Tag Archives: renting

AirBnB

13 Aug

After the gunfight under our windows I wondered if someone might have an errant AirBnB renter that had a party that went south. It had never occurred to me before to even think residential apartments might offer up short-term rentals. Because we’re renters. No lease I’ve ever signed allows subletting, which is what short-term rentals technically would be. But the news talked about over 100 shots fired down the street from here, and said the culprits were 2 warring AirBnB parties. Like, parties as in groups of people having fun, not parties in the court of law sense. So I looked on the website, and boy did I find out our lofts have an AirBnB situation! I could tell each listing that was definitely from our loft building because we have distinct orange-colored kitchen cabinets.

At first I thought the landlord must not know about these residents gone rouge. OUR lease is very specific that we are the only 2 allowed to live in our apartment. It limits guests to family and limits the amount of time they can stay here. There is no subleasing permitted on the lease we signed. And I just assumed it was like that for everyone in the lofts… Because what a liability! If something happened, the landlord could ultimately be responsible since he owns the building. It would cause a legal entanglement to evict a resident for something their AirBnB subtenant did.

After the gunfight I emailed and texted the landlord asking if any of the participants lived in our lofts or rented one of the many Airbnbs listed.

positions of me (circle) and people with modified weapons

He ghosted me.

July 31st I counted 10 listings that showed the building’s distinct orange kitchens (note how many guests each ad has listed for one loft):

In regards to the number of guests allowed for each individual loft, you can see that parties are actively encouraged by the hosts. This is not exclusively a high end vacationer thing-though at these price-points, it’s that too. These hosts have 6 guests listed frequently, which is NOT the size of any loft in this building. They are trying to solicit partiers to split the high cost, knowing damn well the nuisance and risk parties will introduce to the building.

As you can see, this is not a new thing. There were many “super-hosts” among those offering up units for short-term rental. And it wasn’t a seldom occurrence, as many of the hosts had 30-40-50 reviews from people who had already stayed in our building.

Annnd you can see in the above examples (not exhaustive) that there are actual businesses offering up our loft’s units on AirBnB. In my opinion, a lot of the hosts looked like they had their units professionally staged and the photos were magazine quality. If an individual did that, then I guess they are in the right business. But also, maybe this is big-business since travel companies were sometimes listed as host. How does that even occur? The landlord HAS to be in on it if businesses are using the building. He is absolutely taking extra deposits, or higher rental fees, or a direct cut of the AirBnB profits to allow that.

You can also see the money being made on these AirBnB stays. For the 10 listings of our address, the average per night stay cost $140! I couldn’t even believe it. So that’s precisely why we could afford to live in such a nice building: Crime + the real money is being made on all of the AirBnBs.

On Aug 9 there were 14 listings, including 4 new listings (one of the listings was for 2 different apt) from “J.C.”

And I noticed the pictures on these listings were the exact same pictures that were on apartments.com and renters.com etc, etc… Like the landlord was in on it.

And of course he would have to be, because we have gates and the doors and elevator requires a key fob to get in. How would all these AirBnB people be getting around the property if the landlord wasn’t assisting the host? Ooohhhh, all those things hanging on the gate are a means of entry! UPS and Amazon and other frequent people use them to come in without the key fob. So the literal 17 on outside gates are for the AirBnB people to get in also.

So if 15 units are posted on AirBnB for short-term rentals that means 23% of the units in our lofts are hosting AirBnb!

At first I was mad. Because that’s egregious. And it endangers all of us with actual leases since AirBnB does not do background checks. Also, it renders are gated property and key-fob entry useless. Random people are trapesing in and out of here every weekend. And one legitimate AirBnB can invite 60 friends into the building, and no one’s checking these people in any way. We need a door man checking badges and IDs and confiscating weapons and drugs! It’s really not safe for current leasors, and it’s very unethical to draw people here from outside the community who don’t know what they’re stepping into. These people are just on vacation, a lot of them, and some have kids and stuff. They’re just walking around unaware that a whole ass gunfight broke out. Right on the property. And last weekend. There really should be some kind of mandatory disclosures. Landlords should be required to inform tenants of the scope of AirBnBs allowed. The AirBnB landlords should be required to disclose safety concerns to potential short-term leasers.

Then, I thought about buying a building in a rough area of town. An area that is trying to revitalize, that has many empty warehouses, construction, drag racing, people gathering, and random gunfights. The locals probably know to stay away, so it must be difficult to fill all of the units in the building. And what a waste to have a quarter of the building sit empty! So I can understand trying to recoup some money and get people into those units.

