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Monday, June 24

Gapers Block

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Adam Le Momo / September 7, 2005 11:44 AM

Heck yes - our landlady used to regularly make unscheduled walkthroughs of our apartment (illegal) and leave us notes saying "mop this floor" and "this room needs dusting."

Oh - and she also had neighbors across the street watching us for "strange girls" that might be visting us.

Sabrosa / September 7, 2005 11:48 AM

Whoo! I moved in with my boyfriend and the landlord neglected to tell them that they have had a history of rat problems as well as major ant problems. The walls were not insulated and he found that out when he went to nail a picture in. The nail just bent! So high high heating bill and rodents (when they did very little about)...not my idea of a courteous landlord.

Jackson Chrysler / September 7, 2005 12:22 PM

Let’s see if I can make this brief. A few years ago two roommates and I signed a yearlong lease for a the ground floor of a house on a short block; two months later, every other building on the block was demolished to make way for a new high-rise apartment building. Our landlord neglected to tell us about this, of course. We endured more than a month of extreme vibrations and heavy machinery use about 40 feet away before the foundation was set for the high-rise. A couple of months later, a city building inspector wandered through our basement and spied a large crack in the foundation, no doubt due to the construction next door. He gave our landlord 90 days to fix it before the house would be condemned. The landlord, strangely enough, didn’t mention this to us either.

Didn’t mention it until one (1) day before the house was scheduled to be physically lifted up so the foundation could be repaired—and no one could live there until it was finished. Via a scrawled handwritten notice, he let us know that we’d need to be out of the house by noon the next day. Of course, the news came when I and another roommate were out of town for a few days. After a flurry of phone calls, the remaining roommate agreed not to leave the house until something was worked out with the landlord, so (theoretically) the house couldn’t be lifted. That lasted until the trucks showed up the next day with the same building inspector, who helpfully stated that the building was officially condemned and anyone remaining inside was subject to forcible removal and arrest.

So began three weeks of couch-surfing, phone calls to lawyers, emergency apartment hunting and covert runs into the house to get little things like clothes, checkbooks, cooking implements and credit cards. All the while our landlord assured us construction would be completed in three weeks… then five weeks… then six weeks… about three months after the whole fiasco started, we were finally able to get our stuff (beds, computers, stereos, TV’s, etc). Did I mention that while lifted, the house was also broken into? When asked about it, the landlord got a far-off look in his eyes and mumbled something about leaving a ladder by the rear entrance.

We sued him of course. During the two years it took to resolve the case, we found out he’d been successfully sued three times in the four years before we’d signed on with him, and the reason our house was the only one on the block not torn down when the apartment building went up was because the landlord had held out for a ridiculous sum of money. This is an abbreviated version of my tale, which omits the drywallers pounding bourbon in the back of their truck, the mysterious letter hidden above the furnace in the basement, and the harrowing final trip into the lifted house as a tornado whipped up nearby, which nearly cost the three of us our lives.

But yeah, we ended up getting about $55k out of his insurance company when the whole deal was said and done.

Lady / September 7, 2005 12:23 PM

My last apartment was managed by a great company when I signed my lease. No problems.

Six months later, new company bought the bldg and within weeks I had mice in my kitchen and rats in the walls, scurrying around. Roaches EVERYWHERE.

We came back from Labor Day weekend last year to an unlocateable stench that increased day by day.

Multiple calls were made to mgmt. No response. Finally one day we found where it was coming from.

A mouse was dead behind the fridge.
Heroic, though howling the entire time, my father cleaned up the LIQUIFIED mouse body. It took days for the stench to subside.

When I finally talked to mgmt about it, they said they didn't believe me and that I should have kept the 'sample' as proof.

WOW. Needless to say I (literally) laughed in her face a few months later when she asked me if planned to renew (at a HIGHER price).

Those guys were jerks.
My landlady now is dreamy.

Stephen / September 7, 2005 12:39 PM

My first place in Chicago was on the fringe of Humboldt Park; being a newbie to Chicago I was just happy to be three blocks from the Empty Bottle.

The day I looked at the apartment I would eventually rent, I walked in to find my soon-to-be landlord painting the place with a handgun and shoulder holster in clear view. First, I was petrified... but then I learned he was a police officer - and my naive Hoosier conscience said this was a good thing. What could be better than a Chicago cop for a landlord?!

Well, over the next few months it became clear he had just taken over an abandoned building, rehabbed it, started renting it... no building permits, etc. No record of him ever purchasing the building was available. He refused to give me an address to mail my rent checks, and refused to let me sign a lease - he insisted on coming by to pick my rent checks up, which was often every 3 or 4 months.

Once I saw him arresting someone on Western, and he actually flagged me down to ask me to pay my rent - all while he had some poor hooker sprawled across the hood of his cruiser.

Eventually he just stopped coming by to pick up the rent checks. I figure I got at least three months rent-free before I left.

Now I've got a great landlord in West Town, and would recommend him to anyone (there is a nice 2bdrm available here for $925 by the way - heh). While he actually expects me to pay rent on time and every month, and have a yearly lease, I suppose it's worth it :-)

miss / September 7, 2005 12:48 PM

my landlord now is great because he doesn't complain about late rent payments but sometimes i get the feeling he's spying on me. anyone else ever feel that way?

eep / September 7, 2005 12:58 PM

Wow, I've been lucky. ::knocks on wood::

j / September 7, 2005 1:05 PM

Going on TWO years of litigation in an attempt to recover my security deposit. When I brough the suit to court my former landlady filed two erroneous counter-suits against me, both have been dismissed but her lawyer has informed me that two more are coming!

At least she's paying a lawyer, I'm pro se!

mike / September 7, 2005 1:13 PM

Lessons I have learned over the years:

- Look for a 6 or 12-flat ... never live in an owner-occupied building unless you know the owner is cool. Most 2-flat owners in Chicago are not fit to be landlords and their buildings are not governed by the RLTO.
- Avoid buildings that don't shovel snow.
- Sign a Chicago Lease and carefully read any riders the landlord attaches.
- "Cute" means tiny. "Vintage" means crappy.
- Never call about ads that don't list the address of the building, or at least the cross-street.
- Once you tell your landlord you will not be renewing a lease tell them you know the RLTO, and inform them especially of the sections on security deposits and notice landlord must give a tenant before showing the apartment. This will save you headaches.

Steve / September 7, 2005 1:22 PM

My worst experience was with a rather large management company that refused to do anything about the very loud tenant who lived in the basement below me. Why wouldn't they do anything? Because he was their employee, the building janitor!

The guy was a total noisy asshat -- I'd hear him beating on his adolescent son, I'd hear him swear at his answering machine when tenants would call in for repairs, I'd hear his TV, radio, and bass guitar at all hours. We almost came to blows once when I complained about the noise by beating on the floor with a hammer, and we had a few screaming matches through the floor/ceiling.

I documented all of this and hit the management company with a constant stream of letters and phone calls. Their response? Tough titty. Oh, and we'll put some hideous carpeting in your bedroom which won't dampen the noise one bit but will make your closet and bedroom doors inoperable.

Shame, really, because though the kitchen and bathroom were in terrible shape, that apartment had a really sweet living room/sunroom combo.

At least I'm fairly happy with my current landlords, though they're kinda pokey on the maintenance requests -- this is actually the second place I've rented from them.

ugh / September 7, 2005 1:23 PM

When I first moved into my current apartment, a couple of floorboards were broken. The engineer said they would be fixed and I didn't worry about it much because it wasn't too bad. Months went buy. Many more floorboards broke. I'm not so heavy that my weight crushes all that is below my feet, and it's a little scary knowing a simple walk through the apartment could yield scrapes, splinters and twisted ankles when your feet fall through the floor. They finally fixed it, but took their sweet time and didn't do a great job because more boards are still breaking.

A few months ago my refrigerator broke. They took three days to determine what was wrong with it and needed two weeks to get me a new fridge. When I called to check on the status, the woman answering the phone yelled at me and told me to be patient.

Two weeks ago, I was taking a shower when many of the tiles on my shower wall fell into the tub. More are threatening to fall and the wall is completely warped. I've called many times about this and no one has been by to look at it, let alone fix it yet.

As soon as my lease is up, I'm moving. By the way, my landlord is ICM Properties. Don't rent from them.

anne / September 7, 2005 1:49 PM

OMG, ugh, I had the worst experiences with ICM. Lived in a garden studio and had recurring problems with mice getting into the laundry room adjacent to my apartment. Problem was that the furnace for my apt. was in the laundry room, and therefore I had a nice vent directly into decaying mouse central. To make matters worse, I was woken up in the spring by the sound of a hefty animal scraping its way through one of my interior walls. After repeated calls describing this thing, they sent someone over to "take a look", which included peering behind my stove and saying they didn't see anything. Well, the thing (rat, whatever) hadn't gotten through the wall yet, so there was nothing to see. I found out a few weeks later that the studio in front of mine had a couple of rats get into it. Luckily, I was moving out in a month, and I hightailed it away from there.

emily / September 7, 2005 2:07 PM

we almost never see our landlord, and it takes him weeks and sometimes months to fix things when we call him. the place is in pretty good shape, so i don't complain, but we're the only ones who change common area lightbulbs, shovel the snow, take care of the entryway, the deck, etc. we should get a discount on rent.

the good thing about him is that he doesn't raise our rent every year. i get the feeling he might be looking to sell, though.

j / September 7, 2005 2:41 PM

By the way you can find a copy of the RTLO

flobear / September 7, 2005 2:46 PM

ICM has to be one of the worst companys I have rented from. We were in a building that had a fire under our apartment. They tried to convince us to stay there, even though we could see the apartment below us since the fire had burned, imagine that. They decided to move us (1 week before Christmas) and where we moved did not have a refridgerator or a stove. 2 days before Christmas the stove was installed and Peoples got the gas going.

