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Asbestos, part 5 (the Landlady from Hell)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Have you ever had an argument with your hubby about something which you are sure he is being stubborn and unreasonable, but there's nothing you can do to make him listen to reason...??? That was my Saturday night.

We've only had about five really upsetting disagreements since we've known each other (11-plus years). Neither Bob nor I ever really "let loose" and express ourselves angrily (yell, insult, etc); but I feel the emotion of it in my chest, stomach and head, so I've been feeling like a wrung-out dishrag...
Our landlady did give us a verbal release from our lease, as requested below, because of the "Asbestos Adventures." (Our apt was badly damaged in mid-June, and it will be weeks more before all the repairs are complete, as the living room and 2nd bedroom had to be stripped to the studs & floorboards.)
It only made sense, because we'd already given notice (because of a huge rent increase) that we'd be moving out in two months when the lease ends anyway (with the one month's notice we were giving, it was only one month off the lease).
What prompted us to want to leave immediately, we had found a PERFECT apt, great connection over the phone with the owner, very promising - but as soon as she saw us, her face just fell to the ground. What was it? My large size, my husband being Hispanic, me being handicapped... it doesn't matter how illegal this kind of prejudice is, there's little one can do in the real world to effect a solution.
When she started stringing us along, making us jump through hoops, and didn't answer my messages, we knew there was no point in pushing her to finish the application process. That didn't change the fact we want out now, so we kept looking.
Well, Saturday we found and were offered a beautiful place, right on the spot. We already had copies of rental apps and our credit reports on hand (thank you prejudiced apt owner!). I told the owner we liked it, but we'd have to talk in private about an important decision like that - we'd call her in a couple of hours to let her know.
Of course, I'm totally excited... you know how hard it is to find decent affordable housing in Los Angeles?! And it had all the amenities we BOTH wanted: two bedrooms (small, but workable), two bathrooms (not a deal-breaker, but nice to have), washer/dryer hook-ups (separate area off the hallway), huge kitchen and living room, and a garage. Not just any garage either (our town is notorious for no garages), but a four car garage. Yes, that's "four." Technically it's a two-car space, but the other tenants aren't using (or paying) for the other two spaces; so the owner said we could use all four, and that would only change if they as the owners wanted to use some of the extra space for storage. That means no more storage room charges! Even with it being on the second floor, I'm ready to move in: being up top also means a view to the harbor and a great ocean breeze.
And then my husband refuses to say "yes"! I mean, what were all those hours of looking at ads and calling (me), and driving around all about, if he was just going to say "NO"? Not "no" to that specific apt, but to moving at this time. Reason: he said he doesn't think the landlady will let us out of our lease.
I'm the one who talked to her, and there was no mistake that she agreed. It's only logical, right? We're already more than half packed up, with most of it in storage now. I was really getting angry - I think a lot of it was my husband didn't trust my capability to have a simple conservation with the landlady?
Then he did that "victim-martyr" thing, and said "go ahead {{{SIGH}}}, take the apt." Well, that sent me over the top... Obviously I can't just take it without his agreement. It's like having a baby together - you can't compromise on whether to have a child or not, just like we can't "find a middle ground" on whether we're moving into this apt.

So what did I do? I asked him - using an old method car salesmen use, but very effective for opening up communication - "what needs to happen for you to feel comfortable saying 'yes' to this apt?"
So... I called the landlady Sunday (my hubby's out of town) to confirm our conversation and ask for it in writing, and guess what??? She gave me all kinds of hassle. She wouldn't give me a direct answer to whether she'll fulfill her promise about the lease. She even said that "her friend" told her if we have ANY kind of access to our apartment, no matter how little, we can't withhold any rent; so she wants ALL the rent be paid for these months, and then she'll "reimburse" us the amount her insurance allows on her "lost income" claim. Oh, and don't forget the automatic $300 cleaning fee she's going to withhold from our security deposit, no matter how clean we leave the apt, even though half the apartment will be pristine and brand-new...
Luckily I lost the cell phone connection before I said anything rash, or she heard me break down into tears. When I calmed down, I called her back, asked her to reread the letters I'd sent her about the situation, and said we should talk tomorrow. (No, I haven't faced talking to her today.)
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  • no profile photo GRANNYSROSES
    I have had to deal with renters many times. Some as the renter and some as the landlady. I have found that there are very few places, especially apts. where they will ever give you back your deposit. But, then I have been on the other end where they left the place so filthy and still wanted all their money back. Most just moved out without any notice. Good luck to you, and hope you get the place you want.
    4228 days ago
  • JVFLA05
    I have to hand it to you - you are handling this extremely well. I'm sorry for all that you are going through right now with this woman. My daughter and I are firm believers in Karma and this woman will eventually reap what she has sown.

    Hang in there and be good to yourself.
    4245 days ago
    I am so sorry she is giving you such a hard time. Sounds like a person that does not care about anyone as long as she has HER money that is all that matters. I will keep you in my prayers.
    4247 days ago
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