Throwing good rent after bad
October 21, 2011 1:28 PM Subscribe
Our new rental house is turning out to be a ton of work (for us) a money pit (for us and our landlady) and just an all-around major problem. I need advice on when it's worth it to stick it out, and when to cut your losses.
posted by arcticwoman to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My wife and I were living in a tiny little four-plex suite which cost us $1000 a month including utilities. That was a very good deal, even though the place was small, old, and dumpy. All at one time, our landlady filled the other three suites with noisy construction workers, we started finding little worms in all our laundry, and a friend who flips houses for a living offered us one of her places to rent. We took it.
Our friend, Alice, rented us a small little house that we absolutely adore, for $1200 plus utilities. This is at the upper limit of what we can afford. Several months previous, she had renovated the entire interior, and then moved her boyfriend in to take care of it. When we were deciding on the place, the boyfriend showed us around and we noticed a number of problems, all of which he promised to fix before we moved in.
We moved our boxes in the middle of August and began living there at the beginning of September. Alice gave us half-Aug for free. Immediately we started noticing problems. Big ones. By this time, Alice and her boyfriend had moved 3 hours away, and we had signed a month-to-month lease with Alice's mom, Pam, as our official landlady. Pam has given us carte blanche to get anything fixed that needs to be fixed, and she will pay for all plumbers/electricians/handymen, with no questions. Really wonderful. We have to make the arrangements and take the time off from work to have the work done. That would be ok if it wasn't for the sheer amount of work to be done. To wit:
1. The refrigerator did not work when we moved in and we lost $150 worth of groceries. We asked Alice to have it fixed by Sept 1 and she didn't bother. Two service calls and three weeks later, we now have a working refrigerator.
2. The dishwasher (a major selling feature for us) did not work for a month. Two service calls later and now it does work. It, however, falls over when you load it.
3. The jacuzzi (another major feature) broke the first time we used it, as did the sink in the upstairs bathroom, leaving us with no upstairs bathroom for a month. 3 service calls and now the sink works and the jacuzzi might.
4. The boyfriend did not clean when he moved out, and left loads and loads of garbage throughout the house and yard. We cleaned this.
5. The interior doors do not close. None of them.
6. There is no water access to the outside - the outside faucets have been puttied closed.
7. Windows not installed properly, cupboards never completed, shelves never completed, drawers don't close, basically all the hallmarks of a half-completed reno job.
8. The promised fence was never installed. We've had small things go missing from our yard.
9. On top of all this, our ceiling started to leak really badly and the roofer says it's so bad that the whole thing needs to be replaced. He couldn't even go all the way onto it to check it out.
So, up until this roof problem I had been planning to meet with Pam and ask her for a rent reduction. I don't know how to do this, how much to ask for, and she is so hard to meet with it feels like she's avoiding us. With this new set of problems, my wife and I are thinking that enough is enough and we should just leave. We are on a month-to-month lease so that is possible, however:
- We have a piano. This costs $500 to move. If we have to move again, we may just have to sell the piano.
- We have an aging rabbit. It's hard to find rentals that allow you to have pets.
- I am 4.5 months pregnant. If we don't move NOW I will not be much help at all.
- Pam has been more than generous in paying for all the labour to get things fixed. I don't think she realizes just how much time off from work we've had to take to get everything done.
- Most of the work has been done by now. Surely there can't be more problems to crop up!
- If everything worked, this is the nicest place we've ever lived in. It really is a gorgeous house.
I don't have anywhere else to go for advice. Please tell me what I'm missing and need to consider, and how you know when it's time to cut your losses.