Since I have lived in this new apartment, there have been roaches everywhere! I have called time and time again, recently they finally did something, but that's because I faxed over a letter telling them I was not going to pay my rent until they fixed the violations ie: Gang symbols on the property, roach problem, lack of lights in the hall way, all those wonderful things.

ICM is terrible!

kelly / September 7, 2005 2:48 PM

when my bf got a job in arizona a month before the lease was up, the landlord wouldn't let us out of the contract. we paid for the month even though we couldn't stay, and a friend house sat just to make sure that the pipes didn't freeze.

so off we went to arizona without a care in the world, but come month end we were expecting the security deposit back. instead we got a letter in the mail claiming that the "hippies who were house sitting" started a grease fire that burned half of the kitchen, so he was keeping the $800 deposit and we were lucky that he didn't sue us. except there wasn't a fire, my friend even snuck in and took pictures of it, but there was no way for us to come back or afford to do anything about it. SUCH SHIT!

Sarah / September 7, 2005 3:24 PM

Moved into an apartment in Ukranian Village a couple of years ago. It seemed like an awesome place--nice stained glass in the kitchen, which was huge, jacuzzi tub, decent back yard.

Well, to make a long, long story short, over the year and a half that I lived there, I learned from the neighbors that the scum-sucking morons who owned the place had hired some non-legit workers to dig the basement deeper, in order to make the space tall enough to be converted into another apartment. Unfortunately, they dug RIGHT THROUGH THE FOUNDATION of the building.

The building was therefore in the slow process of falling over, and was leaning to the west. The most unbeleivable part of it, though, was that the IDIOT owners rehabbed the top apartment (the one I lived in) right into the lean of the building. This meant that every wall, doorway, etc. was tilted to account for the lean. Of course, the building was constantly leaning a tiny bit more all the time, so none of these accomodations could possibly last.

We discovered a crack in the wall between the kitchen and the sun room that went all the way from cieling to floor, THROUGH WHICH WE COULD SEE DAYLIGHT. This crack had been concealed with white duct tape and paint when we were shown the apartment. There were leaks in the cieling. Door locks no longer matched up, so that our deadbolts didn't fit together, or sometimes the doors would not open at all unless you slammed into them with your shoulder. There were roaches. The sunroom became a joke, because the whole thiing was basically sagging off the building, and when it rained, it rained inside the sunroom. The owners did jack shit about any of this. The back yard was like a jungle of weeds. We hired a neighbor kid to mow it, finally, and took it out of our rent without permission. They of course couldn't do anything, because we probably could have had the building condemned with a phone call at any time.

Once in a great while, the owner (whose name, appropriately, was Homer), would work for a few hours on the bottom apartment, apparently planning on going ahead and rehabbing that unit into the lean as well. He would blast the most horrendous classic rock, and after a while, he would just get drunk down there.

I ended up bailing on the place before my 2nd lease was up, which was fine with the owners because they were under the delusion that they were going to sell the place for a ton of money. I think they had many pending sales that fell through as soon as the prospective buyers had the building inspected. I finally drove by the place, and it had been demolished to make way for a new yuppie condo.

Hopefully this guy will die in a motorcycle accident or something. Thanks for the chance to rant.

jessica / September 7, 2005 3:27 PM

I also had a bad experience with ICM (I’m sensing a trend here, I swear they are the biggest slumlords in the city). They never fixed anything, my shower was a mess the entire time I lived there (1 year), my closet rods and shelving caved in …. twice (and no I did not store iron anvils on the shelf either ;). I’ll never rent from them again. But that was nothing compared to the landlord whose building included a closet with a caving in roof, a radiator that started to fall through the floor (which he didn’t fix), rats (yes, rats, not mice), a janitor that would make sexually explicit comments to my roommate and I, a neighborhood who was a 350 lb shut-in with a passion for mariachi music, a homeless guy who took residence on our porch, and that poor soul who was stabbed in our courtyard. Now living there was a year that I’ll never get back.

jen / September 7, 2005 3:33 PM

my landlord at my old apartment up in andersonville didn't impress me from the start, but he turned out ok, just slightly aloof.

it was a couple days before i was set to get the keys, a two-month deposit (which seemed a bit high to me, but i didn't question it) had already been laid down in money order form, and the guy was MIA. i called the number he gave me, only to find out it had been disconnected.

getting paranoid that maybe i had been had and out $1400, i went to the apartment building and buzzed one of my prospective neighbors, inquiring about new contact info of the landlord. she didn't seem surprised by my request and in fact, informed me that the guy became spacey after his soon-to-be ex-wife went off her meds for schizophrenia. lovely.

Eddie / September 7, 2005 3:51 PM

So yeah. I seem to have a very similar to story to the posted by Jackson Chrysler in that I had the exact same experience since we suffered through the jack hammers and 6am reminders that construction implements were going in reverse....but...nine months later....

I moved into a nice 16-story highrise on the lake affectionately named the Pollo Tower and if you're familiar, you know where I'm talking about. Anyway, I moved in and during the first 1.75 years I was there, the building went into bankruptcy. I was one of the only people on my quiet floor and it was nice.

They were attempting to sell the units as condos...but who wants to move into a 600 SF one-bedroom condo for $200,000? So a new management company took over and started marketing the building as Lincoln Park north. I took that as my cue to exit and when I moved out I was told that the management company "didn't have my security deposit accounted for" I'm too lazy to go after it since I don't have the time, but I pretty much don't trust anybody who considers themselves a landlord...except for my current landlord.

sarah / September 7, 2005 4:02 PM

My boyfriend, a friend, and I rented an apartment near campus (UIC) in a nice building in Little Italy. I found it and I alone had dealt with the landlord.

About a month after we moved in, my boyfriend heard someone come in the back door, which we never used because it opened straight into my friend's bedroom.

The landlord's wife got the scare of her life to find a gun pointed at her when she hit the living room.

BF tells me what happened; landlord calls me, rather pissed off. Seems that they were friends with the last tenants and came and went in the unit as they pleased.

She had no reason to be in the apartment. We had never met her, nor asked for any repairs. I let him know that it was illegal for them to enter without our permission, regardless of how often they may have been in it before.

This is really a scary boyfriend story than a bad landlord story, because the landlord always made sure to book any visits two days ahead of time from then on. The bf cotinued to play "gansta" with his buddies till I got a clue and I moved out.

The place I moved into next had bullet proof glass on the windows. No lie.

Julie / September 7, 2005 4:34 PM

Where to begin? We repeatedly complained of a gas smell permeating the apartment, and our landlord ignored us......until we got the $375 gas bill for one month in a relatively small, insulated two bedroom. We got a new stove that had no labels on the knobs, so we didn't do a lot of cooking. The old stove was left on our porch for two more months. Oh, and we didn't end up getting reimbursed for the gas used up when we had a gas leak.
FYI, the landlord is the owner of Clybar. Don't rent from him.

Lady / September 7, 2005 4:38 PM

Of note, the sh**ty company I rented from was M. Fishman Co. (story posted earlier).

they are horrible.
and lazy.
and young.
and ridiculous.

Moon / September 7, 2005 5:07 PM

I lived in a building that was managed by Malet Realty. We won't go into the horrible maintenance, the obnoxious answering service, the maintenance guys coming into your apartment whenever they wanted (I got Wednesdays off, and almost every Wednesday the maintenance guy knocked on the door and then entered).

/Oh, all right, so we WILL go into that, but still, the important part:

They tore down my building to build $2 million condos. What was really nice is the new builders gave us 2 months rent to move out. Malet kept encouraging us to move out as soon as possible, hinting that there might be even more money if we moved out earlier. Well, maybe Malet decided they wanted to keep some of that money for themselves, because I told them we would move out early and kept bugging them about "Where is the check?" for 2 months. They finally came through with the check but it was $1000 short. They said I had moved out early and invalidated the NEW lease (which I guess is what they called the eviction notice they gave us).

I keep wondering if Malet is just pocketing this. I'm trying to contact the builders.

Is this worth going to tenant court over? I did get some money.

Leelah / September 7, 2005 10:18 PM

Before I was a homeowner, I lived in a place that developed a leak in the bathroom. Water was steadily dripping out through the light socket (which had a light bulb in it) in my bathroom and I never did get the landlord to fix it. that sucked, but not as bad as some of the other stories on here.

