The Friday Rant: Get A Life!


4 minute read

July 16, 2010

There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day of work and taking a load off, right?

But how about when you come home and find a complaint from the property manager in your building?

And what if that complaint is the most ridiculous three lines of verbiage you have ever seen?

rant.jpg defines “Micromanaging” as:

To manage, direct, or control to an unnecessary level of detail or precision.”

I think we can all agree that micromanaging is not a good thing, right?

I recognize that the job of a condominium property manager doesn’t provide for the most glorious eight hours per day, and I’m sure like any other job where you deal with people on a regular basis, you have to smile and eat some crow from time to time.

But I also think that it’s an incredibly important job with a lot at stake.

You’re looking after the homes of hundreds of people, and a collective asset value of over $100,000,000.

As such, there are “little issues” and there are “big issues” that will arise each and every day.

Then, there are what I like to call “non issues,” and having served on a Condo Board before, I know how many “non issues” arise every day.

I’d like to think that a property manager is able to identify “non-issues” and deal with them accordingly, ie. put them in here:


I received the following from my property manager today:

Residents have expressed concern over the potential fire safety issue of the brown cedars along the back of your terrace.  They are concerned that if the torches in the planters are lit, the plants will ignite.  When we meet, I would like to discuss this issue.”



Was this the most important part of your day? 

What is he talking about?



I have a very large outdoor terrace and I have an elaborate collection of plants, shrubs, flowers, and trees.

In April of this year, I bought nine new Emerald Cedars and planted them at the back of my terrace.

All nine of them died!

I’ve never worked as much as I did during this past spring market, so maybe I didn’t give them enough attention…..or water.  Oh yeah, right….plants like water

Or, maybe it’s no coincidence that the three trees left over from last year are still alive and well, and the nine new trees are all dead.  Maybe I got a “bad batch” from the Depot we call “home.”

Okay maybe this photo proves my point even more:


Yes, I have a lot of dead trees on my terrace.

But for the love of God, is it really necessary for my property manager to contact me about the “fire hazard?”

Let’s be honest about what really happened here…

An old lady, who had nothing to do between 8:05AM when she finishes reading all four major newspapers and 11:00AM when “The Price is Right” comes on, has sent the property manager a ridiculous “complaint” that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

There’s a guy on the fifth floor that doesn’t recycle!”

This lady in 7B leaves her lights on when she goes to work every morning!”

My neighbour’s dog won’t laugh at my jokes!”

These are the kind of complaints I draw equal to the one that was voiced about my “Mexican Orange Trees,” as I described them when I wrote back to my property manager.

I’m told that “residents” with an “s” have complained, meaning there are quite possibly two old people with no lives who keep track of the cumulative growth of my hostas and flowering of my hydrangeas.

But to bring this complaint to my attention is a waste of time and effort, and it honestly isn’t the property manager’s job.

I’m not storing firearms on my terrace, nor am I cutting up dead bodies.

Why does a resident who lives 17 floors above me care if I have dead trees on my terrace – even if, in the remotest of remote chances, one of them were to spontaneously combust?

A property manager should placate this complaining resident by simply saying, “I’ll look into it,” but he should never actually look into it!

The bigger problem here is that now that this has been brought to my attention, I feel somewhat violated.

Honestly, I do.

My terrace is open for about 100 residents to see, and now I know that somebody is watching me.

Maybe it’s as I sit on my terrace, right now, drinking Powerade, listening to Metric, and typing this very blog post.

Or maybe it’s during my Sunday Sexy Sunbathing…


I’m looking all around as I write this, but I don’t see anybody watching me….or my trees.

I do see a girl on the sub-penthouse level of East Lofts who is having a cigarette out her Juliette balcony, but I don’t think she can see me.  After all, I’m the one using binoculars…

But I honestly feel a little violated and a little vulnerable – to think that one, or several, of my neighbours are monitoring my barbequing habits, my gardening or lack thereof, or anything else that I do in my 440 square feet of private space.

I don’t think these residents have any right to tell me how to use my space, and the idea of a “fire hazard” is a joke.  We’re not in the dry California forest here.  I just have a few trees that will be disposed of when I have time, and when I bloody-well feel like it.

I’m not telling Agnes in Unit 1748 that I don’t like her old-lady wallpaper or her collection of Tom Selleck photos with extra chest-hair.

I told my property manager quite simply, “I don’t have time for this.”

But I should have added, “Thanks for giving me an awesome story for my blog”…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Andy

    at 8:46 am

    Well, pretty much, I don’t think that putting dead flammable wood right next to a grill is a great idea. I believe that in most rental apartments such combination would amount to much more than just a three liner from property management. Heck, I think that if you would see a pile of old newspapers (analog of your tree) sitting next to a grill in a housing project, you’d be among the first to blast “those stupid poors”.

