I’m back in LA!
I’ve spent the past 4 years living about 50 yards west of the Santa Monica/LA border. It feels good to be back. Really, I only moved about a mile. I’ve been out here 6 years and I’ve always lived within a one mile radius of the West LA/Santa Monica line, except for those couple months I spent living on the floor in the Palms area.
Our last place was managed by Sullivan-Dituri, a nice real estate company that seems to manage every other building on the west side. If you see a bug, drain clog, or any other issue, they’re on top of it. Some guy will show up the next day and fix it and everything will be cool. Before you move in to a Sullivan-Dituri owned place, it’s repainted, floors redone, and maybe there’s even a new fridge. Great stuff, I miss those guys.
Our new place, while bigger and more private, is filthy. We’re renting it from an older Chinese couple that apparently kicked out the previous tenants. Upon initial inspection, the place seemed fine, if a little outdated color-wise. That was fine, this house is from the 40s and we were looking for a place where we could use our treadmill and where I could make a little recording studio without bothering the neighbors. It soon became apparent that our landlords had not felt the need to clean or have anything repaired. We realized pretty quickly that we were sharing our new place with an army of ants and some kind of monster/rodent that scratches at the other side of the wall in our bedroom closet.
The landlords, rather than hiring an exterminator, dropped off a case of Raid ant traps. We hired Maggy Maid to come in and clean. We figure these combined efforts would clear out anything that was attracting ants and make the kitchen appear clean enough so that the Mrs. and I would feel comfortable enough to cook.
After the Maggy Maid cleaners left, the place looked pretty much the same. I’m sure it was a lot cleaner, but the faded yellow bathroom tiles still gave it the impression of being dirty. We checked around to see if anything else needed cleaning, and apparently they neglected to clean around the refrigerator (the most disgusting refrigerator you have ever seen) as we found a half-full bottle of Budweiser full of ants and a chicken wing underneath. We told the landlords that we had found the probable source of our ant infestation but when we inquired about getting a new refrigerator, preferably one without a rusted out everything, we were told “We’ll keep an eye out for deals.”
So we went to Best Buy and bought one ourselves. Hey, now we own a fridge. The Best Buy delivery guy said he’d take the old refrigerator to recycling if we’d like, but our landlords made us hold onto it so they could donate it to their church. So, now someone at that church has the most disgusting refrigerator in LA and probably a full colony of ants to go with it.
Our spending started adding up.
$687.20 for the new fridge
$30.90 for contact paper to cover up the fugly kitchen tiles
$140.00 For Maggy Maids to disinfect the place
$35.40 for felt pieces to protect the floor from furniture
~$50.00: Raid, ant traps, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, sponges, brushes, lightbulbs, laundry detergent for multiple loads of rugs/cloths/clothes affected by leaking showers and sink
(Handy Renter Tip – Contact paper is great for covering up ugly tiles. We got ours on Amazon.)
(The Mrs. did all the work. I spent the afternoon playing Madden 13. Trust me, it’s better that way.)
The worst thing ever is moving and then moving again right away. We did that 4 years ago when we realized our apartment was connected to our neighbor by thin pieces of sheet metal in the heater and in the medicine cabinet. She talked a lot about her foot fungus. Also, the first time we turned on our TV, our downstairs neighbor came up to complain about the noise as her bedroom was directly below us. Both of these women were yoga instructors. That’s just an FYI.
After experiencing that drama, we were very interested in making this work (we still are.) However, we needed to look at our options. In our email communications with the landlord I quoted California Civil Code 1941.1 in order to let our landlords know that while we’re trying to make this new place work, we have a justifiable reason for breaking our lease should it come to that.
A dwelling also may be considered uninhabitable (unlivable) if it substantially lacks any of the following:
- Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
- Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
- Gas facilities in good working order.
- Heating facilities in good working order.
- An electric system, including lighting, wiring, and equipment, in good working order.
- Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances (for example, a garden or a detached garage), free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin.
- Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
- Floors, stairways, and railings in good repair.
Yesterday, a professional exterminator (as opposed to me running around socks-only with a bottle of Raid) stopped by and sprayed around the inside and the outside of our house. It’s been about 24 hours and so far no sign of any ants. I may have just jinxed it.
Today’s issue is mold spores in our toilet bowl. I have already begun my research on message boards and eHow, two resources that seem to only deliver bad and inaccurate news. Let’s see what Yahoo Answers has to say.
Now we’re treating this like our homeowner experiment. Luckily instead of this house being a fixer-upper, it’s a you-fixer-upper, which is easier and cheaper, but really it’s no fun having your landlords in your apartment every day. I am getting used to it though. Last Wednesday they spent the evening supervising a handyman while I sat in the living room nursing leftover Labor Day Tecates.
You can bet I’ll be hiding a half full can of Tecate when I eventually vacate this place.