JP / September 8, 2005 12:15 AM

When I was living/renting in Bucktown. I had a landlord come into my place and start snooping around. On the day he was doing this I had seen him sitting out front when I went to work. A date had spent the night and was totally freaked beacause he was still in bed when said landlord came into my bedroom! They got into a confrontation that was ultra weird. The landlord was screaming at my date that he was not supposed to be there and that he was the building owner and refused to leave while this poor guy was still in bed not wearing much. My landlord then started to ask him if we (me the rent paying tennant) and this guy had been having sex and kept asking him if he liked sex. I got a call on my cell from the landlord telling me I could not have any more "sex dates".

What really bothered me was I have no idea how many times he had been coming into my place and had not been caught. I moved in with a friend until I found a new place. Really creepy stuff.

Other than that the building was pretty nice a few bugs but otherwise well kept.

jessica / September 8, 2005 7:44 AM

no kidding landlords stink. I think I'm going to ride it out here with my good landlord until I can either afford a place (and given that condos are obscenely expensive and totally out of reach given my salary) it is beginning to appear I should get cozy.

paul / September 8, 2005 8:31 AM

After something like 8-9 years, the landlord just raised the rent on me. The nerve of that guy.

Tip: When you see the neighbors energetic child bouncing around outside on the lawn (thus explaining the foundation shaking noises downstairs), don't say to yourself "oh, she'll grow up and will lose all that energy". Because they only grow bigger, and heavier, thus, louder.

spiraljetty / September 8, 2005 10:08 AM

Now I see my mine wasn't that bad for a first apartment...back in college my friend and I signed the lease for a basement unit in Pilsen. The landlord insisted we meet at a Walgreens downtown to receive the security deposit and not at the apartment building, and described the car he would be in. We drove to the Walgreens and gave him cash, where he proceeded to open the envelopes and count the money on the hood of his car in the parking lot. Some of the bills started flying away and we had to run after twenties in this Walgreens parking lot. We managed to catch some of them, but not all, and the guy just said "meh, that's alright." His business card said he and his brother were some kind of diamond dealers, and they usually sent some thuggish guy come over to fix things.

It was really cold in the winter and when we had that thuggish guy look at the gas furnace, his solution was that we should close our bedroom doors and blast the heat so it didn't escape. Because it was a newly rehabbed unit, we couldn't set up a ComEd account until the landlord called in and set it up himself. We called him several times and he finally said he would do it...months and months went by and we were using electricity but no utility bill. We had better things to worry about, we hardly used any electricity in that tiny basement, the people upstairs were barely paying $20/month for theirs so we figured he was taking care of ours. A year after we moved in, ComEd finally shut it off and when we called them, they said no one was paying for it. This was the night before we were leaving for a two-week trip, so we slept with our coats on in the early spring since we couldn't turn on our space heaters in that damn cold place. When I confronted the landlord and asked why he had never called to set up our account, he laughed and asked, "Did you really think you would get free electricity? Don't you think your parents pay for their utilities for their house?" He finally called ComEd and we got electricity while we were away on our trip, but the first thing we had to do when we returned was throw out rotten food from the fridge. We should have known better, but hey, we were eighteen.

An acquaintance from college told me he's renting that very unit right now from a new landlord. He has new closet doors, a new tub, and rent is cheaper than when I lived there.

Ian / September 8, 2005 12:42 PM

One of my old landlords use to point out where he'd had sex in the apartment when he lived there.

JT / September 8, 2005 12:56 PM

ICM sucks. We had them years ago. Wirtz is great but expensive. Presidential were total slumlords -- we lived in a six-flat on Bittersweet that should have been gorgeous, but there was no upkeep.

We'd been there a few years (it was a lot of space for the money) and I was about four months pregnant when I kept smelling gas. I kept calling the landlord and they insisted nothing was wrong. Finally, I called People's and they sent two big guys out to take a look. They did smell the gas and asked me to direct them to the basement, which I refused to enter because it was so terrifying.

These two huge, burly, tough guys came out draped in cobwebs and green in the gills. One of them approached me carefully, took in my belly, and said "Ma'am, did you use to have a cat?"

"Use to?" I responded, wondering if I'd seen both of our cats since I came home from work.

Apparently, there were at least two visible, petrified animal carcasses in the basement, which the People's guys found before they discovered the original gas-powered light fixtures weren't converted properly -- every time we flicked on a light switch, we were flooding the apartment with gas.

The building has since been rehabbed and is now made up of fancy condos.

Now we have Metropolitan and they don't seem to care much, either. I can't wait to buy a house and get out of apartments forever.

P.S. If you get a chance to rent from a guy named Victor (has a few buildings in Ravenswood), jump at it! He's awesome and takes great care of his buildings.

Tom / September 8, 2005 2:37 PM

Dimensions is an excellent management company.

/no, not an employee/friend/relative/paid endorser.

Lady / September 8, 2005 3:22 PM

oh yeah and there was that time when i rented a place and complained for months about the leak in the bathroom above my bedroom until one morning i woke up and was barely out of the bed when the ceiling opened up and my roommate's freshly flushed pee came raining down on my bed.

i'm not into that. at all.

new bed, new everything.
landlady and her wife offered to pay HALF.
half, people!

i was furious.
but had all my previous requests for repair (in writing), CC'd a lawyer friend on the angry you-will-pay-all-of-it letter and eventually they paid the full amount.


Attrill / September 8, 2005 3:25 PM

I've had some crazy landlords. I lived in an illegal loft space in Boston where my landlord was my upstairs neighbor. He was a huge ex biker guy inhis 50's who ran a trucking company. He could walk in at any time, and while he didn't come in unannounced very often, everytime he did it was hilarious i.e. He ran through our apartment at 10 or so on a Sunday morning carrying a .22 rifle yelling "RATS! THERE ARE F***ing RATS!" and proceeded to unload the rifle down the stairwell outside our front door - he actually shot 2. Another time he came by at 2 or 3 AM on a Saturday completely trashed, stumbled into our pantry mumbling something about a lady friend and proceeded to knock stuff off the shelves until he found a couple tea bags. He got halfway up the stairs to his place, stumbled back down apologizing for being rude and reached into his pocket pulled out a handful of pot and put it on the kitchen table saying "thanks for the tea..."

My favorite Chicago landlord used to say things like "sometimes a hole in the floor is a GOOD thing!" He showed up at the front door one day holding dead bird he found on the street asking if we had a plastic bag and talking about how beautiful the bird was - it actually was a pretty cool looking bird.

Allan / September 8, 2005 3:25 PM

I agree with the chap who said you should not rent from a landlord who lives on the premises. Hence this lowly tale.

I rented from this guy who owned a three flat and lived in the same building with his wife and kids, one of which was a teenage boy. The apartment was great and this was one of the reasons I tolerated what was to come a mere three months after I moved in.

Apparently there were some plumbing problems in my landlords first floor apartment which led to him and family constantly knocking on my door to use my "good" bathroom. This didn't bother me at first but it went on for over two months.
When I came home early from work one day to find their teenage son going number two in my toilet I had to say something. I don't mean to be crass but it left the smell of rotting cabbage in there that to this day four years later I am unable o forget. Very politely I asked how he got into my apartment and he said his dad keeps a set by the door. Very, very upset by this I managed to ask politely if he could please not use my bathroom any more.

When I confronted the dad about this he accusingly said that I had the "good" bathroom, like I was being a jerk for not letting his family use the bathroom. The knocks on the door stopped but I know for a fact that they were using the bathroom in the apartment above me when the older lady who lived there was out. It turns out that they were also still using my bathroom as-well on several occasions I came home to find half flushed bits of poo floating in my toilet with recognizable bits of food that I know for a fact I had not eaten. I also found condom rappers in my bathroom trash can and suspected that the son was screwing his girlfriend on my bed, couch or floor. I could never prove this but came really close to buying a hidden camera. It sucks when you come home and you inspect your apartment for evidence of people having been there. I ended up living there less than a year. I just quietly moved out never paying my last two months rent. I later sent him a package of my own shit in a zip lock bag. When you find your self trying to defecate into a small plastic bag that you plan on neatly wrapping and sending to a man with a wife and kids it makes you think. I still feel bad about doing that... No I don't.

Girl Genius / September 8, 2005 4:03 PM

I rented my first city apartment off Chicago Avenue in Humboldt Park some 11 years ago. In the winter, I had snow on the floor of my living room and windows completely covered in ice. I complained that the temperature in the apartment was 55 degrees from December through February.

The kicker, though, was my bedroom closet. If I looked up through the ceiling in the closet, I could see the feet of anyone perched on the toilet in my upstairs neighbors' bathroom. Calls to the landlord went unheeded. One afternoon, after returning from foodshopping, I heard water dripping in my closet. Turns out the hole had gotten a bit bigger and anytime the neighbors splashed water out of the tub, it leaked into the closet.

Finally, I'd had enough and moved from that craphole. The building's still there. I wonder if the hole is as well.

red / September 8, 2005 4:04 PM

This happened in Atlanta.
I was renting this cute little 2 bedroom bungalow and everything was great...until winter came. Winter brought the rats, not mice, big huge disgusting rats. They finally sent someone over to fill the holes and put poison around after a month of complaints. Well, what happens when you fill in holes and put poison down? The rodents die in the house, the walls, the attic. I woke up one morning and almost stepped onto a huge pile of maggots that had fallen from the slats below the old attic fan. When I called to complain about this I was told that they did not have to take care of this, it was up to me to take care, or get one of my friends (which is eventually what happened). After the maggots come flies, thousands of flies. Oh, and let's not forget the smell that will never leave my memory (tip: place small bowls of vinegar around to eliminate odors). When I moved out they refused to give my deposit back.

