Anger Burger

Extreme Home Make-Under: Legal Threats Edition

Posted by Sunday on May 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

I’ve been trying to keep my trap shut, because in my experience, all internet roads lead home.  To put it another way: many years ago I had an anonymous work blog that was a minor hit.  I worked in a cafe, and since baristas are gossipy bitches by nature, before I knew it my stupid little Typepad blog was racking in some respectable stats.  By the end, coffee industry people on the East Coast knew about my blog, and Barista Magazine was contacting me, trying to dredge information.

Around that time I was coincidentally quitting the job and moving out of the state, so the ride was over, but for other reasons as well: I’d been found out.  Not that it was a well-kept secret or anything, but I heard through friends who still worked for the company that higher-ups had been told of my blog, and in particular, one training manager whom I had been particularly mean to.  It was complicated and double-edged; nothing I had said was untrue, and our employers really were (and are still) ill-focused, corporate-minded and petty and at the time I considered him to be one of them.  But that doesn’t excuse that I created a forum in which I could mock someone without recourse, someone who was also just trying to work at a career that they loved, in an environment that was difficult at best.

So of course, now he is the boss of the current coffee company of my choice, and the employer of one of my best friends, and now I see him several times a week as I stumble, blind with rage and sleepiness, to get my morning coffee on my way to work.  But I asked him for a meeting and apologized to him and now we say hello to each other but if I offered him half of a BFF pendant I’m certain he’d refuse it.

Why this long-ass story?  Because I have been debating deeply further discussing the issue that my new landlord has illegally kept us without a stove for now over five weeks.  He has, rather than hire a repair person, sent a part of the oven off to Canada for repair, only to be told several weeks later that they couldn’t, and then, this week, to acquire an even older stove off Craigslist, install it, and then discover that it too doesn’t work.  Not that I wanted it to, because it honestly would be the shittiest stove of any rental I’ve rented in my entire adult life of renting.

Broken stove #2 now sits on our porch, because we are now hillbillies.

There is so much I want to say about this here, but I keep reining myself in, thinking about the legalities.  What if we go to court with this guy?  Will my bitter name-calling be thrown back in my face?  Are we going to have to move again?  The sneaking thought keeps coming back.  Are we going to have to move again?  Can this guy really be so irrational and terrible that he won’t just replace the fucking oven with a reasonable one?  I’m tired of thinking about this.  I’m tired of not having my coping mechanisms available to me: I want to bake bread.  I want to roast vegetables.  I want to try the “hamburger” flavor you-bake pizza from Papa Murphy’s.  I want to make a pie with the rhubarb I had been so eagerly awaiting this spring, rhubarb which will now soon be gone from the markets.  I want to not be tricked by people.


May 12th, 2012 | Drama!

10 Responses to Extreme Home Make-Under: Legal Threats Edition

  1. Danabee says:

    In CA it’s largely a renter’s world. Landlords can’t get away with much if the tenants know their rights and are willing to fight for them. Not sure about WA. One thing’s for sure – if you don’t make a stand of some kind he will try this shit again. A leaky roof, a pest infestation, his cousin crashing for the weekend on your porch, whatever. I recommend cheerful (honey vs. vinegar) and quite firm right out of the gate. And be prepared to follow through with action.
    Sorry, Sunday. What a drag.

    • Sunday says:

      I’ve been cheerful, I’ve explained that I baking is how I deal with stress, I’ve been firm, I’ve been emotionless and commanding. None of it seems to have any effect. Washington has good laws protecting tenants, but like all legal stuff, if we go that route, we commit to it for the next few weeks, and it won’t be easy. It will be courthouse meetings and paperwork filed when Mike and I are already overworked trying to pay our fucking rent. Such a ridiculous loop.

  2. Darryl Icht says:

    I blew up my oven about 18 months ago. It took my asshole of a landlord about a year to replace it with an oven he got free on Craigslist.

    I limped by with an anemic toaster oven and a janky wok assembly i got at Goodwill. It sucked pretty bad. But I still managed to crank out some tasty foodstuffs.

    Conflict generally sucks unless you’re a guaranteed victor, Stand your ground!!

    • Sunday says:

      Thank you for the pep talk, but this whole experience has totally wiped all tolerance I have for being a tenant. I hate hate hate the feeling of being taken advantage of, and this house is otherwise so great. I wish he’d turn it over to a management service or something.

  3. nova says:

    Sometimes with people like that I find it helps if you take the initiative. Just be like “Hey if I find a relatively cheap new stove will you pay for it? I’ll do all the work, I just need your money.”

    • Sunday says:

      Oh, that was one of the first things I tried. I showed him links to brand new stoves as well as very new used ones (people totally discard great newer stoves for like $200 because they ‘upgraded’ to stainless steel) on Craigslist, offered to borrow my stepdad’s truck and pick it up if he’d just approve the cost of it. You know, we could deduct it from our rent, no big deal. We got a straight no to that. That’s when I started to understand that he’s irrational.

      • cupcake says:

        WOW, now that is totally irrational. I’m a land lord and if something breaks and my tenants offer to fix it if they can take it off the rent, my first reaction is YEA!! I don’t have to do it, just send me the receipt. I would hate to be with out an oven…my husband would hate for me not to have an oven.

  4. Kristina says:

    Sunday, don’t wish to take up a lot of space here, but, this kinda crap is how I earn a living. Email me and I’m happy to give you some pointers on dealing an irrational landlord.

  5. Kim says:

    I’m not sure how it works in your neck of the woods but in mine (Madison, WI) if you type up a letter stating your grievances to your landlord, have it officially notarized, and mail it then if after five days the problem is not resolved than you don’t pay rent for that month. Or any other until it is fixed. This landlord sounds cheap and lazy and being like that has obviously not solved anything. Still, I can top that story…one time in college our apartment for three people had NO BATHROOM for TWO WEEKS! No toilet, no sink, no shower. Naturally we steadfastly refused to pay rent at all that month.

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