Axl Rose is the best tenant ever.
Three years ago, the legendary rocker was looking for a New York apartment to rent. He thought it might be time to move from Malibu and wanted to test out New York. Axl was searching for a place without “glaring” sunlight but with lots of space, and I had both — my place is 5,300 square feet and almost entirely underground. It’s in Tribeca, which — another benefit for him — is celebrity-friendly these days: His neighbors would be James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Jon Stewart (as well as a "gentleman’s" club next door). Axl came by to see the apartment twice. Once my wife was there, and she reported that he played enthusiastically with our dog and snorted at people who like spaces "bathed in light," as the Realtors say. He loved the place.
Of course, I was worried. Axl, after all, had a reputation for wrecking places. There is, for instance, this headline from 2008: "Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose one of world's worst hotel guests." But he was said to have reformed as he aged. By the time he inspected my apartment, he was almost 50 years old and getting the belly to prove it. He’d apparently developed a respect for property rights — those of others included.
Plus, he agreed to pay an extraordinary rent and, well, I needed the money. Just in case, he offered six months’ rent as a security deposit.
Axl was in a hurry to get into the place, we were told, and so we quickly decamped to Brooklyn. Then came move-in day. And then it went. So did a second and a third date. Still Axl didn’t move in. (This pattern may be familiar to fans who waited for the Guns ‘n’ Roses album Chinese Democracy.)
My family and I followed Axl’s travels via Google alerts — he was touring in Abu Dhabi and playing a birthday party in Russia. We were repeatedly told by his very nice assistants, a mother and son team, that he was definitely planning a move to New York, which we were informed he’d fallen in love with. (He might even want to buy our place.) This attachment was good news, since as the one-year mark approached, it was time to renew his lease. He still hadn’t set foot in the apartment. We learned that he had been to New York, though, renting a roomy suite at a fancy hotel with a balcony and, well, lots of light. Still, he renewed — this time at an increased rent.
As far as I can tell, Axl never set foot in my place after his initial viewings. I wondered if he remembered that he’d rented it. Maybe a superstar lives this way — renting apartments just in case, and then forgetting about them. Still, the rent checks kept coming, which is all I cared about. When it came time to renew for a third year, negotiations began, but then rationality — his management’s — prevailed. Axl's ghost rental ended in the beginning of 2013, at the two-year mark.
People have mixed views of Axl Rose, but as a landlord, I loved him. If he ever needs a recommendation, I’ll happily write: Quiet, undemanding, and pays his rent.