JAW / September 8, 2005 6:22 PM

When I moved to Chicago, my first landlady (who was also my upstairs neighbor):

1) called the police to report a "hate crime" when a group of younger next-door neighbors came outside during a Saturday evening party (granted, it was 11 pm and it was on a public street) and sang a slightly lubricated version of "God Bless America;"

2) started crushing on my roomie (a young man at least 10 years her junior) and, under the ruse of giving him "advice" on his "career," drove him to the suburbs for a date incuding dinner and a 3-hour cirque du solei (sp?) performance;

3) when her feelings of romance went unrequited, she closely monitored our comings and goings -- including paying another next door neighbor to monitor the times we came in and out of the apartment as well as the presence or absence of any guests -- and would call in the middle of the night (and the next day) when she thought my roomie had a "girl" over;

4) kept my $1400 security deposit. I did not sue, as I felt it was best to avoid litigation with a person with a personality disorder. CRAZY!

undercover giraffe / September 8, 2005 6:33 PM

i moved into a coach house apartment last year after my boyfriend fixed it up. at first the landlord seemed decent because he let us have half months rent for redoing the floors, stripping the old wallpaper and painting, bringing the pipes up to code in the bathroom, etc. once winter hit, i realized we were being too nice. all of the repairs costed way more then the rent reduction. we even took care of a sudden mouse problem ourselves and put up with the lack of hot water during one of the coldest weekends because our landlord was "out of town". by the way, plaster does not insulate and radiant heaters do not radiate any type of heat.

the real kick in the face came on my birthday when i passed out in the bathroom from carbon monoxide poisoning (caused by a faulty water heater and a blocked flute) around 10am. passed out because he had never provided us with a carbon monoxide detector. even after we called him, he said he was busy, so he couldnt come around until around 4:30pm. we were so out of it we didnt realize we should get out of the apartment, especially since our landlord didnt even suggest it. it wasnt until my boyfriend called his co-worker who told us to get out of the apartment did we wise up and call 911.

we went to check up on our neighbor and found him passed out in the fetal position on his kitchen floor. since the chain lock was on, my boyfriend busted down the door and pulled him out. he was so out of it, he began to climb back in, all the while asking for his mother.

anyway, we all ended up at the hospital overnight, and i got separated and transferred to another hospital with my neighbor for some hyperbaric chamber fun! plus other hospital drama.

today we live in the wonderful world of litigation because our landlord hasnt paid for our chunky pile of medical bills. he did, however, give us a ten day notice to renew our lease, then sold the whole property a month before our lease was up. plus! the ledger he gave the new owner did not reflect the correct security deposit, so the new owner tried to coerce his way out of paying the full 1 1/2 months security back.

mike / September 9, 2005 8:56 AM

God, these are making me upset! Seriously, I want to hunt the landlord in the last story down and beat the living crap out of him. His ass should be thrown in prison. Can the next question be something like, "what's the nicest thing a stranger ever did for you?" or something positive like that?

Carrie / September 9, 2005 10:15 AM

My mom and I used to rent from this older guy who used to go into our place when we weren't there. He and his mother used to go snoop. They never stole anything, but they thought it was their right.

Anyway, no one in the neighborhood liked this guy. He didn't work, but every Saturday and Sunday he'd be up at the crack of dawn mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, or working in his woodshop in the basement. He had all week to do this stuff, but would wait until everyone was sleeping on the weekend to start being as noisy as possible.

There was a time when he was really drunk and came up to our place and was flapping his yap about god knows what. He stopped for a second and that's when my mom and I realized he was peeing in his pants. He used to sit on the front porch and talk at anyone who would walk by if they happened to say "hi". He'd knock on our door at 7am to tell us to move the car b/c street cleaning was the next day at 9am. He complained about hearing my cat walking. Yes, cat walking.

The best part though is one day I was on the phone with my sister and fire trucks pulled up to our place. I heard them going down the gangway and went to investigate. Mr. Brilliant had gotten really drunk and went to his woodshop to make something. Ooops, something slipped and he sliced off some fingers. His pointer, ring and pinky finger were gone. He managed not to ding his middle finger at all (figures, right?) and his thumb was still there. He just made it easier for himself to flip everyone the bird.He was then known as "Lobster Boy" to my mom, sister and I.

Matthew / September 21, 2005 12:51 PM

My advice is to pay your last month's rent with your deposit as in most cases you'll never see it again.

Also, my story is when my landlady in pilsen put 3 two way splitters on a single cable line of mine and gave everyone in her building (all of whom were family members, of course) my cable!

Sara / October 10, 2005 11:48 AM

My friend and I both rent seperate apartments from ICM. She told me that one morning she was sleeping and heard someone come into her apartment. When she went out to investigate the sound she saw that the maintenance man had just let himself in to fix the blinds. He didn't call first or knock. He's lucky she doesn't keep a gun in her house.

In my building the manager just walked in my (locked) back door one afternoon. I would never rent from them again!

mary / October 30, 2005 6:19 AM

the worst place i ever lived was in a basement apartment in a private home in chelmford mass. the guy and his wife were..shall i say just really wierd and thats the nice part. they were both polish or she was, one or the other. anyway, these two would acuse me of smoking pot at 2 am because they could smell it. (i hadnt smoked that stuff since i was in high school in 1976 and it was now 1995)they accused us of breaking into the upstairs house while they were on vacation(because the alarm happened to go off just as we were walking out of the driveway) we figured it was the ditzy daughter left to take care of the house and she had locked herself out somehow, said that the smoke from our cigarettes were coming up through thier cabinets, yelled at us because my son opened and closed the entrance door to our apartment too many times,blatently refused to believe that i was actually married to the guy i was with(and make disparaging remarks about him all the time)and generally making life a living hell for me. i finally got out as soon as i could(they gave me a good reference just to get rid of me) and while i was waiting for my ride to where i was going, he was painting/cleaning around me(he couldnt even wait till i was gone)i heard his son and him having an argument one day upstairs, and i heard his son call him an asshole. oh yeah and he just had to know who everyone was that came to visit me, whether it was my mom or just a friend.i spent 5-6 monthes in a living hell because of this guy. while waiting for my new apt i had to stay at a motel for a couple of weeks and this guy called me THERE! yelling at me because his wife was missing curtain rods and i should return them(i had no curtain rods)
living in a cheezy motel was such a welcome alternative to living with these two wierdos, that i relished every day that i could go outside and know that they wernt watching everything i did, and just knowing i had escaped them. it felt soo good, like escaping from slavery. later, i ran into them at a yard sale i was having, and another time at a bank and they just had to get the digs in about my husband at the time(just cant let it go can ya?) DO NOT EVER RENT IN A PRIVATE HOME. its asking for trouble.

the mom / December 1, 2005 7:08 AM

On June 7, 2005 my son along with his 2 close friends died in a fire in the apartment they rented fro ICM PROPERTIES. ICM did not provide smoke detectors as required by law. I have paid the ultimate price for their neglegence.

Ellie / January 23, 2006 2:44 PM

Yes, ICM is officially the WORST property company-- they are notorious not ONLY on this site, but throughout Chicago. They are actually, blatently MEAN-- in addition to being lazy about getting stuff done.
We have mice (what I saw looked more the size of a rat, but they swear its a mouse), and they have been ANYTHING BUT SYMPATHETIC about it. They told me they have had NO OTHER complaints about rodents in my building-- then I come to find out they've been hearing from the girls downstairs from me for OVER A MONTH about the mice in THEIR apartment! The one RIGHT BELOW MINE has mice, and they cant even have the balls to tell me that!
Because my roommate and I can't stand to be pushed around, we've been calling and hasstling them for information, etc. The other day, they rudely told my roommate that we are the "peskiest" tenants they have.

sara markovic / February 11, 2006 2:12 AM

I am renting a property through the Apartment Source aka. TMG management, Buck enterprices, Marmel management etc. The company has all these different names probably to get a tax break. Anyway, we constantly get these black outs all the time because the building needs to be rewired and the General Manager Todd doesn't give a damn. And the maintenance guy told us we should go fix the breaker on our own by replacing them with higher volts. On top of that the windows and doors are not weather proof so were freezing our asses off although we pay 300 month in heating bills.

do not go to apartment source to look for an apartment because its a scam they only show their own properties and then never make any repairs.

jim dykes / June 5, 2006 11:15 AM

Oh yeah, Landlords are bad people! How about the crappyass tenants who destroy our property, ask if they can be late on rent (or don't ask,) and then move out in the middle of the night taking with them all ceiling fans, refrigerators, stoves, lightbulbs, blinds, AC units and plumbing fixtures! Yeah, some landlords suck, but tenants are worse. I lovingly rehabbed a duplex for a year and a half and the first tenant in the lower unit completely destroyed my new, refinished, hardwood floors by applying epoxy then carpeting. When the bugs got so bad after only two weeks, my good tenant upstairs said something was smelling bad and I had probably better take a look. Not only had the lower tenant vacated, he had taken every single item in the unit not nailed down. Bitch all you want about landlords, but many of them don't care about your problems or are indifferent because they been shit on repeatedly by lousy tenants. Find something else to whine about.

