Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Saga of the Landlord & the Apartment

So, almost two months ago, our landlord died. We expressed our condolences to the family and figured that the estate getting settled would be the extent of the drama we'd have to deal with. We were sorely mistaken. Two days after the landlord died, the building inspector and the health department showed up to look over the downstairs apartments.

That was when things went sideways. The building inspector looked over conditions down there and condemned the apartments. Between black mold, rotted floors, and a burst sewage line, it was something of a no brainer, I suppose. The neighbors downstairs were given 48 hours to get out. Thus, they went through a marathon of packing and moving as the health department found them a place to stay for a week. I had heard something about the possiblity of the whole building being condemned and I became concerned.

A few phone calls later, I am assured that it was only the two apartments. At about this time, the rent check for August was due. So, I was talking with the handyman who has been doing work for the landlord (and is still doing so for the widow) and I asked if he had spoken to the widow. He answers that he had and explained that we were to write our rent check out to the real estate business that the landlord had run. Previously, we had been writing the check out to the landloard personally. So, we do so and continue on as though it is no big deal.

After some discussion between Beloved and I, we decided that we should start looking into a new place to move to if they weren't going to start work on repairing the downstairs apartments in the immediate future. As I did my bit of investigation as to what was going on with the apartments below, it became clear that while the claim is that they will be repairing it in the immediate future, there appears to be no intention to do so. Thus, I have begun searching for our next place to live.

And then last week a new layer of bullshit was piled on. The widow sent the handyman over with the check we had written for the rent in an envelope, uncancelled. Mind you, this check is made out to the real estate business, like the previous month's check, which was accepted and deposited no problem. The widow was looking for us to reissue the check in her name. Now, we currently have a lease that was signed by the landlord personally. We currently have no lease. I was concerned and suspicious when I was asked to reissue the check.

I asked why the check we had written wasn't good enough. I was then told that everything with this property and the business was tied up in the estate, which is currently being settled. I contacted Beloved once this was brought to my attention, entirely unsure what the correct thing to do would be. Beloved told me to hold on to the check and that he'd handle the matter. Then the handyman returned and asked if I was going to hand him a check or mail it.

I told him that we were going to handle matters by mail. This happened last Thursday. Then, Friday night, I smelled hot electrics coming up from the vent. After a quick bit of investigation, the possibility that it was originating in our apartment was ruled out. Thus, I called the widow (as I did not have the correct number for the handyman) and informed her of the situation after I spoke briefly with Beloved. She asked me to mail the check. I told her that Beloved was going to be contacting her regarding the matter by mail.

I then was most insistent that someone come and investigate what was the cause of the scent of hot electrics. The widow calls the handyman and then calls me back, telling me that he will arrive in a 1/2 hour. (The location he was driving from is 15 min away, when the weather is bad and road conditions are awful. Beloved was not pleased when informed of this. He had me turn off the main breakers for the apartments downstairs as we waited for the handyman to show up.) When the handyman arrives, he speaks with Beloved and the matter of the check is brought up again.

Then yesterday, the handyman is here doing something and he pokes his head in, asking about the check yet again. He tells me that the widow is willing to accept a check written out to her deceased husband and that she is willing to write up a new lease for us with her name on it (something which he said when he spoke to my husband that she couldn't do). I am doing my best not to get anxious over this matter. Beloved tells me that we needn't worry about them trying to boot us out. I am working very hard not to get upset over this but this repeated badgering is grating on me.

Meanwhile, I am discovering that it is quite challenging to find a two bedroom apartment in our price range in the school district. I have started going to view apartments and I am striving not to get to caught up in anxiety over that as well. Beloved and I have decided that if we can't find someplace to move into by the end of next month that we're going to wait until spring to move. My gut tells me that we need to find somewhere to move to by the end of October. I don't know how much of this is intuition and how much is anxiety.

But, that is the saga of the landlord and the apartment, as it stands now. I think this counts as venting. Or at least, I sincerely hope so.

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