An Incredible Story About Stories

, , , , , | Legal | May 11, 2019

A few years ago, I came home from a New Year’s party, walked past my car and suddenly stopped. I did not have a convertible, but the roof looked quite, well, missing. It turns out that a huge slab of ice detached from the roof of the house I was parked under and hit my car squarely on the roof so it was lying basically flush on the back seats, essentially totaling it since it was about 20 years old and barely able to pass inspection anymore. The total worth of the car was, maybe, if I was lucky, 100 bucks. More likely, the worth was negative because it costs to take it to the dump.

I took pictures, got the police to record everything, and handed my claim for the replacement of the car to the owner of the apartment building. To my surprise, he refused to pay. I handed the whole mess to my lawyer, he said we’d win this, and off he went.

Come September, my lawyer called. We’d won, and got me 800 bucks for my car — worth, again, maybe 10). But, in his words, “those insane idiots” could not have done it worse. In the lawsuit, of course, the question arose about how could that ice slab even happen? After all, if there had a person in my car, an ice slab caving in a car roof could easily have killed them.

Turns out, the apartment building didn’t have certain gadgets on the roof that are mandatory for buildings taller than four stories to prevent such things from happening. Why didn’t it have those gadgets?

Because, according to what the town — and hence building inspectors — knew, the apartment was only two stories tall.

So, not only was the company owning it in violation of the building code — by itself something that is very expensive if you get found out — our tax guys were very interested in them suddenly having way more apartments to let than he “officially” had.

In the words of my lawyer, “Seriously, if I pulled that stunt, I’d hand you ten grand for your 20-year-old wreck of a car and tell you to shut the eff up about it.”

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Landlords Sadly Focus On The Lord And Not The Land

, , , | Working | May 5, 2019

(My husband and I are looking for a new place to rent. Now that the kids are running a lot we want a place with a backyard. We go to this house that is just a few blocks from where we live, which is a big plus because we love the neighborhood. My first impression is, “Wow!” This place is enormous, it has a family room and a backyard, and it’s only for just a little more than we are paying now. But after that, I watch more carefully and realize that the place is very dirty, the walls still have the holes from where there used to be frames, and there are black stains all over. There are three windows that don’t close properly. The plugs in the wall are burnt and the yard is a mess.)

Me: “When are you going to paint the house?”

Landlord: *looking at me like I asked for the moon* “Why would I paint it?”

Me: *showing the big stain in the living room wall and some holes* “Because of this.”

Landlord: “You can clean that with a magic eraser!”

Me: “And what about the backyard; do you have a gardener?”

Landlord: “No.”

Me: “Okay, and it has sprinklers?”

Landlord: “I don’t know.”

(I am feeling that this landlord is not someone I want to deal with every month. Then, my husband arrives from checking the windows.)

Husband: “I just realized that there are three windows that don’t close. See?”

Landlord: *looking like he didn’t see it when he bought the house* “And…?”

Husband: “Are you going to fix them? It’s going to be impossible to heat this house with that.”

Landlord: “No! I’m not going to fix that.”

Husband: “And if we go half-and-half on the price?”

Landlord: “I already told you: I’m not going to fix them. If you want to do it, it’s your problem.”

Husband: “And what about the plugs?”

Landlord: “What about them?”

(My husband shows a burnt plug in the family room.)

Landlord: “You can cover that with something and use another.”

Me: “Let’s go, then. I don’t want to deal with him every time something breaks in this place.”

(With that attitude, I’m surprised that someone rented the house.)

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This Landlady Is Shockingly Cold

, , , , , | Working | March 6, 2019

(It is a particularly cold Canadian winter, on a Saturday night at around nine pm, and I am taking a shower. The water is not very hot, and within a few minutes, it goes completely cold, even when using only the hot water tap. I still have shampoo in my hair and a bit of soap all over but the water is way too cold for me to handle. I am used to rinsing my hair with cold water because it’s good for the hair, but with the water barely above freezing, I cannot do it! I wrap myself in a towel and call my landlady to inform her of the problem. She tells me to wait until Monday morning because her maintenance man does not work on the weekends. I tell her the water is too cold to rinse off the shampoo and soap without risking hypothermia and it can’t wait until Monday.)

Landlady: “What do you want me to do?”

Me: “I will call a plumber and a locksmith to access the water heater and deduct the bills from my rent.”

(She tells me she is coming with her husband to have a look at the problem. While waiting for her to come, I rinse my hair with a bottle of water from the fridge that is less cold than water from the tap, and water from the kettle that is room temperature. Shortly after that, I hear a knock on the door and it is my landlady. My lips are bluish and I am still shivering a lot.)

