For the past two months, I have been holding in a problem that has been taking so much time and energy out of me. I'm the kind of person who can stay composed through most tough situations, but lately that side of me seems so worn out. When that happens, I tend to withdraw from the world to reflect and take care of myself. I hate to admit when I feel defeated but during these past two months, I have felt nothing but defeat. Vlogmas is here and I haven't been able to record anything that I had planned which really disappoints me.

    You're probably wondering now what this problem is, so I'll spill the beans: I am taking my landlord to court for failure to make repairs. It feels crazy to come to terms with this, but it's true. Now, if you've read my earlier posts from when I first moved into my apartment back in 2021, you're aware of the problems we had with our landlord which involved lead. Once again, the concerns of lead come up except this time, I have been waiting about two months for the repairs to be done. 

    Now, if you've dealt with a crummy landlord, you understand how frustrating it can be. After all, the one person you're suppose to be able to rely on shouldn't be the person that ends up causing you more problems in the end. Unfortunately, there are so many landlords like this, that tenants often get dismissed or discouraged even to hold their landlord accountable. I would know because I am now one of those tenants. 

    To briefly fill you in, on September 26, water damaged was caused in our apartment from renovations done in the apartments above ours. We reported it as usual to the Property Manager and she hired a contractor to fix the walls. However, because we live in an apartment with lead in it, a fact she knew since we moved in and probably even before that, we insisted that the repairs needed to be done by a lead professional. 

    So many things happened in that month of waiting for a response from the Property Manager like; pictures were taken, they hired a lead inspector to test the walls even though we already provided a full lead report of the entire apartment (it honestly made us suspicious that they did this...), and I even filed a complaint with the local housing office which seems pointless now because they never called us back due to being under staff. Ugh.

    By the end of the month, we were told that a lead professional was hired and would start work that following week - which pushed us into November. When the contractors came, they said the water damage was extensive and spreading but the landlord insisted on only repairing the areas mentioned. So they agreed and began to prep our entire apartment. Keep in mind that these contractors insisted we go to a hotel during the renovations but our landlord did not want to relocate us and said we could stay in the apartment so the workers were kind enough to give us masks to wear.


1st contractor - floors covered completely

Room that we were staying in completely sealed off

The main working area

  About half way into prepping the apartment, the contractor received a call that the landlord didn't want to pay them which forced the contractors to take down their setup. It was a waste of materials, time, and energy for everyone! I was so upset because not only did it leave us as sitting ducks once again, but the contractors wasted so much money on the supplies which now had to be thrown out.

    A new company was hired by the next week but this time the Property Manager and the contractor wanted to go over the damage. I kid you not, but when the contractor asked how soon the issue was to be taken care of, the Property Manager said that the issue wasn't urgent. Unbelievable! I had a funny feeling she would belittle us so I made sure to record the entire conversation. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, but I also mailed the Property Manager a demand letter stating a complete timeline of events and that if repairs weren't made in a week, we would take the landlord to court. 

    Well, the new contractor finally came out by the end of November to start the repairs. We were told the project would take a day and that relocating us was not needed, DESPITE the fact that the repairs involved lead. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the contractors started the work without properly sealing up the apartment. I only noticed this because I heard them sanding down the walls. I assumed they were still prepping the apartment because it would take at least an hour or so, however they started working within 15 minutes of arriving!

    I noticed so many red flags immediately. Doors were not sealed off, the room we were staying in was not sealed off, the floors were not properly covered, one door leading into the work area was even cracked open, masks weren't offered to us to wear, and we weren't even informed that the work had started. I was so appalled by how unprofessional these workers were!

2nd Contractor - Floors not properly covered

Door left cracked open with no seal on it

    Yes, we raised hell. I ended up calling the Lead Hotline (I've called them so many times throughout these two months and they have been so helpful!) and they confirmed that the apartment needed to be properly sealed before the work started and explained to us how exactly; floors had to be completely covered, all doors leading to the work area needed to be sealed, windows in the work area had to be sealed, closets needed to be sealed as well as any radiators or vents. She then said that if the contractors started the repairs without properly sealing the apartment, that they were breaking the law and violating the code and said we could tell the workers to stop working - so we did. 

    The situation quickly escalated and both the supervisor of the crew and Property Manager's assistant showed up to see what was going on. They tried to give us an excuse that they had taken down the setup because we told them to stop working which wasn't true at all. The assistant then had the nerve to ask if the contractors could continue working if they sealed up the apartment and of course I refused because it should have been done before the work even started. Not only that, but because we refused the work to be done, we were told we would be charged for the "work" that was done. 

Partially worked on walls

    We've already consulted a lawyer and paid the retainer fees (we had to use credit because of how expensive it all was!) and now the next step is filing a Tenants Assertion which means putting our rent into the court instead of paying our landlord until the case is settled. If our case is successful, we can break our lease, get rent abatement, be reimbursed for lawyer fees, and pat ourselves on the shoulder for being bold enough to fight back. 

    We're still in the apartment now despite the wall's condition but we have closed off the office completely. My computer is now on the dining table and our living room has literally become the place where we live since all of our office furniture is piled up; the piggies are not happy with their new spot, but they're well fed at least. It's not a pretty site at all though and it causes me a lot of anxiety, but I will just have to make the most out of it for now.

The apartment is a mess

    If it turns out that we have to wait for our case to be heard by the court or that we can't stay in the apartment because of the exposed areas, then we'll consider staying in a hotel. If the landlord will compensate us for that is a question I'll have to ask our lawyer. For now, we just have to wait and make the most out of the situation by staying positive. During challenges, Dimitar and I try to take time to laugh, comfort each other with love and attention, and take care of ourselves most importantly. 

    After many deep conversations and many tears later, I've come to the conclusion that God or the Universe will never give me anything I can't handle which I've accepted as a compliment. If there is faith put in me to get through such difficulties, then I will keep pushing forward with my head held high. 

Until next time! xoxo - Sarah


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