Our Rental Nightmare: (Part 2)

In part one of this series, we left off talking about all the glorious plumbing problems of our rental home. And if you thought that long list of issues was enough, just wait! There are more and it only gets worse from here!

The next thing I noticed (after all the house’s problems mentioned in part 1) was when I was washing dishes and I saw that the floor was all wet. So I look down and notice that it was the dishwasher that had been leaking water. I open it up and it is filled with rotting water that had the worst smell possible. So now we have to call the plumber again for this new problem. (Keep in mind, we still have problems with that second bathroom that 2 weeks into living here, are still not resolved. It just feels like a new issue keeps popping up everyday.) The plumber does a quick fix on the dishwasher and the water goes down. It seems as if it’s all fixed…but it’s not.

First let’s get back to the bathroom plumbing. The plumber tries to fix it without having to dig through the backyard but it’s not working. He soon sees that he’s going to have to dig deep in the yard and he’ll possibly have to break through the concrete. What gets me mad about all this is that while this is going on and the plumber is asking the landlord basic stuff about the house that he should already know like: where is the crawl space? Is there an attic? Where is your clean out? our landlord has no idea. He doesn’t know ANYTHING about the house. These are all simple things you should know about your house as a landlord.

So now the plumber has to dig through our backyard. My daughter and I can’t go back there while all this is taking place and the plumber has no idea how long it’s gonna take. Before any of this happened, my daughter and I would go outside everyday so it breaks my heart when she asks to go outside now because we can’t. Our backyard is a health hazard.

Before the plumber does any digging, he calls a bigger plumbing company to get a second opinion. Turns out that that bigger company actually knows about this house! It has a bad rep for all it’s plumbing issues and they actually say that they would never come back to work on this house! That right there is enough to turn my stomach. I just start to think that this house must have a lot more problems than we even know. That bigger plumbing company wasn’t even able to fix these issues. So how on earth is this plumber who’s not even licensed and just does this work on the side, supposed to fix it? And that’s another thing too, our landlord kept sending out people who had no idea what they were doing and who didn’t even have licenses for this work. That’s why it would take forever just to get one job done.

On the day that they’re supposed to start digging up the backyard, a new guy comes out. And one of the very first things he asked me was where was he supposed to start digging. That just shows how unprofessional these guys are! How am I supposed to know? I would’ve thought that the first plumber would have told him. He eventually figures it out and starts digging. About half an hour into it, he then realizes that he’s been digging in the wrong spot all this time! What?! Keep in mind, I am having to mold my schedule around these plumbers. I have to change my plans on an almost daily basis just to make sure I’m home for them just for them to make mistakes like this, stay for less than an hour, and not get anything resolved. It’s so frustrating. He then digs the hole in the right place and then leaves. That’s it! He literally just came to dig a hole and leave.

Eventually the backyard is dug up, they finally find the spot, and tell my landlord the problem. To fix it, the plumbers recommended that our landlord get the whole line replaced. They say it’s old and if he doesn’t’ do this now, then he’ll soon have these problems come up again. But our landlord being the cheap guy that he is chose to only do a temporary fix that they likened to only putting a band-aid on it. So that issue is (temporarily fixed) but now the whole backyard smells like sewage because they dug up all those pipes that are connected right to the bathroom. Now I don’t feel safe going in the backyard because it just all smells like poop and I just know it can’t be healthy breathing all that in. If you thought that was bad enough, there’s even more.

In the kitchen, above the stove, there is always a vent so that all the smoke and hot air from cooking can air out through there. Well not in this place folks. It turns out that they made the cutout for the vent but they never actually finished making it. So from day 1 of living here, our fire alarms constantly go off when I’m cooking dinner and it happens multiple times. The only way to try and prevent it is by turning on the exhaust that’s above the oven but even then that doesn’t always work.

Just yesterday the fire alarm went off at least 10 times while I was cooking, that’s no exaggeration. And all the while my daughter was taking her nap. She is currently going through a sleep regression. For those of you who have never had kids, it basically means she is fighting her naps like crazy lately and some days wont take a nap at all. So that means a super fussy and cranky baby for the rest of the day. Well on this day I had finally gotten her to take a nap and that is when the fire alarm decides to go off a dozen times in a row! I was so stressed out trying to cook our dinner and at the same time frantically¬† fanning the fire alarm just trying to get it to stop. And because there is no ventilation when I’m cooking, the house gets so hot! At times it’ll be 80 degrees or higher and it won’t cool down till hours after I’m done.

