Wednesday, January 28, 2015

a renter's story

I suppose that all renters have their stories. In the last three years we've rented three houses in Virginia--one in Culpeper County, one in Prince William County and one in Fauquier County. The first and current are through management companies and were and are unsatisfactory. The one in Prince William County was less than satisfactory.

Here is a list of "workarounds" for the house in Fauquier County that we are currently renting:


Little did we know when we signed a one year lease that there would be “workarounds”.

1.       Situation: no coaxial cable box for cable or satellite TV in the living room. Workaround: running the TV cable across the floor from the back of the house to the front of the house in rooms, halls and the front entryway for the entire one year lease period.

2.       Situation: the lease says that there are a clothes washer and dryer “in good working condition” for the tenant to use. When we went to use them we found that the hot and warm water cycles on the washing machine don’t work and the dryer won’t work at all. (Also, the lint screen for the dryer is gone.) Workaround: Buy a clothes washer and dryer at our expense.

3.       Situation: about half of the electrical outlets don’t work. The electrical outlets are either painted over such that you can’t get a plug into them or loose such that they don’t work at all. Workaround: none. Only half of the electrical outlets work for the entire one year lease period.

4.       Situation: the electrical breaker panel is located in another renter’s space that is inaccessible to us. Workaround: none. For the entire one year lease period every time that a circuit breaker trips, we have to call the management company, who has to call the other tenant and arrange a mutually convenient time for a repair person to come and reset the breaker. It takes days to reset the breaker, a task that normally takes only minutes.

5.       Situation: Despite the management company telling us that the house is “all electric”, in fact, the house is heated with propane and the propane tank is empty. Workaround: Surprise! We “start from scratch” to locate a propane supplier and buy propane.

6.       Situation: The furnace is located in the other renter’s space that is inaccessible to us. Workaround: none.

7.       Situation: The water cutoff for the house is located in the other renter’s space that is inaccessible to us. Workaround: none.

8.       Situation: During cold months the back two bedrooms are 5+ degrees cooler than the rest of the house. Workaround: none. (The 8500 BTU furnace is undersized.) For the entire winter we are unable to use the back bedrooms for sleeping because they are too cold.

9.       Situation: The closing mechanism for an outside door is missing. Workaround: none. We reported this to the landlord in our move-in inspection report that is required by the lease. The management company didn’t review our move-in inspection report with us, also required by the lease. For the entire one-year lease period the closing mechanism for the outside door is missing. In fact, the management company didn’t review  any of the items in our two and a half typewritten pages, move-in report at move-in, as the lease requires.

The management company is ARMI (Austin Realty Management Inc.) in Warrenton VA. 

We can't wait until the lease expires. We've decided to rent an apartment from a business that's in the business of renting. We're hoping that it'll be better. This is, however, Virginia.

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