Friday, July 23, 2010

House update

The landlord was notified by the city on Wednesday of the violations here, and the first thing she did was go to Cody's mom's work trying to find her, claiming to be an old friend and trying to find his mom. His mom's co-worker wrote a statement we'll use in court. Kathy then came here, again with no notice, to tell us we have to move. State law prevents a landlord from taking retaliatory action for 180 days. Evicting for not paying rent isn't retaliatory, but we're paid up. We want to move anyway. We're tired of this crap. Her fix for not having smoke alarms here (state law says one in each bedroom plus any walkway) was to put an old one in the kitchen without a battery. We can't rely on her doing more than making patch-fixes to hide violations.

I got a couple abusive comments that I didn't publish calling me a bad mom for moving into a place with these violations. I'd like to address this. When we signed the lease, the landlord said everything would be fixed. Her brother-in-law didn't vacate until six days AFTER we we supposed to move in. We were standing outside with the U-Haul waiting for him to finally leave so we could start moving in. We were allowed in for minutes at a time in those six days to drop off my sewing machines and a few other things, sending the message to get the hell out. Finally, with the U-Haul, he got out, leaving the house smelling of cigarettes. Those minutes weren't enough time to go through and make sure everything was done. When we realized some of the problems when we had the time, it was too late to simply not move in. Where else were we supposed to go? Our apartment was vacant, the keys turned back in, no where to put out belongings. We had no viable choice but to move in and deal with the problems afterward.

Moving doesn't necessarily imply instability. It's not like we're couch-surfing, looking for a new place to sleep every few weeks, not knowing week to week where we'll be the next. We are in the same community, Cody has the same job, stable family, stable and strong relationship. We are far more stable than most Americans, and have no doubt about a roof over our heads. Our parenting should be questioned IF we were fine living in this house with its violations and no care about getting them fixed or getting out. I'm not crying over getting out. The music the landlord played when I was initially showed the place drowned out the traffic from the damned freeway that's literally about 50 feet from where I'm sitting. I can look to my left and see the freeway out the window. So fine, we'll leave. Forking out $2,300/mo (that's the total we're giving the landlord, $2,000 for rent and an additional $300 to keep piling onto the deposit) is too much, and we're suing for every penny of deposit back, some of the rent for the areas here we haven't been able to use or access, moving expenses, and punitive. We have a strong case, I think, and their band-aid fixes show their unwillingness to properly care for the place. C'mon, a smoke alarm without a battery, and not where one is legally required to be?

Funny how wanting a clean place to raise our daughter makes me a bad mom. :)

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