Author Topic: Move or stay? Issues with current apartment.  (Read 1014 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.