Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why You Should Never Ever Rent an Apartment You Haven't Seen in Person

To: [redacted---landlord]
Fr: Lisa [redacted---tenant]
Re: Apartment Repairs and Condition

The following are items that were identified upon my move-in on August 16, 2006, and have not been addressed since I took occupancy of [redacted] Madison, WI:

1. Storm windows need to be replaced in the front and middle rooms.
2. The middle room and kitchen need to be repainted. The current paint is peeling from the walls of both rooms and around the window sill and frame in the kitchen. Furthermore, the paint in both rooms is heavily scuffed and the doors are dingy, yellowed, and scuffed.
3. The paint around the window frame in the bathroom is peeling and the contact paper on the sill is peeling off.
4. I have not received a copy of my lease with your signature.

In addition, I have identified the following problems since the initial walk-through:

5. The refrigerator is missing shelf fronts on the door shelves in both the fridge and freezer sections.
6. The electric outlet in the bathroom is loose.
7. Some tiles in the bathroom are loose.
8. The cable outlet cover in the front room is loose.
9. The right-side blinds in the front room have a broken rail; it was taped together, but the tape is not holding.
10. The right-side window in the front room and both of the windows in the middle room will not stay open.

Furthermore, I would ask that you give attention to the following areas:

11. The common areas, including the front and back entrances and the laundry room are filthy. Litter has sat in the front entrance area for the past three weeks. The back entrance is covered in dirt and cobwebs; there are holes in the walls.
12. The garbage area does not have sufficient canisters for disposal and is not well-maintained, which is causing stench, flies, and rodents in the area.
13. Residents in the other units continue to be disruptive---speaking loudly, slamming doors, and generally creating noise late at night (between approximately 1 am and 3 am). I have spoken to them about the problem but the noise persists; a word from the landlord might have a greater effect.

I ask that you clean up the common areas to at least a sanitary condition and that you speak to the residents to remind them of their responsibities as good neighbors.

I would appreciate a quick resolution to these issues.

And this doesn't even include a mention of the two---count 'em, two!---dead mice I found on Sunday: one in my apartment and one outside the laundry room. I called the landlord to let him know and his response was to get miffed that I had called on a Sunday.

I tried to speak nicely to the girls upstairs about the noise problem; their response was "Hey, it's an apartment." I've lived in apartments for almost ten years and have never once had to complain about noise.

So learn from my HUGE mistake and never rent an apartment based on a couple of pictures. They somehow "forgot" to send me the pictures of the gunk hanging from the laundry room ceiling or the stains on the ghetto carpet in the front hall.

I'll be sending this note to my landlord this week and calling the Tenant Resource Council this week to discuss my options.


At 5:52 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Good luck. It sounds yucky.

At 6:58 AM , Blogger L’il E said...

Yeah, never let them show you a "similar" apartment in the complex either. Demand that you see the unit YOU are renting. Many landlords are sleazy scumbuckets out to scam you as much as possible. Sorry you've encountered your first crappy college apartment. It is a horrible experience. There is nothing worse than the combination of filthy, immature college kids and an inattentive, neglectful landlord. I think the only thing you can do is try to get out ASAP and take the whole Nietzsche approach to it, "Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger."

At 8:16 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Sounds awful! I hope it works out. The letter was impressive...maybe you should be a lawyer ;)

L'il e - my husband's gym teacher used to say that to him! i'll have to tell him it was really nietzsche.

At 8:19 AM , Blogger LostInTX said...

Stupid blogger... lost my comment! Argh.. Anyhoo..sorry to hear about your woes, Lisa! I was worried about that... renting an apartment in another state without looking at it is a huge leap of faith. And they took advantage of you by renting you a dump. Bastards. I would contact the apartment council asap. You have no legally binding contract, right? So why couldn't you move out?

I hope you find something much nicer. what about living on the 2nd floor so that you don't have anyone above you making noise?

At 8:36 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

E: I've actually had apartment buildings do the bait-and-switch thing twice. And both times I wound up with a better apartment! So I guess my apartment luck just ran out. :-(

B: Thanks---I think.

Lost: I need to talk to the tenant council to find out if my lease is binding or not. According to their site, the landlord is obligated to give me a signed copy of the lease. I have a copy of the lease, but only with my signature on it. I'm not sure where that leaves me. I've also discovered at least one other problem with my lease. It says that I have to pay the landlord $20 for each showing of the apartment if I leave before the end of the lease, but if I understand the tenant site correctly, he isn't allowed to do that. He can charge me rent until the place is rented and he can pass on a reasonable administrative cost but he can't charge for time to show the apartment. Anyway, I have some more research to do. And, yes, I do want to move to a top floor. Unfortunately, this guy won't allow pets on the second floor for some reason.

At 12:08 PM , Blogger Scott said...

Sounds brutal, and the girls upstairs, well that is just ignorant.


At 5:48 PM , Blogger kj said...

lisa, i'm not a reactionary, but i reluctantly offer the following advice:

move. fast. before you unpack.

you have no lease and the landlord is probably a jerk. hopefully if/when you check it out, you might find another place unexpectedly available.

i'm sorry you have to deal with one complaint, let alone the apt upstairs and a litany of problems.
i'm crossing my fingers for you.

At 6:45 PM , Blogger Outdoorsy Girl said...

That SUCKS! Hope everything will work out. I loved the letter. I could probably use your letter writing talent to help clear up some issues in my life. lol.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

At 7:47 PM , Blogger Mike said...

You've wasted enough time with this yahoo. this is how I'd handle it in the next (as in type it now) letter.

Due to your continued reluctance to address my concerns, and the continued negligence of your duties as landlord, I have no choice but to take the following actions.

1) I'll be contacting the tenant council.
2) I'll file a complaint with the city building code enforcement officer for several safety concerns.
3) I'll also be contacting the health department due to the trash and rodent issue.
4) I'll also contact my representative in the city council to address my concerns.

Lastly, since I have no copy of a signed lease in my possession from you, and you have not fulfilled your duties as landlord, there is in fact, no legally binding lease. There is also no implied contract since you have yet to act in any capacity as a landlord. Thus, I have no choice but to vacate the premises of by , 2006.

Tank you for your time.

I'd get out asap before it costs you a lot of money and effort, which could be used to better effect directed at school.

At 7:16 PM , Anonymous Dominic Ebacher said...

Good luck, your life seems interesting!

Peace and Love!

Dominic Ebacher

At 7:23 PM , Blogger kj said...

how's it going lisa?

mike wrote up a mighty fine followup letter.

i hope this is not driving you crazy!

At 7:54 AM , Blogger Alice said...

Sounds horrible! I'd agree with KJ - see if you can move. A place like that - you'll always be swimming upstream to try to make it livable on your standards, and the landlord knows there are a gazillion other college students who don't care about the rats and the smell and the noise. And there has to be a better place available if you keep your eyes open - Madison's a pretty big town. Good luck!


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