The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!
Some people just shouldn’t be allowed…
Lets face it, as some people should not be allowed to become parents, there are some people who should not be allowed to become landlords.
My landlord is one of those people. First let me quantify this by stating that the person who owns the house I rent is not my landlord. She is actually a very nice person. Quiet, meek and usually has a smile on her face. Says hello whenever I see her. No, the landlord in question is her husband, herein referred to as Landlord Man. If opposites attract then they are close to a perfect couple.
He is egotistical and suffers from a God complex. He thinks he is smarter and better than anyone else and that he is above the law. He is a chauvinist, his actions speaking louder than words. When I complained that the lights in the basement did not work, his first comment was “well, you have to change the light bulbs.”
Hello – I am 48 years old and have been on my own for many years. I own a hammer, a set of screwdrivers, a drill and a ratchet set. More importantly I know how to use them. My toolbox would make some men’s pale by comparison. I enjoy painting and hanging wallpaper and am quite good at it, but enough about me. Suffice to say that changing light bulbs was the first thing I tried when the lights went out.
I moved into this house in October 2007. At that time it was just my dog and me. My then significant other was to move in later but that never happened. Instead my parents moved in. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001. My father was diagnosed with Dementia, possibly the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. At that time his drivers license was suspended on the recommendation of the doctor who diagnosed him. They were living in their own house but it was outside of town and without a mode of transportation couldn’t stay there. Additionally, their place is right on the water and the thought of my mother wandering in the middle of the night and ending up in the lake was a little more than I could fathom, so I moved them in with me.
The house is large enough that they have a bedroom on the ground floor. There is also a full bathroom for their use and they really have no reason to have to climb the stairs unless it is to look for me. This happens very infrequently.
The first problem I encountered in the house is in their bathroom. This was on my first day in the house. The hot water tap in the sick was leaking so it got turned off. It is still turned off to this day (1 ¼ years later). It has been “looked” at by three different repairpersons on three different occasions and yet remains unable to be used. The first two said it needed to be replaced. The third tightened it with a wrench and when I remarked that had been tired before and failed he said, “Well, it seems to be working now”. Before the end of the day I had turned the water source to the tap off as there was a puddle accumulating on the floor. Landlord Man has repeated told me that he is “bringing a plumber from the City to fix it”. Ya, right!
That same “Plumber” that is going to fix the tap is also an “electrician” who is going to fix the light problem in the basement. As it stands now, the basement is not only a scary place (unfinished with dirt floors), but now dark and scary as there are no lights working. Every time I have to go and reset the fuse panel, I cringe and grab a heavy-duty flashlight lest I be attacked by whatever it is that inhabits the dark and scary hole.
Ah yes, the fuse panel. Now why in the world would I have to reset that on a regular basis? That is a story in itself…
The house is the middle property of three properties. The property to the west is a General Store. The house I live in is attached to that property. The property to the east is a two-apartment unit. It is separate from the house.
The former owner of all three properties lived in the house and ran the store. She had owned it for 27 years and had quite a nice little business going. This is a small town and everyone knew her and her store. It was here that, growing up; most of us had the pleasure of getting ice cream cones on a regular basis in the summer. It was the place where penny candy was indeed still a penny and a place where you would most certainly bump into someone you knew the minute you opened the door. It was a place where if you were a couple of cents short someone in line would cover it and where, if needed the owner would extend credit until the next payday. You get the picture. Norman Rockwell could not have painted a more real scene.
The house was originally a farmhouse and as such has a super large living room – about 358 square feet give or take a foot. The store is attached to the property by way of this room. The former owner used it as her living room. She used the basement of the store for storage. When she sold the properties Landlord Man decided that he would create an apartment in the basement so that in the event he wanted to stay overnight he could do so. So the large living room became the Office/Storage room for the store. When I rented the house I knew that the room was not part of the rental agreement.
