My Apartment is Trying to Kill Me

September 22, 2011

I may have mentioned once or fifty times that getting an apartment with poor credit is not easy to do. It’s even more difficult to do when you have no co-signer.

This is how I came to be in my current apartment.

When I came to take a look at it the tenants at that time showed me around since they were still living there. I knew it wasn’t in great shape. I saw the chipped paint, the bad front steps, the older windows, the old cabinets in the kitchen. It wasn’t fabulous but the rent was cheap and the people currently renting it seemed like good people. I figured it couldn’t be that bad.

The first moment I stepped into the apartment on moving day, I got a bad feeling. Something gave me a bad vibe. It smelled musty and dirty. I noticed how bad the windows really were, they couldn’t even been opened and they were SO DIRTY! The range hood over the stove was so disgusting I didn’t even want to clean it, let alone cook under it. I noticed the warped floors. They were so bad, I started to get vertigo (I have an inner ear disorder called Meinere’s Disease, being unbalanced causes a lot of problems. Check out the Meinere’s Disease Wiki page for more info.). Walking into my bathroom, I saw things I hadn’t seen when I was here the first time. There was a hole in the bathroom floor and it smelled of mildew.

I sat and cried for an hour with my mom, she cried too. I couldn’t believe the things I missed when I first went through this place. Some of it was obvious, some of it had been hidden by the previous tenants and their belongings.

After the cry, I decided it was just going to take a lot of cleaning and a positive attitude but I could do this, I had to do this. I deserved to live in a crappy dump after what I’d done with my finances.

Hours upon hours were spent cleaning. Every time I moved to a new area to clean, I found new problems. My list of issues to bring up with the landlord was two pages long. Most of the things on that list were either health or safety issues. NONE of it was cosmetic.

It started raining one day and the spot on the ceiling that the previous tenants had told me was “just cosmetic,” was actually wet. It was dripping down the wall in what was supposed to be my boys’ room.

And then I started to get headaches. I felt nauseous and just all around crappy whenever I was in my apartment. One night it occurred to me that the ceiling in the bathroom most definitely had mold. And it was making me sick.

I contacted the landlord and the next day he called me back. His words were “I can’t get to it quick enough for your liking. I’ll let you out of the lease.”

Great! But in the meantime, I still had mold. He apparently wasn’t too concerned.

I spent a couple of hours wiping bleach on the ceiling in my bathroom and removed most of the mold. And it smelled so much better in my apartment.

However, problems with this place just keep popping up.

Windows couldn’t be opened. The sinks were so clogged up, it took an hour just to get the bathroom sink to a spot where it wouldn’t overflow while you were washing your hands. And the dirt, oh there was just so much dirt. I vacuumed cob webs out of the air vents that had to have been older than me.

And just tonight, I smelled gas. It’s coming from the gas fireplace. I’m not using it, I’d NEVER even consider using it. A closer inspection of this fireplace showed me a rag shoved into a hole in what I think is leading to the chimney. Pretty sure that’s not the way to deal with an old gas fireplace.

So tomorrow, I’ll be on the phone with the gas company and my landlord and it will be investigated before I spend another night in this place. Tonight, I’ll sleep with the windows open and the Carbon Monoxide detector on!

Luckily for me, I found a co-signer and a new apartment. A very nice, practically new, well taken care of apartment. I move in on October 15th.

I can’t wait for that day, hopefully my apartment doesn’t kill me before then.

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12 Responses to My Apartment is Trying to Kill Me

  1. Liz on September 22, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Financial stuff can really do you in. Even though my situation is a little different (I have had medical issues that have ruined my finances) I also can’t rent an apartment without a cosigner. It sucks because before I had to leave my full time job, I had perfect credit and had read a bunch of Suze Orman books and was on track. I don’t think you or anyone DESERVES to live in a place like that. The landlord has to be doing something illegal. Although it may cost money, maybe you should talk to an attorney. Even having to spend one night in that place isn’t fair to you regardless of how cheap it is. You could probably call the OSU law school and see if there is someone who would talk to you for free.


