Author Topic: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.  (Read 3727 times)

alsoknownasDean

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Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« on: November 19, 2017, 01:38:08 AM »
Hi all,

So my current situation is that I have been renting a small apartment for the last three or so years. It's conveniently located and not too expensive. Unfortunately, the condition of the apartment in a couple of key areas has deteriorated since I moved in, due in part to the shoddy plumbing.

I have contacted the RE agent previously to repair these, but as the agent hasn't indicated that these would be repaired, I have put up with the issues (because moving has it's own issues as detailed below). I noticed today that some of the issues have continued to deteriorate to the point where, for example, one of the kitchen cupboards is now unsanitary. When I took the toaster out this morning I noticed small white insects on it (it's now in the bin). I've emailed the agent and advised them of this, and I'll take photos. If I get no response, I'll call the office.

Now in most normal situations I'd probably just up and move (some of it might require significant repairs), but I have been hesitating because I have been planning on buying a place in the not too distant future, and didn't want to sign another 12 month lease when I'd likely buy a place well before then (i've got enough saved now to get a mortgage).

I guess, my choices are:

1) Continually contact the agent requesting these issues be fixed. Problem with that is that they might not be able to fix these issues with me continuing to live in the place (so I'd have to move anyway), and if those white insects happen to be termites, then there's going to be bigger issues that affect the whole apartment building.

2) Put in place plans to buy a place ASAP, and look to buy and settle quickly. The risk is then that I'll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a rushed decision and might regret it down the track.

3) Find another rental and move ASAP. This would quite likely mean I'm locked into a 12 month lease, and have to move twice (once to the new rental, and another time to where I end up buying). One small advantage of this though is being able to rent where I'm considering buying. I'd have more luck finding somewhere that's open to shorter-term tenancies going back to share houses, but I'd rather not do that. I could break a lease part way through but there's penalties for doing so.

4) Move back to my parents' place while putting into place option #2. I'm sure they'd probably be OK with it for a couple of months, but they live a very long way from my work (1.5-2 hours each way) so I'd be doing a lot of commuting (including on weekends to play sport). I've lived out of home long enough that moving back would be a pretty major adjustment. I'd also have to pay for storage of my stuff :)

5) Put up with it. I've been doing this for long enough but I'd rather not continue doing so if it's unsanitary.

What does everyone think? Should I move now or hold off?

NOTE: I'll probably delete this thread eventually :)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 01:39:57 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Kwill

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 01:56:50 AM »
:-( Have you also contacted the appropriate city authorities? If you have records of your interactions with the real estate agent concerning the problems, you should share those for your own sake and for the sake of the next renter in the apartment.

I would vote for #3. One year isn't that long to put off buying a house, especially if you haven't really started looking and live in a different area. If you can find a one-year lease in the area you're considering buying in, that would allow you to save a little more while at the same time making friends in the new area and getting a sense of exactly what you'd want there.

Primm

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 03:21:52 AM »
First step, ring Consumer Affairs on 1300 01 8228.

There's steps to take (listed on their website), and you have the option of paying rent into a holding fund at VCAT until the repairs are done. Nothing like rent income being turned off to encourage a landlord to take action.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 02:18:00 PM »
It sounds like you're "jumping the gun".

Familiarize yourself with your rights in your city or town.  Document all problems.  Continue to insist to your landlord that these documented problems (including photos/videos) need to be addressed or you will exercise your rights (rent reductions, move out, take them to court, etc., whatever the law allows..).  You could also contact your city/town's building department (or whatever they call it where you live...) and file a complaint against your landlord if they don't get with it...I did this with my condo association when they didn't feel they were responsible for a plumbing backflow issue (forced their hand with help from the city).

I doubt they want to lose a good tenant.  Moving is a pain in the Axx...try to have them make it right.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 02:02:32 AM »
I sent an email to the property manager yesterday, and I submitted a maintenance request via the agent's website just then. I've got the email trail (I sent multiple emails and noted the issue on the reports used in inspections, multiple times) and photos all ready to go. If need be, I'll call later this week. I'll try and contact the agent and get them to come to the table and send someone out before picking the nuclear options.

It appears to be mould due to a water leak behind the wall underneath the kitchen sink. I'm not sure whether that leak is coming from the sink or not, but it's now in very bad shape, to the point where I'm considering throwing out stuff that's spent much time in the cupboard.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 02:04:05 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Dicey

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2017, 08:20:08 AM »
Does the PM own the company, or are they merely a worker bee? Another option is to go over their head. You can also go around the PM to the owner. No property owner wants to hear that the PM is ignoring issues that lead to larger problems.

