My Daily Encounters with Irrationality Part 2: My landlord and her designer

I wanted to post this without any context, but I guess a short prequel is needed, to make things more clear. I wrote the below a few weeks ago, while I was right in the middle of the process of renewing the contract of my condo for another year.

Where I come from, a renewal of your tenant agreement means that you’re entitled to receive certain additional amenities that were missing in the unit (such as a proper coffee table, balcony chairs, fan, blender etc in my case) with the combined overall value of around 10,000-15,000 PHP. I wouldn’t mind paying for any of these myself, but as the terms of my employment in the Phillies are subject to rapid changes due to various reasons, I prefer not to make unnecessary investments in low-liquid items, which will be hard to get rid of in the future.

To my landlord, who is getting paid nearly 10k/monthly  more than what the average rent for this type of unit in my condominium costs, due to a (possibly deliberate) negotiations fuck-up of my company and the broker they hired, this obviously meant nothing but  trouble.

To tell the long story short, my landlord and me were haggling about what additional items I can get for signing the new contract, which resulted in her trying to convince me that:

1. Her designer needs to choose all the requested new pieces of furniture in the unit;

2. I need to pay her 5K more per month in the new contract, because “that’s standard increase“;

The below “consolation” e-mail demonstrates what I think about the designer skills of the person that decorated the “state-of-the-art” facilities that I’m occupying.

“Dear Ms. XXX

Normally, I wouldn’t have absolutely any problem with your designer choosing the furniture – this would save me both time and all the trouble with purchasing items and waiting for the reimbursement payment afterwards. Still, I think I need to explain why some of the below assets are needed in the apartment and why at least their type (not the actual item, but simply what criteria it has to fulfill) to be chosen by a consensus with me, as the person living there for a year and considering living there for another year.

I had to replace a lot of the items that your designer had chosen initially, because regardless of their esthetical value, they were neither practical, nor comfortable or convenient for using. I realize that a reason for this is partly the fact that my body measures are far from standard for the country, but while I’m trying to keep this under control  with daily exercise, I’d like to feel comfortable in the place I inhabit. A few examples so far:

  1. The sofa in the living room was small, poor quality (aluminum, wood, fabric – all particles, essentially) and unstable. After 4 or 5 months of usage, it was already almost smashed into bits by the time I purchased the new one. Even if I was going to keep my personal opinion to myself that it also had one of the most unpleasant nuances of the color “brown” known to mankind, I can’t disregard the fact that the sofa didn’t serve its main purpose – to be comfortable for lying/setting on it.
  2. The kitchen chairs had legs with the thickness of a toothbrush. I understand that their fashionable design might have been considered a great idea for some, but both me and my average-weighting friends didn’t manage to utilize them for their primary purpose – to sit comfortably on them. By the time I purchased the new chairs, 2 of them were practically unusable and the 2 others were on the verge of collapse.
  3. The balcony chairs – 2 of them were broken by the time I entered the unit. I didn’t consider making a big deal about it, because I hadn’t noticed it and because the balcony has comfortable benches to sit on. The remaining 2 chairs (which are also broken now) I’ve seen being advertised in furniture shops for around 400 PHP. I wouldn’t expect a lot from a chair that costs less than an average meal in an average restaurant here.
  4. Closet space – the closet space in the unit is indeed huge, but unfortunately only 25% of it can be utilized. 2 out of the 4 closets are occupied by washing machines, which, according to my housekeeper, can only complete a full washing cycle, if functioning as a team – it’s not possible to use one, without the other. I guess this is why they are 2 washing machines in the unit. The 3rd closet is occupied by a huge amount of blankets & pillows, which I’m unsure if left by the previous tenant or part of the unit furniture. As stated in my last e-mail, I would like to remove them from this closet and replace them with a drawer, to be able to utilize at least 50% of the closet space in the apartment.
  5. Coffee table – in fact, there is no coffee table in the unit at the moment. I have 2 wooden rectangular and a glass on top of them. Once again, without underestimating its attractiveness, for anyone that is taller than 3 feet, this table can’t be used for anything else, but resting his feet after a long busy day at work. Additionally, it is extremely unstable, because, as mentioned before, it consists of 3 independently movable parts – 2 pieces of wood and a glass. It’s impossible to eat dinner on it, while watching TV. The only positive side about it is that I can take it apart easily, when the new table comes in.
  6. Kitchen table – I anticipate the answer that the coffee table is just for putting your coffee & magazine/book on and that the kitchen table should be used for having dinner. I’d agree with this and would normally prefer to have dinner at the kitchen table, while watching television, but due to the 3-metre high monumental wall of grey-painted wood & glass right in the middle of the room (undoubtedly, another designer solution), the purpose of which I’m yet to discover, the view to the TV isn’t properly accessible from nearly 100% of the seats on the table. I’ve attached a picture to this thread, to certify this.


I believe the above examples show clearly why I prefer to have some modest involvement in the choice of the requested items (and also clearly indicates why a coffee table is actually needed) – maybe just a few pictures with examples on my end, showing the type of chairs, table, drawer that I can utilize completely would be sufficient, in order to achieve both good looks and comfort.

As for the water dispenser, blender and fan – as I mentioned before, I don’t have any requests/preferences, apart from them being suitable to serve their primary function (to deliver hot/cold water, to chop things into a bowl, to introduce a stream of air in the premises).

I hope you will take my comments into consideration. I’ll send pictures of the unit with the new chairs & sofa  that I bought in the beginning of next week.

Thanks in advance.”

I sent her the above e-mail, before I knew about the increase and therefore I didn’t reflect on it in my case. In a normal country, I’d have the upper hand, because normal people wouldn’t want to lose a good tenant for a place that they’ll have to rent cheaper afterwards. Here, I was sure that she’d keep the place empty for 6 months, if needed, just so she doesn’t have to deal with my requests.  Because Filogic.  Since moving for the 3rd time in a year and a half was the last thing I wanted to do, ultimately we met halfway – she agreed to provide some of the items without an increase, maybe persuaded by some of my comments above.

I guess maintaining normal relations or making sense would be too hard.


Published in Common Discourtesy, Delusional Filipino, Expats


  1. Profile gravatar of TheD

    Doesn’t that always seem like the case? Instead of taking a secured 10k per month, the landlords attempt to increase the rent and end up getting nothing. Almost cutting their nose off to spite their face. The result is that they are left with a property that is empty and generates no income. How proud they must be of that accomplishment.
    I was in a similar situation, except I was told that the rent included all bills. It was my first few months in the country and was also summer time. I was not used to the heat, so I jumped at the opportunity even though they were charging 15k per WEEK! I figured I would take the chance and move out in a few months when it was cooler.
    They later told me that they had decided that the bills would not be included and I would need to replace the fan which had broken after using it only 3 times.