Saint Louis isn’t really doing anything to crack down on AirBnBs, and the property owner is obviously making money from it, so I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. I didn’t realize that’s yet another thing I need to research when looking for housing–are AirBnBs listed for that property??!

Literal Gun Fight at our Loft

31 Jul

Went to bed early to fully enjoy the weekend. It seems like we’re always tired and fatigued so we don’t do much. But…

Awoke to a bang. Goose is 16 years old and doesn’t see well anymore, especially in the dark so I thought he stumbled on his rubbermaid ladder getting on the bed, as he sometimes does. Heard another crash and glass. I thought- Goddammit what did the cats knock over?! thinking the commotion was inside the loft. Then there was loud persistent bangs (bang bang bang bang bang bang bang, I think 7 initially?) and my first thought was, what the fuck?! Someone is banging on our window. Again?!

This had happened to us in Utah. Someone repeatedly came to the space behind our apartment and banged on our bedroom window with their fist, scaring the wits out of us. Was it a meth-head, just a passerby? But it wasn’t a one-time thing either. The person came back and knocked on the back window a second time. Did they plan to rob us? To rape us? Kill? We didn’t know, but it felt targeted because none of the other neighbors had the problem. When the person returned, we thought that was really unhinged and I was too terrified to open the curtains and look who it was. So I knocked back from the inside, thinking it might be a cat or something, or if the person knew we were home it would scare them away. This brazen person knocked right back with more force, so we knew they had no fear or qualms that we were inside. Anyway, that was a big part of the reason we didn’t renew that lease even though the location was really ideal.

Back to yesterday. So I thought some mofo had gotten some implement and was striking our window. We’re on the 2nd floor, with only storage units beneath us, so the sidewalk between the parking lot and our unit isn’t all that far above (it might as will be 1st floor on the North side). I thought they were using a broom or rake or something. The B in the pic is where our bed is and the line is where the loud noise was coming from-probably 3-5 feet under our window is the front sidewalk.

Cool was up first and peeking out the blinds. She said, “Hit the deck!” Which seems like a funny thing to say now. But I was disoriented and wanted to get my bearings, so I peeked out the blinds too. What I saw was two approximately 20 year old black men shooting back and fourth across the parking lot with automatic guns. There have been all kinds of car break-ins, stolen catalytic converters, and an armed gang of teens stealing Kias in Saint Louis, and I think across the country. So I thought- Oh great they got into the security gate and are going to break-in, and possibly steal our cars. What a headache!

The circle is our North window, and the 2 Xs are where the shooters in the parking lot were:

But they seemed to have no interest in the cars, only shooting each other. So I knew it wasn’t the car thieves after all.

I got on the floor and called 911. It was the first time I had ever called.

Because in 2005, when our crazy landlord literally broke the front door down to show the house to potential renters, it was my roommate at the time, Eileen, who called. I just hid in the closet and cried with her (I was 22 and terrified).

Back to Saturday: And I was on hold. I would have been surprised and appalled, but I had seen true crime where 911 had put them on hold for like 20 min in some short-staffed, high crime area. And at that time I didn’t even know that was a thing! I thought the whole point of 911 was immediacy for emergencies. But I worked though my shock and disgust when I watched whatever show, so when it happened to me I thought- That checks out. While I was on hold the recording kept loudly saying wait on the line or something like that every few seconds. Heaven help you if you’re trying to quietly hide from an attacker or something.

While I was waiting, the shooting outside had been continuing the entire time, but now I also heard commotion in our 2nd floor hallway. I think I heard exclusively female voices (I can’t be sure there were no men, but I don’t remember any) all loudly and excitedly chattering. I didn’t know if neighbors woke up or if people had run inside to hide, or if the shooters had gained entry. I was afraid to get close to the hallway door because my 911 message was loud, and also I didn’t know if any of the gunmen were inside the building. I half expected banging or shooting at our apartment door at any moment and didn’t know what I would do in that scenario.

I was still holding for 911 and went more to the interior of the loft, but Cool was still in the studio area and had called 911 (after me) and was already talking to someone. I didn’t want my loud recorded message to make her call unclear. She was describing the scene to 911 and saying there were many people outside in masks and head-coverings, all with automatic guns with silencers and some long extended attachment. I hadn’t realized there were many people out there.