paula gil / July 6, 2006 9:16 PM

I am a Spanish Journalist looking for „tenant horror stories“ for an article that will be published in „Tu Dinero“, a national personal finance magazine for Hispanics in the U.S . If you are a homeowner and have had bad experiences with tenants in the past, share them with us and help others.

nina / September 15, 2006 1:47 AM

how do i pick? i have so many.....landlord of one place used to come over for inspection, then go through our food items, telling us what was unhealthy....we had to endure her religious dogma....her mood swings....all along though she said we were excellent tenants...we moved out--did walk through--she said everything looked good, security deposit check would be in the mail in 30 days...check arrives--over half of the amount ($750) is missing...attached is a 6 page document, detailing how awful we were, all the things she had to fix that we "intentionally" broke....psycho bitch....

current landlord arrived unannounced, demanding to come in to fix a leaky pipe he had tried on 3 different occasions to fix and was only making things worse--city housing inspector said by law, landlord cannot fix plumbing problems--only licensed plumber can, which we said to landlord but he came down anyway....he doesn't return our calls for repairs.....makes all sorts of promises he never needs needs new siding, new roof, new cabinets (it's 50 years old--all original except for the carpet)....a'hole fixes nothing, ignores our request for repairs (until we tell him it's a repair he is required to fix by law)--but then raises our rent....

time to buy!

cj / September 27, 2006 11:35 AM

ICM makes me laugh...they are so disorganized and so unprofessional...martha is the biggest joke...nothing can be done without martha...she must run the whole show...if she does not like what your saying, she simply just hangs professional!! i would NEVER reccommend RENTING from ICM

nicole / March 19, 2007 3:41 PM

my landlord came over to take care of the carpenter ant problem i had.... nothing unusal so far! I recieved a regestered letter 3 days later stating that my christmas decorations had to come down as well as other decorations because i was deliberatly destroying the apartment!!! what a freak!

cathy / April 15, 2007 10:49 AM

I agree that there are bad tenants as well as bad landlords. That still does not give landlords the right to treat good tenants like they are scum of the earth! My kids and I as well as many friends have dealt with slumlords for the past 10 years or so! I have learned a vital lesson during this durration. Learn Landlord tennant laws and regulations. Always check rental property out. This place we`re in right now, had a water tank when I looked at it, when I paid first months rent and got moved in, which was in the middle of winter, I discovered the hot water tank was missing, also called the water company to get the water turned on, found out that the landlord had an existing water bill from a proir tenant. I could not get the water turned on , I offered to pay the bill, I could`t even do that! The landlord prommissed to pay the bill, I kept calling her, she kept promissing to pay the bill, six months or so went by, still no water. I`ve had multiple health problems all of my life, which has caused employment problems, and have been off and on gov. aid through the DJFS , I`ve been unable to work for several years, so we have gone through times of not getting cash assisstance. I had cash assistance when we moved in to this place, and did pay deposit and rent for three months. , To make this long story shorter, the manager she had at the time promissed to get a hot water tank, he never did. He came out to collect the rent for the fourth month, My cash assistance had been stopped, he brought an informal eviction notice when he came back out. Before he came back out I had already been in contact with fair housing of ohio , made them aware of this, and all the other problems, oh yes there was many more problems, I did what fair housing told me to, and needless to say, he did not come back out. I didn`t even hear anything from the landlord for months. Someone pulled strings for me and got the water put into my name, got the water turned on and come to find out, there was water spraying out all over the underneath of the trailer!!! Someone had stolen the copper waterlines before we moved in!!!! So, there`s plenty more hooror stories about this place, and other places we`ve lived in! I`m sick and tired of innocent people getting taken by scumbags like these!!! We have found another place to live, when we move, I am having this place condemmed, yes it`s that bad! They are not going to do this to anyone else!!!!!

jenna / May 4, 2007 8:30 PM

Our landlords just said that although we have a breakage clause in our lease (deposit + one month's rent), that they are going to charge us over twenty thousand dollars for the remaining lease. Also, they think that they can show the home without giving notice. OMG!!!!!!!

Jennifer / May 29, 2007 8:52 PM

Okay, here it goes. We decided to rent this house, wasn't so bad, but not that great either. It had a pool and the backyard was fenced in. Well I got a call from my daughter (14 years old) who was staying home by herself. She says that there are grown men swimming in the pool. Come to find out it my landlord's grandson and his friends walking in and just making themsleves at home. I have never met them and frankly I dont want them near my daughter. Is this illegal? Or am I just over reacting?

Bet / June 4, 2007 3:50 PM

Newly married, we moved from North Carolina to suburban Dallas and after much hunting found a house to rent. We managed to overlook the combination of dark mauve carpeting and neon lime green counters.
After six months, we suddenly got a notice for a registered letter. We had to make our way to the main Dallas post office to pick it up and sign for it. The letter told us that we hadn't paid our rent and threatened to take us to court. I was pregnant, my husband was working long hours at a crappy job, and we were scared out of our minds.

Fortunately, my husband's cousin lived nearby and was able to calm us down. We knew we'd mailed the check. Sure enough, the next day, the bank was able to show us that the check had been cashed.

It seems the management company was a wee bit hasty with that registered letter.

A few months later (yes, I was now nine months pregnant, in August, in Dallas), the toilet in the master bath had a problem. It took a week of phone calls before a plumber got sent out. He didn't speak any English, but he came in, silently put in the toilet, presented me with a carbon slip to sign from the management company, and left.

When my husband got home, he was furious to discover that the plumber hadn't replaced the valve or water feed line, which were the problems in the first place.

Can you see this coming?

The toilet began flooding. I turned the valve, threw towels down, called the management company, then called my husband's workplace, where I was permitted to leave a message, that he might or might not get. God forbid they get less than their 12 hours out of him.

I called the management company again, having gotten nowhere the first time. She suggested that I just put down towels to form a dam at the bathroom door. Done that, about an hour ago, dear lady. The water was now up past my ankles throughout both bathroom and carpeted bedroom.

Two hours later, someone showed up and intelligently said, "Oh! You do have a problem!"

Ya think?

He managed to stop the flooding and was gracious enough to half-heartedly mop up. He didn't quite finish the job, however; as I was walking down the tile hallway to get the mop, I slipped and landed heavily on my left hip, all nine-months-worth of me.

I limped into the living room and phoned the management company to ask what might be done with the soaking wet bedroom carpet. "If you will move out all the bedroom furniture, we'll bring in a new carpet in a few days."

I politely informed her that as I was nine months pregnant and my husband worked virtually every waking minute, it might be hard for us to move the furniture out. Could some of their workers do it?

Huffily, she said, "It's not their job."

Still calmly (thank goodness for hormones), I pointed out that the bedroom had flooded because their plumber had failed to do his job, and that moving the furniture out wasn't exactly my job either.

Two days later, they came and moved the furniture. We spent a week crammed into the tiny nursery, diving onto and off of the bed for lack of space, before they finally took the now-stinking wet rug away and put down some thin, indoor-outdoor stuff.

We left the area five months later. I wonder if that plumber is still working for them.

Kathleen- beloved mother of TJ / June 30, 2007 3:06 PM

On June 7,2005, my family and I suffered the greatest loss known.
Our son, Tanner (22) along with his two close friends: Chris(19) and Justin (22) died in a fire owned by ICM properties. There were not smoke detectors where dictated by law. My son was just spending the night.
I plead to all of you when you are looking for an apartment LOOK UP! Make sure there are working smoke alarms 15 feet from every bedroom (in each bedroom provides the safest protection) on every floor and at the top of every stairway, including those in common spaces, like shared stairs.
Be careful out there, no one is looking out for you as well as you should look out for your self. It's a life or death check list.
Chicago IL

Kelly / March 3, 2008 10:41 AM

I have had a lot of trouble with my current slumlord, who continues to press my buttons. I won't even get into all that has transpired since we've begun living there...but I have a question for anyone who is reading.

He currently is looking into putting an addition onto the house, to make it a 3 bedroom. I have 4 months left of the lease, and I'm pregnant. I don't think it'd be legal for him to begin a major (unnecessary) construction project while I'm living there anyway, but considering that paint fumes, and debris would be unsafe for me (and my unborn child), what are my legal rights? Do I have the right to say "Let me out of my lease, or begin construction after I move out"?

Tom / April 11, 2008 1:53 PM

Had a landlord (mgmt company) in Boulder CO who showed my place to strangers a couple times a week for the duration of my 5 month lease-- advertised for 22% more than they rented to me for just months earlier, in a flat rental market. Showing after showing to potential suckers who were not taking the bait, months in advance of the apartment's scheduled availability date, month in, month out. Yes I was on a fixed term lease, and my move-out date was known this entire time! After months of enduring this aggressive, unorthodox "showings-to-unscreened strangers" nuisance compromising the privacy, security, convenience & quiet enjoyment of my home which I paid good monthly rent for, I finally complained, worked out a generous "showing guidelines" schedule, which landlord promptly discarded "for the convenience of the next (potential) tenant." Completely disgraceful behavior from this manager resulted in a public FYI website,
where I've told the whole story to whoever cares to inform themself about this company; dumped the emails and MP3s of some key recorded phone calls with this manager, where her basic attitude & disposition shines through clearly.

