This all started in August of 2012. I had just been dumped by the boyfriend that I lived with, and I suddenly found myself living at home again with my alcoholic mother. Fortunately, I quickly found a studio apartment in Salem MA available that allowed cats, and was within my budget. I don't even know where to start with the bad service, so I'm just gonna make a list of everything. For the record, the company I was renting from was called Fairmont Realty.
- To start, I don't know if this is really bad service, just more of a WTF, but the ad for the apartment was listed at $650/month, but when I viewed the apartment, the landlord just kind of off-handedly mentioned that "Oh, it's actually $660/month, not $650." Not really bad service, just more of like, why wouldn't you update your ad when you saw you made a mistake? I figured it was just $10 more/month, so I didn't make a big deal of it.
- The landlord was always late. The first time I went to view the apartment I sat outside the building for 20 minutes before she showed up. I was literally about to throw up my hands and walk away when she showed up, and like I said, I was desperate to get out of my parents' house so I stuck around hoping she'd show up soon. This actually happened twice, because the original unit she showed me, she ended up giving to someone else who applied for it, but had another unit available, so again she was roughly 15-20 minutes late when I came to view that apartment.
After I had already signed the lease and was trying to move my furniture in she was 40 minutes late showing up to give me the damn keys so I could get into the place, because she forgot the keys the day I signed the lease. I felt awful because my sister and her husband were helping me move, but they had plans for later that day, and the landlord wasn't answering her phone every time I tried calling to see where she was. No excuse any time she was late, she just showed up and acted like it was fine.
- As I said, I didn't get the first unit she showed me, but instead got a second one that was available. Because all the apartments were set up roughly the same, I didn't look too closely at the second unit she showed me, just kind of quickly glanced around to see that it was pretty much the same size as the previous one, and saw that it had a bigger kitchen area and said I'd take it. I was supposed to move in August 8th, but the landlord called to tell me that it wouldn't be available for two weeks because they needed to clean it. I thought two weeks was kind of a long time to clean an apartment that is literally one room and a tiny bathroom, but whatever. Two days later, she called me to tell me the apartment was ready to move in. Again, I thought, okay that's weird, she went from two weeks to two days, but whatever, desperate to move, I said fine.
The place was filthy. The day we moved my furniture in, we just kind of threw everything in there, and I came back the next day to start settling in, so I didn't noticed the filth immediately. I was walking around in the place in just socks, and the bottoms of my socks turned black with dust, the walk-in closet smelled like a litter box, there were Red Bull cans under the kitchen sink, and the tub just looked disgusting. I went out and bought a ton of cleaning supplies and attacked the place, meanwhile kicking myself that I didn't look closer at the cabinets and closet before I moved in. Landlord did not respond to any of my complaints. The litter box smell ended up being a problem for awhile because obviously a cat had lived there before and the owner didn't clean up after it, and it drove my cat mental. She would try all night to get into the closet because she could smell the other cat.
- The day I signed the lease the landlord forgot to bring a cat amendment clause, which is basically just a piece of paper I needed to sign letting them know I was bringing my cat, and that if they needed to enter the apartment and my cat got out, they would be at fault for anything that happened to her. She also forgot to bring my key to the basement so I could use the laundry room down there. I called her almost everyday for a month trying to get these things, and first she wouldn't answer because she was on vacation, then she answered and said she'd send her assistant over with everything, then she just stopped answering her phone when I called. I emailed her making her aware of my cat just to cover my own ass if she ever tried to claim I never told her about having a cat. The entire year and a half I lived there I never received my key to the basement.
- The window into my bathroom wouldn't lock. It locked when I first moved in, but then on a hot day this past summer I opened it to get some air flow in the place, and when I closed it at night, even though I could the lock into the locked position, I could still open the window. This freaked me out because the fire escape was right outside that window, so anyone could have walked up there, opened the window, and entered the apartment. Again, called the landlord a bunch of times, got promises that maintenance would fix it, and it never got fixed. I ended up jamming cardboard into the window frame so that it couldn't open past a certain point, and there would be no way for a person to fit through it. The building was not in a good neighborhood; there were a lot of fights outside and shady characters around, and one of the first times my current boyfriend came over someone was being arrested in the alley between my building and the one next door, so that's why this freaked me out so much.
- Again, not sure if I can consider this bad service, but just a WTF again. Heat was included in the rent as the heat for the building ran on one boiler, and there was no way to control the heat from the individual apartments. The first winter I was there the heat was constantly cranked. I could comfortably walk around my apartment in shorts and a tank top during blizzard weather. Not a huge deal as I could just pop open a window and cool the place down, but it sucked for sleeping because it would just be too hot to get comfortable in bed. This past winter it was the complete opposite; the heat was barely on, and this winter was a hell of a lot colder than the previous year. I make hand stitched patches to sell, and my hands would get so cold that I couldn't sew some nights. I get it that oil heat is expensive and not energy efficient, but it was just ridiculous. I heard other tenants complain, so I know it wasn't just me being grouchy.
