From the Forum – Seeking advice on dealing with my rental company

Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi

Seeking advice on dealing with my rental company:

“I recently moved into a studio apartment in the Petworth area. I’m renting a newly renovated English basement unit which is part of a medium size apartment complex currently undergoing renovations. I wasn’t originally looking for a basement unit as light is important to me, but this place has a full wall of windows with wide window wells. When I looked out the windows, the grass line of the small backyard was at eye level and there was quite a bit of natural light. This seemed like a big advantage for me as opposed to most basement apartments.

However, this Friday during a rare work from home day I heard the construction crew drive up to my window area with a large truck. When I looked outside to see what was going I saw them dump a truck load of gravel over the entire back yard area and realized they had started building a partial brick wall right up from the window wells, blocking my view and sunlight. I went out and inquired and they told me they were making a parking lot. I just moved into the apartment complex one month ago and the rental company never mentioned their plans to build up a wall and make a parking lot. Today I came home to my apartment for the first time since Friday morning since I haven’t wanted to be there. It was a beautiful day, but instead of adequate light coming through like previously the apartment was much darker. I feel very mislead by the company. I’m sure they had this plan in the works longer than just the month I have lived there.

The brick wall and parking lot will drastically change the comfort level of the apartment. The amount of light in the apartment is a major concern as a dark apartment is depressing and makes it harder to be productive. Furthermore, I will no longer be able to look out to green space at eye level. Instead, I will have to look at the bricks and deal with the noise of cars, slamming doors and headlights shining through my window at night. This parking lot is being made right at the edge of my window well, just a few feet from my windows. I feel the rental company should have shared this information with me prior to be entering into a yearlong lease. This intrinsically changes the quality of space I agreed to rent and I’m not sure I would have chosen this apartment had I known they were planning to make these changes. I feel like the value of the apartment has decreased just a month after I made a legal agreement to rent.

When I asked about this construction on Friday they tried to say that I knew there was renovations being made and that they had the right to make any renovations they saw fit. When I asked why they hadn’t informed me they just said I had had the opportunity to ask any questions I wanted to during the viewing. I’m not a real estate agent. I wouldn’t have known to ask if by any chance they had plans to make a parking lot in the yard right outside my window. I do remember commenting on the large windows, light and view during the viewing but nothing was ever told to me about how this would soon change.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what to do? I am very frustrated with the rental company as they didn’t ever mention this to me beforehand. I feel like the purposefully withheld this information and put off making this change until after someone had moved into the apartment.

I have had many issues with the rental company in the past month. I have tried to be very understanding and patient and have often had to follow up many time before move-in issues were addressed and resolved. For instance, the refrigerator wasn’t working when I moved in and I didn’t have a working fridge for the first 2 weeks. It took them a full month to get all the items in the furniture package to me (which was agreed to in the lease and I am paying for on a monthly basis in addition to the rent). It’s been over a month and I am still waiting for them to fix an issue with the shower. These are just a few of the many move in issues that I’ve dealt with, some they have addressed right away and others I’ve had to consistently follow-up on. We have also had continuous renovations being made so I spent each weekend trying to stay away from the apartment so I don’t have to listen to all the construction noise. All of these other issues are temporary and things I can deal with. But building up a brick wall, blocking off the light and building a parking lot just a few feet away is something that is permanent.

Thanks for any advice you may have to share!”

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