“The Harm of the Alarm”

“Dear PoPville,

I live in an apartment community, and since June the building’s fire/smoke/whatever alarm has been going off…and never really stopped. On the rare occasion someone switches it off, barely a few hours would pass before going off again, and then it stays that way for days or weeks on end.

My unit is located close enough to the building entrance/foyer (where the switchboard/panel is located and tends to be where the alarm is loudest), so I can’t sleep without ear plugs these past few months (because why line the walls when you can line pockets, ba-dum-tss).

I’ve tried emailing and calling the leasing center, and even learned which company handles the alarm system and gave them a ring too. Overall there’s been no timeline provided on when things will get fixed (“we apologize for the inconvenience…” but no details nor timeline). Two mass emails were sent by the leasing center in July and August, saying how the vendor will be onsite and will need entrance to every apartment unit to diagnose the problem. Both days came and went, if one visited I wasn’t aware (and I WFH’d both days so I couldn’t have missed them)…and the alarm continues to blare.

I also emailed my ward’s ANC, who lives in the same building (no response, though I suppose ANC probably went, “not my job”). I called the Office of the Tenant Advocate a few weeks ago but only reached their voicemail, so I left one but didn’t get a callback. (Likely because they’re dealing with more serious matters, so I won’t whine…much.)

So…my two questions at this point: Has anyone experienced a similar situation, and if so, have you tried taking legal action and how did it go? What else should I be doing (apart from breaking my lease and fleeing)?

I’ve been paying my rent in full each month, but it’s almost like I’m paying to be subject to auditory torture. Seasons are changing yet the broken alarm remains constant…”

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