The Woes of Being a Tenant

We are really fortunate to live where we do.  I love the neighborhood, and the entire area really.  We rent a nice house located about 1000 yards from a beach access.  When we first looked at the house, I felt at home instantly.  Everything about the house was aesthetically pleasing.  It was evident that the home had been remodeled.  All the bathrooms were nicely updated, and the kitchen had been updated as well.  All the floors are tiled, there’s a big pool out back, and the yard is HUGE!  There were a few minor issues that we saw upon move in that needed some attention.  Some of the window screens are missing, there was a broken pane of glass (double-paned window), the sink faucet in the kitchen was missing a piece…mostly minor things.  We’ve been here now for two years, and just re-signed on for another year.  I feel like we’ve sometimes been a “pain in the butt” to the homeowner and to our property manager because it seems we are constantly calling because something needs to be fixed.

These are the things that have had to be fixed so far (that I can remember):

-A/C – TWICE!  The first time, a couple of estimates were done to try to “fix” the cause of no air flow to the west side of the house.  One estimate said the ducting system and the blower needed to be replaced, the second estimate said it needed to just be cleaned.  Guess who won the first time?  You guessed it!  The cheaper guy, who wanted to just clean out our unit.  By the way, cleaning the unit did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the performance of the A/C.  It wasn’t long before the other company was back out here to replace the blower in the A/C.  When that helped, but didn’t actually fix the issue, another company was out here removing all the insulation out of the attic, removing all the duct work, fixing all the electrical wiring in the attic, replacing the duct work, and then re-blowing in all new insulation.  Finally, we had some relief from this Florida heat!  And just in time since I was pregnant and summer was fast approaching.

Master Toilet – Whenever the “remodel” was done on this house, whoever installed the toilet didn’t actually anchor it to the floor.  Nice job.   We had a handyman come out and fix this issue.  This is something that my husband is fully capable of fixing, but…it’s not our house, not our responsibility.

Master Bathtub – Another goof on the remodel is that when the tub was installed, the electricity that causes the tub jets to run wasn’t put on a GFI.  You would think that common sense would tell you…bathroom = water = a NEED for a GFI outlet.  Pffftt.  Who cares about code or safety as long as you’re saving money!!  Cha ching!  Anyhow, a GFI was installed, but everytime we want to run the jets, my husband has to rig the tub to turn on, and then he has to come back to turn it off.  It’s certainly not user friendly as it should be.

Slider door screens – What is the point of having screens if you can’t open your doors and use them as they were intended?  All of the screens had massive holes in them.  These were eventually re-screened (during year 2).

Pool pump – This has had lots of work done to it.  So many times that I’ve lost track.  What needs to be done is the whole thing to be replaced, instead of just putting band-aids on the issue.  We also suspect that there is a big leakage problem, causing us to lose lots of water in the pool…thereby causing us to have to fill up the pool at LEAST once a week…thereby equaling a huge water bill every month.

Solar Pool Heater Panels – This has also been looked at several times.  Despite being “fixed”, the issue of it leaking still occurs.  We give up.  The pool water is currently about 100 degrees anyways, so I’ll worry about this later.

Irrigation System – In the words of the plumber that was JUST here, the whole system is a “hot mess”.  There are busted lines, many broken sprinkler heads, and the entire control panel is blown.  My husband has put several hours and at least a hundred bucks into attempting to fix it on his own because he does want the yard to look nice.  Everytime he’d get one head replaced, he discovered another busted.  Everytime he fixed an entire section of line, another one would bust.  He kept working on it until the control panel busted, then he gave up.  Why should we give a crap about the yard if the owner obviously doesn’t?  Don’t get me wrong, we still have the grass cut regularly by a landscaper, but that is ALL we will be doing to maintain the yard from now on.

1/2 Bath Toilet – About 6 weeks ago, I flushed this toilet and it just kept running.  And running.  We turned the water off to the toilet.  This is another fix that my husband could probably have managed on his own.  However, I think we are both just tired of fixing things, paying out of our pocket, etc.  Today, finally, a plumber arrived to fix the issue.  He says its fixed now.  I haven’t checked behind him yet.

Kitchen Sink Faucet – Just Thursday evening the faucet quit on us.  No water was coming out of the faucet.  None.  My husband worked on it a little to try to get some flow because we were told that nobody could come until Monday.  I called the property manager at 9 am on Friday morning, didn’t get a callback from a plumber until 2 pm (but didn’t get the message until 4 pm).  Apparently not having water in your kitchen isn’t deemed an “emergency”.  I guess when they have to unclog my bathtub drain because of all the food particles in it due to washing dishes in the tub won’t be considered an emergency either?

Cracks in the ceiling – I ALMOST forgot. But not quite.  When the attic was being re-insulated, the workers moving around in the attic caused several cracks in the ceiling drywall.  These were fixed at cost to the insulation company.  This was actually one of the quickest, no fuss fixes since we’ve been here.

Perimeter fence – This has also had to be fixed several times.  There’s nothing like letting your dogs out in the morning to do their business, then noticing about 15 minutes later that they’re not in your *fenced* backyard.  Our gate kept blowing open, despite being locked with a padlock.  I’d go running out the front door, only to look about a block down and see my dogs doing their boxer wiggles around some poor unsuspecting neighbor, out for their early morning walk or run.  This happened at least three times.  Sometimes it was due to the gate, other times it was due to the collapse of entire sections of fence.  This is what happens when your wooden fence gets old and rots.  This was “fixed” by a handyman (not a fence company) building new gates that can no longer be opened from the outside.  Also, the gate doesn’t stand up straight now…if a fence gate could be deemed bow-legged, this would be the one!

With any home, there are going to be things that need to be repaired.  Living here has shown us that there is always something!  With that being said, the up-side to being a tenant is that the financial responsibility of fixing these things isn’t on our shoulders.  Lucky us!  However, while we can live comfortably with a few missing screens and a single toilet out of three out of commission for six weeks, it’s hard to take pride in something when the owner doesn’t seem to.

One day, when Tommy and I decide where and what we want to buy for ourselves, we’ll look back at these days and laugh.  Or cry, all the while wishing that we had remained tenants forever!

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