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My Portuguese Slumlord

Updated: Apr 8

In week 23, things heated up with My Portuguese Slumlord.

During my first months here, the Portuguese people have been incredibly welcoming except for one: My Portuguese Slumlord. The man, who conveniently lives upstairs when he is not staying at his second home in the Algarve, has done a long list of unwelcoming things to me including: — not giving me a key that works for a mailbox I must share with him — charging me the entire electric for the building as my own thinking I would not notice — getting his real estate agent to try and force me out in a mad text-filled weekend of threats that were quite frankly, comical, and — spraying only his apartment and the common area, releasing a wave of angry bugs of assorted sizes and shapes on the rest of the building.

He’s a real peach.

No Mail for YOU!

In what now seems the least of My Portuguese Slumlord’s brutish actions, when I moved in he refused to set up a private mailbox for my apartment. I must use the same one as he does. At first, there was no lock on the box and the old door on it often swung open, allowing anyone access to my new ATM and credit cards as well as my Portuguese residency card. Finally, he added a lock but gave me a key that does not work unless you fiddle with it for sometimes up to 15 minutes.

One day we went down for a demonstration of how to use the key along with my real estate agent and his. No one but My Portuguese Slumlord could get the mailbox open. He told me I was simply not doing it right and left without another word.

I rented a mailbox at the post office. I will be deducting the 70 euro annual fee from my last rent payment.

I Am Now Sponsoring the Beco’s Electric

Recently, My Portuguese Slumlord demanded that I put the electric in my name despite my lease clearly stating it is his responsibility to pay and divide among the apartments. At the time, I was away and unable to deal with him and told my real estate agent to do what she thought best. If it must go in my name, I asked that she confirm I was just paying for my apartment.

The first bill came. From the amount due, I can only assume that I am now funding the electricity for the entire Beco. Not being one to look the other way when someone tries to take advantage of me, I took my good Portuguese friend to the electric company to see what could be done. We spoke to a lovely woman who seemed horrified at this dirtbag’s actions. I could not understand any of the conversation but if expressions can be translated, this is one of the more blatant attempts to take advantage of a tenant that she has seen.

My friend translated for me and said the building was what they call a “village”, which is several smaller buildings linked together, making it hard to know exactly how things are configured. She sent us next door to the people who installed the meters for the next piece of the puzzle.

Two women at the meter company spent a while working on untangling the mess and had the same “What a dirtbag” look on their faces as they worked. They sent a guy to check my meter. He confirmed it is pulling quite a bit of power unless I am running a server farm out of my apartment.

Next, I must find an electrician who will come and check the wiring of my village. I’ve also signed up for membership in DECO, the consumer protection society here, and filed a complaint about him. What I find most satisfying about this is they will send me a welcome packet and put me on their mailing list, which my landlord will get when he comes to check our mailbox. 🙂

Hallucinogenic Fueled Eviction Text Rage

The weekend my landlord tried to flash-evict me was actually the best. Apparently, he had tasked his sleazy real estate agent with evicting me (illegally, but minor detail). This seemingly interrupted his hallucinogenic-filled weekend.

The texts to me started with odd phrases like “is evertinhingog with the apartment?…Again Lisa, if you re not happy, well hou re dealing of one of best persons.” He continued by trying to get me to turn the apartment keys into his office by Monday in return for 2,000 euros cash. Conveniently, that is the exact amount of my money that he has in advance rent and security deposit minus 1,000 euros.

Sure sleazeball. I will just find another apartment tomorrow after brunch and on Monday I’ll drop my things off at the new place on the way to your office with the keys and you can return 2,000 of the 3,000 euros you have of mine. I ignored him all weekend, never responding. To make sure he stays out of my apartment, I bought a lock and replaced the one on my front door.

Unsurprisingly, the next week passed with no eviction notices and no further communication.

The Great Beco Bug War

One day exterminators, armed with spray cans and dressed in a way that gave me flashbacks to the team from Ghostbusters, showed up on the Beco knocking on doors. I’d seen a couple of creepy crawlers in my apartment and was excited to see it was exterminator time. As they entered my building I waited for a knock on the door that never came. Apparently, My Portuguese Slumlord had paid for his apartment to be exterminated and not mine or the renters downstairs and next door.

Suddenly, a disturbance erupted on the Beco. I looked out my window to find several neighbors with brooms chasing bugs and yelling. As I still don’t speak enough Portuguese to understand anything more than hand motions and facial expressions will tell me, I could only imagine this was a fair amount of anger directed at My Portuguese Slumlord.

I ran downstairs to join the “Battle of the Bugs”. In my haste, I had not brought a weapon so I tried to stomp as many as I could. Meanwhile, my favorite neighbor was fighting off two fast ones at his feet, dancing around in what otherwise might be considered pretty good moves for a man his age.

As the battle raged on, I saw what could only be the leader of the bug invasion climbing quickly up the building towards my floor, soon to be out of reach. With no options but my hand, I snatched off my sandal and smacked the ruler of the bugs into oblivion. He fell off the wall like a late-night drunk. My neighbor, having won his immediate battles, scooped him up in his dustpan as he looked around to choose his next target.

Finally, we had killed about half the bugs and ran into our apartments to close the windows tight, shove towels under the doors, and wait for the poison to work on the rest.

Battle Lines are Drawn

The nastier My Portuguese Slumlord gets, the more the word about him spreads around our tight-knit Beco. When my friend Bernardo came over to meet the meter guy with me, he talked with my favorite neighbor who told him he liked having me next door. My neighbor, who has known Bernardo since he was little, told him that the people of my Beco know what is going on. It seems like many are on Team Lisa while Team Portuguese Slumlord may only have his mafia real estate agent on his side at this point.

I think if it were left to the Beco to vote as to whether me or My Portuguese Slumlord stays, I would easily gain control of the entire “village”, which I am currently funding the electric for anyway.

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