Vicki / May 30, 2008 7:36 PM

I was 16, young and stupid and renting in a city close to Toronto, Canada. I was moving in with my boyfriend at the time, his sister, her boyfriend, her 5 year old, and with one on the way. It was a 4 bedroom, and they were working on renovations when we went to look at the apartment. Seemed nice enough, seeing as how we were able to split the apartment into 2 halfs to have our own spaces. You must note, there was about 4 MONTHS between the previous tenant and myself. We start moving in on move date and this is what we find:
- the kitchenette was flooded ankle deep. neighbors had seen the landlord 'bailing' the basement throughout the winter months, and leaks were still occurring.
-the previous tenant (Who happened to be a Stripper from one of the cities most disgustingly dirty, uncleaned and infested strip joints)had left clothes, condoms, semen stained furniture, underwear... need I continue? I was sure breathing the air would reult in an STD!
-The fridge had been unplugged for the 4 months, (their 'renovation time') and according to the landlord had been professionally cleaned. I opened it to put some stuff in it and it was molded green from top to bottom. There was meat and butter and milk left in there for all those months.
-There was a hole in the foundation that when you stood on the carpet, your foot would get wet from the water coming UP through the hole.
-The roof in the bathroom had started to cave in, and mould was coming down through the cracks.

We called the landlord (moving truck still in the drive-way and everything) and complained. He insisted all was taken care of. After persuading him my fridge was trying to eat me and I had a swimming pool instead of a kitchenette, his advise to me was "Go out buy some bleach, mops and paper towels to clean up the floor and fridge. Clean it yourselves and I will re-imburse you" Reimbursement never came.

Being the age I was and still going to highschool, could not find somewhere else to live until lease was up. A child and pregnant woman had to deal with that. Not to mention my landlord walking into our apartment to collect rent, unannounced, 'conveniently' always when I was naked. Creep.


ellen / November 25, 2008 11:27 PM

I rented a little house in Long Beach, CA for 14 years. At first it was ok, the rent was cheap and I could have my pets- but then I had a chronic roach problem and she tried to blame my pets. She finally exterminated when I threatened to call the health department. The house was built in the Twenties and she refused to make any improvements on it. I finally told her that I needed her to fix the drywall falling out of the ceiling and to repaint. The inside had not been painted in 14 years. It was disgusting. She threatened to evict me which is illegal. Legal aid said they could help but by that time I decided to get the hell out of Dodge. And she lived in the best part of Long Beach and drove really expensive cars. Classic slumlord.

Raymond / December 8, 2008 10:13 PM

I had a landlord who recieved a quit or pay order to leave HIS home and he had the gall to try to evict me with no notice and no law enforcement.

His thinking was, he was being evicted and owned the mobile home trailer I was in so he had the right to just kick me out (even though I had just paid the current month's rent on time).

It took visits from police on three separate occassions to finally convince this man that he had to give me a mandatory 30-day notice (it's a law here in Nevada for month-to-month non-leased rentals).

But I had to endure days and nights of him ramming on my front door, demanding I leave before I could get the police to understand that I was being harrassed and order him to stop.

Still a massive headache: you can be a full-paying, polite, but legally-minded tenand and STILL be victimized by landlord harrassment.

David / December 27, 2008 5:14 PM

A personal injury lawsuit I filed against Sean Wright, the manager at 1726 and 1742 N. Edgemont, Los Angeles, CA 90027, and the employee of Millennium Property Management, Inc. was resolved in a court of law in 2007.

The reason I am posting a description of an assault which was committed against me by Sean Wright the manager of Millennium Property Management, Inc., is as a warning to anyone who is considering this company as a potential manager of their property(ies. Though Mr. Wright was found culpable, Millennium and the new proprty owners, retained his employment.

I moved to 1742 N. Edgemont Street in late 1996. At the time, a man named Stan was the manager of the building and employed by the late, Moe Greendale, who owned the apartment building. Stan was not employed by Millennium Property Management, Inc. Unfortunately, Stan was unethical, entering tenant apartments while tenants were away and convincing many to pay their rent in cash, claiming it was a more efficient way to post their payments. Because of numerous complaints against Stan, he was eventually terminated. After he left the property it was discovered that he had absconded with rent money and had not recorded many of the cash payments in the manager's tenant roster. Before leaving, he destroyed many of the tenant files, which contained copies of the agreements we signed at the time we agreed to rent our apartments.

Moe Greendale hired Millennium Property Management to take control over the management of the four buildings located between 1726 and 1742 N. Edgemont. In the months which followed, Millennium brought in one new manager after another. Some quit but most were terminated, in part because of the high turnover in tenants. Three things which characterized all of the managers was their lack of professionalism, lack of education, and inexperience. Also, none possessed the ability to communicate effectively or politely with tenants.

In the months following Millennium's arrival, many of the long-time tenants began to receive notices advising them that records left by Stan showed these tenants had not paid their rents for many months. I personally believe that Millennium knew this was not only untrue but that they knew Stan absconded with monies paid by tenants.

Long-time tenants began to vacate their premises while others were evicted. Despite the assertions by many tenants that they paid their rent in cash, to Stan, Millennium's managers proceeded with evicting tenants, all according to the then-managers, at Janice Johnson's direction.

One of the few significant improvements made by Millennium was paving the enclosed tenant parking lot which is located at the back of the property, behind the four apartment structures. Prior to Millennium's arrival, the lot had remained unpaved for many years without marked spaces being provided for tenants. Prior to paving, finding a space in the back lot was a 'free for all.' After paving was completed, tenants were informed in writing, that IF they wanted to continue parking in the secure parking lot, they would have to pay a fee of $35.00 per month in addition to their rent. At the time, I contacted the city of Los Angeles and was informed that tenants cannot be charged a parking fee if the property is located in the city of Los Angeles. Zip code 90027, where the property is located is in the city of Los Angeles. When advised of this, the managers stated that Janice wanted tenants charged and there was nothing any tenant could do, aside from parking outside, on the crowded street.

In May 2002, Sean Wright became the new property manager. Unfortunately, Mr. Wright further alienated many of the property tenants which resulted in a continued exodus from the property. On the week he arrived, he and the boyfriend of the former manager, got into a yelling argument in the back parking lot which ended when the boyfriend threatened to hit him.

Before his arrival and after his arrival, I had continually requested that repairs be performed in my apartment. Amongst these, was a broken window, a stove whose oven did not work, a broken pipe belonging to the upstairs bathroom which leaked through the bathroom ceiling, an inoperative wall heater, and the removal of mold which covered the bathroom walls but which in the past had merely been painted over.

Requests were always ignored. In one instance I did not have phone service for 3 weeks because hot water sprayed on to the telephone wires which were located in the basement next to where the apartment's washing machines were located. The first time I informed the manager, I was told that I had to call AT & T. The telephone company repairman who inspected the wiring said the repair was the responsibility of the property management. Efforts by the telephone company to inspect the property were impeded because the managers were never in the office during the hours of operation. It was all in all, a frustrating experience.

Over a period of many months, the manager's informed me that I had underpaid my rent for a period of 12 months. I told them I was paying what I was contractually obligated to pay. They informed me that Stan took or destroyed tenant files and thus there was no way to prove that what I alleged was in fact true. Locating the copy of the agreement I signed, I showed them how much I was contractually required to pay. The demands ceased until Mr. Wright arrived. He resumed these, leaving an unsigned hand-written note taped to my door each month, which stated I was underpaying my rent. Despite leaving a copy of my agreement, he continued to leave hand-written notes demanding I pay the money due to Moe Greendale.

Though I did not initially know, who was leaving the unsigned notices, I later discovered it was Sean Wright.

However, what is more perplexing and even disturbing was an incident which developed within a few weeks after Mr. Wright's arrival. Several times, after returning home from work, I noticed that my Caller ID showed Moe Greendale's telephone number though no messages were ever left on my recorder. Soon afterwards, my telephone would ring late at night and again, Moe Greendale's name and telephone number (323) 660-7879, would appear on my Caller ID. As usual, no messages were left. I called the number back immediately, but no one answered.

One day, I returned home and again discovered Moe Greendale's name on my Caller ID. Tired that the caller was not leaving messages and even disturbing my sleep, I called the number the following day at about 11 a.m. This time, Mr. Wright answered the phone. After identifying myself, I asked if we had ever met. He replied that he did not know who I was. I then asked why he or someone from his office was calling my home while I was away and late at night, without leaving a message. At first, he replied, 'I haven't called' but upon advising him that Moe Greendale's name was appearing on my Caller ID and that I would have to file a complaint with the telephone company should the calls not desist, he stuttered and said, 'Oh yeah...ah, I can't remember why I called.' I told him that he was no longer allowed to call my residence without leaving a message. I also told him that I found his behavior odd. He laughed uncomfortably and said, 'Okay.' After this, Moe Greendale's name never again appeared on my Caller ID.

In October 3, 2003, I returned home from work and discovered a form letter taped to my door which said that I had not paid my rent and that due to this I must now pay an additional $75.00 late fee. If I refused to pay, I would be subject to eviction proceedings.

