The Joys of Renting: Bad moves, electrical nightmares and leaking basements

I love the neighbourhood we live in but the house itself is a nightmare. Its old and the only thing that has been updated since it was built was the upstairs bathroom. And that was a complete disaster. The house is large, 4 bedrooms, eat in kitchen and the basement has a half bath, rec room and storage/laundry room. When we saw the place, I loved it. It was dirty but the landlady was painting and renovating the bathroom so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad. A little elbow grease and it would be good as new.

The move itself was a nightmare, and to be honest, we should have run then and never looked back. The bathroom renovations weren’t complete. In fact the guy who was doing all the repairs and upgrades to the house got up and left in the middle of putting the shower together. The water was off, his tools and bathroom supplies were spread among the various rooms. We had to move all of his things out of the way before we could move in. It took us 3 days. And we were all broken.

The bathroom took three additional weeks to finish. It had to be gutted and redone. We took trips over to my in-laws for showers. We hassled the landlady to get it done. One of our roommates threatened to walk out. We couldn’t afford the place with just three of us.

There have been other problems since then. The hot water heater corroded and flooded the basement, one of the electrical outlets in our bedroom overloaded and almost started a fire and most recently the basement started leaking after a nasty downpour.

It happened a few weeks ago. On this particular day, we had a severe downpour, which while it didn’t last very long, flooded our backyard quite quickly. The water seeped in through the single rusted and corroded bolt holding the back yard stair to the house. Desperate to prevent a catastrophe which may have left us homeless, my husband and I rushed outside and dug a trench in the yard to lead the water away from the house. Admittedly, my husband did most of the work. The trench worked like a charm. Unfortunately, our backyard was uneven and all the clover, planted the previous year, that was coming through got pulled up. The giant trench bisected the yard and prevented us from getting in and out. A major issue when you are required to take garbage out to the curb using the backyard. 

The flooding and the giant trench in our yard made my husband decide to rearrange the patio stones to make it possible for us to use at least a portion of the yard, and to cover part of the trench. The redesign is lovely and lets us enjoy the backyard more than we were able to before the leaking. We picked up some patio chairs and now I enjoy my weekend morning tea outside. Unfortunately, hauling the garbage in and out of the backyard is still a major pain in the arse, as we need to pull the bins into and out of the trench to get out.

Unfortunately we rent (or maybe its a blessing considering how much needs to be fixed in this place). The landlady promised to fix the problem with water leaking into the basement but has yet to do anything about it. She’s a nice person and all but she’s slow to respond to repairs and emergencies, and only does the bare minimum maintenance on her house to keep up with the condo requirements.

We love the neighbourhood, love being close to major busing and a shopping mall, but to be honest, we can’t deal with the landlord anymore. While I do appreciate that she leaves us alone, she also doesn’t respond when we need her to. Its a tough decision. None of us want to move but at the same time we can’t deal with this anymore. I just hope our next place is better.

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