I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

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 you came up with.

HELPFUL TIP: If there is a problem with your housing, contact your landlord immediately so you can resolve the issue. You might even be liable for damages (e.g., water damage from a leaking pipe) if you don’t report it.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. Mr. Burton asks the manager to tell the man in apartment 4B to:

A. turn off the music after 10:00 PM

B. turn down the volume to his stereo

C. use headphones when listening to music
2. Why is the manager hesitant about carrying out this request?

A. He says the matter is the owner’s responsibility, not his.

B. He is not on talking terms with his son who lives there.

C. He is afraid of what the man might say or do.

3. What is Mr. Burton’s second complaint?

A. There is an awful smell coming from the farm next door.

B. The property owners next door are illegally disposing of waste.

C. The neighbors are burning leaves which are drifting his way.

4. How does the manager respond to this second request?

A. He cannot do anything because the people are within their rights as landowners.

B. He has discussed this with the landowners, but his request has fallen on deaf ears.

C. He has livestock as well, so he can sympathize with the neighbor’s situation.

5. What is the source of Mr. Burton’s third complaint?

A. The military is flying high-altitude jets overhead causing supersonic booms.

B. A coal company has resumed its mining operations using explosive devices.

C. The armed forces are carrying out artillery training exercises nearby.

Score =

Correct answers:

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?

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 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.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • 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.