The agreement I signed stipulated that rent was due on the 1st but could be paid up until the 3rd of the month without incurring a late fee. What's more, I paid the rent earlier that day, before 5 p.m. Like most tenants, I dropped of an envelope containing my rent check in the drop box located on the manager's office door. Though it was after 5 p.m., I called Mr. Wright's office but a recorder answered. I left a message requesting that Mr. Wright call me immediately. When he didn't call back, I walked to his apartment which was located directly across from his office. I knocked three times and though I could hear the television in his apartment and could hear footsteps, he never opened the door. I next called the 'after hours' number provided on his office recorder and left a message demanding he call me immediately. He never did.

Later that evening, a neighbor and I went to see a movie at a theatre complex in Burbank, CA. After the movie ended, we returned home. As we stepped out of his car, I asked my neighbor if he would accompany me to Mr. Wright's apartment, explaining that attempts to contact him earlier that evening had been unsuccessful.

My neighbor stood behind me, slightly to my right while I knocked 3 times. I heard the sound of shuffling footsteps and the door was opened by Mr. Wright. I identified myself and asked why he left a letter threatening to evict me unless the rent was paid, when the rent had already been left at his office earlier that day. He responded by saying, 'You're a liar.' I told him I am not a liar, check your door. He again accused me of being a liar. I asked why he had left the note on my door when the agreement all tenants signed at the time, specifically said that payments must be received no later than the 3rd of each month. He merely stated, 'This is inappropriate.' I also asked why my neighbor who had not yet paid his rent, had not been issued a letter like the one I received. Mr. Wright said, 'I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.'

I then reminded him of his calls to my apartment and told him I would proceed in filing a complaint against him. Raising his right arm, he struck me on the face with the palm of his hand. He next slammed the door to his apartment but I flinched afraid of being struck on the face and attempted to cover my face. Somehow, my hand got caught on his door jam. My neighbor and I pushed the door screaming that he open it so to release my hand, but screaming like a madman, he yelled, 'Get out, get out.' We finally pushed the door far enough to free my hand and turning, we left the building. As we walked down the street, I could feel cold pangs on my fingers and raising my hand towards the light which emanated from a street lamp, I noticed that my middle and index fingers of my right hand were covered in thick oozing blood. I asked my neighbor if there was something wrong with my hand. He immediately panicked , screaming 'Your hand, your hand.' I told him to calm down and walking to his apartment, I tried to examine my hand but could not determine the extent of my injury. I then told him that we should call 911 but he was too nervous to explain what had happened. After speaking to an operator I was told that the paramedics were on their way to my neighbor's apartment.

A short time later, the paramedics arrived and informed me that the tip of my index finger had been severed off. One paramedic walked to Mr. Wright's apartment to retrieve the missing piece while the other interviewed me and examined my injury. I was later escorted to a waiting ambulance where a policeman and policewoman were waiting. The policeman asked my neighbor and I several questions and informed us that Mr. Wright had accused me of assaulting him. I of course denied that this had occurred and was transferred to Kaiser Sunset. A physician examined my hand and the piece of finger which the paramedic was able to retrieve. She said that the severed piece had been crushed and could not be sewn back on the finger. She also said that a bone on my finger was protruding and because it was exposed, it could cause a serious infection. She said the bone would have to be severed. She also feared that the middle finger might have to be severed as it had been crushed but not mutilated.

The finger was bone was severed for a few months after this, I visited the hospital periodically to have the finger examined. Within 30 days, I received a letter from the office of the attorney representing the management company along with an eviction notice which provided me with a few days in which to vacate my premises. In the letter, the attorney alleged that I created a nuisance when I visited and threatened Mr. Wright. He further alleged that my neighbor was a witness to what I had done and would be called to provide his testimony implicating me in the alleged assault against Mr. Wright.

I obtained legal counsel and went to court to contest the eviction, but I lost when their attorney convinced the judge that I threatened Mr. Wright this despite the testimony of my neighbor which said I had been attacked. Before we entered the courtroom, Janice Johnson the Broker and President of Millennium Property Management, Inc., asked my attorney if she could speak to my witness. Unwittingly, my attorney conceded and during a closed-door meeting which followed, Janice informed my neighbor that she had been told that he had a dog and had failed to register this fact with her office which she alleged could result in his eviction.

When they emerged from their meeting, Janice informed my attorney that she was now willing to go to court and fight their cause. It was not until later that day, that I discovered Janice's real reason for requesting to meet with my neighbor and witness.

We proceeded to the courtroom where a brief trial was held. The judge issued a judgment on the side of the property management company.

My neighbor later told me that when he went to pay his rent, Janice was in the office and she told him, 'Remember what we talked about in court. We're going to talk shortly.' He interpreted her statement as a threat.

It was not until 2006, that I went to court on this matter. I sat quietly as Sean nervously described how I allegedly assaulted him. As I turned towards the back of the courtroom, I noticed Janice Johnson sitting at the back of the courtroom, staring intently at my former neighbor, as if attempting to intimidate him. Her appearance was rather tragic as she seemed to hiding, sitting at the corner of the courtroom, clutching her purse to her chest.

My former neighbor was called eventually called to the stand. Before the trial began during opening statements, Mr. Wright's attorney, a middle-aged woman wearing clothing that only a 21 year old could wear, proclaimed that my former neighbor would provide statements confirming that I assaulted Mr. Wright. However, in his testimony, my former neighbor described a vicious instigated by Mr. Wright, which ended with the loss of my finger.

The following day, I could not be present in court to hear what decision had been made by the jury during their deliberation. Later that day, my attorney called and said that the jury agreed that I should not have visited Mr. Wright at his residence after business hours, however, they also concluded that he instigated the attack and that he caused the loss of my finger.

Janice Johnson, the attorney who filed the eviction notice, Mr. Wright, and the attorney who defended him during the Personal Injury trial, were in unison to slander my reputation and attribute Mr. Wright's attack, to me. Aside from the terrible emotional reverberations which came from the knowledge that I had been violated and that the perpetrators had succeeded in obtaining my ouster from my home under the pretense that I was a disruptive tenant, the final determinant was the vindication I had sought and overshadowed all else.

If you are a property owner, looking for a property management company to oversee your property, then I urge you to conduct extensive research about any company you are considering hiring. Contact the Better Business Bureau and the state before signing an agreement.

As for Janice Johnson, I would avoid doing business with this unethical and dishonest woman. Based what I witnessed, Janice is unscrupulous and will do whatever it takes to promote her company, including subjugating and abusing the people who each month pay rent for a place they call home. Janice Johnson, Sean Wright, and Millennium Property Management, Inc. should be avoided at all costs.

Los Angeles, California

Tee / February 6, 2009 10:34 PM

My Encounter With Hell (Or Hell's Distant Cousin)

When my spouse and I were stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, we rented a 3 BDR, 2 BA duplex from Texstar Properties. Remember the name; you'll hear it again.

Everything was fine. Until the scorpions showed up. Scorpion after scorpion was found in our house. We complained and complained to Texstar to send an extermimator and nothing was done. Then the inevitable happenend: my daughter (8 at the time) was stung by a scorpion. We were so livid we didn't know what to do. My husband went back to Texstar (along with a copy of my daughter's discharge paperwork from the ER with evidences of the scorpion sting) and guess what? STILL NO EXTERMINATOR. But here's the kicker: needless to say we didn't renew our lease. We moved to VA and 2 months later we hadn't received a security deposit. After contacting them over and over, they finally sent it and guess what was deducted from the final tally? Extermination fees, along with a bunch of other charges for "spot-painting", "lawn maintenance fees" and "general repairs". I made a beeline for a lawyer, who not-so-kindly send them a nastygram reminding them that in the state of Texas, all wrongfully withheld security deposits can be sued for 3 times the amount of wrongful withholding so they could potentially be out of close to $2,700 dollars.

NEVER, EVER RENT FROM TEXSTAR PROPERTIES. They are conmen from way, waaaay back.

Linda Shernit / February 8, 2009 10:16 AM

My landlord is from hell! I have had problems with my fridge since I moved in in 2004! It leaked water all over the floor, water would build up under the vegetable bins and then leak to the floor from there. I had on numerous times told him about this issue and all he did was comeup and say its the hose. He did not do one thing to fix the issue so this year I bought a new fridge andhe flipped out! He belittled me and my roommate, talked tome like I was child and was up in my face pointing his finger at me. I told him he needs to talk to me with respect and not treat me like a child. He then said he was my boss! That was the straw that broke it all! He now demands that we put the fridge back in its spot, without it being fixed. I told him fine but I'm not using it I'm keeping my brand new fridge so that my 5 yr old does not get sick. After this blow up we have decided to look for a place elsewhere so we don't have to deal with the egotistical jerk anymore!

Tom / July 8, 2009 4:24 PM

Wow, Mike, you really are an idiot.

Here's what you wrote:

:mike / September 7, 2005 1:13 PM
Lessons I have learned over the years:

"- Look for a 6 or 12-flat ... never live in an owner-occupied building unless you know the owner is cool. Most 2-flat owners in Chicago are not fit to be landlords and their buildings are not governed by the RLTO."

Six- and 12-flats usually are owned by rental companies, which are way less likely to be responsive to tenants' needs.