Oh and about the dishwasher, it’s still currently clogged and it makes the kitchen smell like rotting food. So that’s fun.

And on top of everything else, here’s the icing on the cake: this place comes with roaches! Trust me, they did not come from us. In our last rental that we lived in for a little over 3 years, we never not once saw a roach. But upon moving into this mess, we found a whole bunch of baby roaches from the very first week.

Oh and you’ll never guess what the neighbors told us: while this house was vacant for over a year there were squatters living here! That’s right. People who just decided to break in and live here and who probably don’t care enough about the place to keep it clean. And the rugs were never replaced from the time those squatters were living here either. So there’s probably a whole bunch of germs (and roaches) in these carpets.

And just as a bonus, our neighbors let their dogs poop on our lawn so it always smells like poop.

During all this time, I am having plumbers over nearly everyday as I’ve mentioned. There was actually one week when they were coming over everyday so my little girl and I were housebound. As a stay at home mom, I like to always get out out of the house everyday. It helps me to not get down. But during this time I got very depressed. Not just because I couldn’t leave the house but because of everything else that was involved too. There were just so many problems with the house and new ones coming up everyday. It felt like we would always have people coming over to fix our things because at this point it had already been three weeks in a row with still the same problems even though the plumbers were at our house everyday! I had so much stress during this time too. More than I’ve gone through in a really long time. There was one night that I cried so hard that I literally thought I was going to puke. I was feeling so homesick too at the time (for Massachusetts) and with the cost of this place, it didn’t look like we’d be able to visit back home for a long time and that just stressed me out even more. And the thought of having to go through this for a whole year until our lease was up? That just made me so much more depressed. Just this one month alone had caused so much stress on my marriage, made me so depressed that I didn’t even want to get out of the house (which is so not like me), the place was such a mess too but I just couldn’t even bring myself to clean it. I had absolutely no energy. I could sleep for 10 hours at night and still need to take a nap the next day. It was a scary time for me. I didn’t feel like myself at all and I didn’t know when I would feel happy again. But fortunately, things soon turned around.

We were desperate to get out of our lease and after all of this, I’m sure you could understand why. We begged our landlord to let us out of it. We explained to him in detail everything that was going on and pleaded with him to let us out. We were paying way too much for this place to be dealing with all of this stress. He offered to lower the rent for us but it just wasn’t worth it. This place had so many problems, many of which were still not resolved, it was unhygienic, and probably was going to need to be bug bombed because of the roach infestation. We just wanted to be done with this place. So our landlord finally allowed us to be free from our lease. In about a week we’ll be moving into an apartment. It is not nearly as cute but honestly I could care less at this point. It really is a nice apartment, it’s just not fancy or anything. But it is cheap, utilities paid, and it has an awesome management team so hopefully it’ll be little to no stress living there. Its the financial part of it that I love the most though. We’re saving up for something big and exciting and I can’t wait to share with you all what that is! I’ll reveal what that is in my next post.

This was honestly one of the toughest things I’ve had to go through. I’m just so so glad that we are able to get out of it early. I couldn’t imagine living a whole year like this! This has really been a learning experience for me. Next time I will listen to my husband’s gut. I will force myself to listen to those warning signs and not ignore them. I will try to think with my head and not with my heart. There are so many lessons to be learned here. But that’s life. Sometimes you make bad choices but you learn from them and hopefully don’t repeat the same mistakes. That’s what we’re all about here on the ever blooming, growing. We don’t beat ourselves up over our past mistakes. We learn from them and move on. Hopefully this article has helped you in one way or another and hopefully it helps you to avoid all the problems we faced.

Our Rental Nightmare: Why We Lived In A House For Just 1 Month (Part 1)

Hey guys! I just want to start off by saying, I’m so sorry that I’ve been absent from my blog for a month. Hopefully this post will kind of help explain why. But I’m just sorry because I know there were some of you who were checking this site almost daily to see if anything new had been posted. I think this story will be worth the wait though.

It all started as many of you know when we first got a notice from our apartment complex telling us that we needed to be moved out in 2 months time since the building was going to be renovated. So right away we started looking online daily for any new rentals that were being posted. We stressed so much during that time because we were getting closer to our deadline and still were not finding a place. All the ones we wanted were quickly taken and all the other available rentals were either too expensive or in bad neighborhoods. So finally, about 2 weeks before we had to move out, we found this rental. It was a nice neighborhood, a price within our budget, and it was newly renovated. It seemed perfect. We called the landlord, filled out our application, and made sure to make it for the open house. But here’s where things get weird.

