Some things that I’ve talked about on this blog that I probably should have written about:
New Apartment — We are now living in a nice apartment community owned by a large rental company, a first for us in our nearly 10 years of marriage. The kind of place with a swimming pool, fitness center, and on-site playground. We’ve never rented from a large apartment community because of our credit problems and low-income (big companies tend to be pickier than small-time individual landlords), but those are finally sufficiently repaired to the point that this place said “yes” to us and offered us a lease within 7 hours of completion of our application. The apartment is 966 square feet and, between rent and utilities, probably costs us close to $1200 per month to live in. Our old apartment was just under 600 square feet and, between rent and utilities, cost $850 per month. Also came with a nightmare of a landlady who was awful to us (more on her in a second). Here is a floorplan of our new apartment:
We love that the master bedroom is connected to the bathroom. While we would love having a two-bathroom apartment even more, this is the next best thing. There are three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments in this complex, so if we aren’t ready to buy a house in a few years, we may upgrade to that instead.
The next best thing is that I plan to turn that “Eating Area” off of the kitchen into a mini-nursery. It’s where I am going to put the baby’s crib/changer combo, toys, etc. I’ve already painted it a nice, sage green and will blog more on that later.
So far the management has been great. Very prompt about repairs, very polite.
Former Landlady — We had all kinds of problems while we were living with our former landlady, which included:
- Failure to make repairs to the apartment. She never repaired anything no matter how many times we asked her. The cold water pipe under our bathroom sink burst in November 2012, leaving us with a sink that only ran hot water, which is a housing code violation, but she still wouldn’t repair it.
- Failure to pay her bills on time so that our Internet service was shut off repeatedly. “I don’t have the money,” “I didn’t get a bill this month!,” “Comcast lost my payment,” blah blah blah.
- Illegal rent hikes. She did this to us once (I was stupid and didn’t know Illinois law, so I paid it) then attempted to do it again in retribution for our attempts to make her aware of her past-due Comcast bill and get her to make repairs to the apartment.
- Harassing us to turn in rent on the 1st of the month as soon as possible, even though we had never paid it late. It was okay for her to be months behind on the Comcast, but if she didn’t have the rent check by 11 AM on the 1st, we’d be getting nagging texts reminding us what day of the month it was.
- General irritability and meanness. On the day of my amniocentesis, her gardener bizarrely left her lawnmower shoved into the hedges by our front door. She believed we had done it, so she sent us a text calling us “Mr. & Mrs. Philistine” and ordering us to remove the mower from her hedge. Ah yes, Philistine. Because only a truly cultured and refined woman would let her cable and Internet services get shut off due to non-payment four times in five months. And that’s just one example. She seemed to have no conception of what a professional landlord-tenant relationship should look like.
So, we turned over our keys and moved out on July 31st. She had new tenants lined up for August, but after holding the apartment for them without collecting a security deposit or first month’s rent (not smart), she managed to scare them off with her irritability and meanness. I then wrote to my divinity school, told them all of the things she had pulled with us, and urged them not to let her post listings with their off-campus housing division. I think it worked, because her listings were gone the next day, and so far it looks like she’s been unable to secure new tenants, to which I say “thank goodness.” That woman is not fit to be anyone’s landlord, no matter how cheap the rent is.
It’s been 36 days since we moved out and so far she hasn’t returned a dime of our $750 security deposit or sent us any claims for damages. I sent her a certified letter requesting the deposit back on Saturday. The post office attempted to deliver it on Tuesday and Wednesday, but she wasn’t there and they left her notice; I imagine she’s avoiding certified mail on purpose so that she can claim she had no idea I was trying to get in touch with her. I have a pretty good feeling that this is going to end up in small claims court.
Marriage — DH and I made the decision to stick together in late May, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. He did a poor job of helping me out with the move and since moving into the new apartment, has been extremely negligent of helping me with chores, all the while bringing in very poor money at work. He has finally agreed to look for a new job and is getting ready for a job interview this morning as I type this, but it upsets me that he wouldn’t do this six months ago when I first confronted him about how terribly his job was going. I’m just not sure how things are going to end up with us. I make more money than him, I do almost all of the chores, I take care of most of our daughter’s school, medical, social, and developmental needs, I’m finishing a master’s degree, I have a chapter for a book due at the end of the month, and I’m nearly 9 months pregnant, so it’s like… what exactly do you contribute to this relationship again? I try not to think about my marriage too much these days, because I read about how wonderful other women’s husbands are being to them while they’re pregnant, and it makes me feel sad that I’m so unsupported in this pregnancy. (And frankly, he wasn’t really there for me with the last pregnancy, either. Fool me twice, shame on me…)