Dear Potential Landlord,

Thank you so much for listing your apartment for rent on Craigslist. I really appreciate the ad; especially the part where you said “ABSOLUTELY NO PETS” followed by exactly 42 exclamation points. Had you used only 35 or even 39 exclamation points, I would’ve inquired about bringing my pet goldfish, Murky, but with 42 I know you’re serious. I’ve always found Murky to be fairly calm, but don’t worry: I’ll be sure to give him away to a friend whose landlord doesn’t mind all the ruckus you tend to get with a fish.

I also appreciate the photos, though I must admit that one or two of your pictures were so tiny, dark, and blurry, that I had to spend about 20 minutes squinting at them to determine whether they showed a living room or a toaster. I didn’t know it was possible to take pictures using only a grapefruit, but I’m man enough to admit when I’ve been proven wrong. I’m impressed!

I do, however, have a few questions about the apartment. For instance: you say that it’s located in the center of the city, which is the area where I’d like to live. But when I type the address in to Google, I notice it’s actually in the middle of Camden, an area recently named “America’s Most Dangerous City” by the FBI, on account of the fact that Camden typically has more murders in a calendar year than they do trees. I recognize that neighborhood borders can be a bit hazy, but do you think you might be able to clarify this?

I’d also like to discuss the garage situation. Your listing very clearly says the apartment features a “two-car garage.” Is that the structure in the last photo? The wooden one? With a partially collapsed door? And weeds growing from the roof? The one that looks like the kind of place where a crazy, red-eyed demon child might store dead bodies in a Stephen King novel? Just curious!

Oh! And since we’re on the subject of the photos, I’m wondering about something. No, it’s not the fact that half of the pictures are sideways. I totally sympathize with you on that. It’s so hard to turn photos the right way up, and plus, people can just turn their heads, right? What Craigslist really should have is an automatic “right way up” button for the photos, right next to an “add 10 exclamation points” button in the text section. It would make things much easier.

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But anyway, back to the images. I’m curious about the content of the images themselves. Namely: why is it that, of the 11 photos you uploaded, only four show the actual apartment? Just for future reference, I would probably rather see, for example, the bedroom, than a public park located four blocks away from the apartment. But maybe that’s just me! Also: photos number four and five are the same, and photo number eight appears to show a crack pipe. I’m no attorney, but you might want to edit that out! If only Craigslist had a “remove crack pipe” button.

Now, on to the terms. Before I get started, I just want to say that I appreciate a landlord who can type out a 250-word listing, and devote approximately 240 of those words to the rental terms. That, right there, is attention to detail! I especially like how you abbreviated washer/dryer, dishwasher, and hardwood floors as w/d, dw, and hw fl, but you took the time to write out sentences like: “Tenant will pay rent by the 1st of the month, NO EXCEPTIONS, or else their will be an eviction notice on there door by the 2nd. NO EXCEPTIONS, I am not kidding around!”

You then followed this with another 18 exclamation points, proving that a) you are certainly not kidding around, and b) if I’m ever late with my rent, I won’t be able to get into my house anyway, what with all the exclamation points on the eviction notice.

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As for the specific terms, I’m a bit confused about one fact in particular: who pays the utilities? Oh, sure, you’ve stated “Tenant pays all utilities” in the title. And right after you mentioned the “w/d,” you mention that “tenant pays all utilities” once again. And then in the terms section, you’ve got “Tenant pays all utilities” sprinkled throughout, like a chorus in a rock song. “$50 application fee,” you state. “Tenant pays all utilities.” Or my personal favorite: “Absolutely no section 8 scum.” And then: “Tenant pays all utilities.” But here’s where you lose me: at no point while you were insisting that the tenant pays all utilities did you ever follow it up with a series of exclamation marks. I will therefore assume this point is debatable.

Now, when can I take a look at the apartment? I work normal hours, Monday through Friday, but I’d be happy to accommodate your schedule on a weekend or evening of your choosing. Really, I can do any time other than 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Oh, you can only do it “btwn 1 and 3 on weds?” Well, that’s fine, I guess. I’ll rearrange my schedule and take off work just to meet you there. And while I’m on my way, I’ll get a text message from you, saying only:

ALREADY TAKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, well. Back to Craigslist. Murky will be thrilled.

@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars. He divides his time between writing about cars and sitting around his house watching Gilmore Girls without any pants on. Also, he wrote this bio himself in the third person.