After what felt like 10 min, I walked to the living area and someone answered my call saying it was 911 this is (something that started with a C, I don’t remember now). I thought it was weird they didn’t ask for my address like they always do on television shows, but proactively provided it first thing. I was also surprised that I remembered the address correctly and without thinking while under stress, bc we move so much. We have only lived in Saint Louis for 4 months.

I said there was shooting and the operator wanted to know how many shots had been fired. I hadn’t been counting but it would be like 7 rapid-fire shots at a time, then like 2 one-offs, but continuously since we woke up, so I really didn’t know. I said, probably 80, I’ve been on hold and they’ve been shooting this whole time. He must have asked how many shots 3 times! While he was on speaker phone, another burst of shots rang out right next to the wall where I was standing (pic below: the star is 7-12 shots and the K is where I was. The C is where Cool was) and he said- We’ll send someone right over. Before he hung up on me I said, Please hurry, our apartments are completely lined with windows!

It felt like a lot of waiting on hold for 911, but I guess time was weird because of the stress of continuous shooting and the fear.

Right after the call to 911, I texted the landlord saying there were 7(?) shooters with automatic guns who had been shooting for the last 20 minutes, and informed him 911 had been called. No response.

We keep the blinds in the living room partially open all the time. Because the cats want to look out the windows even when we’re sleeping and they’ll ruin the rental blinds if they’re not raised taller than a cat. As such, I had a clear view of the area in front of the loft’s main entrance, and could see a portion of the stairway.

The marks are where I was looking out and where the people were kinda standing and planning their next move. The X closest to the door was a masked boy, probably 16, carrying a long, automatic gun. The next X was a maybe 20-22 year old girl, no mask, no gun, just standing as if no shooting was occuring. The the biggest X was a husky guy in a mask also carrying a big automatic gun that I estimated to be no more than 23 years old.

They all looked relaxed, and non-chalant. None had angry expressions. They didn’t look like hardened professionals, or gang members. They were sort of standing around. I considered taking a picture or video since I had such a clear view and it was dark in my loft so I don’t think they were really looking up at me. My camera takes shitty pictures in low light if the case is on my phone, so I didn’t want to stand there removing my phone case, and knew the quality would be bad if I didn’t. My impression was that these were dumb kids who didn’t understand the consequences of their actions. Nobody looked like they were out to be a murderer. Nobody looked scared in the least bit. I didn’t think they looked like hardened criminals, just 16-23 year olds without developed brains, but with automatic weapons.

As the shooting continued, and we waited for the police to show up, I looked out the North window, sat on the treadmill, looked out the West window, back to the North window… I finally saw two police SUVs on the street outside the property. But they left. I was afraid because it went quiet that the police would say it was over and just leave without intervening. I went back to the West windows and when I did I counted (in case I needed to be a witness) 7 people go from the entrance, up the stairs. I quickly went to the North side windows to get a look at the group.

At the North side an unmarked truck pulled up and parked in the middle of the aisle. A regular, ununiformed guy got out and I didn’t know who it was, but they didn’t seem like police. He was heading toward the stairs to the loft entrance. Right toward the big group that had been shooting for the last 15-20 minutes. I was concerned that he was alone, and expected some sort of altercation.

There was no fuss. I don’t know who he was or if he engaged with the group. They just continued on their way. I was struck how casually they were all walking. Just slow, regular pace, in a group. I thought they must be trying to play it off like they were just innocent passersby. But at least 2 of the guys still had masks and face-coverings on. All 5 gals looked to be in club attire. No masks, booty shorts, mini skirts, heels, and flip flops. Cool said one of the gals was carrying a to-go box from a restaurant. They gals had been outside most of the time of the shooting looking just casual, as if a gunfight wasn’t happening. Anyway, at no time did any of the shooters or gals looked stressed, angry, perturbed. It was creepy how calm and casual everyone was.

I noticed two sets of police lights, but they were pretty far from the action. In the pic: The X on that corner of the intersection, but further North, halfway up the next block. Later, I saw a car driving along the street behind our parking lot, and they had to change lanes. So I knew there must be a police car right at my X with its lights off. The group of gunmen were at my circle in the pic, heading toward the carrot demarking the pedestrian gate. A few minutes later a police car sped down the street with another following soon after (the small Xs).