If you want maximum flexibility, look for a shared housing situation or a private ADU, such as an in-law or granny glad. Much less likely to require a firm 12 month lease.
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marielle

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 08:26:36 AM »
I would fairly aggressively look for a new place, while also following the above advice. You may be able to get a 6 month lease at a slightly higher price or rent a room from someone like was suggested above. Don't hesitate to post to Craigslist (or whatever the equivalent is in Australia) yourself versus contacting others that made their own posts. I got a good bit of response by making my own post, and it saved me a lot of trouble from searching and looking through ads. Emphasize that you're a professional, would have no issues paying on time, you just need somewhere temporary until you buy a house.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 10:02:15 PM »
Small update.

I've contacted the new property manager, and they have sent someone out to investigate the leaks (the new property manager is much more helpful). The issue is that apparently there's a very good chance that there are multiple leaks, including from the apartment above (they used this device to find out how damp each of the walls are, and certain walls and the ceiling in some areas were damp). Next step for the plumber is to contact the apartment above to see what leaks from there are causing problems.

Apparently to fix it properly might require a new bathroom (and kitchen). I took a cast iron frying pan out of the cupboard (it had been in there a couple of weeks), and it was covered in mould.

I'm honestly over it, but I need to make sure whether I'm over it enough to move now, or whether I'm over it enough to wait 6-12 months (although the mould is concerning) until I find a place/buy/go through settlement.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 10:11:55 PM by alsoknownasDean »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 04:27:26 AM »
The new property manager has actually been really good.

The plumber has been and has found a couple of leaks that have now been repaired. I've got someone else coming in on Monday to have a look at the kitchen cupboard, and hopefully they'll be able to repair all the damage.

Another issue is that there was a big gap in the benchtop (right near the sink) that was letting in water, so that'll hopefully be sealed up on Monday and the damage repaired.

I'm hoping it'll be done soon as I've got all the plastic containers and the like from my kitchen cupboard stacked on the benchtops.

Once it's all sorted out I'll be OK with hanging around a little while longer (another six months or so) until I buy a place.

Kwill

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2017, 12:03:06 PM »
Hurrah! So glad things are looking up for you and that there's a competent property manager on the case.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 04:48:28 AM »
The kitchen cupboard was repaired about two weeks ago (along with a couple of issues that they believe would have contributed to the mould problem), hooray!

Unfortunately, the mould has returned (and quite a bit for just two weeks). My guess is that there is a leak from the shower (the bathroom shares a wall with the kitchen).

I've emailed the property manager (who is very helpful), but I'm sure you don't blame me if I'm getting a little fed up :)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 04:59:24 AM by alsoknownasDean »

JLR

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2018, 03:22:49 AM »
How is it going now?

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2018, 03:48:01 AM »
How is it going now?

I cleaned it all up, contacted the agent who contacted the plumber who said to keep an eye on it. A few weeks later it returned again, although not as bad as previously (presumably due to the drier weather we've had of late). I've cleaned it up again, contacted the agent, and they've contacted the plumber. I think I've worked out where most of it is coming from now.

At this point I'm just keeping on top of it (clean it every couple of weeks I think), and will probably start more seriously looking at buying a place in May (I'm busy until well into April).

I might avoid using the dishwasher because I wouldn't be surprised if there's some sort of leak in the outlet of the dishwasher that's contributing to the problem.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2018, 05:02:22 AM »
Ah shit.

I've just returned from a week away, and while I was away the plumbers attended to attempt to repair the issue again. What they've done is installed vents so that the mouldy musty air is now vented from the kitchen cupboard into the rest of the apartment. Great.

They left the rear window wide open for ventilation, but that won't work in the longer term because a) it's a security risk, b) it's almost winter and leaving it open on an ongoing basis would mean the apartment is cold as hell in winter and c) it still stunk when I got home.

I've emailed the agent, but frankly I'm at the end of my tether. I've already had to throw out stuff due to mould. I'm not keen on throwing more shit out, especially if I start seeing mould on my couch or something like that.

Problem is, I'm in a position to buy a place, but I haven't found anything I want and can comfortably afford just yet. Signing a new lease might not be ideal in that situation.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 06:25:29 AM by alsoknownasDean »

MMMaybe

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2018, 11:57:34 PM »
How about getting a dehumidifier? I used to use one when living in tropical countries. It will reduce the humidity in the air and thereby the mould. It help until you can buy a place.

lizzzi

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 07:25:34 AM »
I wouldn't linger too long. That mold (mould) is a health hazard to you.

partgypsy

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 10:23:09 AM »
I would get out asap. If you luck upon something that is just what you want buy, otherwise rent for a year. Mold is not just a health hazard, depending on what type of mold it can permanently affect your mental status.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjNfAozdT50

Linda_Norway

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2018, 11:56:40 PM »
Maybe you or your landlord could install a ventilator with a humidity sensor and turns itself on when needed. We used to have this in a bathroom and it worked fine. It is not necessarily expensive and fits onto the normal wall ventilation.