An owner of a 2-flat is 1000 times more likely to address issues like rats, roaches or a leaky toilet if he/she lives in the building.

A 2-flat owner will also be more concerned about the safety of his/her tenants, too. That owner is not going to take shortcuts on electrical wiring, etc. if it means his house will burn down. And that owner has a vested interest in making sure he/she doesn't rent to gangbangers and drug dealers.

Perhaps you might want to rethink that advice.

K / July 9, 2009 5:20 PM

Tom, I disagree with this statement, due to personal experience in a 2 (+1/2) flat house:

A 2-flat owner will also be more concerned about the safety of his/her tenants, too. That owner is not going to take shortcuts on electrical wiring, etc. if it means his house will burn down.

They may not be concerned about the safety but more about making a buck anyway they can, and they MAY NOT question shortcuts on wiring and plumbing... if they live there and can "patch it up" when the bills come. My landlord did just this. When she moved out to her own apartment and my monthly utility bills were over $400 / month, she continued to deny it. She couldn't deny, however, the photos we took of the web of electrical wires all leading to OUR meter, she couldn't deny the hot water heater pipes for the washer/dryer AND the studio apartment leading to OUR gas meter, she couldn't deny the gas and electrical company report that the house was wired for utility theft. It was precisly because she lived there that these were botched jobs and she was able to get away with it while she was there to control the bills.

If the house burns down, don't you get a nice little check from the insurance company?

I'm in a different 2 - 3 flat house that used to be owner occupied and it's working out just fine. I think the most sound advice is to look for a decent landlord, don't make rules strictly based on occupancy size. If the landlord does live there, and they engage in sketchy management, you will have a harder time getting a judge to side with your case. That's just how the law works in Chicago.

david / October 12, 2009 11:17 AM

I agree with K. The fact that the landlord lives on the property is absolutely no guarantee that he or she will make certain things are maintained. In the end it breaks down to the character and professionalism of the owner or manager not whether or not they live on the property.

Lady / May 5, 2010 8:31 PM

I'm stressed right now because I've been living in a rented duplex for 6 weeks and the landlady has turned out to be the type who blames EVERYTHING that I ask to have fixed on me--it's always "Well, you must have done something to it and I'll have to charge you for that." This is getting old, old, old.

I'm sick and tired of being blamed for things I did not do!

Lady / May 5, 2010 8:36 PM

...the latest injustice is this: the kitchen faucets were making a horrendously loud noise as they were turned on. Landlady sent her maintenance guy out.

He was in over his head. So she sent one of her tenants who does plumbing.

2 nights ago, he shows up with his family and they all sit around my place while he changes out to a new faucet system.

Landlady calls today and starts yelling at ME, asking why the plumber put in an expensive ($65) faucet system in the kitchen. I have no idea!!!

Then she says I "must have altered the original fixture and you'll have to pay for that." I did NOT! I don't even know how to do plumbing!

It nearly brought me to tears, I tell you! We'll see if she charges me. Her big beef was "all my faucets have white handles. As if I knew that, right?

The previous faucet--which she swears I must have switched out--had silver handles. The one she had in here for 2 days had clear handles. New one has white handles--big deal.

FortQueen / June 29, 2010 7:36 PM

I rented a bedroom in a nice three bedroom duplex in Fort Greene Brooklyn in 1997. It was a very lovely place with a spiral staircase, hardwood floors, and a good location close to everything. My 'landlord', the guy whose name was on the lease, seemed cool at first. He said that he was in law school and had a steady boyfriend. Turns out he was a prostitute who entertained a lot of customers, almost every night. One of his "friends" came over one night, beat the hell out of him, and put him in the hospital.

Jamie Thomas / June 30, 2010 12:25 AM

I have lived in an apartment for 1.5 years. The landlord I thought was great at first, he worked with us with the rent and with the previous eviction. When my wife and I moved in, we cleaned it for one week! There were roaches everywhere. We told the landlord about it, and he would get a bug company to come out and clean it for us, and then he would want some type of repayment for getting the bug guy out to clean up a problem that was NOT ours in the beginning! He finally got the roaches all cleaned up, and then we found out in our first Christmas there, that he was in foreclosure! We didn't want to pay the rent for fear of losing the place and no money, but he pulled through the foreclosure. Then the second foreclosure came by in the summer in Mesa, Az and my wife and I decided to move out before anymore problems came up. He is now not paying the mortage since Dec of '09 we have till the 14 Aug 10 to move out. So we are moving out, he doesn't keep up on maintance, he's late for picking up rent, we have lived in the fourplex for this whole time with OUT A/C! Down here in Az you NEED A/C! So after we move we are not going to tell anyone to rent from him, he just pockets the rent money for his nice cars, a 08 Corvette, Chevy truck, with support from Harley Davidson, a Harley, family car and family van.

WakeUpLaughing / August 23, 2011 9:39 PM

Many years ago, I moved in with my fiance. My best friend and her husband lived across the courtyard from us. The landlord, Mr. Bradshaw, used to spy on all of us wih binoculars through his front room curtains. My girlfriend and her husband always liked to take showers together. This was not acceptable to Mr. Bradshaw as Somehow he figured this out--he lived directly next door to them with adjoining bedroom walls. He informed them they weren't allowed to do this and then removed their showerhead--to which they proceeded to take baths together!

Often my girlfriend would come and have coffee with me after my fiance left for work in the mornings, and Mr. Bradshaw erroneously believed that she was entering our apartment to have sex with my fiance, thinking I had gone to work already. He felt it his duty to inform her husband of this. Of course, we all knew better and had a good laugh over it.

He also used to inspect our trash for any illicit materials. My fiance would read and throw away a few Playboys now and then, which was fine with me. Mr. Bradshaw would pull them out of the green trash baggie in the dumpster and huffing and puffing, red in the face, storm up to our door, magazines in hand, informing us this "smut" was not also not allowed in his trash! So my girlfriend and I affixed a used tampon in the next trash bag we set out right at the twist tie opening to send him a message. He didn't say anything about that after dipping his hand in it!

Just before we moved out, we had a party, dancing, a little drinking, some innocent mischief making, knowing that Mr. Bradshaw was watching. He became so upset that night, he had a heart attack.

We were young, he was old. We never did anything malicious, just being who we were enjoying our lives. However, we did gain a certain thrill knowing we were tormenting him...he was kind of a sick old guy who loved to also torment. These many years later, we still laugh over it all.

Jess / October 21, 2011 5:18 PM

How should I put this... It would be easier to write about what went well with our landlord and the house he rented to us... but to name a few problems,

1) Before we even moved in, our landlord knew about the main pipe line to the street being big issue. We called a plumber three days after we moved in, and he told us the pipeline was clogged due to paint. Funny, our landlord painted the house a few days before we moved in. About a month later, sewage began coming out of almost every drain in the house. It was saturday at 11 p.m. He didnt call a plumber until sunday afternoon.

2) We had several large pine trees that were always a liability. During a couple of wind storms, one large branch fell on the back porch, nearly killing a family member, and another instant, a hefty branch fell on our driveway and rendered it unusable. No compensation, no repairmen for the roof, nothing.

3) Our kitchen faucet pipe had a leak when we first moved in, and we had no idea until we realised that the 40 year-old cabnetry (which our landlord said he'd replace AFTER we moved out) was completely rotted and covered in mold. We replaced that because our landlord wouldn't pay for it.

4) Not one bathroom was properly caulked, which caused harzardous mold. we had to recaulk it.

5) The house had almost 50% insulation loss. what did our landlord suggest? block off half the house, and keep a fire going for the entire winter, or face the extremely high heating bill.

6) Shortly after someone had almost been killed by the fallen branch, we threatened to sue our landlord, he in turn, said he would hire people to cut down almost all the trees that were the source of our problems. We complied. However, after the trees were cut down into large, 200 lbs rounds, the fence half missing, and the yard burried in wood and mulch, rendering it useless, our landlord realised he could make some money by selling the wood himself. He had one potential customer. We had 20 people at our door asking to purchase wood. The 200 lbs rounds stayed in our backyard for 3 months, until our landlord kicked us out saying he wanted to sell the house, but in reality he just didnt want to worry about the upkeep anymore.

We were good renters of that house for 5 years. We moved out before August of 2010, so we didnt have to pay that months rent, but he still charged us because he was on vacation, and we couldnt return the key.

deserthackberry / October 21, 2012 10:04 AM

I'm sick of landlords blaming tenants for the poor condition of their properties. Yes, I've seen bad tenants, but it was clear they were bad before you rented to them, so why did you? And landlords have a choice whether to rent their property or not, whereas tenants have no choice about renting.

Right now, I have a hole in my closet ceiling with some kind of metal object with wires sticking out of it. Tenants didn't do that. Tenants didn't cause the extensive termite damage inside and outside the house -- but the wooden deck the landlord installed over the patio probably contributed. When I moved in, the faucets, inside and out, were cranked down so hard they were difficult to turn on, a common landlord's trick. Since I started using them, half of them drip. The garbage disposal -- probably the original -- never worked, appears to be rusted, and won't drain, so I can't use that side of the sink. Again, not any tenant's fault.

If landlords want tenants to treat their property like Buckingham Palace, they shouldn't leave it like Dogpatch.

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