But because of the landscaping (it’s much more established and thicker than in this pic) I couldn’t see what happened. I didn’t know if the shooters casually walked away or if they were arrested. There was no altercation inside the gates.

Police strolled slowly and pretty calmly on foot, and sort of stood in front of the building. Soon a group of police were walking through the parking lot, standing, people were going outside, there were gals in skirts standing around, 2 random people left on the sidewalk as if a half hour gun battle had not just taken place. I saw 2 puppies off leash! Everyone kinda standing around chatting like this just happens every day, yawn. It was fucking bizarre.

Everything sort of settled down and we went back to bed. Sleeping nervously with much paranoia. Would they come back? Later in the morning I looked everywhere I could think online to find out what happened. No news story. No neighbors talking about it on the Nextdoor app. I looked up our complex name on there. And 47 weeks ago someone said they lived here and it was terrible, especially at the pool, because there were a whole bunch of units being used for AirBnB.

I looked up our address, and sure enough there were literally 10 listings for units within our building, 3 of them superhosts with 47-ish reviews each. So it’s a major thing. And I don’t know if people are breaking our lease, which does not allow subletting, or if they’re paying the landlord extra or something for the privilege. I can’t imaging a building owner would want to take on the liability, or mess with that potential legal entanglement–but some people only care about money.

No word on Twitter or Reddit either. I couldn’t find anything on the police blotter. It’s as if a half hour shoot out with automatic guns and at least 12 people weren’t armed and around our loft! One stray bullet could have easily broken our windows and killed us. Even sleeping in bed we are right next to the window and could have been shot. Nobody cared? It was the biggest, most dangerous thing we ever lived through in any place we ever lived, and it was just quiet and over.

I strained to overhear conversations of the other residents as they entered the complex (remember our windows right by the door). Some lady said she called 911 because she has a 6 month old, and was irate about being on hold. She said there were people driving and randomly shooting. Which I knew firsthand was false, because I had front row view to the entire thing. It was planned because they were wearing masks and head coverings. They weren’t random because they were contemplating how to get in the key-fobbed entrance of the building. So I don’t know if she jumped to conclusions or heard some mom-story that minimized their culpability. But I knew that was not what happened. I also didn’t know if the shooters lived here, if someone was followed home from the club and victimized, or if it was a crazy AirBnB altercation. Another lady walking by mentioned she was a nurse (phew, file that away for the future–reassuring) and said this place is ghetto now and hadn’t been last year.

The landlord who will text us about towing aberrant cars at the drop of a hat, and who griped at everyone via text about chicken fingers in the pool–didn’t say shit! Can you believe the landlord did not reprimand or reassure, or inform us what happened? He didn’t give a fuck. It was fucking weird and delinquent.

I thought there was a small chance the police had asked the owner not to say anything because of an investigation or something. So I emailed him a description of what happened in case legal action is necessary so there’s a record. I wanted to know if anyone was arrested, if the cameras were checked, and if we needed to make statements as probably the best witnesses to the whole scene. I also wanted to know if this was an AirBnB situation, and if he was in on it or clueless. Mostly, I just wanted to hear from the dude. In part, I said:

We couldn’t see if any arrests were made for the 7-12 people involved. As such, we don’t know if there will be a continuing problem. Did the cameras show if the gunfight was someone who lives here or one of the many units listed on Airbnb for this complex? We don’t know how afraid to be.  Can you tell me what safety & prevention measures are being implemented?

Nothing. No response. A fucking shooting popped off and no word from the asshole. So we’re trying not to panic. It might be a one-time thing. But we’re also not locked on Saint Louis or Missouri. With the major flooding and major violence right on our doorstep in one week, it seems like a good time to open our minds at least to moving. Even though I still have major moving-PTSD and DO NOT WANT TO MOVE ALL OF OUR BELONGINGS ANY TIME SOON. Also, money. It’s expensive to move, and I don’t know where we can afford to go, or if it will be any better. So we’re on standby. How many traumas do we have to endure in 2022?!

Wasatch Cleaning List

16 Jan

Or–how we spent Thanksgiving 2016.

