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Old 02-13-2008, 08:02 AM
 
4,075 posts, read 6,417,506 times
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I retired several year ago and I was a home owner. Some of the chores around the house were getting a little burdensome and hiring people to do those jobs were getting a little expensive. I thought I would try renting. The cost looked good so why not? I found out "why not" the hard way.
I sold my home and moved to a town home rental. Upon moving in I found I did not have a sufficient flow of hot water. Every time the water pressure went down I had no hot water at all. I could only shower or do wash when the water pressure was up. I complained and complained for five months until I finally threatened legal action. The management sent a plumber who removed a flow restrictor from the pipes and I finally had hot water. I asked him why the restrictor was in the pipes and he told me it is common practice for rental properties to do that to ensure the tenant does not run out of hot water.
During the same period my front door lock broke. I reported and the manager came over, checked it out, and said she would send a maintenance man over. He never came that night. I had no way to lock my front door overnight and into the next day. About noon I spotted the maintenance man and I asked him about the lock. He said he was never told about the lock.
He immediate went back to his shop and brought a new lock over and installed in 15 minutes.
This management enters my town home when I am not at home even though I am retired and home most of the time. I complained about this but they tell me it is in the lease. After re-reading the lease they are right. They put a clause in the lease that state they can have entry anytime. I talked to an attorney about this and she told me this it is against the law for them to include this clause, but if I were to fight it would cost me money. She suggested I just run the lease out and leave. A sorry solution for a senior in my opinion. BTW, before signing the lease I requested a copy which was never delivered and telling me it was a standard lease. I finally got to see the lease on the day of signing with all my possessions on a moving van. I had little choice at that point.
This town home of 950SF has a heat pump just like my old home with 1450SF. The highest electric bill I ever had for my home was 1400 kilowatt hours. In this rented town home my electric usage is up around 1700 kilowatt hours. The management has no explanation.
I thought moving to a rental would make my life easier but it did just the opposite. I find myself aggregated most of the time over unresolved issues.
If it were my home I would fix the problems or bring someone in to fix them.
I have learned my lesson and will be buying another home as soon as this lease runs out.
I hope this post may save some one a lot of grief. However, I do realize that there are some who have no choice.
Don
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:32 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 12,050,067 times
Reputation: 2141
There must be better landlords. Unfortunately it can be hard to know until you are moved in. At least you are in a position to choose between renting and buying.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 26,205,335 times
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Not all apartment and townhomes are alike - so I wouldn't make the generalization that you have.

In Florida the price of home insurance and real estate tax alone can pretty much pay a large chunk of my annual rental expenses.

Retirees have to weigh a lot of the overhead of owning a home vs. renting. I wouldn't make a decision based on your lone example of having poor management of an apartment/town home complex.

Some houses take a lot of time/energy to maintain - repairs and yardwork included.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,886,109 times
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A condominium might have been a better choice. You do need to research the association very carefully, though, and talk to people who live there about how much the homeowners fee is, how often it increases, how flexible the board is on changes to units, and how quickly maintenance gets done.
I bought a condo in an older (30 years old) development in a good neighborhood. Had it inspected, it was in good shape.
I just have to worry about the inside, the full time maintenance staff does the outside stuff and, since the condo pays for water, they'll also fix any dripping faucets or other water problems.
For me, it's a good compromise. I just can't do a lot of yard work anymore. When I first checked it out, I saw that a lot of personalization was allowed, in terms of gardening, outside patio areas, screened porches. It wasn't all cookie cutter, everybody the same. I liked that. People that live here are friendly and helpful.
My complex also has a good mix of people, including ages from college kids to young couples with babies to retirees who bought their units new. It's easy to find someone able-bodied to help out with lugging stuff around if I need it. It's amazing what college-age males will do for food.
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:16 PM
 
26,589 posts, read 52,277,138 times
Reputation: 20410
Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi View Post
Upon moving in I found I did not have a sufficient flow of hot water. Every time the water pressure went down I had no hot water at all. I could only shower or do wash when the water pressure was up. I complained and complained for five months until I finally threatened legal action. The management sent a plumber who removed a flow restrictor from the pipes and I finally had hot water. I asked him why the restrictor was in the pipes and he told me it is common practice for rental properties to do that to ensure the tenant does not run out of hot water.
Here in California, Code requires flow restrictors on replacement faucets/showers... I spend a lot of time dealing with issues related to the flow restrictors.

Every time the city water department works anywhere in the neighborhood, I can count on having flow issues at units with the low-flow devices... no problems with the units without the restrictors
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:38 PM
 
336 posts, read 771,405 times
Reputation: 347
Very sorry this happened to you.A friend of mine in Ma husband died 20 years ago,she sold their home and has been in the same rental apartment ever since.You never know unless you live in a place.If you have any funds, maybe you could get into an adult mobile home park where they keep the grounds maintained and you could size down so you would have little maintenance...
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Old 02-15-2008, 03:22 AM
 
1,831 posts, read 4,795,766 times
Reputation: 661
While there are better landlords I have to admit that my renting experiences were similar the OP. There definitely can be a downside to renting.
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:00 AM
 
Location: northeast US
739 posts, read 1,882,185 times
Reputation: 446
I'm thinking about renting again. Just getting tired of doing maintenance and dealing with snow. You do what you have to do. What stops me is thinking back to renting when I was younger.

I don't think I ever had a rental apartment without problems and management usually were a little sleazy about entry and repairs. High turnover of neighbors, noisy student parties and stereo, coming home to find someone's guest in your parking space. When I think about it, I can practically smell the obsolete carpet.
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:03 AM
 
1,831 posts, read 4,795,766 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willdufauve View Post
I don't think I ever had a rental apartment without problems and management usually were a little sleazy about entry and repairs. High turnover of neighbors, noisy student parties and stereo, coming home to find someone's guest in your parking space. When I think about it, I can practically smell the obsolete carpet.
This is our quandry for retirement. We definitely plan to sell our house and, maybe, rent but ... we also remember all of the above mentioned issues. We don't necessarily want to buy another house but, we're not crazy about dealing with landlords, noise, parking and other issues either.

Last edited by sheri257; 02-17-2008 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 02-19-2008, 01:15 PM
 
29,774 posts, read 34,860,277 times
Reputation: 11687
We owned a house for 34 years and then decided to retire. We sold our house and had a new one built out of state from scratch. That left us renting an apartment for seven months. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH egad I could never rent. Yes when I was young maybe but not now, yuk.
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