Anyone who rents an apartment has a landlord1. In some (fortunate) cases, this landlord is an actual person, and in even rarer cases, said landlord actually lives right there in the apartment complex.

Unfortunately, these days most of us trapped in rentals don't enjoy such a luxury, and don't even really have a specific human being to call "landlord". Instead, a faceless corporation owns the whole property, and probably dozens of others exactly like it, and it installs an office staff to maintain and operate the property on its behalf. These soulless corpses are called "apartment managers".

An apartment manager is quite unlike a landlord proper, in that the manager probably doesn't even live in the same building (or complex) as the tenants s/he manages, and earns money by maintaining a presence on the property when everyone who lives there is gone for the day.

While this may seem like a meaningless difference, it can sometimes be the only difference between having obnoxious problems fixed, and having them ignored. When the landlord is present and experiences the same types of problems (plumbing, false fire alarms, vandalism, theft, other crimes, etc.) as the tenants do, s/he is more likely to work harder to solve those problems.

When you're just a monkey sitting at a desk eight hours a day, suddenly those complaints and grievances just turn into more whiny customers just whining about nothing important. "My convertible was ripped into last night by some thug trying to steal it!" becomes just another sheet of paper reporting yet another nuisance complaint to be reported to the unfeeling corporate machine. The manager doesn't live there; why should s/he care, anyway?

While apartments have never been the best way to build a community2, you're never going to get anything like a community started if you treat a big glop of people living together in a small space like a bunch of restless hamsters.


1 Yes, I have indeed mastered the obvious.

2 Apartments don't exactly breed much "at home" feeling, since you don't own it, don't have to pay to get anything fixed as long as you didn't break it, and your neighbors change every week.

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