The Thin Triplicate Line Between Society and Chaos

June 5, 2012


“…There shall be no use of illegal drugs on the premises by the lessee, or associates of the lessee, subject to immediate nullification of the rental contract…”
– clause in standard rental agreements
Scenario 1:
Landlord: And in here you’ll see the main room.  Fireplace works, we just ask that you get the chimney cleaned once a year.  Ceiling fan controls are over here.

Oh, sweetie, great job! I’ll bet almost no light or air will get in at all!

Man: Oh, this is fantastic.  Look at those hardwood floors!
Woman: This is beautiful.  Oh, honey, won’t those big windows look great with sheets of plywood nailed up over them? 
Landlord: Excuse me?
Man: I was thinking the same thing!  And this corner, I think, would be perfect for defecating in.  
Woman:  Do you happen to know how many soiled mattresses and filthy sleeping bags will fit in the bedroom?
Landlord: What?  How should I—what exactly are you planning to do to this place?
Man: Crack-house.
Woman: I wanted an opium den but…
Landlord: Whoa, whoa, whoa – check the rental agreement.
Man: mumble mumble mumble subletting mumble mumble no illegal drugs?! 
Woman:  Damn! Well, honey let’s move on.
Landlord: Crisis?  Averted.


Scenario 2:
Renter: Well, this place looks just perfect!  This second bedroom, with the good, old-fashioned thick walls?  Love it.
Landlord: Now, just so you know, there’s no illegal drugs allowed.

And hey, your apartment complex might get to be on TV!

Renter:  Oh, none of that for me.  Between working full-time, my bridge club, the serial-killing – not to mention I’m something of a weekend arson enthusiast – I don’t have any time or use for that nonsense.
Landlord: Serial killer?
Renter: Yup!  Everybody loves a serial killer, right?  But I’ll soundproof the heck out of that back room.  When the police inevitably catch me I promise the neighbors will say, “He was always such a quiet guy!”
Landlord: Oh.
Renter: Nothing in that contract about arson and murder, right?
Landlord: Well… no…


Scenario 3:

Say hello to my Inferior Quality Rental Agreement!

Renter: So, I’m not going to be around for the next, ah, seven to ten years, but I was really hoping to hang on to the place.  My lease is for 3 more years, and I could probably pay for another two beyond that right now.  Cash okay?
Landlord: Well, I –
Renter: You’re not trying to violate the lease are you?  I’d hate to sue.  Here.  Here’s $75,000 in cash.
Landlord: *Gasp* My God.
Renter: Oh, calm down.  Yes, it’s soaked in cocaine, gun-powder residue, and blood. It still spends, doesn’t it?
Landlord: I knew I should have used the standard rental contract!
Renter: Yeah, well, you didn’t.


Scenario 4:
Landlord: Are you doing illegal drugs in here?
Deadbeat Renter: No.
Landlord: Really?
Deadbeat Renter: No.
Landlord: Really?
Deadbeat Renter:  … Yes.
Landlord:  A-ha! You’re out of here!  Reverend, looks like we’ve got a place for those orphans, after all!
Orphans: Yay!


No, don’t thank me. Thank… The Rental Agreement.

Scenario 5:
Renter: My life has fallen to crap.  Hate my job; girlfriend left me.  I’ve accomplished nothing… I just want to escape it all.  Numb the pain.  Maybe it’s time I just started doing heroin.  Be done with all this.  Yeah, yeah, that’s what I think I’ll… wait a minute…  what am I saying?  These high ceilings… my little back deck… the gas stove… No!  No, I can’t lose this place!  Why, I’m going to channel this sadness in to helping the needy!  And, gosh, it’s been years since I’ve done any ceramics!  I wonder if anyone around here could teach me the trumpet?  Yeah!  God bless you, rental contract!
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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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42 Comments on “The Thin Triplicate Line Between Society and Chaos”

  1. 1pointperspective Says:

    Damn you creative genius! The rest of us have been reading these kinds of clauses for years and seeing nothing but legalese – you see the same thing and spin it into blog gold.

    Well…enough whining, I’m off to the methadone clinic.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Actually, I had the idea for the post, then worked tirelessly for years to make the clause standard in rental contracts. This blog is the culmination of years upon years of advanced planning. Any time you see something bizarre in entertainment or bureaucracy? Odds are it’s me, setting up a joke.