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on September 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      if he refunds the money for September’s rent, I’m not going to persue it personally but I do think I’m going to contact the city (after I have my check) and just suggest they take a visit to that place.


  2. Sara Broers on September 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Oh…I wish you well in your new place! It sounds like anything will be better than your current arrangements. Keep going, girlfriend…you’ve got a lot of fun things ahead of you. So proud of you taking the plunge to go back to school! And I do agree with Liz, call a local college/law school- I just saw a news story on how law students are helping a lot of people in tough situations, like you have found yourself in. Keep your chin up~ you are on the right path! I’m so excited to see where all of this takes you!


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on September 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Everytime I read a tweet or reply of yours Sara, I smile! Your encouragement makes me feel like I can fly! Thank you for being so supportive. I need a ringtone to play that says these exact sentiments, so I can play it daily!! Thank you again and again!!


  3. Andrea @MoneyMastered
    on September 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    OMG I am so glad to hear you are getting out of that place! I completely understand missing things when you’re looking at a house – I rented one that was in bad shape (nowhere NEAR that bad, but pretty gross) and I didn’t notice any of the grime when I did a walk-through.

    Thank goodness your landlord is letting you out of the lease – sounds like he didn’t have much choice since he could be SUED for letting the house get that bad!


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on September 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      I sure hope he remembers the suing part when he’s writing the check for my deposit and including September’s rent, as I requested. I’ll keep you posted!


  4. Travis @Debtchronicles on September 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

    WOW, Jessica, that’s an experience! One thing I would like to say is that nobody deserves to live in an apartment that threatens your health, no matter what you’ve done to your finances. One thing I’ve always admired about you is your ability to keep your head up and keep fighting no matter what.

    Tell us all about your new place when you get there!
    Travis @Debtchronicles recently posted..Sorry, School Fundraiser – You’re Not In My Budget!


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on September 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      First Travis, so sorry for not replying to you sooner, this post was sent to spam. grrr sometimes Akismet just doesn’t get it right!

      Thank you for the complliment. There have been so many times when I didn’t think I could keep my head up for even another second but then I look into the beautiful blue eyes of my boys and I know there’s just no option. They have kept me going and always will. I’m very lucky to have them.

      There will definitely be a complete post on the new place (probably with a Youtube video tour too) after I’ve moved in!! See you in a few days!!


  5. OUBad on September 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

    FYI, if you need to keep the mold away, don’t bother with a sponge or a mop. Wear old clothes, get a surgical mask and make sure the bathroom is clear of any clothes or linens and get a heavy duty spray bottle. Fill it with bleach water and spray the hell out of the walls, ceiling and floor. Turn on the vent and open up the windows if they’ll open. I’d also suggest keeping the door closed to keep kids/pets out of there.

    Also, I’d contact the city and/or state housing authority so this loser can’t rent to any other unsuspecting renters who don’t see problems on the initial walk-through. I would also check on what kinds of damages he should be required to pay you for the hassle you went through. I’d start here: as well as . This guy KNOWS he’s got mold and he’s choosing NOT to fix it. In the state of Iowa, if he doesn’t fix something detrimental to the health of the tenant within 24-48 hours, he can be liable for any and ALL medical expenses as well as relocation costs for said tenant. I’d be pissed as all hell, girl. Don’t let this clown get away with this with someone else.

    P.S. NOBODY deserves to live in a crappy dump, no matter how bad your credit or what you’ve done to your finances.


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on September 27, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks Melly! I sent him an email requesting September’s rent back as well as my deposit, if he fights it then so will I. If he sends me my check, then I’m only going to contact the city to make sure they check into it. I did let the leasing agent know that she should NOT rent that place out again, whether she listens to me or not, I have no idea. I’m bookmarking those links now. Thanks for looking those up!!


  6. homes in east cobb ga on October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    While reading your post, I thought I was in your situation. The way you describe everything seems to me that it’s the worst apartment ever.

    I’m just so curious why other people can stay longer in that area? I think they were already used to that kind of place that they can smell and see awful things almost everyday. Well, it’s good that you have escaped from that unpleasant apartment and found a new one.

    My only point is that the landlord should maintain the cleanliness of his property in order to have more tenants.



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