  2. Neighbour

    at 10:21 am

    Sunday Sexy Sunbathing?! I’m glad I live on the OTHER side of the building =)
    With all the ridiculous stuff that goes on in our building, your potential fire hazard should be the least of people’s problems. The property manager could spend more time explaining to residents why we do not air condition our hallways, for instance…

  3. Blunt

    at 2:16 pm

    Dude it’s time you get your own tv show.
    I think we would all watch it.

  4. Kyle

    at 2:40 pm

    Krylon spray paint comes in “Emerald Green”.

  5. JD

    at 5:05 pm

    @ Andy

    You sound like exactly the kind of person he’s talking about. Just because a tree is within a few feet of a BBQ doesn’t automatically mean the entire building is going to burn down.

    Maybe try not to directly spray a blow-torch onto a tree. That’s a good idea.

    But yeah, i’d be somewhat peeved if I was getting letters about nonsensical crap like that as well.

  6. dogbiskit

    at 6:47 pm

    I don’t care about the dead trees but the fact you have one or two that happen to be right beside the grill is a worry. But I’m biased since being traumatized by a stupid plumber who inadvertently set my parent’s house on fire because he didn’t wait the required 60 minutes after doing hot work. It’s incredible the amount of damage a bit of spark or flame can do when no one’s paying attention.

  7. earth mother

    at 8:53 pm

    Re Andy’s fretting about fire hazards…. how about the lovely neighbours who toss cigarettes out windows or off balconies?? or for that matter garbage, bottles or various other items?

  8. WEB

    at 6:04 pm

    Well, I think the most important point in your latest blog is who complained: “old lady.”

    I just moved into the beaches and have already suffered the wrath of an old lady who lives on my street. I am currently getting landscaping done and one day during a 10 minute delivery of some of my stone, an old lady came over and complained that she didn’t like the fact that a truck was parked on the street (i.e. the truck delivering my stone.) She then ranted that she didn’t like the fact that the truck was running while it was unloading (apparently, the company delivering the stone has a policy for not shutting the truck off during delivery- and obviously there is a reason for it.)

    A few days later, a bylaw officer came to ask if we had a permit to do landscaping (yes, you need a permit to dig a few trenches and lay down some stone.) We did not have a permit. The job had to be delayed by 1 week and the necessary permits and other expenses have cost me over $1,000. Clearly, someone called the city. I asked a neighbour that has lived on the street for 40 years and he said it would have been one of two old ladies that would have called. Apparently the call the city everytime they see something they don’t like.

    So….beware of “OLD LADIES!”

    I’ll be watching the homes of these old ladies like a hawk and if I ever see something I don’t like, well, guess what I’m going to do?

  9. MattO

    at 9:38 am

    It’s funny that you write about this on Friday, and then on Saturday, I get a noise complaint from my neighbour. I had some friends over for a bbq last night (Saturday night), and afterward, we were just sitting on the balcony chatting (just at a normal conversation level of volume). Then at around 11:30, my neighbour pops out onto her balcony and tells us that her bedroom is pretty much right next to the balcony area where we’re sitting and chatting, so it sounds to her like we’re talking at the foot of her bed, and asks if we can stop it. I was thinking to myself, “why don’t you stop being cheap, close your damn window, and turn on the AC!!” since I knew she had to have her window open in order to hear us (I can’t hear people on my own balcony if I have the window closed). Saturday night, at 11:30pm!!! That’s not that late, is it?? And I’ve seen this neighbour around before, she’s not that old, maybe late 20s to early 30s?? Like the title of your post says – “Get A Life!”

  10. xxx

    at 7:04 pm

    Dave, Long time reader, first time poster.

    The letter says,”They are concerned that if the torches in the planters are lit, the plants will ignite.” The solution is simple. Remove the torches from the planters, LEAVE the plants exactly where and how they are. Youre welcome.

  11. David Fleming

    at 8:19 pm

    @ xxx

    Those torches are basically decorative at this point. I don’t light them. But if I did, they are far enough away from the “dead trees” that unless a 45 MPH gust of wind comes along, and if I’m passed out drunk laying on my terrace and unable to put out a fire with a half-cup of water, I think we’ll all be okay….especially residents on the 17th floor…

  12. Elli Davis

    at 1:26 pm

    Your post made me laugh out loud. I agree with Andy and other commenters that your cedars surrounding your grill with gas tank is quite interesting combination 🙂 … I am not an old complaining woman but I wouldn’t risk this combination. Anyway your Emerald Cedars look to be dead for quite a long time and make your terrace look quite depressing.

  13. Cindy

    at 12:05 pm

    those trees are indeed a fire hazard, and look like hell. Check with your local fire department. You are a shitty neighbour, because you don’t care if you burn down other peoples homes. You said 100 people can see this mess, but you don’t care. You can only defend yourself by attacking an elderly woman. Your parents must be so proud.

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