TPFKAA, from comments at VREAA, 22 to 24 Dec 2010:
“Our previous landlord increased rent because he had miscalculated property taxes. Massive assessment forced his payments into greater than rental income, and he tried to ask us to pay voluntarily a 15% increase so the rent would cover the taxes. He raised three years in a row by max allowable until we had had enough. Then he sold for a $400K profit, minus costs.
When we moved in to our current rental three years ago, I brought some raspberry plants (the kids love eating raspberries fresh off the plant) that we had planted, from our previous rental. The neighbour saw me and looked amazed. She said: “oh, I have never known renters[in italics] to put in any money”. the way she said it was as though “renters” were another species, quite distinct from their human, homeowning neighbours. Persistently, these neighbours place their garbage and garden cuttings over on our side of the property line, so as not to sully their beautiful, OWNED garden. (We maintain ours with 30+ hours of tending a month). They also treat the front of our house as their parking spot. Granted, they have been there 17 + years to our 3, but still…. I can’t help thinking that if we weren’t mere “renters” this would happen less.
[Current rental experience] in roughly chronological order:
Crackhead tenant in other suite steals our things the week we moved in, and soon gets evicted, Accuses us of ruining her life, and threatens our child with abduction. Strange men had been visiting her all hours of the day, and the sickly smell of crack smoke coming through the vents caused me to tape bags over all the heater vents. Lucky it was summer. This is an upscale Burnaby neighbourhood with 1m houses all around. She and associates came back to ransack carporch and break in to our car twice more before, like the mice, she disappeared. I sealed up carporch to make into complete garage, landlord donated materials that were already here and paid for the rest. no compensation for stolen property. I lectured landlord on not giving us any notice of his obvious concerns about this tenant, who had moved in two months prior to us.
I notice door is broken from attempted break in, soon after we move in. I fix with wood glue and clamps and screws.
My father in law spends 30+ hours per month (its more like 40+ hrs per week in summer, no exaggeration) landscaping and tending the garden. Landlord pays $50 per month + a couple hundred on materials, which is fair enough by him, no complaints about this behaviour as I guess he could just go back to getting a guy to hit it with a petrol strimmer once a month to whack the weeds down as he used to before us. I am sure it adds something to equity, though; the neighbours are so pleased that they don’t live next to weedy wasteland any more.
Our shower leaked through the floor for three months before the landlord finally came to repair, himself. Leaked again after two weeks, landlord (more accurately his brother, but they are interchangeable) came a month later. It still drips. There is a huge fungus/mold patch in the laundry room wall where the water went, and a hole in the ceiling where he fixed it. The beam holding the ceiling is rotted and green with fungus.
Every few months people knock on the door and tell us that the gutters are overflowing with leaves and totally blocked. Landlord doesn’t care.
Other shower leaks through the tap so barely any flow makes it up to the shower head… landlord promised to come back. asked him four times before giving up. Three years later, still leaks the same way. Father in law just showers in the meager flow.
Tap handles dropped off in other shower. I just bough replacements from home depot. Shower dripped for a year before drip turned into pour. (had long since given up on landlord coming). Had to shut off mains at midnight, open it up and put washer in backwards to stem flow overnight. Next day, mains off, trip to Rona with stem and washer, come back and replace. How lucky is the landlord that I own a 7/8ths socket?? a plumber outcall at midnight is what my wife would have done.
We have mice. I bought traps and battled them for a year, killed around 35. mice disappeared. came back this winter. I bought more traps. landlord no intention of getting pest control. Still spend hours each week trying to catch one. landlord paid for traps.
Deck stairs rotted and last two steps collapsed. We step down gingerly. One year already.
Oven part of gas stove failed. Repairman said 420 in parts to repair. Landlord told us he did not want to pay for a gas range, we tell him we prefer gas. He planned to buy cheapest electric replacement he could find ($340). waited several days, then, last week he tells me he was too busy, so maybe next week? I said wife wants to bake for christmas. He says ok, will you come and help me carry one from other rental property. I donate 4 hours of my time. We carry stove here, carry old one out. New stove doesn’t fit. We have to move all food out of kitchen, tape up cupboards, cover everything with sheets so he can cut the countertop.
After all this, and several other repairs I can’t remember, I blow my fuse finally and ask him to reduce the rent by $25 a month (off $1800, or $2600 including other suite). He initially thinks I have asked him for a one-off payment of $25 and agrees readily. Once the confusion is resolved he gets angry and thinks I am blackmailing him. we have an argument for about an hour before he agrees to try it; in return I will maintain the house to whatever extent I can.
On the flip side, he doesn’t bother us much with inspections or busybody nosiness… that’s a good feature. He is a nice guy, but I can’t stand his save-every-cent-I-can attitude. I believe he is either ignorant (unlikely) or just anticipates land value only, tear down and rebuild, so won’t invest anything in maintenance if he can avoid it. He tells me that I am the first tenant that complained about having to fix stuff ourselves. He says that his other tenants are very happy to just hand him receipts for “whatever needs to be fixed that they fix”. Of course, I am happy to save himself and myself some money too, if I can take care of the repair myself, but I told him it’s only fair he share the savings. I suppose we could pressure him to fix stuff, but he could just raise the rent by maximum allowed every year as our previous landlord did, but then we will be forced to leave. He has increased it once by the maximum in three years, so keeping pace with inflation.”
[cited in ‘Renters’ side-bar]