  2. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    My goodness you are so right( always are)
    and you know what, my landlord didnt cover the serial kiiling part,if only he read it 😆
    cos get this… he never ever thought anyone who would be paying so much rent would be killing someone..
    where do you think i get all that money to pay this stupidly insane rent from haan!!!! ^-^


  3. Richard Wiseman Says:

    “If the law says that then the law is an ass!” Mr Bumble, Oliver Twist in response to being told he is responsible for his wife’s crimes under law. Mr Bumble says it all for me in terms of laws in that there is a massive difference between law and justice. Great post. Made me laugh and made me think.


  4. Michelle Gillies Says:

    I will have to pay more attention to my rental agreements. My biggest concern was that I was allowed to have a dog. I don’t even have a dog, but I wanted to be allowed to have one.


  5. Valentine Logar Says:

    First cuppa and this, thank you thank you.


  6. susielindau Says:

    I always skip to “sign here” and look at all the fun I have been missing!
    Funny, funny~!


  7. Go Jules Go Says:

    I thought the number one reason we bought a house was to finally get a dog, but look at all of the drugs and murdering we’ve been missing out on! And we have so many places to store the bodies. No one look in the barn, okay?


  8. pegoleg Says:

    Wait a minute here…I thought you said I could use this idea! (mumble, mumble, mumble)


  9. madtante Says:

    If I ever have to BUY a house (saints preserve us from leasing), I’ll be screwed. I don’t mind rent and I don’t mind squatting but too much fine print well…did I mention I can’t see out of my new glasses? They just don’t see strong enough at this age.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s the trouble with those kinds of contracts – you can’t catch everything, they know you can’t catch everything, they know you know they know you can’t catch everything… You need a lawyer to look over the shoulder of the lawyer reviewing the contract.


  10. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    We rented for a year in Philly & had hookers for neighbors. Ok, it was a nice complex, so I guess they were “Escorts”. But apparently didnt violate the lease.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Maybe people have to take the same approach with drugs they do with being an “escort.” “Oh, I don’t deal the drugs, I just let them look at them for a while. If people choose to misuse the drugs, that’s out of my control.”


  11. tomwisk Says:

    How about Scenario 6:
    Landlord: You’re a writer?
    Renter: Yep.
    Landlord: Sell anything?
    Renter: Not yet. Got a killer idea, though. A giant cockroach takes over a house and uses the neighborhood to hunt people.
    Landlord: Does it damage the houses?


  12. She's a Maineiac Says:

    How do you come up with this stuff?

    Seriously? How? Did you sell your soul to the devil?

    If you don’t mind, just email me a bunch of ideas for blog posts that you have laying around. Thanks.

    By the way, I know that I would’ve liked Scarface so much better if he had yelled out your line instead.


  13. Audrey Says:

    This is just brilliant! Who knew rental agreements could be so entertaining?


  14. Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface Says:

    Here is another scenario: I recently watched a legal program in which a fictional landlord wanted to evict a tenant who was a major Neo-Nazi skinhead and who was publishing a newsletter in his field of interest, decorating with swastikas and just generally being a scary and offensive uberracist. Nothing in the rental agreement about that, so no grounds for eviction.
    I am guessing this is happening out there in reality somewhere, right now.


  15. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    I love anyone who can make me smile about contracts, versus (for example) getting all Hulked out over the thought of ’em. 🙂

    Now if only I were smiling from a less skeezy apartment. Hmm!


  16. List of X Says:

    You have a pretty lenient landlord. My lease has a 2-page Criminal Activity Rider.


  17. ghfool Says:

    I’m gonna go the other way with this and build an empire by including “Lessee must actively sell illegal drugs and maintain a stable of hookers within the residence at all time. 70% of all revenue generated from said activities must be paid to the lessor (me) as rent on the first of every month. Lessee must achieve an average quota of $10,000 per square foot (including garage) net per month. Upon legal problems, Lessee shall always refer to the lessor as “I dunno”. If Lessee fails to comply with all terms within, then they will eat a bullet. Capiche? Sign here.”


  18. benzeknees Says:

    Our lease is up the end of the month & we’re probably going to move shortly, so I guess I better watch for those clauses in my next lease.


  19. Paul G. Eberlein Says:

    Good tenants insist upon regular leasehold improvements which eat up all the profits; bad tenants wreck the place so it needs major repairs which eat up all the profits.
    Either way, the landlord is always totally f*cked!


  20. notanotherrandomgirl Says:

    Heyy! You’ve been nominated for the Very inspiring blogger award! You’re worth it! Keep up the good work!
    Details :


  21. BrainRants Says:

    Yay! Society!

    Landlord regrets?


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