Telling strangers they're not getting in the building

Often as renters, we have to deal with our fair share of awkward moments; bumping in to your ex-fling on the elevator, trying to avoid eye contact with story-telling Bob, finding an eviction notice on your apartment door (harsh). But let’s not forget the painfully awkward moment of having to tell a stranger that you can’t let them into the building.

No one likes to be the bad guy, yet it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure a stranger doesn’t get let into the building. That includes not buzzing people in if you’re not expecting anyone and not holding the door for tenants you don’t recognize. At times, that can even mean saying “No” to grandma, a girl scout and a mother with a stroller… Awkward!

It’s awkward, it’s weird – it’s a situation renters try hard to avoid – but it is the golden rule.

Thankfully you’re a renter, which means you’re good at thinking on your feet (seriously, it’s one of the 5 signs of being a renter). Just take a cue from the list below and memorize one of these – or even all of these: 10 ways to tell a stranger you’re not letting them into the building.

  1. The polite way – say: “Unfortunately, I can’t let people I don’t know into the building.”
  1. The rational way – say: If you don’t have a key, I can’t let you in.”
  2. The apologetic way – say: “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you and I don’t feel comfortable letting you in the building. I hope you understand,” followed by an apologetic smile.
  3. The optimistic way – say: “I’m sure your host will be down any second now. Thanks for waiting!”
  4. The helpful way – say: “If you can’t reach your host with the buzzer, try sending them a text message.”
  5. The understanding way – say: “I get stuck out here all the time too! It’s usually just a couple of minutes before the right person who can help you gets here.”
  6. The I’m such a silly-fool way – say: “You wouldn’t believe how many warnings my landlord has given me for letting strangers into the building. I can’t afford another one. Sorry about that.”
  7. The sarcastic way – say: “Let me go get the doorman, he’s better at holding doors than me (wink, wink)”.
  8. The time-sensitive way – say: “I no speak-a the English”. Then, run away!
  9. The cowardly way: Point to the other side of the street and yell, “Is that Rihanna?!” Once again, run away!

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