Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little House of Horrors

So as many of you already know, at the beginning of March we moved. Matt’s mom found us what was supposed to be a perfect little house, complete with a red door. Since we were previously living in a basement suite with windows that didn’t quite work properly, a crazy living above us, a dude with a curfew beside us, landlords living in Vancouver AND going through a breakup, it seemed like moving was a good idea. At first, it was. Sure, when we looked at the house originally it smelled funny and was pretty shitty looking, but that was just the previous tenants stuff/lack of hygiene/stupid little dog, right? I thought so. The house had a red door like I always wanted, how bad could it be?
206 maple st
Well it turned out, the smell was more than just having a shitty little dog in there with the windows all sealed up. It turns out, that smell was coming from the DIRT (murder) basement, where the floor drain had been splashing back up onto the “floor” which is made of dirt, so the whole house smelled like lovely algae (which is a great thing, since that’s how the toxic black mould gets started). Also, the house had done some serious settling, and the drain to the street has almost no slope, which doesn’t move the water very quickly and causes it to back up and let some lovely sewer gases up through the bathroom sink and bathtub. The kitchen sink was leaking, the bathroom taps barely worked, and the washing machine (which is located conveniently in the kitchen) had been leaking so badly and for so long, that the hardwood in the entrance to the living room is completely destroyed. Most of these had been dealt with in the first week, and I put a rug over the particularly scary part of hardwood until I can get around to priming and painting the whole thing. Then the snow melted and I saw the yard.

The previous tenants filled the roll-out garbage can so full of un-bagged/prohibited garbage materials that the city refused to pick up the container and it turns out the backyard is a disgusting mess. The snow melted to reveal beer bottles and cans, broken lawn ornaments and gardening equipment, children’s toys, pieces of old carpet and furniture, old tires???, a completely destroyed fire pit and an entire corner of the yard is littered with dog feces. And even though there’s a little shed in the back, the lawn mower had been ditched in a snow bank for the winter. What looks like it was originally a box built to fill with soil for a garden is full of oil containers, broken stools and random pieces of scrap metal.

Obviously I expected some yardwork for the spring, as part of our rental agreement is to maintain the yard, which we were actually looking forward to, but I'm not sure we have the ability to dispose of the sheer amount of garbage in the yard, specifically the old tires, furniture and carpet. Our garbage bin is simply not big enough for that, and filling it with things like old tires and carpet will get us a $200 fine from the city. Also, I don’t think it’s my responsibility to go through someone else’s garbage.

Anyway, we’re going to start cleaning up what we can next week, and then anything else, I’ll either try to sneak into one of the neighbours’ roll-away cans, or just get the truck from the farm, fill it with shit and bring it to a pit out of town to set on fire. Now that the weather is warming up, I’m also going to get painting the living room and kitchen, because while the place isn’t perfect, it might as well look as good as it can, since we’re here now, and I don’t want to be miserable in my own home.


Lojo said...

Well, it's cute as fuck from the outside, if that counts for anything.

The common laziness of landlords nowadays is brutal. The fixer-up projects you are about to take on are their responsibility, not yours, especially when it comes to cleaning up a mini landfill in the back yard. That's ridiculous and bordering on slum landlord. All in all, you guys are going to end up doing the work, consequently increasing the value of the property, and then you're going to walk away with nothing to show and they'll bank off of it. People have no fucking pride anymore.

On a positive note, it sounds like it does have potential with a little TLC.

twitch said...

It is brutal, the fucker hasn't even bothered to return my email, even if only to say "deal with it yourself because I'm a huge slumlord". At least I could respect his honesty.

Anyway, my plan is to just start doing all the things that need to be fixed, and deducting what it costs me off the rent, saving all receipts of course, in case someone does come looking for the proof. I refuse to live in squalor, and he's lucky to have renters like us that leave a property in BETTER condition than it was when we moved in. He should be taking advantage. My dad even offered to replace the damaged hardwood with brand new laminate for him AT COST with no charges for labour. But of course, he declined. So now I'm going to prime and paint this shitty hardword so at least I don't have to look at it.
The reno's should get into full swing next week, so I'll put up the exciting before/after pictures. I love those.

twitch said...

Oh, and the best part of all this:
In our rental agreement there is a clause where we are not allowed to hang blankets or flags in the windows, we must purchase proper window treatments. When I asked why that was, he told me "So that the place doesn't look like a run down rental property."

Lojo said...

HA HA HA HA! No eagle blankets in the window! So ironic.

Again, fucking landlords. I am all for your rent deduction plan, though. And yes, he is very lucky to have tenants like you. These guys don't seem to get that if they demonstrate better up-keep of their properties that they will attract more responsible tenants, put in less money for maintenance and renos, and can actually charge more for rent. But that would be too hard. Slum landlords are le tired!

Anyway, I am uber pumped to see the progression of your renos. Fuck yeah!

Clint said...

But if you were able to put eagle blankets, it could match the wicked pedo-van belonging to your neighbor!!