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In slightly more detail

Well. I'm in a coffeeshop with wifi and can type on my computer again.

So here's what I learned from the former occupant. She and her family had lived in the apartment unit for a total of five years. In the last year, the ceiling collapsed in the small front bedroom because of water leaking in off of the second-floor balcony. Apparently the landlord took months to even start dealing with the problem. He installed an awning over the second-floor balcony, which now diverts water away from the front bedroom.

In the meantime, she said they also started experiencing leaks in the main bedroom, and in a back closet off the rear porch. She said she wouldn't store anything in that closet if she were me. Advice I'll heed - a benefit of not having all that much stuff. She also said the rent got raised by $200 between the time she moved out and the time I moved in, but I'm not overly surprised - it is a reasonable rate for a two-bedroom unit in that neighborhood. But not a two-bedroom unit with ongoing issues.

My friend DM and her husband moved into a top-story apartment in Washington DC that was exceptionally cheap because of ongoing issues with a leaking roof. I don't remember the details of apartment ownership for their place, but in the time they have lived there the owners managed to scrape together the funds to do a full roof replacement. Still, their hallway smells similarly dank, and they observed some interesting changes to the structural integrity of their walls. And their rent was pretty cheap as a compromise.

There's a big part of me that still wants to make the space work. I spent a bit more time chatting with the next-door neighbors last night, who are also planning on staying until the end of July, and they seem like great neighbors. The guy who lives on the top floor (the only other occupant at the moment) is the brother of the woman who used to live in my unit, and the woman who lived in my unit sounded sincerely regretful of the need to move out. She said her husband's best friend used to live in the apartment next door where the three women now live. That was part of the overall attraction of the place to me - some nearby neighbors, for safety's sake, but not a huge and anonymous apartment building.

The back-alley neighbor is a gem. I introduced myself to her while trying to get the moving truck unstuck in order to ask if she had anything that might help. She didn't, but invited me over for tea, and said she'd been living in her apartment for somewhere around 20 years. It's reassuring to know of a long-term neighbor. She was also friends with my unit's former occupant.

I just wish the landlord were straightforward. The upstairs neighbor gave me a working key to my apartment, after I had asked the manager about whether they had changed locks between occupants. The maintenance man went ahead and changed the locks yesterday, but that's a backwards method of addressing the concern.

After yesterday's bleaching, I can't seem to smell the bleach anymore, but I could still smell the faint gas odor and the lingering rotten-milk mildew smell. Given that the issues stem from ceiling problems, I don't know how successful I'll be at reducing the mildew smell.

I also have this feeling that my first month's electrical bill is going to be insane. The stove is the only gas appliance - the heat's electric. Once I've finished bleaching the front bedroom, I think I'll close it off until spring.



( 4 remarks — Remark )
Feb. 11th, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC)
Open the windows and air out the place. When we lived in an old house, leaving it closed for a week when we were away would usually cause the place to smell. Leaving them open for a couple of hours helped. Of course, I have no clue what the temperature is like where you are right now.

Several people where I live have had issues where they have had to move out of places within a month or two because their house was making them sick due to mold that was growing due to the flood a couple of years ago. Some people are building really big houses in areas that were affected by the flood. This does not seem like a smart move.
Feb. 11th, 2015 05:48 pm (UTC)
It's supposed to get down to 9 degrees tonight, which adds to the fresh-air challenge.

A friend of mine sent along this link, which is partly helpful (and entertaining, to boot):

At this point, I'm going to wind up doing a 1-2 punch, first bleaching things to deactivate any residual insecticide, then vinegar to make things less hospitable to mold/mildew.

I also sucked it up and bought an air filter on day 2 of staying in the house. It keeps at least one room tolerable.

Apparently the previous occupant had to get the Health Department involved in forcing the landlord to act (health code violation), but she was here much longer than me and was of the opinion that I'd be okay for the 6 months I plan on being here.
Feb. 11th, 2015 06:09 pm (UTC)
wow, i don't think this was covered in the checklist i sent you! sorry!!!!
Feb. 11th, 2015 06:55 pm (UTC)
I know, right? It's insane on a scale that was hard to anticipate, but you'd better believe I've updated my list of questions accordingly.
( 4 remarks — Remark )

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