[Listening Difficult] Housing Complaints – KEY

Pre-Listening Exercise

Finding a good apartment for rent sometimes takes time, but things always come up. What kinds of complaints or problems do tenants experience when renting a home or apartment? Briefly discuss these ideas with a partner. Explain one solution for each problem.


teed off” = upset, angry
She was really teed off because the landlord wouldn’t fix her toilet.”

go ballistic” = become very angry suddenly
The landlord went ballistic when he found out the tenants destroyed the apartment.”

Listening Exercise

A. Listen to the recording and answer the questions.

Apartment Manager: Well, hi Mr. Brown. How’s your apartment working out for you?

Tenant: Well Mr. Nelson. That’s what I would like to talk to you about. (What?) Well, I want to talk to you about that noise! (Oh) You see. Would you mind talking to the tenant in 4B and ask him to keep his music down, especially after 10:00 o’clock at night?

Apartment Manager: Ohhh. Who me?

Tenant: Why yes. The music is blaring almost every night, and it should be your job as manager to take care of these things.

Apartment Manager: Hey, I just collect the rent. Besides, the man living there is the owner’s son, and he’s a walking refrigerator. (Well . . .) Hey, I’ll see what I can do. Anything else?

Tenant: Well, yes. Could you talk to the owners of the property next door about the pungent odor drifting this way.

Apartment Manager: Well, the area is zoned for agricultural and livestock use, so there’s nothing much I can do about that.

Tenant: Well, what about the . . . . That, that noise.

Apartment Manager: What noise? I don’t hear anything.

Tenant: There, there it is again.

Apartment Manager: What noise?

Tenant: That noise.

Apartment Manager: Oh, that noise. I guess the military has resumed its exercises on the artillery range.

Tenant: You have to be kidding. Can’t anything be done about it?

Apartment Manager: Why certainly. I’ve protested this activity, and these weekly (Weekly!) activities should cease . . . within the next three to five years.

Tenant: Hey, you never told me about these problems before I signed the rental agreement.

Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • tenant (noun): occupant, resident, lessee
    – I have to talk to the tenant next door about his barking dog.
  • blaring (verb): very loud 
    – I can’t do my homework with the TV blaring next door
  • walking refrigerator (noun phrase): a very big person (slang)
  • pungent (adjective): strong, harsh 
  • odor (noun): smell
    – Your dog has a real pungent odor. When was the last time you gave it a bath?
  • zone (verb): designated, marked, set aside for
    – This area is zoned for commercial use only, and the city is planning to build several shops here.
  • agriculture (noun); also agricultural (adjective): farming
    – The main livelihood of those in this region is agriculture.
  • livestock (noun): farm animals
    – We will sell some of our livestock this summer.
  • resume (verb): continue, start again
    – Classes will resume at the beginning of September.
  • exercises (noun): drills, maneuvers, activities, operations
    – The fire department will carry out its emergency preparedness exercises later this week.
  • artillery (noun): large guns, often on wheels, used by armies
    – The army has removed its artillery in anticipation of the peace treaty.
  • protest (verb): complain, challenge
    – The residents protested the building of the waste plant within 20 miles of their neighborhood for safety reasons.
  • cease (verb): end, stop
    – It is unclear when the steel factory will cease its operations.