Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm Thankful I Don't Own This Money Pit

The weekend after Christmas in 2008 my husband and I moved into our rental home in South Dakota. Why did we decide to rent? Well, we have learned from past experiences that you really should know a neighborhood before you choose to purchase a home there. We were so unfamiliar with the neighborhoods in Mitchell that we really felt it was best to rent a home and take our time deciding where we would like to buy. In the long run, this rental house has taught us quite a few lessons. I guess we should be thankful for that... Thankfully we did not choose to buy THIS house. That's where I will start with my thankfulness. Here is why we celebrate the fact that this is a rental house and not our own...

The first night were were in our home we noticed that the floor in the living room seemed awfully "bouncy" in one area. Rick went down into the basement to investigate and immediately called the landlord. One of the main floor joists was completely split. This was repaired about a week later. Repair is such a strong word.... the "contractor" screwed a board onto the joist covering the crack. He didn't run the board the whole length of the room, which would have been the right way to do it. But you have to understand, building and repair work is not done the same way in South Dakota as it is in Minnesota. In Minnesota things are done right. Things are repaired correctly or often completely replaced. The work we have seen in our year in South Dakota has somewhat resembled "band aid" fixes and shortcuts.

Two days after we moved in I tried to use the oven to make a quick Totino's Party Pizza. Just a quick lunch while we were unpacking and settling in, right? Nope. The oven would come up to temp then shut off. It would not turn back on unless I turned the temp up higher. It took an hour of switching back and forth from oven to broiler to cook a 15 minute pizza. The landlord had the appliance people come over the next day to look at it and they said they needed to order a part. 3 days later the landlord called and said he had to replace the whole stove. Another day later I had a newer stove. In the meantime I had to resort to doing all of our cooking on stove top or in the microwave. Well...that didn't work very well either. Every time I tried to turn the microwave on the circuit would trip. I figured there was too much "juice" coming out of that circuit so I rearranged my kitchen and moved the microwave to the other side of the kitchen. Reset the clock, set the time, hit start...tripped the breaker. I moved the microwave out into the dinning room, reset the clock, set the timer, hit start...tripped the breaker. My husband went down to turn all those breakers back on - I was in tears by now - and noticed that they were all HOT. Great... broken joists, bad electricity...can we just load the truck back up and move back home??? Well the electrician came 2 days later to investigate. Whoever installed the breakers - and the landlord said he had it all inspected before we moved in, Right.. - did not tighten the screws that held the wires in. The loose wires were arching and actually melted 2 of the circuit breakers. The breakers were replaced and ALL screws were tightened. We breathed a sigh of relief. Finally all the bugs were worked out and we could get on with our new life in South Dakota.

In the spring of 2009 we woke up early on a Saturday morning to the smell of sewer. Oh yes, a lovely porta-potty smell to greet you as you awaken...NOT. Rick went into the basement to find that sewer water - well, it wasn't all water... - was backing up the shower drain in the basement. Some idiot had built a shower over the only floor drain in the entire basement. Well, the plumber came right away and cleaned out the pipes to find lots and lots of tree roots in there since the house had been vacant for quite some time before we moved in. I gritted my teeth, got to mop and scrub sewage from the basement floor with no floor drain...fun.

All during the Spring and Summer of 2009 we battled a leaking roof. We knew there had been a leak in the past because when we moved in they had just replaced the sheetrock in the dinning room - horrible work and horrible painting, I must add. Typical SD construction work. We were under the impression that the leak had been fixed and this is why they were fixing the interior of the house. Well...it still leaked...actually it still leaks to this day. Every time it rained hard we called the landlord to report that the ceiling was leaking. He then would call this guy named Karl. Oh yes, Karl... Karl has been here at least 30 times to work on the roof. He arrives with a ladder and his trusty tube of silicone caulk. Yep, that's all he fixes with, silicone caulk. The leaks have gone from bad to horrible with the help of Karl and his super duper silicone work. The landlord kept telling me "If this doesn't fix it then I am calling another contractor." Yeah, if I had a dime for every time he said that... With the work that Karl has done the leak is no longer just in the dining room. It has now moved to the kitchen and bathroom. On a good day it will come pouring in thru the ceiling of the bathroom.


On January 9th of 2010, my husband and I discovered that there was black mold in our kitchen and bathroom from the roof that has been leaking since before we moved into our house. It's no wonder why I've had pneumonia 2 times in the past year. The landlord and his fix-it guy came in and tore it up and sprayed it down with bleach on January 18th. I still don't think they got all the mold out... The landlord said "Don't worry, Joy, we will clean up the mess." Well, it was never cleaned up until I did it myself. HOWEVER, this new development has finally pushed the landlord to seek our a REAL contractor. His name is Dave. Dave came in and looked everywhere and came up with some interested conclusions. "Everywhere Karl has shoved silicone caulk has been below the actual problem. The issues are higher up than that. Everywhere he has put this silicone caulk has just damed up a place for the water to drain away. That's why it's pouring into your bathroom and kitchen now. You also have an issue because of condensation due to little or no insulation in the attic." He brought the landlord over and showed him all the problems. The landlord called me last week and said that Dave would have a crew over in the next week to 2 weeks to fix the roof. The inside of the house cannot be fixed until the roof is fixed. My life cannot get back on track until my house is back together again. My kitchen and bathroom things are in boxes on my dining room table. My bathroom sink - by the way this is only the 1/2 bath off the kitchen, not our main bathroom - is sitting in my kitchen. I have included some pictures to show my belongings that had to be shoved into boxes and sent out to live in the dining room. I also have a picture of the chimney in the kitchen where they removed the paneling and just left it like that since January 18th. My bathroom is just a toilet, no shelves, no sink...oh yeah, I have a picture here of the sink in my kitchen...



I'm thankful I don't own this place...

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I completely forgot about the refrigerator that died and ruined 300 bucks worth of groceries and frozen meat. Then there was the 350 dollar gas bill because the house has not insulation and horrible leaking windows. The plumber melted our phone wires, that has had to be fixed 2 times. what else...my backyard is littered with nails and the occasional knife so my dogs can't use the backyard. There is so much corrosion in the waterheater that it plugs up the pipes every few months and the plumber has to come clean them out so we can take a shower in more than a dribble of water. I'll keep everyone posted on all the wonderful things we are experiencing with this money pit...

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