Author Topic: Landlord won't fix patio fence  (Read 2101 times)

nexus

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Landlord won't fix patio fence
« on: September 08, 2017, 02:17:20 PM »
Hi everyone, Happy Friday!

I live in a 100+ unit apartment building on the ground floor. I have a standard patio with a 6ft high wooden fence. Some months back, the facility hired some folks to rebuild the support beams and balconies above my unit. Prior to this, my patio fence was already pretty beat up. The wood was rotten and there were places in the fence that I could gently apply pressure to and the boards would separate. My unit faces the street, with the only things between me and the sidewalk/road being my fence and a sliding glass door.

After the contractors finished their work, my fence actually looked better until one of the fence boards snapped in two, then completely broke off. Seriously, I woke up and it was like that. I -think- the neighbors above me used to climb my fence, then hop onto their balcony. Idiots. So, now If I open my blinds I can see directly into the street, just as folks can now see into my apartment if I don't leave the blinds closed.

I asked the apartment office repeatedly if they would fix it, but they continue to blame it on the contractors for whatever reason and it has literally been 6+ months that I've been able to see through my fence now.

Is there anyone else I can call, complain to, or report them to in order to get my fence fixed? I have email records showing that I sent the office staff photos dating back from March or April '17.

Essentially I'd like 2 things to happen. The first is get my fence fixed so I have privacy/safety. The second is some sort of monetary reimbursement for not being able to use my patio/open my blinds to its full extent for the last six months. Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 02:24:35 PM by nexus »

nexus

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 02:20:12 PM »
https://ibb.co/do6ZuF

photo of said patio. You can see that there's a board missing and the top support beam is rotten to the point that it is no longer/barely attached to the 4x4 fence post.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 02:23:14 PM by nexus »

surfhb

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 04:05:28 PM »
Meh.....just fix it yourself and be done with the hassle.   Doesn't need a whole lot of work.

A big LOL if you think your're going to be reimbursed monetarily ;)

affordablehousing

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 04:18:58 PM »
You could claim it's a life-safety concern, stop paying rent, and fight them in tenant court.... or buy a picket for $1.98 and nail it up - http://www.homedepot.com/p/5-8-in-x-5-1-2-in-x-6-ft-Red-Stained-Fir-Dog-Ear-Fence-Picket-502953/202524102

you probably could find one on the street for free. Your landlord probably sucks, like most do, but if the rent is reasonable, choose whether this is worth rocking the boat.

I think more the issue is it sounds like your neighbors are the problem. Just start calling the cops on them whenever they're loud, smoking, or just to hassle them.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 04:24:44 PM »
I have no idea how any of that works, but I'd be very shocked if you were able to get any monetary reimbursement for any pain and suffering or anything because they didn't replace some boards in a fence. It sucks, it's ugly and yes it's a bit of an inconvience, but it's not technically unsafe or robbing you of any enjoyment of anything really.

If you want to really get annoying, show up every single day to ask them about replacing the patio fence. Politely, but firmly. Every. Single. Day. Until they get sick of you and either fix it or tell you to move out. If you're already doing this, then there's your answer. They don't care about you or the look of the complex. Because regardless if rotten wood and broken boards are their or a contractor's fault, they'd fix them and then go after the contractor if it truly was important to maintain the overall safety/appearance of the units.

Honestly, if they are that lax in that they don't care about the overall look of the complex to let things get rotten and crappy looking, then it's inviting a poorer element to move in. Basic maintenance is a good sign of the overall tone of the complex. If they have let it look like that for months -especially when a tenant is complaining - they don't care enough about you or the class of clientele they attract.

If it is cheap, then there's a good reason... but I personally would be looking to move as soon as the lease was up to a complex that has some basic standards of upkeep.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 04:26:33 PM by Frankies Girl »

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2017, 04:39:52 PM »
I was renting a house a few years ago with a good size backyard surrounded by a wooden fence. The New Mexico sun and wind had taken its toll and after one very windy day a 10í or so section between the backyard and front yard fell over. At the time, my three young boys would play outside in the backyard for a few hours almost every day. We didnít feel as safe knowing they could not just walk into the front yard and the street. I spent the next few months calling and emailing the property manager for the management company we were renting from, but to no avail. This was odd because when a small section of the fence broke earlier they had sent someone out within a day or two to fix it. Finally, I got fed up and hired a handyman from a classified ad. He came out the same day and including materials and a couple hours of labor to haul away the broken section of fence and put up a new one was about $75.