- The hot water in the building was inconsistent and often rusty. Two days in a row this past fall there was no hot water at all. In order to bathe I ended up filling the tub halfway with cold water, then boiling water and adding that to it to make it a comfortable temperature. And as I said a lot of times the hot water would be rusty, but only the hot water. It sucked getting up in the morning, starting the shower, then seeing red, dirty water come out of the spout. I never drank water from the tap there no matter what anyone told me because it just seemed dirty.
- This is another one I'm not sure is bad service or not. The law in my state is that a landlord must give a tenant 24 hours before entering there apartment. I got a notice on my door late one evening that MAYBE they would be entering my apartment within the next week sometime. I...didn't know if it was exactly legal, because they 1) Did not give me 24 hours notice, and 2) Did not give me a specific date or time of when they might enter the apartment. It was bizarre. I don't even remember what the reason for entering the apartment was for, just that it wasn't about anything I had complained about, it was some kind of building inspection thing.
Anyway, I did talk to my friend who was going to law school at the time about it, and she showed the notice to some people she knew who said that it was a weird kind of gray area thing, where the landlord was technically giving me 24 hours notice, but that yes, they are supposed to give a specific time and date, but if I tried claiming they didn't give me proper notice, they could claim they could. Ugh, it was so frustrating. I just ended up hiding anything of value I had because I had no idea who was coming into the place, and when they were coming. Also, I was freaked out about my cat getting out because she liked to try to dart out whenever I came home, and since I had never gotten the paperwork to sign, I didn't know if these people were even aware she was in there.
- Christmas Eve this year I woke up to the sound of dripping water. Thinking it was just raining out, I went back to sleep. An hour later I woke up again, and realized, wow that water sounds really close to my head...Got out of bed and the ceiling in my closet was leaking, as were the walls and ceiling in my bathroom. I freaked out because the closet is where I keep all my canvas and sewing supplies, and clothes, but fortunately I got everything out before anything got damaged Panicked, I went running upstairs to the tenant above me to see WTF was going on, and it turned out her toilet had overflowed. EW. I told her call maintenance immediately because there was water all over my bathroom. Half hour later maintenance showed up, took a look around, assured me the water wasn't dirty, and that they'd be back after the holidays to clean. That was fine with me because I was leaving that day for a week, but guess who never showed up after the holidays, and guess who never answered her phone when I demanded my damn bathroom be cleaned.
I don't know how long the girl's toilet had been leaking, but apparently it was long enough for all the paint on the ceiling to peel, two little water bubbles formed on the wall behind my toilet, and a huge one formed on the wall above my shower head. The two little ones drained on their own into the wall I guess, but you could still see where they had been, but I had to drain the large one myself because no one showed up to, and I was worried what would happen if I didn't. The light fixture in the bathroom filled to the brim with water, and since I didn't notice the water in it, when I tried to turn the light on the bulb blew out. I didn't realize it was full of water until I tried to take the fixture down to change the bulb. The fixture was set into the ceiling weird, and I couldn't get it down. My boyfriend ended up being able to get it down about a week later and drain it and change the bulb, but by that time half the water had absorbed into the ceiling and turned the paint a nasty orange color around the fixture. I took photos of all this, and documented it to again, cover my ass if they tried to claim I damaged anything.
- Last month I decided enough was enough, and it was time to move out. My lease had ended so I was living month to month at that point, so my boyfriend and I talked about me moving in with him, and I emailed me landlord and gave her a move out date of March 15th, giving her one month notice. Since I had paid first and last month's rent when I moved in, she told me not worry about February's rent, and the two weeks in March would be covered too. Fine, works for me, more money in my pocket. I had this in an email thank god, because March 5th, I woke up, went to start the shower, and my hot water's turned off. Like completely turned off, nothing coming out of the faucets. I checked the hot water in the kitchen and bathroom sink, and same thing. WTF! I ended up having to bathe in freezing cold water that day because I didn't have time to warm any on the stove because I had to get to work. I called landlord later and asked her why the hot water was turned off, and informed her that it is absolutely illegal to turn off a tenant's hot water. She tells me she assumed that I had moved out already. I don't know why because I had two weeks left to live there, and had email proof that she agreed on the move out date I gave her, and she told me everything was all set for me to live there until then. Of course, she tells me the water will be turned back on. It wasn't.
Fortunately, I had already moved a majority of my stuff to my boyfriend's place, so I just started living with him a little earlier than planned. This past Saturday we moved the rest of my stuff out, and while we were there just out of curiosity I turned the hot water faucet on in the bathroom. Dark, brown water came out, and it was cold. Yup, no regrets leaving that place.
Edited to add: The freezer in the place never worked correctly. It seemed like it was constantly defrosting and refreezing. Bags of frozen veggies would always turned to bags of ice with veggies stuck in it because of this, ice cream never froze properly, and I'd fill ice cube trays to the brim, only later to find them half full, so I don't know if this is because the ice would melt just enough to evaporate or something. All my other food would always be freezer burned. I didn't open the freezer often, so I know it's not because I was always opening and closing it. Again, landlord did nothing about it, sent no one over to check it. The only time she ever responded to anything was the bathroom leak, and I think that's only because their property would be damaged if they didn't do something about it.
So that's the story of what I had dealt with the past year. It's so good to vent, and if anyone knows somewhere I can review this company and warn other people I'd really appreciate it. I don't want someone else to have to deal with this place.