I am currently in the middle of a dispute with my new landlord who purchased the house where my efficiency apartment is located on December 30, 2013. Mind you, for the past almost two years that the previous owners have owned this house (an investment company), it has been going downhill (it was built in 1938). They put it on the market to sell a scant one year after they purchased it (guess they just weren’t making a profit, right?), and had to lower the original price they were asking for (because they got absolutely no response for months) by almost $100,000. Since that price was lowered back in October, we had a variety of “potential buyers” come through to look at it (sometimes I felt like an animal in a zoo with curiosity seekers peering into my private life), and the three fellows from Rhode Island who looked at it were especially obnoxious. However, one of the groups of “potential buyers” (local to this area and well known in the community) ended up buying the house and the sale closed on December 30, 2013. Well, at least the parade of potential buyers ended at that point.
The first shock from the new owners came when I opened the downstairs door that leads up to my apartment on January 3, 2014, to find a large envelope stuffed in the doorway that included a one-year lease with an increase in my rent of $100/mo. I was shocked to say the least and refused to sign it (for a variety of reasons and not just because of the substantial increase in rent). However, I asked them to justify a $100/mo. increase in rent considering the current shape of the property. This is a very old house in disrepair because the previous owners didn’t give a crap to keep it in good condition (the swimming pool in the backyard looks like a swamp and has had no chemicals or any type of maintenance performed on it since the end of September 2013 if that tells you anything). The water is the color of tar, and I’m expecting frogs to start jumping out of it anyday now. Not even an alligator would want to live in it. And the backyard? The maintenance on it ended back then, too (with the umpteenth maintenance man quitting or being fired and they decided not to hire another one for this particular property since it was for sale). So much for an investment company owning this house and property.
Back to the issue at hand–the substantial rent increase. Mind you, my kitchen area is falling apart as it was built with particle board that is probably older then me (okay, okay, they might not have had particle board back when I was born, but you get my drift). Someone stated to me that it might be from termites but then I’m not sure anyone cares as there has been no evidence that anyone does actually care. The showerhead on my shower only half works (hence, I just shower half of my body at a time–okay, okay, so the humor in this situation is running a bit low) and the bathtub has a liner over it (because the original owners of the house didn’t want the expense of putting in a new bathtub) that sometimes fills up with water and has to be drained and, well, if you could see pics, it looks pretty nasty. Also, my toilet is broken but I managed to fix it myself with some superglue and by taking the top off the tank in the back so that I can push the plunger thingy (for lack of a better term) down each time I flush it so that the entire town doesn’t lose water from the constant draining of my toilet tank.
And for all of this my rent gets increased $100/mo. starting on February 1, 2014, from the new owners who haven’t yet even taken care of my first maintenance request to please just fix my toilet (which has been broken since the previous owners still owned it). Oh yes, I can certainly see why the new owners feel justified in raising my rent $100/mo. Want to know what they had to say to me when I told them that considering the shape of the house and specific areas in my apartment that an increase in rent AT ALL was way out of line? Here’s a quote from an email from them written to me on January 4, 2014:
Hopefully we will show you that under our ownership and maintenance there will be many advantages to you and the other tenants. Unlike the previous management we will be making several improvements including a new roof, paint, air conditioning, pool, etc. As you know all of these cost a considerable amount of money. We did not buy this location to keep it in disrepair as we do not operate that way. I hope that you will come to understand that we purchased this property as an investment and we have to charge a certain amount of rent to cover our expenses. At this time an apartment the size of yours with utilities included and no lease rents for far more than $600.00. We have set the rent at $600.00 beginning February 1, 2014.
As for the issue with the toilet, we will have a new toilet installed at your convenience.
Really . . . . Well, it’s now January 9, 2014, and I have received no phone call from anyone wishing to “install a new toilet at my convenience.” However, at their convenience they are expecting me to start paying $100 more in rent per month starting on February 1, 2014, for the privilege of having them as new owners/landlords. NOT . . . .
Don’t even get me started . . . .
“An apartment of my size” (as she stated in her email above) . . . . My apartment is an efficiency apartment located in a house built in 1938 (and in a current state of disrepair) in the downtown section of a town where the rent for a two-bedroom apartment isn’t even what she is expecting me to pay starting on February 1, 2014. And since when are the expenses of an owner the responsibility of tenants? For crying out loud I can’t even get them to fix my toilet in a timely manner (shades of the previous owner second time around) yet they are more worried about recouping the cost of any expenses on an old house they just purchased that is in considerable disrepair so they decide to screw me, the tenant, for an extra $100 bucks per month to help recoup their expenses? And they bought this house for what reason? Obviously, they only care about themselves and their “investment” and screw the tenants. Lucky me . . . .
Welcome to America in the 21st Century . . . .
And thank you for letting me get this off of my chest. If I only had the money, I’d buy a motorhome and hit the road . . . .
YouTube Video: “Money” by Pink Floyd: