It is morally wrong to describe a whole group of people as "incarnations of evil". Unless we’re talking about property landlords, since that's a scientifically proven fact.

I've had landlords SO SCARY that the supreme rulers of Hades, Beelzebub and Moloch, would run away screaming, which is exactly what I do when I see my landlord approaching, tentacles dragging behind him.

I once managed to get a two-month delay in paying a particularly terrifying landlord by sending him an unsigned cheque. When he got round to asking why it was unsigned, I told him I had "writers' block." He’d vaguely heard of that ailment, so he let me off.


With my experience of landlords, I had no problem believing a shocking report sent to me by a reader in China. The landlord of a block in Jining city, Shandong, decided to squeeze extra money from tenants by making them PAY to use the lift.

Residents were "taking it too frequently," he told reporters, using it DAILY, not just to go out, but to come home too! Outrageous!

Lifts sometimes suffered breakdowns, which wouldn't have happened if they were not being used, he said with unassailable logic.

Tenants argued that they had to use the lift because he had rented them flats in an 18-story building.

He brushed aside such irrelevancies and showed what an incredibly nice guy he was by offering lower prices for folk "traveling" to lower floors and a surcharge for everyone above the 12th floor.


I sent copies to friends who live in swanky high-rises to punish them for being richer than me.

A guy from Denver said he'd seen an apartment block sign that allowed 30 return trips a month, with cash required for additional rides. The sign said: "The stairs are still free."


One woman said that if this happened in her building, she would call neighbors and arrange lift-pooling.

I can see that working. “I'm taking a little tripette to the lobby tomorrow morning; would 20 of you like to share the cost of the ride?” I suppose she could hand out canapes and make it a social thing.

But then I realized that most lifts have cameras these days! The landlord would have VIDEO PROOF of cheating.

No, if I was in her position, I would wear an EXTREMELY large frockcoat (like Neo's in The Matrix) and hide children, spouse, domestic helpers, dogs, etc., among my legs.


A colleague sent me a link to a book that predicts the coming energy crisis will make ALL lifts pay-per- ride, and make all low-floor homes worth more than luxury penthouses.

Can’t wait. If any reader wishes to swap his luxury penthouse for my aged first- floor apartment, drop me a line.

I'll organize lift-pooling parties to get up and down. And if no one's traveling one day, I'll just stay at home. "Sorry, boss, can't come to work today, can't afford the lift."


I need to stop here and write this month’s rent cheque.

Wait. I feel an attack of writer’s block creeping up on me.