I will admit that there were some warning signs that I should’ve seen right from the start. But hindsight is always 50/50. Am I right? One of the major warning signs is that we had to actually convince the landlord to let us rent out the place. It was almost to the point that we were arguing with him. I don’t know about you but normally when I rent a place, I never have to haggle with the owner about letting me rent it out. Usually if the prospective tenants pass the background check and meet the income requirements to afford the place, its there’s. The main concern of our landlord was whether or not we’d be able to afford it. He just looked at how much we were paying for our one bedroom apartment and because it was significantly lower than the price for renting his four bedroom home, he was concerned. Naturally a small apartment is going to be a lot cheaper than renting a big home. I cannot tell you how much this irritated me. He didn’t care that our income was more than enough to afford his place. He just focused so hard on what we were paying for the apartment. I couldn’t believe that we actually had to go back and forth on this issue and over more than one phone call. I tried telling him that we were already planning on moving out. I don’t think you should have to convince someone to let you rent their place. They either want you as a tenant or they don’t. That was red flag number one.

The second thing was that he had literally just bought the house and immediately put it up for rent. Honestly, this wasn’t something I had a problem with before but that’s because I didn’t have experience with this type of situation. Often times, houses need to have work done to them, at least some maintenance and basic wear and tear repairs. Especially if it had been up on the market for quite some time. This one had been up for over a year. He didn’t even take the time to look into the house and see if anything needed repairs, and that’s where all our problems with this house come into play.

On the day that we met up to sign the lease, we did the walk through and my husband immediately noticed that there were many issues.(He told me right from the start that he had a bad feeling about this place and unfortunately I pushed for it anyways. Next time I am totally listening to his gut instincts. But we make mistakes and we learn.) For starters the rugs in the bedrooms were gross, they weren’t even shampooed for us. On top of that the AC wasn’t working and this was during a week of 100 degree temps here in California. The blinds were broken. One of the bedrooms had blue wax stains in the carpet. And the place was pretty dirty with dead bugs in the window, really dirty floors (like your feet turned black just walking on it). What got me so mad though was that the landlord was so oblivious to all of it! Something as simple as the AC not working, he didn’t know about it. That’s something that is so simple that you would think would have been checked before you even bother moving anyone in. But boy does it get worse from here.

So I know what you’re thinking: with all these things happening, why on earth would you sign the lease?! Well even before we signed it, he agreed to get an AC repairman out here and someone to shampoo the carpets. That made us feel better and like he would be on top of things as a landlord. Plus I think we were just desperate to find a place since it was so close to our deadline to move out. And on top of that, I thought the place was gorgeous so I think I was really trying to overlook any problems we had because I really wanted to live there. But back to our story.

It wasn’t long into living in our new home that more problems started arising, one after another. I believe the first thing to go was our washer and dryer. There wasn’t anything wrong with the machines, it was the plumbing. We have a sink right beside them and one day while I was doing laundry, I noticed that it was all wet on the floor. I looked around trying to see what was the cause and when I looked up at the sink, I saw that there was water filled all the way up to the brim. We found out that the sink would over flow like that whenever we would use the washer and dryer so we were told not to use it for now.¬† So for two weeks I had to do our laundry at my in-laws place. I know that in itself is not a big deal, but wait…there’s more.

Our next problem was with our master bathroom. It was connected to the same plumbing line of the overflowing sink so our toilet started to not work. It wouldn’t flush really at all. It had the weakest flush and would only go down once in a while. Fortunately this place came with two bathrooms so we just started to use the second one. But it wasn’t long before we were told that we couldn’t use that one either.

The plumber came out (for about the third time) to check out that second bathroom. He ended up going under the house to see what the problem was and what he found down there was truly horrifying. He said that it was all covered in poop, the whole foundation of the house. The plumbing had backed up and just emptied itself in the base of the house. So now because that second bathroom was directly above all the poop and was the most exposed to it, we weren’t allowed in there because it was now a health hazard. Keep in mind, that was the bathroom where I had been giving my one year old baths. It infuriated me that she was being exposed to all of that. So now we wash her in the kitchen sink. I’m just glad she’s still small enough to fit there because there is no way I’d be able to bathe her in the shower. But our story does not end there. Oh no. Unfortunately there is a lot more to it.

If you want to hear the rest of this story which is filled with squatters, bug infestation, and a sewage backyard, then stay tuned for part two of this series. But for now I’ll stop the story right here because this would be the longest blog post ever if I didn’t. And hopefully when you finish reading part two, you’ll have learned a few things so you can avoid going through the same things that I did.