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Old 06-25-2009, 10:23 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,153 times
Reputation: 10

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Greetings,

I live in Iowa. One morning this week, I was awaken by a knock at the door. I stood up out of bed and was in my underwear. I began walking to the door to see who it was. Before I made it halfway to the door, my landlord entered my apartment and announced herself as "Office!" I said "Now is not a good time!" and she said she was investigating a foul odor in the hall but it's obviously not my aptartment and exited immediately.

I was very embarrassed to have been seen in my underwear and I called, left a voice mail, then wrote a complaint letter. I explained the incident and my embarrassment, requested that my complaint be acknowledged, asked for a response, quoted the ACCESS section of my lease, and tried to argue that a smell, other than smoke or poisonous gas, was no cause for emergency to enter my apartment.

I received a letter in response. The letter reads:

"I am writing this letter as a response to your complaint of yesterday's entry into your apartment. Although you may not have realized it, there was an emergency situation that did occur that prompted yesterday's investigation into people's apartments, and as stated in the lease 'the landlord may enter the Unit without Tenant's consent in case of emergency.' Fortunately, the worse case scenario, which would have been a death in the building, was proved not to be the case, but there was enough evidence to support an emergency search of the apartments to find out.

I apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused you, but it was considered an emergency and necessary. I did knock three times as you said on your voicemail and did announce my entry into your apartment, which is standard procedure. Please call XXXXXXX if you have any questions.

Thank you"




We're not in agreement that there was any emergency. I did check out the smell in the hall after she left. It did kind of smell like a dead animal in the hall. I imagine there was something dead in the ceiling tiles (like a mouse) or in the laundry room.

Do you suppose that this really could be considered an emergency? The smell of death? I live alone. I'm a healthy young male. I don't imagine she had any reason to suspect that I had died or that anyone in my apartment had died other than proximity to the source of the odor.

Please guide me in my response.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:06 PM
 
Location: 39 20' 59"N / 75 30' 53"W
12,024 posts, read 12,381,399 times
Reputation: 13428
Unusual and unexpected things do occur. It's been quite some time ago, my neighbor across the hall died in the apartment, so things like this do happen, a tenants pet? They have to investigate. If it's never happened before, maybe you could give them the benefit of the doubt, really she's probably as embarassed as you are.

I remember there was another complaint similiar to yours a couple months back. My suggestion would be to go to Lowes or Home Depot, purchase a chain link to put on the door when you are home. You'll need to get the approval of your property manager, bc it is considered an alteration to the premises. Make sure you get the approval in writing,[copy for yourself too] so that at a later time you don't get a violation letter.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:27 PM
 
850 posts, read 2,812,098 times
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I can understand your feelings, especially being in your underwear and all, but they acted legally and professionally. A foul odor is unfortunately a problem that presents itself in a large multifamily community every so often and yes, it is considered an emergency and needs to be dealt with immediately when it is noticed. I myself have had to check them out. Trust me, it's no fun for the manager either. But when there's an odor like that, you have a responsibility to protect your residents and determine the source immediately. I don't want to get into the "whys" as some are a bit graphic, but it does become a public health concern as well as a safety concern and if a manager ignores it once she knows, then she's becoming negligent.

I think they way she handled it was perfect. Knocking 3 times and announcing yourself as management is the proper procedure for entering an occupied unit. I also think her response to you was completely professional and appropriate. I also like that she left the lines of communication open by leaving her phone number and inviting you to call with any questions.

The chain idea is hit or miss-some communities allow them and some don't. We actually had second privacy deadbolts in all of our units so if a resident was home, they could have it deadbolted from the inside and no one could get in from the outside. If your community will allow a chain, I say go for it for that extra peace of mind.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:25 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,153 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you for your replies! I appreciate it much.
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Old 06-26-2009, 03:04 AM
 
Location: GLAMA
16,587 posts, read 20,162,906 times
Reputation: 16110
Keep in mind, what happens to a dead body inside an apartment... the liquids and odor attendant to the process of decomposition can result in clean up costs well into the 4 figures, and more. Especially if it happens on an upper floor near a wall, if you get my drift.

Thorough investigation on the part of management is understandable.
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
15,782 posts, read 14,021,583 times
Reputation: 12958
I would be upset at being seen in my underwear too and would probably have argued with them but I agree with the others that what they did was necessary; if someone says "it smells like a dead body in the hallway" and also "have you seen the guy in #102 recently?", 1 + 1 is added to make 2, and they start sniffing around to see what the source of the odor is because if they ignore it and there actually IS a dead body rotting in #102, there will be hell to pay later.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,237 posts, read 26,804,402 times
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The smell could also be explained by a "health and wellness" violation. Can you imagine going into an apartment, and finding dirty plates with food rotting on them just piled on a counter? Can you imagine a place so filled with "stuff" that it's hard even to get around in them? Have you ever experienced the joy of entering a *hoarder's* residence and having some odor sicken you? When I lived at the trailer park, I did a bit of maintenance for the landlord...and all I asked for was the cost of the parts used, if any. I didn't ask anything for my "time". Anyway, I was supposed to go into this place a few times to effect repairs, and each time I entered it, my gorge rose. I didn't say anything about it to the landlord, but that wasn't a good environment for me or the tenant to be in.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,472 posts, read 10,626,082 times
Reputation: 4855
I also think this was justified. Obviously someone complained about the smell. A death smell is one that has to be checked out.
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:04 AM
 
42,285 posts, read 46,085,939 times
Reputation: 13159
Sounds to me like you got a excuse for the landlord to enter. As if it were a emergency. I would check with other s and oif she didn;t do teh same then the smell was a excuse and I';d bring it to her attention. Ask that shye call first next time or schedule any other entries as it was not a emergency.If hse had a death smell she certainly would ahve called the police as they would not ant her to enetr without them.Check the ladloard teneant laws in your state most have a emergwency but smeel doesn't quailfy unloess its smke etc; But then she would ahvce called the fire dept. first.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:19 PM
 
901 posts, read 1,819,539 times
Reputation: 536
Something similar happened to me. My apartment flooded and it was leaking into other apartments. My bf and I were asleep. My bf ran and opened the door because he heard knocking. I was wearing earplugs, so I did not hear anything. When my bf ran to open the door, I followed him. He let in the maintenace worker. Well, I had on nothing but a pair of panties. I was mortified that he saw me wearing next to nothing.

In reality, I know I'm not the only woman the maintenace worker has ever seen naked. He got over it and so did I.

I have a deadbolt lock installed. The LL and maintenance workers cannot just enter without my permission because they don't have the key. I would never want to be in a situation that the LL or other worker could enter without my permission.
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