The Saga of Landlords

After living in Lakeview for over a decade, I moved up to Rogers Park for a variety of reasons.   In 2008, we found a nice two bedroom, two bathroom on the south-west end of West Rogers Park, in a very eclectic area filled with everything. Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, etc.   It’s a little light on the openly gay, but after a decade in Boys Town, it’s a bit of a break.   Part of me wanted to move to Andersonville, but I like it up here.  Parking is better, among other things. At first, the place seemed a dream. Big, clean, newish appliances, in unit washer/dryer, parking… I should have known better, right?

First problem is the washer/dryer.  It was an all in one unit. Which can only hold two pairs of pants at a time.  And it broke.  Twice.   At this point, we don’t use it at all, which leads to the second problem.  The shared washer/dryers in the basement.   Only one set works, and the neighbors don’t like to share.   We had a pastor (known as Pastor Asshole) who would, litterally, take your clothes out and put them on the dirty floor, to get his shit done.  He’s since left the building: foreclosure.

Speaking of neighbors, one day the first floor tenants vanished.   The Stinkertons left with a trace.   Their unit is filled with crap.  I mean filled.   Their rear door doesn’t always close, and when I take the back, I can see their crap.   It’s horrific, especially when you realize they were flooded two years ago (after they left, thanks to no-heat in the unit, the pipes broke).   On the second floor, we have the unit right below us, a teacher whom we like.   Yeah, he listens to loud music on the weekends, but he’s so nice you don’t mind.   There’s also the now-divorced couple, of whom he was an asshole, and she finally left him (she’s cool).  Her relative rents the unit now (as I understand it, it’s her ex husband’s cousin), and he’s a decent guy too.  However.  Also on their floor is a family called The Thieves.   One of their kids stole a bike.  He tried to take mine, which is why it’s locked up.

The first floor had the Stinkertons and the Pastor Assholes as well as the Condo President.   She too has moved out, but was renting to some girls who are … well.   They seemed nice to me, but apparently are perpetually late on rent, have a dog they don’t care well for (he’s gone now), an abusive boyfriend who tried to break our back door, and are basically poor examples of humanity.  The Condo Prez is a fantastic woman, and it pains me to see her like this.   In the end, the ladies moved out March 1st, in a surprising lack of fanfare.   They left two really nice beds, and a bunch of doors with holes punched/kicked in them.  Then on our floor is us, a quiet couple (who live in a unit owned by her mother, whom we adore), and another quiet family whom I have no real views on, as I rarely see them, however I’ve been told one of the guys is a peeping tom.   Given that they recently accosted my partner and wanted to use our WiFi for three months before they move, I’m not really keen on them at the moment.

You’re always going to have lousy neighbors, and ours were horrific for a long time until the foreclosures started.  And the foreclosures are still going on.   Now that a third of the building is empty, they had to raise fees, which means everyone pays more (and will be paying even more – another unit on the third floor is moving out in 3 months).   They’re paying for maintenance, which hasn’t been done in two years.   No one takes care of the lawn unless people in the building do it.   The only people in the building who do jack would be us and the Condo Prez (who doesn’t live here anymore).   The snow shoveling guys fucked off like monkeys my first year here, saying there was too much snow, so I bought a shovel and took care of it because I needed to get out.   This year, when we had the third biggest snowstorm in Chicago history, I shoveled us out.  Had I not, no one would have.  And to think, one of my neighbors bitched I didn’t dig a wider path and didn’t dig out her car.   She didn’t know I’d done the digging.   The teacher did, and told her off, saying no one paid me for it.

Speaking of money, they have no money to fix the roof.   The roof is my enemy.   See the roof was crappy and let a squirrel in, who ate a hole in my ceiling and came into my apartment. The rental arrangement had us call an intermediary company who then called her who then called them back so they could call US back to get things fixed.  They said it would take a week for her to get someone out here.  There was a hole in my roof!  The company agreed with me and had a guy out by 8am, who fixed it.   The roof also leaks.   It leaks into the HVAC closet in my unit. It leaks onto the fusebox in everyone’s units (I know!).    It leaks down the back wall of everyone else’s units (finally, not mine), and it needs to be replaced. Which is a lot of money.  There’s water damage all over the place.   It also shorted out our door-buzzer.  The Condo Prez and I chatted recently and apparently what happened is that the contractor built the roof, and it sucked.  So instead of removing it and rebuilding, he had a second roof built atop it.  Which means there’s too much weight on the roof, so it’s starting to bow out.  I suspect in about 5-10 years, the place will start to crumble.

The plumbing was also done stupidly.   You can’t run the sink at the same time as the dishwasher (or the washer/dryer, which we don’t use).   The two hot water heaters should be more than enough, but ever since the water went out a couple months ago, we only get hot water if we run it for five minutes, wasting water.   Oh yeah, and the outside spigot broke a couple weeks ago in the warm spell, sending water cascading onto the sidewalk.   I shudder to think of the water bill and am so thankful I don’t pay it.  I do pay electricity.  Thanks to the empty units, mice are in the building, eating the electrical wires (you can hear them).   We chased ours out by putting peppermint oil into our air-intake for the furnace, which mice hate.   The insulation (what little there is) now tastes of it, and they leave our area alone.   Of course, the insulation only goes half-way up the walls on all the units, which means the heat is ineffectual (which I do pay for).   The AC would be affected too, but it doesn’t work because the pipe that leads from the rooftop compressor to our unit is broken and leaks, and they need to rip up the roof to fix it.  Which they can’t because they have no money.

On top of all that, the bank has taken to asking us where the hell the owner is.   I think Aruba. I gave them the address and number of the intermediary whom we pay (and yes, we have to keep paying, I checked with a lawyer).  Not my business.

So really.  This new place has to be a bit better.  At the very least, Murphy owes me something.