Saturday, April 26, 2008

Norse Rage

Ok, so once again I didn't really have a whole lot to worry about.

I think I just need to feel the anxiety and expect the worst, so that I don't go into it thinking it'll be really fun and easy. Just like our plane ride to Manchester. No biggie.

Liam only napped for me in the car on our drive through the hilly country in the beautiful town of Wales, and when he woke up in the car ten minutes from home he didn't stop crying until we got into the house. Tears had been streaming down his face. That was the hardest part of the day. That was it.

The big drama of yesterday was my research into tenants rights laws and finding that my landlords totally broke the law. Our heat hasn't been on in over a week, and it's April in Maine and even though we've had some beautiful and nice days, it's been constantly cold in our apartment, day and night. Because it's April in Maine!

I called the management office several times over the past week, leaving messages each time. Once I was told that the furnace has a sensor that shuts it off when it's warmer than 62 degrees outside, and that "someone will go over to reset it, sometimes it doesn't always kick back in." When it still wasn't happening I called again and was told the owner would call me back. When she didn't call me back I was told her husband was being sent over to check it out. It was still fa-fa-fa-REEZING in here.

Yesterday morning I was LIVID about it. Liam was shivering while he ate breakfast. I was PISSED. I called the office again, knowing that it was before business hours, but to leave a message. I said something along the lines of, "This is Nora, AGAIN, from [insert my address here] and I'm calling because the heat hasn't been on in at least a week and it's too cold in here. Not just for me but for my son, who needs to be warm. This situation has gone on too long and it needs to be resolved NOW. Call me." I called again after nine o'clock and left a similar message after my neighbor knocked on my door to ask if we were cold too and after I found online that by law, landlords must keep rental properties at a minimum of 68 degrees. The nights have been in the forties and fifties, so I knew it wasn't happening.

I called again. I left another message letting them know that I know the law and will pursue action if it is not upheld. No call back. I called again. This time it was after ten in the morning and I knew the office had to be open but no one was answering.

I decided to go to the office itself. The owners were sitting at the desk. The woman said, "Can I help you?

"Yes. We haven't had heat in our apartment for over a week and-"

She snorted and looked away from me. Her husband laughed. "That's because I shut off the furnace."

My head exploded. "It's too cold to not have the heat on right now."

He looked at Liam. "Yeah, I shut it off on April 15th. We usually do it May 1 but it's been warming up and we've spent a lot of money on heat this winter."

My composure, my purpose just disintegrated. I was so flabbergasted at his complete ignorance and lack of concern that I could barely think. I looked at Liam. "He's been freezing," I sputtered.

"Yeah, I didn't think of him. I should have thought of you guys having a baby. I'll turn it back on for you tonight. You know that your thermostat controls the building."

"But when there's no heat, that doesn't matter," I pointed out.

"Yeah, that's because I shut off the furnace!" he laughed again.

"I know. It's going to be on tonight?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'll go turn it on for you tonight."

I will note here that these owners are practically our neighbors. I know it's the same temperature in their house as it is in ours, so they should have known. I can guarantee they have used their own heat since April 15. I can guarantee that these idiots have been toasty in their pretty little Cape house down the street and laughing about how their tenants must be shivering as they sipped wine and feasted on roast lamb and potatoes.

I will also note that they were both avoiding eye contact with me.

I wanted to punch them really really hard in their stupid fecking faces. I wanted to grab their chins, make them look at me, and say, "Where's your heart, you beast? Where's your conscience, you stupid piece of shit? Would you let your own daughter freeze in her home? Turn on my [beeeeeeeeping beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep] heat NOW!"

I didn't. I was shaking too hard. I was too angry. I was walking the line between crying or being meanly sarcastic, neither of which would aid me in the situation.

After asking a couple more times to make sure that it would be warm later, and forgetting to get that in writing, I left. I slammed the door behind me, which I swear was an accident, and then I wondered if he'd change his mind if I went around slamming doors.

And it WAS still cold last night.

But we woke up to warm radiators. We woke up and the air did not bite us, did not keep us huddled in bed for warmth.

I am still pissed.

I am going to write a list of other things I need done to my apartment, things that have been minor nuisances since we moved in but I didn't want to be a nuisance of a tenant.

I am pretty much over that now.

When I go in to pay my May rent, I am going to give them a written list of when needs to be fixed, and deadlines to get them done. If they are going to be assholes, I will do my best to make sure they are at least doing their jobs, which I pay them to do. That's what I pay rent for: a safe and livable apartment.

And God help me, I will report them if they pull this shit again with the heat.


AndreAnna said...

Good for you! I would have been livid too!

In the meantime, could you get a small electric space heater? Because it is cold upstairs in our house int he winter no matter what we set the thermostat to, we bought a small heater for our daughter's room. It's one thing if I'm cold, but I won't let her be cold. Get an electric one, not a gas one and keep it in the middle of the room, away from any fabric and it's totally safe. We've been using ours for over a year. We just set it on 70 degrees and it automatically kicks in if the temp drops below that in her room.

If they're not permitted according to your rent agreement, tell them you'll remove it as soon as they make it warm enough for your son to sleep.

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails said...

Courtney document everything, every call, every face to face conversation, every message left. Just incase you need to take leagal action. I type it and email itto myself that way they are date and time stamped as well. Just cover all your bases. HTH.

Steph said...

I'd have been beyond livid and would still have turned them in! I hope it stays on and that they meet your demands!

Thanks for the suggestion on Half Price Books! We do indeed have one and I will be using it now.