However, since it was part of the house and not the store the hydro and natural gas feeds (for heat) came from the house. I asked Landlord Man that the heating vents be cut off and the hydro reconfigured to be part of the store. Landlord man redirected one hydro outlet only – the one used for the computer and security surveillance system. (Why a surveillance system was needed in a small general store is beyond me). I guess City Folks don’t trust people as much as us Country Folks do! To Landlord Man’s credit he did close the heating vents and put up shelving over them. But that didn’t last too long. See, Landlord Man had other plans than to use the basement apartment for his own personal use.
By January 2008 there was someone living in the apartment. Landlord Man was letting a future tenant of one of the apartment units to the east of the property live there until the apartment was repaired and livable. When he moved out Landlord Man moved his nephew and nephew’s wife in to live there and run the store. Problem was that the basement apartment leaked big time. So, the new tenants were forced to make the Office/Storage room their living and sleeping quarters. Now I was paying for their heat and hydro for that room. On many occasions I would remind them of that. This of course fell on deaf ears. When I would mention it to Landlord Man he would tell me that it was only the ceiling fan and light that I was paying for and it wasn’t drawing all that much hydro anyway. The heating, he said was blocked off. Well, I beg to differ. Since that room is technically part of the house the electrical outlets in that room draw their power from my hydro source. My hydro bills paint a much different story than he would have me believe. Additionally that room being as large as it is requires a tremendous amount of heat. My natural gas bills for the colder months also tell a much different story than Landlord Man wants to hear.
Back to resetting the fuse panel – whenever I would plug the toaster in and turn on the coffee machine at the same time the breaker would trip on the fuse panel. Hmmm, I wonder why. Could it be that there were other electrical sources being tapped in that big room? That would be my guess. But, the inhabitants could never complain to me because then I would have solid proof that they were indeed using my hydro.
And funny enough the natural gas bill for the month of Mar/April nearly doubled from the previous TWO months. I can’t remember it being that cold to warrant a spike of that much more usage by us in the house.
Landlord Man evicted them in April and brought his Uncle and his Uncle’s wife to live in the apartment. He still hadn’t repaired the leaky basement so again the Office/Storage room became their living and sleeping quarters. The new tenants went as far to call the previous owner and ask how to turn on the Natural Gas fireplace in the room for warmth. Luckily for me she refused to tell them unless they talked to me first. They never did talk to me but the gas bill remained much higher than it should have for April/May.
The problem with the circuit breaker became more prevalent during their stay. At least 3 times a week I had to venture into the dark scary basement to reset the fuse panel.
In November Landlord Man closed the store and the tenants moved out. I had occasion to be in the large room on December 23 with Landlord Man. Upon walking into the room I got hit with a heat wall. That room was warmer than most rooms in the house and there was no one even living there. When I mentioned this to Landlord Man and the fact that I was paying for that heat he just shrugged his shoulders and laughingly said, “Ya, I know”.
I keep the house at 75 degrees. This is fairly comfortable for the two elderly people living here with me. The room that is used at the front of the house for a living room is about 68 degrees, it gets no warmer. The upstairs rooms that I use as a bedroom and a computer room is about 63 degrees, it gets no warmer. The damn heat is being sucked into a room that is empty. 358 square feet of empty and I am paying for it to be heated.
Well Landlord Man I have had enough. On Monday I am filing papers with the Landlord Tenant Board. One way or another you are going to have to justify stealing my hydro and natural gas. Additionally you are going to have to justify the illegal rent increase you made and answer to the threats you made should I not agree to the rent increase. See you in court!
PostScript: This was originally written last week. I did file the papers with the Landlord Tenant Board on Monday January 5. Lo and behold the same day that I got a court date (Jan 28) a plumber called and asked if he could come by and check out the problem. Not only did he fix the plumbing but he also fixed the light problem in the basement. YAY! No more scary dark basement. However, there are still numerous issues to be resolved. I am actually looking forward to court – It will put me in my element where I thrive. Will keep you posted on what happens.