’ve had that they lost because they were greedy.

    3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      WHY did you “want to renovate”? Presumably to make more money. “Dated look and older appliances” aren’t the sort of thing that needs to be done as part of upkeep. Nor is “increasing the value of my property” something that’s actually a requirement – it’s something you want because you want more money.

      With the possible exception of the plumbing, depending on how long that would take, this is all stuff that could have waited until the tenant decided to move and been done between tenants, at a natural “renovate, update, and increase the rent” breakpoint. The plumbing is the only real must-do here, and while it does seem like it would be more convenient to do everything at once for me that really depends on the scope of the plumbing fix.

      I think most of us understand that landlords need to renovate at times, and that renovation will come with a rent increase – the disagreement is about whether this should be done by kicking someone out rather than waiting until you’re between tenants anyway.

      1. BellyButton*

        I SAID I didn’t kick him out, I chose not to renew his lease. I gave him 90 days notice. He also said he would love to take a temp rental and then come back. I increased his rent by the $300 more it took me to cover the loan I got for the $30,000 loan I got to do the renovations.

      2. BellyButton*

        You conveniently skipped over the part where I said there was a plumbing issue I needed to fix and could only do it by ripping out the only bathroom in the rental. Nice.

  17. angry socialist*

    #2- “I want someone to move out because I want more money”

    You do realize this is why people hate landlords, right? Moving is stressful and if she’s given no indication of leaving, and you put her out of her home only because YOU want more cash, you are truly a piece of work.

    (Caveat: If the apartment is truly in need of renovations- appliances 30 years out of date, grody floors and peeling paint, well, you should do those repairs/make those changes because that’s a decent thing to do. But don’t increase the rent/force her to move out from basic repairs just because you want money!)

  18. Not a LL, but...*

    While we’re hating on the landlords, let’s also hate on homeowners who are planning to sell their houses after their kids leave, or they retire, or whatever. I mean, those people do things like upgrade appliances, update decor, fix problematic roofs or plumbing, or whatever. And get this- they are doing it to GET MORE MONEY from the sale of the house! They too are pricing people out of homeownership… and yet when people do this, no one seems to pour on the hate like they do for landlords. If that LW gives the renter enough time to find a new place, and then updates their place and charges more accordingly, that’s … business?

    1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

      There’s plenty of hate for house flippers, which may be a better analogy here. The problem is that it’s business to the landlord, and a home to the tenant, so they view “I’m not actually kicking you out, just not renewing your lease” very differently.

    2. MidwesternEnnui*

      Caping for landlords is a…take, for sure. The human right and need for housing should not be treated as a business. It’s unethical. Unfortunately it’s the way of the world, but it’s wild to get heated about how it’s fine, actually. And since you brought it up, single family homeownership as asset protection is at the root of a lot of structural racism/white flight/segregation, NIMBYism to block multifamily zoning and low income housing, environmental damage…the list goes on.

  19. landlordsarethieves*

    LW2 – where I live when you renovate a rental property you are required to give the tenant you kicked out the right of first refusal. And if they accept the renovated unit, the landlord must continue charging the same rent as before. You cannot raise their rent beyond the standard annual COL increase.

    I think that is exactly what you should do here. Renovate the unit, let the tenant stay at the same rate and never ever think of doing this to anyone ever again.

    Alternatively, sell the building and split the proceeds with all your tenants so they can live somewhere else away from you and your greedy fingers. Under no circumstances should you continue earning profit off of this apartment building. It is immoral on its face and should be illegal.

  20. bamcheeks*

    The problem with landlords is not the individual landlords, it’s a wider legal environment that gives a ton of power and protection to landlords and very little to tenants.

    Landlords provide a positive social good when they take on the risk of owning and maintaining property and all tenants have the opportunity to choose housing that suits their current needs, whether that’s short-term rentals or long-term security. If you have a legal environment that prioritises protection the landlord’s investment over tenants’ needs for long-term housing security, you can try all you want to be a “good” landlord but you are fundamentally in a antagonistic relationship with your tenants because your needs and interests are at odds, and yeah, sorry, you’re going to hear some opinions of landlords yoh don’t like because way more people have been tenants than have been or ever will be landlords.

    Don’t want to get tarred as “one of THOSE landlords”? Don’t just treat your own tenants semi-decently, join campaigns to create a just and equitable housing law and make long-term housing security a realistic possibility or everyone who needs it.

    *steps off soapbox*

  21. Bruce*

    I rented a room from a co-worker, then one of those zero-notice layoffs happened and he became my boss’s boss! Fortunately he was a pretty mellow guy, we talked about how awkward we both felt about it and resolved to make the best of it. The fact that I was really junior and he and my boss were very senior helped, we didn’t need to interact a lot at work. But it was better when he got engaged, moved in with his fiance and then a couple of other guys from work moved in :-) (Though one of those went on to feature in a horror story about references gone wrong)… Sooo… for LW2, you’d better be nice to your tenant/employee. Give them lots of time and maybe even pay for their moving expenses. You can definitely get a bad reputation at work if you are not generous here. Seriously think about whether the increased rent you can get will really justify pushing out an employee. They may end up moving on their own some time without creating work drama…

  22. Waiting tables in a diner, in some remote city, down the highway*

    OP #1 definitely not a hypocrite! I worked in service/retail for years and while I normally didn’t appreciate getting hit on at work, I also met my husband who asked me out while he was a customer (he was polite, we had some friendly chit chat for a few weeks prior, and he could sense there was mutual attraction). Circumstances and attitudes make a huge difference, not every workplace ask out is the same. I hope Meg will understand that!

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