 

—-BATHROOM:
_________________________
-trade bathrm light bulbs
-wash top of med cabinet
-wash mirrors
-wash shelves indie med cabinet
-wash window
-clean window ledge
-clean baseboards
-shower walls
-bottom of bathtub
-scratches in bathtub
-top of door jam
-top of door
-both sides door
-floor
-fill in pin holes

LAUNDRY RM:
______________________
-trade out light bulb
-top of door
-both sides of door
-laundry shelves
-base boards
-especially under laundry shelves on floor/walls
-clean drain
-clean floor
-fill in pin holes

BEDROOM:
_________________
-change out light
-clean light
-clean top of closet
-clean closet mirror
-clean closet shelf
-wipe closet walls
-clean closet floor
-clean window
-clean window shelf
-clean wall below window
-fill in pin holes
-clean baseboards
-clean floors
-clean window

KITCHEN:
_______________
-change out light
-clean fan blades
-clean top of cabinets
-clean inside cabinets
-clean both sides cabinet doors
-clean inside freezer
-wash fridge shelves
-wash walls inside fridge
-wash out fridge drawers
-wash shelves in fridge door
-wash bottom of fridge
-wash fridge/freezer handles
-wash top of fridge
-wash outside freezer/fridge
-wash side of fridge
-backspash
-soak over burners
-wipe top of stove
-wash stove door
-wash counters
-clean sinks
wash front of cabinets
-wash inside drawers
-wash outside drawers
-clean cupboard shelves
-wash both sides cubbord doors
-wash window
-clean window cill
-clean wall under window
-clean kitchen floor
-fill pin holes

LIVING ROOM:
_____________
-fill pin holes
-clean baseboards
-wash window
-clean window shelf
-clean wall under window
-clean living room floor

 

–>  And yes.  Against all odds we DID get our deposit back.  The entire thing!

2016 in Review: The Bad–and there was plenty

2 Jan

what a shit-show

Lots of bad stuff happened all year.  Cool’s mom died which caused a cascade of bad reactions and terrible events.  Cool’s bipolar was off the heezy, up and down and up and further up–making life complex and terrible.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo surgery and radiation.  My dad was diagnosed with early Parkinson’s Disease.  Those events aren’t in my countdown, because even though they sucked–they aren’t MY events to claim.  But they did negatively affect me.

 

Here’s how 2016 started:  I had to work on New Year’s Eve 2015.  Of course either everyone else either planned ahead and took the day off, or called out sick.  But I was still in my first 90 days, so I wasn’t yet eligible for any time off.  So it was me and my supervisor for half of it.  Till she coerced another co-worker to come in by reminding him that he wouldn’t get paid for the holiday if he didn’t show up to the shift immediately proceeding it.  This was typical stuff for my work history–I was used to Noh’s Ark 20s-something shenanigans.  While I was at work, Cool was getting her drink on.  Mind you, we had been abstinent for 2 whole years.  And we had not discussed adding alcohol back into our lives–she just grabbed it impulsively.  And drank it.  Even though she was home alone.  Long story short, by the time I rushed home from work for the countdown, Cool had already over-done it, was tired, then went to puke.  And she vomited, not down in the toilet, but from above–so it got everywhere!  It was the bad omen that started 2016.

vomit

The year went on like that–one thing after another.  I spent a lot of time writing my music blog.  I spent a ton of time editing pictures, writing descriptions, and putting in order–my good moments of 2016.  These moments sucked.  I’m tired of thinking about them-tired of dwelling on them.  I’ll quick-write these and be done.  I’m worn down from 2016, and hoping for a very tranquil 2017.

 

 

 

 

Bottom Moments:

9-I got a flu.  For the first time I can remember–aside from childhood sicknesses.  My fever lasted 5 days!  I was miserable.  I lost a week of unpacking and errands.

8-I got the impossible raise by negotiating.  This one hurts because it should have been such a GOOD moment.  But then my boss ruined my moment by being an ass.  He doesn’t like me and makes no bones about it.  He wished his favorite employees had earned the big raise instead, and resented the fact my pay is so high now.  He said, “You got lucky.”  Ummm, nice.  What a douche!  Also, Cool ruined my celebration by picking a fight–one of our biggest fights ever.  Not awesome.

7-The moving process, because it is always a headache.  We had to hire movers because the washer/dryer unit weighs 240 pounds.  Nothing is simple when you are moving from a basement to a third floor unit 35 minutes away.  Cool works days and I work nights so we had to work alone.  And then, I hated the stupid, non-functional layout of the new apartment, and not being able to unpack.  What a money-pit.

