Merjeme Haxhiraj, a tenant, tried to get her rent reduced. She wrote, “Mr. Albert, I wish you will only rise the rent to $470/month. I think you will fulfill my wish.”
She wrote this letter annually (changing only the dollar figure). I knocked her rent down to $490 from $500 the last time.
Ms. Haxhiraj was Albanian, worked in a nursing home, and had cancer.
After 10 years, she said she was moving. I couldn’t figure out where to. New York? Albania? Some place where I couldn’t find her, I bet.
She didn’t want to pay the final month’s rent. She wrote, “I am leaving country and will not have forwarding address. Please keep the security deposit.”
Wait a minute, Ms. Haxhiraj, the tenant has to pay the final month’s rent! I knocked on her door and said, “We need the final month’s rent, Ms. Haxhiraj. That’s the rule.” (I said Hacks-er-aj. Totally wrong no doubt. Loved the x.)
“I am old woman. I no work for three years.” And don’t forget the cancer.
I walked through her apartment. “OK, but don’t leave anything,” I said. “Take everything.” I pointed to the hangers in the closet. “Even the hangers.”
“Everything go,” she said.
“Not that it matters, but are you Christian or Muslim?” I asked.
I was curious. That’s all. I try to make my job as interesting as possible.
When Ms. Haxhiraj moved, she left a bed, five chairs, a sofa, handbags, four bags of garbage, many oranges, several chocolate bars and a lot of hangers. No gym bag. I needed a gym bag.
The little old lady from Albania, Albania . . .
I didn’t get the chocolates. The building manager beat me to them.
I got the hauler’s bill.