I would go for option 3. Look if there is anyone offering short term rental, for example someone who is going abroad for half a year. And then look hard for a place to buy. You need to either get the humidity fixed or move out of there. Mould is not good for your health.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2018, 04:41:38 AM »
Dehumidifier could work. Iíve actually considered getting a HEPA air purifier and putting it near the cupboard for a while. Thereís actually no mould there at the moment (recently been cleaned), and maybe a strong dose of bleach or vinegar or clove oil or similar could take care of any spores that may be floating around. How ever, the cupboard is underneath the kitchen sink and next to the dishwasher.

The only issue with getting out is that iím likely locked into a new 12 month lease, and I donít know my chances of a shorter lease. If I move and two months later find a place, then Iíll have to break a lease. Currently Iím on month to month.

There are vents on the walls, but I think at some point theyíve been painted over.

Now Iíve calmed down, Iím willing to give cleaning it a try. There has to be something that can clean up a musty cupboard.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 04:46:02 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Better Late

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2018, 05:15:53 AM »
Perhaps the owner or property manager would have another apartment available that you could negotiate suitable terms for. You have some leverage in that you have R reported these issues yet and you're a good tenant.

Dicey

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2018, 08:59:43 AM »
Perhaps the owner or property manager would have another apartment available that you could negotiate suitable terms for. You have some leverage in that you have R reported these issues yet and you're a good tenant.
My thoughts exactly.
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alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2018, 01:33:58 AM »
Decision has been made...Iím getting the F out of here.

The plumber installed vents and apparently cleaned up the cupboard not three weeks ago. Itís now got mould in it again. Needless to say Iíve had enough.

One thing I might look into is lease transfers. Because the cost of breaking a lease is fairly high (basically youíve got to pay the readvertisement fee and any rent while the place is vacant), thereís a market on Gumtree for people who are moving and need to transfer their lease to someone else. Might be worth looking into.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2018, 07:54:46 AM »
You are being Too civil. You need to say you are getting headache and respiratory ailments from the mold, and that you will sue
them if they try to recoup the money. Report this immediately to the city or town, you should not have to live like this.
They are trying to save money , the entire place needs mold remediation and that cost alot of money. ( I know because I had to do it to my new home. Same issues,  leave anything in the moldy basement and and two weeks later  covered in mold)

Linda_Norway

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2018, 07:57:11 AM »
You are being Too civil. You need to say you are getting headache and respiratory ailments from the mold, and that you will sue
them if they try to recoup the money. Report this immediately to the city or town, you should not have to live like this.
They are trying to save money , the entire place needs mold remediation and that cost alot of money. ( I know because I had to do it to my new home. Same issues,  leave anything in the moldy basement and and two weeks later  covered in mold)

^^^ This ^^^

CindyBS

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2018, 08:40:39 AM »
I agree you are being way too nice.  It has been six months, and the management clearly does not want to devote the money to fix the problems, so they are just putting band-aid after band-aid on the problem.

I'm not sure what the laws in Oz are, but here were have a law where if a landlord refuses to provide a sanitary living environment and make necessary repairs, you can pay your rent to the housing court.  They put it in escrow.  During that time it is illegal for the landlord to evict for non-payment.  The landlord does not get paid by the court until s/he demonstrates necessary repairs are made. 

I would recommend contacting your local housing court or tenant's association for more information.  Reach out to the local health department as well.  Also, I would recommend reaching out to your neighbors - your case will be much stronger with multiple parties.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2018, 08:35:10 AM »
Youíre right that iíve been too patient and nice and should probably kick up more of a fuss. The property manager/agent has been trying to help (and itís better than it was six months ago), but itís an ongoing problem that probably needs major repairs.

I can take things further and go to the relevant authorities if I really want to, but at this point Iíd rather just move and be done with it all. Iíll pick my battles :)

The agent does have other places available, but in different areas that arenít as convenient for me. Iíll just jump on one of the real-estate websites and have a look at something else.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 08:37:39 AM by alsoknownasDean »

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2018, 05:06:49 AM »
I contacted the agent mentioning that I was considering vacating, and within a week I had the property manager and a plumber over to see the mould issues with the cupboard and the next day much of the cupboard was torn out and replaced.

Iím going to give it another week or two before I start thinking about putting things back into the cupboard, but hopefully this puts a stop to the issue :)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2018, 05:09:01 AM »
They've found the source of the moisture that's causing the leak, and hopefully have fixed it for good.

There's other issues with the apartment, but they're tolerable. I'll start looking at buying a place probably in August anyway.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2018, 12:26:28 PM »
I can't believe it took 6 months for them to really fix the problem.

If I were you, I'd ask for a professional to come and do a mould spore test.  This will make sure that there aren't any high concentrations of mold hiding in the walls or ceilings or air vents.

I'd also make sure they reimburse you for any possessions you had to discard because they were infested with mold.
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Dicey

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Re: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.
« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2018, 06:34:51 PM »
I'd ask for a break on the rent for your troubles. And definitely have the air professionally tested, at their expense.
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