Landlady: *seeing that I had rinsed my hair* “It was not urgent; you were able to finish your shower. I came here for nothing!”

(The door to the maintenance room where the water heater is for the whole building is right next to my apartment door and I see water beginning to leak from under it. I point to it and my landlady looks at it and goes pale. She unlocks the door and hurries to shut down the water valve.)

Landlady: “I don’t know what to do with all this water all over! Give me some towels to absorb it.”

Me: “I only have a few, and I need to keep the clean one for after I am able to rinse myself off.”

(I close the door, leaving her to deal with her problem since I already have my own. Less than an hour later, after I wash most of the soap away with a washcloth and warm water from my kettle, there is another knock on the door. This time, it’s my landlady’s husband.)

Landlady’s Husband: “We fixed my problem and the water is probably already hot. It’s a good thing my wife insisted on having a look at the problem instead of waiting until Monday; otherwise, the water could have risen to reach the electrical outlets and it could have caused a much worse problem!”

Me: “You mean it’s a good thing I insisted and threatened to call a locksmith and a plumber?”

Landlady’s Husband: “…”

(I slammed the door and went to take a much-needed, long, hot shower!)

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Doing Some Damage With That Deposit

, , , , , | Friendly | February 25, 2019

(I get my first apartment when I am 22 and am pretty naïve about how the world works. I expect that my landlord will be a nice, honest guy that will do his job. This turns out to be untrue. For example, after we have a massive blizzard — Google “Winnipeg Snowstorm 1986” for more details — he keeps making excuses about digging out the parking lot, which means that my car is unusable for more than a week. He doesn’t live in the building himself, so he doesn’t care. After a few more experiences like that, I finally have enough and decide to move. I contact the landlord to conduct the apartment inspection so that I can get my damage deposit back. He calls me a few days later.)

Landlord: “I did the inspection, and you’re not getting your deposit back.”

Me: “What? Why not?”

Landlord: “You left a lot of damage in that place.”

Me: “Like what?”

Landlord: “Well, for starters, you stole the plastic hallway runner.”

Me: “That runner was mine. My parents bought it for me.”

Landlord: “No, it was mine!”

Me: “They have the receipt. Want to see it?”

Landlord: “Okay, never mind. You left a huge mess in the oven.”

Me: “That’s not possible.”

Landlord: “What do you mean?”

Me: “I never used the oven.”

Landlord: “What are you talking about? You lived there for a year.”

Me: “Yes, and I never cooked in the oven. I either used my microwave or got takeout.”

Landlord: “Well, regardless, that place was pristine when you moved in!”

Me: “Is that so? I found mushrooms growing on the bathroom carpet, and the shower curtain was covered in slimy mildew.”

Landlord: “You spilled something sticky on the living room carpet!”

Me: “Yes. I did do that, and I’m more than willing to pay for the carpet to be cleaned.”

Landlord: “You’re not getting your damage deposit back.” *click*

(I ended up having to contact the Better Business Bureau, who ordered him to give me my damage deposit, less the amount that it would cost to clean the living room carpet. He very reluctantly agreed to do so but he insisted that I come over to his house to get my cheque. When I got there at the agreed-upon time, he was wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Yuck. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.)

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Microwave Results In A Micro-Transaction

, , , , , , | Working | February 7, 2019

I’m moving out of my studio apartment. The landlord has promised me he would come by on my last day there to inspect the place after it’s been emptied, but despite calling and texting him repeatedly, he never shows and never picks up or replies. The only message I get from him says I should leave the place unlocked for the team of workers he’s hired, who’ll be in first thing next morning to fix up the place to be rented out again. So, when leaving, I shut the door but leave it unlocked. It seems reasonable enough; in over two years of living there, I haven’t had any attempted break-ins or anyone even trying my door at night.

One of the few things I was provided was a small cheap microwave, which I am supposed to leave there and do so.

After waiting for three months for my security deposit check, never receiving it, having to involve the city’s tenant-landlord dispute resolution department, and being told my ex-landlord claims the check he “sent” — as he was strictly, legally obligated to within 30 days — got “lost in the mail,” it turns out the ex-landlord has decided to also deduct $50 from my deposit money for the microwave, which according to him wasn’t left in the apartment. This is the apartment that I left unlocked overnight on his instructions, which he refused to come to inspect, and which would have been swarmed and turned over by some unknown-to-me crew of workers first thing next morning; unsupervised, they could have done absolutely anything to the place and its contents.

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