Satire: The Smirkshire accidentally triples cost of rent due to clerical error

“We are experiencing doubts as to whether we are truly sorry at all”

Satire: The Smirkshire accidentally triples cost of rent due to clerical error

The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.

Residents of the Smirkshire Apartments found themselves in a bit of a bind earlier this month. Multiple residents of the Boston Avenue apartment complex noticed their rent had increased significantly, with some tenants reporting a 200 percent rise in housing costs. More than the price change, residents expressed frustration with the managerial staff, who sent out an email that has since widely circulated among the American University community. 

“We are aware that some of you are complaining about rent increases. As you have all been made well-aware by our fervent onslaught of condescending emails, you have no rights,” the email read. “Still, though we do not owe you an explanation, we are willing to generously provide one to you. Respectfully, this is your fault. Your tenancy has caused us irreparable pain and we had no choice other than to raise your rent by 200 percent. You dared to park your cars in the parking lot, you dared to ask that we provide you with keys and you dared demand we fix your running water. These requests are outrageous. They unduly burdened our leasing office and crushed the spirits of our managerial staff. Now, you must endure the consequences of your actions.”

One brave resident, Carly Berrio, a junior at American University, dared to respond to the email. While she was met initially with hostility and disdain, Berrio uncovered a shocking piece of information. 

“The staff told me I am a stupid child who should probably shut up if I know what’s good for me,” she said. “But then they told me it was all a mistake about three emails later.” 

Berrio demanded that this information be shared with the rest of the residents. 

The update came in the form of an email.

“As it turns out, your rent increased due to a clerical error,” the update read. “Your rent portals should be adjusted accordingly and your payments should be refunded promptly. Importantly, we would like to note that we affirm our previous statements. As you all know, we love our residents. But we love them in a distant, hostile way and we enjoy watching them suffer. Still, we are sorry, though we absolve ourselves of any responsibility and honestly wonder why you all didn’t catch this error sooner. Actually, in writing this email, we are experiencing doubts as to whether we are truly sorry at all. Goodbye.” 

Berrio admitted this apology was fairly satisfying compared to others issued in the past. In fact, Berrio informed The Seagle of various issues at the Smirkshire, some much stranger than the one at hand. 

“In January, they switched out the locks on our doors to ‘teach us a lesson’ after we demanded they remove black mold from our apartments,” Berrio said. “In February, they decreased the leasing office’s hours of operation from the standard Monday to Friday from 9-5 to just 3-4 a.m. on Saturday morning to ‘toughen us up.’ In March, they refused to remove the pests from my apartment, demanded I add them to my lease and charged me a five percent rental fee for underreporting roommates.” 

In the grand scheme of things, Berrio believes the apology to be a non-issue. 

When asked about her future housing plans, Berrio said, “I’ll probably renew my lease at the Smirkshire. To be honest, it’s one of the only affordable places in the area. And now that I have all these roommates? It’ll be the cheapest place in town.” 

Nora Sullivan is a junior in the School of International Service and a satire columnist at The Eagle.

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