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home : columns : dear harriette April 14, 2021

12/16/2020 7:57:00 AM
Renter frustrated at landlord's lack of help

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a mouse in my new single-family home. I have lived here for only four months, so I called my landlord to let him know. From my understanding, there might be some holes in the walls that need to be patched up so no other rodents get inside. My landlord told me that I should go out and purchase some traps and seek an exterminator.

As a renter, I know that this should be his responsibility to fix, but he is refusing to pay for any sort of traps or exterminator. He told me that the home is in top condition, and if any vermin or rodents get inside, it is due to my poor upkeep and living conditions -- therefore, I am responsible. None of this sounds right to me. What do you think, and what should I do next? -- Uninvited Guests

DEAR UNINVITED GUESTS: Check your local landlord-tenant laws and regulations so that you learn what his responsibilities are. You can point out the written rules for him so that he knows that he is supposed to provide regular extermination services. (This is true in many cities.) Invite him to inspect your home himself so that he can see your level of cleanliness. Recommend a compromise: Agree to buy mouse traps if he provides regular extermination service to you and the other tenants.

If he refuses, you may have to take him to court. Should this become your reality, document everything -- the way you keep your apartment, evidence of rodents in your home and your landlord's responses to you with dates.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Ever since we have been doing video calls for work, my boss has been glamming it up big time on camera. She started small, but now she wears what looks like evening makeup and super glamorous clothes almost every day for our daily meetings. The rest of us are pretty casual -- as we were when we were in the office together. Given that she's the boss, I wonder what signal she is trying to send to us. Part of me wants to tell her that she looks kind of silly all dressed up for the ball. I know that wouldn't go over well. What can I say? The optics are getting awkward. -- All Dressed Up

DEAR ALL DRESSED UP: Whenever the topic is appearance, things become sensitive, so tread lightly. Also, know that during this extended period of quarantine, people deal with the isolation in different ways. Who knows what's going on in your boss's mind? It is fair to ask.

One approach might be requesting a private conversation with your boss, in which you could mention that you have noticed that she has been getting dressed up for the company's daily calls. You can compliment her on her new glam look and then seriously ask her if she is expecting the rest of the team to dress up. Since the way the team presented themselves pre-COVID-19 was pretty casual, you want to know what her expectations are for the rest of you.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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