Thursday, April 14, 2011

How not to antagonize your tenants

We learned, shortly after moving in, that it was very much rumored that our landlords... lacked follow through. That's putting it nicely. All one really had to do was walk over to my neighbor's back yard, see where my neighbor himself (with no rent deduction) had removed a dilapidated, rotten deck (at landlord's request)... a space that has since become a veritable mud pit. Oh, and it's right next to their back door. And the house is covered in rather questionable patches.

And then there's our house. "Energy efficient" the ad boasted. We saw the topical things, the supposed-bamboo flooring and the front-loading washer and thought "oooooh." Oh, how sad we were, impressed by flashy objects.

Little did we realize that the bamboo was the cheapest possible shitty bamboo you could find. Bamboo that scratches so easily. And oh, the walkways to the house? MUD. Seriously. And there is no entry way at either entrance where you're on tile or anything. Nope. Straight on to the wood. There's no covered porch to leave shoes either. Our floors were doomed due to stupidity of home path construction.

And then there are the windows. So, landlords? Wood-framed, single pane windows are about as energy efficient as thick saran wrap. Actually, less so, since saran wrap would actually SEAL the windows, where as your contraptions have cracks that actually set our curtains fluttering because so much air gets in. And one wall heater per half house is a very inefficient way to heat.

And we shall not discuss our bathroom... half of which, we discovered, is on concrete pillars and so there is no insulation underneath and gets ass cold in the wintertime. And even the summertime if it's a semi-chill day. It may have taken you EIGHT months, but we do appreciate you fixing the heater in there. It's frequent that the heater kicks on at 50 degrees, even though that's technically the "off" setting. Yes, the bathroom is that cold. However, your wiring job and plumbing job in the rest of the bathroom (knowing that the wrong plumbing was used and knowing there are a mess of wires behind the light switch panel) means I spend as little time as possible in there.

And the kitchen. WHO has 4' high countertops? And while there is some decent shelving, my 5'8" self can only reach, barely, the edge of the second shelf (there are 4 shelves). And your drawers underneath the counters are so deep that things get lost and die and reborn down there. It is gross.

Let us not also discuss your utter and complete disregard for all things liability and also human decency. You're required, by our rental contract, to maintain the backyard. After not being able to use said back yard because of your lack of maintenance (logs.stumps.branches. trash, all hidden in high grass), we finally dragged so much shit out of that area and put it in a pile. Now we can use the backyard. Now you want US to drag that pile to a dumpster? NO. Your yard maintenance, as you've tried to tell me, is not limited to blackberries and mowing. You do shitty jobs at those things anyway. The rental contract says tree trimming and maintenance. NO further limitations. And no, I don't plan on hurting myself in the yard, but seriously. If I have someone over, I don't want to have to keep myself glued to their side to make sure they don't hurt themselves. My godson has already fallen tripping over shit you were supposed to pick up out of the yard and scratched his face all up. I don't need that happening again.

I'm ticked off at you and really have a half a mind to go after you for partial lost rent since my rent is the rate it is because I supposedly have use of a half acre back yard. That's with the rental contract in mind that YOU are supposed to maintain it. Last year? You mowed ONCE and then left all the grass rotting on the ground. Your yard maintenance guy sprayed one blackberry patch and left all the dead vines right there. He weed wacked the other patch and left most of the vines on the ground, which, for blackberries, is essentially causing a blackberry population explosion (since blackberry cut vines root).

There are so many small things in the house that we have had to fix ON OUR OWN DIME since your cheapness would potentially not have fixed larger things if we had also asked for smaller things. I mean, you are the people who argued with us over whether we had the right to request reimbursement for a $10 carbon monoxide detector, even though Oregon had JUST PASSED A LAW requiring carbon monoxide detectors in rental units. Oh, that's right, the law did not become active for another 6 months, which is why you were trying to cheapen out of paying $10.

I know the history. I know the front house a few years ago had a plumbing explosion which supposedly (if rumors are true) caused raw sewage to leak from floor 2 down to floor 1. I also know that our house is connected and there was a back up here, causing damage to all the floors in this house. But you know what? Shit happens when you own a home. Just because you had a financial hemorrhage a few years ago does not alleviate you of all responsibilities currently.

And you know what? The yard guy? He thinks that the stack of debris in the back yard is a liability too. And the maintenance guys? They may smile to your face, but behind it they are shaking their heads. They can't believe how cheap you are, and they can't believe you're making the decisions you're making. "It's going to cost him a fortune if he doesn't get this small problem now fixed," they tell me. "We won't be here when the house falls down," I tell them.

So. That's that. All the above and more make it very pleasant for me tomorrow when we turn in our 30-day notice.

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