Letters to the Summer Tenants
The lament of a self-martyred landlord.
We're fast approaching the gloomiest time of the summer: The day of departure for the placid summer cottage renter and the day of return for the unsuspecting cottage landlord. In 1997, Jodie T. Allen wrote a few notes to the anonymous every-tenant, offering some acerbic advice on how to keep from completely destroying her property before summer's end. The article is reprinted below.
P.S.: The mail just came. How thoughtful of you to have paid the rent a whole year in advance. And the timing couldn't be better, as I've just got the bills for the taxes and insurance and the chapel and library and conservation society appeals and the down payment on the roof re-shingling. I always tell myself how lucky I am to have such wonderful guests as tenants.
Jodie T. Allen is the senior editor at the Pew Research Center.
Illustrations by Michael Sloan; photograph of the beach house on Slate's home page by Kevin R. Morris/Corbis.