I then proceeded to sue my property management company, and the owner of the property management company personally, in small claims court. Between the filing fee and having to pay someone to serve them notice it cost about another $100. I also had to go to the courthouse downtown and file the paperwork twice which cost another $6-8 in parking plus an hour or two of my time. There was also the time I spent making a summary of all the emails and phone calls I had made to present to the court. When I finally had my day in court where I requested summary judgment the property manager showed up. She told the judge they would reimburse me for the repairs and my court costs. He said he would dismiss it as soon as they paid, and they finally did a few days later.

Long story short. Fix it yourself. Getting satisfaction through the court system will rarely be worthwhile. I did get the satisfaction of making them pay up in the end, but it probably wasnít worth the hours of my time I devoted to the whole process plus the hassle of not being able to fully enjoy our back yard for a few months.

nexus

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 04:43:12 PM »
Thanks for the comments.

I guess the better, more realistic request is...
Are there any sort of California state tenant laws that'll perhaps "motivate" them into action if I bring it to their attention?

And yeah, I could buy my own or put up some cardboard but at this point it's more about the principle. They have maintenance guys on site and these asshats still won't do anything about it.

I have hammer. I have nails. I think the maintenance guys left the fragments of the board outside on the grass. I can nail them back and leave a bad review on yelp or rent.com or something I supppse.

nexus

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 05:00:18 PM »
Update:

Got off my rear end, walked outside, found the two pieces of the board and proceeded to nail them back to the fence. It's rotten and probably won't hold up very long, but at least I took some action and am not a total complainypants. I would have nailed more boards back to the top support beam but either
A. They wouldn't reach
Or
B. The wood is so rotten that trying to hammer in nails only breaks the brittle wood worse.

Photos...

https://ibb.co/bT8HzF
https://ibb.co/mivKDa
https://ibb.co/hJk86v

robartsd

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 05:25:45 PM »
Make sure you make the request for repair in writing and keep documentation of submitting it. You might want to also be sure your property owner knows about the issue if possible. Sometimes the property owner thinks the property management is doing a good job (checks keep coming in, no issues brought up), but is not aware of the deteriorating conditions of the property.

As the fence is not a required element, I don't think this problem fits in California's "Repair and Deduct" Law.

GuitarStv

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 06:02:31 PM »
My approach would be to fix it in the ugliest manner possible.  Get a ripped up old bedsheet from the dump and nail it over the offending area of the fence.  If the apartment office doesn't like the way it looks they'll be more motivated to fix it than they have been.

esq

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2017, 08:58:01 PM »
My approach would be to fix it in the ugliest manner possible.  Get a ripped up old bedsheet from the dump and nail it over the offending area of the fence.  If the apartment office doesn't like the way it looks they'll be more motivated to fix it than they have been.

Make sure it's stained and facing the street. Take pics. You can still do this over the repair you've done.

WildJager

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2017, 01:43:50 PM »
I chuckled a bit to myself about all these "stick it to the man" comments.

I get it, you're renting and theoretically the landlord should take care of their property.  But as is common with most people folks just don't take care of their stuff very well.  I agree with a previous poster in that the cost of the rental probably is in direct correlation with the quality.

My wife and I have taken the opposite attitude with the places we rent.  Leave the place better than we found it (to, you know, a reasonable degree).  We enjoy having fresh herbs from a garden, so every place we've been in we've built a standing garden out back.  We've built work benches in the garage for projects, then subsequently leave them for the next renter (since they're custom fit).  When piddly things break like a fence board, I just go out and fix it.  I'd rather spend a few bucks to enjoy my time in my home than dwell on the fact that my landlord sucks. 

Now with major issues, like the AC breaking or something, sure.  Compensation or rapid response is required by the landlord.  But a fence?  I'd say just fix it up and take satisfaction in the fact that you brought some good karma into the world.  Or just pay the few dollars less in next month's rent, making it explicitly clear why they're getting less than the full amount.  Maybe I've been lucky, but I've never had a landlord care if I did free labor for them and subtracted material costs for a project (assuming they didn't have the capacity to do it themselves, which in this case that's what it sounds like). 

nexus

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2017, 04:28:07 PM »
Just to clarify, this is a large, corporate sort of if business/property. Several hundred units. There's not the same sort of relationship one might find with the a person/family with a few rental units. This place has money, so I don't feel the moral urge to make this a better place. I fixed the fence with the cruddy broken planks they left outside my unit. I'm content now that people can't fee into my patio and living room.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Landlord won't fix patio fence
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2017, 06:46:22 PM »
Just to clarify, this is a large, corporate sort of if business/property. Several hundred units. There's not the same sort of relationship one might find with the a person/family with a few rental units. This place has money, so I don't feel the moral urge to make this a better place. I fixed the fence with the cruddy broken planks they left outside my unit. I'm content now that people can't fee into my patio and living room.

I think fixing it yourself was the overall best solution. Good job!