6-Our cute neighborhood with so much potential suddenly went downhill.  It went from quiet with tons of potential to ghetto and dangerous in about three weeks.  A homeless family made camp in our apartment’s parking lot.  People started walked by, peering into our living room window, casing the joint.  The police started showing up to various units routinely (see blog).  Starting to feel unsafe walking from my car to the apartment when I got home in the early morning hours felt awful.  Knowing the owner didn’t care about our safety and wellbeing, and wasn’t going to do anything to improve the situation was frustrating.  And learning that no one else could help us, because it was private property felt hopeless.

5-Cool got in a 6x roll-over accident and totaled her car.  But she lived.  It’s a miracle.  Except it happened 1 week before we moved!  The timing for it was the worst.  And I had to call out sick twice as a result of the crash, possible head injury, then her anxiety about it.  And now, I have to do all the shopping, all the errands, and take her to the pharmacy and anywhere else she needs to go.

4-working with effing lazy people every day.  Doing way more then my share of the work–every day.  Seeing my lazy co-workers be–lazy.  Resentment.  Getting held hostage by slowness of coworkers despite doing all the work.  Going home late in every scenario.  Being tired all the time.  Starting the next shift tired, and doing all the work (tired) again, in the hopes of leaving earlier and getting more sleep.  Failing at this night after night.  Really got me down.

3-Working with Catty.  I started dreading work every Monday.  I didn’t want to talk at work.  I didn’t want to stand up at any time, lest be judged by her.  I didn’t want to turn my head.  I felt self-conscious.  We had to trade recs and it was horrible.  She was a bitch and made me feel small and edgy.  She was my boss’ friend.  She had been there much longer and knew everyone.  She hated me.

2-Cool ambushed me.  And I found out she had gone “Mean Girls” against me for quite some time.  I broke up with her and kicked her out of the apartment.  Then, I had to work with the bitch (the afore-mentioned Catty) who initiated the whole thing–every Monday.  Sitting immediately sitting next to her, and having to trade requisitions to verify stressed me out!  Cool was ridiculous, and everything was tumultuous.  Suddenly, I felt very alone in Utah–in the world.  I was furious, and knew she was being THE WORST, yet my heart hurt.

1-window harassment (because the fear lasted longer then Cool’s ambush).  When someone started harassing us by knocking on our bedroom window several times, it was time to go.  I lay awake at night listening, anticipating with dread someone coming back, and breaking in.  I heard sounds, saw lights.  I had to plan what to do if someone got in when we weren’t home.  When we were sleeping.  While I was alone.  When Cool was home alone.  We had so much dread.  It was awful.  And in a horrible year of a lot of big, awful events–it was the worst.  By just a little bit.

The Security Breach

24 Oct

We had to move to our apartment (in a new state) sight-unseen.  We have 2 cats.  And a strict budget–especially at that time, b/c moving is expensive!  No one called us back in Salt Lake City.  Everyone who responded at all, never even read our out-of-state situation, and invited us to a showing.  When we couldn’t make a showing “tomorrow” they just didn’t correspond with us.  It was everyone.  How nice for realtor’s in SLC that it’s a seller’s market.

Bottom line:  We pretty much had to take what we could get.

It was OK.  The apartment was a little larger and better then what we had in Spokompton.  The neighborhood was quiet, but had tons of potential.  The park across the street was not like the ghetto-homeless situation of Mission Park near our apt in WA-state, but largely empty.  And quiet.  And they did lawn maint like 4 times a week.

But recently things have slowly started to change.

Every once and again there will be a homeless person sleeping it off under a tree in the park.  Someone parked their shopping cart 5 blocks up on the sidewalk next to the main street.  Nothing big.

The change from quiet to icky came with this homeless family.  A man, woman, toddler, and dog lived in their car.  And parked the car in our complex’s parking lot.  Like, every night.  Nobody seemed to notice, and they stayed under the radar for 5-6 weeks.  Everything started sliding downhill after that:

8/17/2016:  Wrote in the apartment portal that homeless people were living in the car in our parking lot.

9/2/16:  Texted the manager that the homeless people were still parking/living in our apartment’s parking lot.  Was informed the manager was out of town and instructed to call police about it.

9/13/16:  We came back from an out-of-state week-long trip and suddenly the homeless family in the car weren’t around anymore.

