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Dear PoP – “unique landlord situation/problem or not?”

by Prince Of Petworth July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm 52 Comments

“Dear PoP,

I don’t normally comment on blogs or contribute but our current situation has compelled me to see what other people think, good or bad about our somewhat “interesting” rental situation. We relocated in June because of work and had to find a place pretty quickly. We looked at upwards of 30 places in DC and MD. Upon my initial visit to the current property, the person showing the property lived in the basement unit. The owner lives in California. I asked how issues were handled and was given the response that we would let him(basement resident) know and then he would let owner know and get whatever needed to be done and paid for. The place was not “clean” when I went through but was assured verbally that it would be cleaned before we moved in. There was also an issue with the bathroom that he was upfront about and told me that it was in process of being taken care of and I believed him.

After we arrived ahead of our things which were being transported by a moving company, we noticed the place had not been cleaned AT ALL, and probably hadn’t been cleaned ever in years. We moved some furniture that had been left behind and found piles of rodent feces and their “attempts” at catching said rodents. I alerted basement guy and he acted shocked and said “he had no idea”. I won’t go into details but we spent 3 days cleaning, scrubbing, etc. to even get the place livable and spent an extra night in a hotel because we didn’t have time to unpack anything the first day. I demanded the owner’s phone number and called him immediately. We spoke and he assured me that all the issues which start with:

Continues after the jump.

1. Broken gas stove(unusable and still unfixed to date)
2. reimbursement for cleaning supplies and the actual cleaning and removal of previous tenants garbage
3. tub issue upstairs
4. water damage in half bath downstairs
5. ants, mice, rats, cockroaches(exterminator finally came July 2(one month after move-in)
6. all outdoor lighting broken(not lightbulb replacement issue)

After many exchanges with basement guy about getting these issues resolved over the last one month + and one too many loaves of bread eaten by Rat/mice despite our efforts to put it in places we thought would be inaccessible, I call the landlord again. He once again apologized and told me that basement guy hadn’t been paying rent or paying only part of his reduced rent that he gets in exchange for dealing with all previously mentioned issues so the owner doesn’t have to. He admitted that he didn’t plan to fix OUR bathroom until basement guy repaid overdue rent. The water damage only gets worse with each day and I really am concerned that because of the size/weight of tub and years of damage that it could fall through, is that possible? I feel bad for the owner who obviously thought he had someone trustworthy and responsible taking care of the place only to find out he was returning previous tenants full deposits despite damage and lack of cleaning prior to move out.

At this point, what if anything should we be doing to remain on the right side of the law and what can we expect in terms of reimbursement?

Before people attack our naivety, the rodent issue and cockroaches were all hidden behind/under furniture appliances. We are young, well-educated and have a young child, and have NEVER encountered a situation like this and even at our last place when we found it to be less clean than expected but not even close to the disgusting mess that our current place was, the owner offered to take hundreds of dollars off our first month rent and apologized for the inconvenience.

Any help would be appreciated, we are new to the city and don’t have many friends/connections in the area and our family is all in the Midwest.”

This is absolutely awful. Honestly, I would cut my losses (if it is at all financially possible for you) and move out immediately. Ed. Note: There were many more photos included and they were among the most disgusting photos I’ve ever seen.

Is DCRA the right agency to be contacted to report this? What would you guys do?

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