I asked him why. He said, "Well, the cost of water's going up and..." and I asked "The cost of the water isn't passed on to us?" while tapping on the water bill he just handed me.
He floundered for a minute, a lot of uh's and finally said, "I couldn't tell you. I don't know." I let him off the hook by saying, "I'll ask at the office when I go pay the rent this month." I didn't figure I'd get anything out of him, and didn't want to fight, period, especially not when I had on no bra and hadn't brushed my teeth that day.
You have to have a little history to understand the true humor behind this. They've raised the rent three times since I moved here in September 2001. Each time it was explained as an increase in the cost of water. At first it made since, because the cost of water was included in the total cost of the rent.
But over a year and a half ago, they installed individual water meters so that our water bill was separate and we paid the water individually in the amount that we were accountable for. The overall rent didn't decrease, and I'm fine with this, too, since I'm sure that the meter installation put them back a chunk of money, and even if the city paid for the meters, no landlord would ever lower the rent.
Edit: Jimmy just told me that the rent has gone up 60% from 2000 when he first moved in here. And that doesn't take into account the water being taken out of the bill and charged separately.
But this is silly, especially if if the only reason they can give me is the same pre-fab response they've given me for years.
This place is admittedly very affordable compared to renting a overpriced apartment in town, and admittedly the rent has been raised in only small amounts. But it's also really cheap for them to maintain, too, since all they have to do is mow the lawn. There's little maintenance since most people own their own trailers here. This is a great place to live, especially as a student or a recently-graduated student, but there are a lot of families who live here, too, and they're probably on a much tighter budget than Jimmy is.