Wed Sept 28:  A knock on the bedroom window at 11 PM.  Cool had turned on the bedroom light to change for bed, and the knock came.  Then there was the sound of some tool trying to pry open the window frame.  She didn’t want to call 911 only to find it was a squirrel not an emergency (and she was still a little manic) so she she ran out of the apartment, to the entrance of the back alley.  She held up the flashlight app on her phone, but our window is toward the 300W street-side more, so the person she saw was not detailed.  She DID see a person in black clothing, holding something red (a cigarette or a pen light?) and at our window!  She called 911 and they sent 6 police officers and a dog.  They did an official sweep of the apartment, holding up guns, and calling for intruders.

I wasn’t too, too concerned though.  Because I thought it was probably a crime of opportunity.  There is an apartment on 300 W, and its parking lot is behind their building.  It ajuts to the end of our (dark, abandoned) fire alley.  They must have had problems with prowlers because they no longer park cars behind the building, favoring the side of the building, which is visible to the street.  They also installed a bright light in back.  The light illuminates a portion of our fire alley, but the first window in the dark is ours.  So I figured someone just went to the first dark window they saw.  And the person must have been dumb or not sober.  Because Cool had just turned on the light when she heard a knock–and who breaks into an apartment when the light is on, meaning someone is home?!  And a bunch of cops came in about 5 minutes, so I figured whoever it was went along their way.  And would never be back.

Fri/Sat, Sept 30:  The next door neighbor fixed the hole in the fence between the dark parking lot behind the next apartment and our fire alley.

Sat Oct 1:  I closed the black-out curtains, tucking them between the dresser and the wall.  We are watching a movie in the living room, and there are a lot of people outside their apartments talking, smoking, and drinking.  I hear what I think is Goose fussing with the curtains, trying to get in the window sill to look outside (it’s his fave thing to do).  Thinking he might pull the whole suspension bar holding the curtains down (and holding my dinner at the time) I ask Cool to go in the bedroom and check on him.  She reports someone is knocking on the back window.  I’m scared–who comes back a second time?!  I was too scared to open the curtains and see who it was.  I would be face-to-face with them, and that’s too much!  My adrenaline was pumping from the fear and I banged (3+ times) on the inside of the window with my fist, hoping to scare the would-be intruder away.  I banged a 2nd time (3 loud knocking sounds), while Cool was on the phone with 911.  Whoever was on the other side of the window. . .  Didn’t startle away–they knocked again.  This told me about their frame of mind and made me even more afraid.  I knocked on the thin wall of our bedroom, hoping to get help from the neighbor.

Bronco ran out to the fire alley, but all was quiet.  A police officer arrived about 20 min after our call, and stayed a long time, hearing our story, the neighbor’s opinions, and offering suggestions:  Lights in the alley.  Remove the abandoned/broke-down cars b/c they are a thief/vagrant attractant (and a fire hazard).  Put razor wire along the top of the fence surrounding the alley.  The police officer did not seem impatient or eager to leave.  I could hear calls on his radio on a busy Saturday night, but he made sure to get the whole story and he made sure he answered all of our questions.

We were afraid all the time at this point.  It felt like we were waiting with dreaded anticipation for someone to come back and try to get in.  I was afraid to open the windows.  I didn’t want to shower when I was home.  I was afraid to sleep and let my guard down, in case someone tried to break in.  I checked every noise to make sure it wasn’t someone trying to get in the apartment.  Every time the cats jumped in or out of the window, I was alarmed.  I listened for footsteps in the alley.  I felt stressed and unsafe.  Cool became crazy.  She started hearing things.  She wouldn’t go to sleep when I wasn’t home.  When I finally coerced her to sleep so that she could make it to work in the day, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom.  She had all the lights in the apartment turned on all the time–even while she was sleeping.  She started bothering the neighbors, asking them to check the alley.  We were scared in our apartment.

Sun Oct 2:  We were also scared about being away from the apartment for 11 hours, because someone could get inside.  So I took 1.5 hours of vacation and left early (forfeiting some of my weekend double-time) to go guard the house.  We bought a bat, a strong flashlight, and strong, locking bars to block the window and the door closed.  After work at 6:30 PM we inspected the fire alley (carrying the bat) and saw a broken bench was propped up on the chain link fence.  It looked like maybe someone had attempted to throw it away at the dumpster across the parking lot–just my theory.  And someone else came along and dragged it over to use as a step-stool over our fence.  We pushed it away from the fence and it folded in half, making a crunching/squeaking sound.  It ended up about 2 feet away from our fence and folded sort of in half (because it had already been broken).

Mon Oct 3, 1 AM:  I awoke to hear that same bench being moved.  It happened only briefly.  No one came to our window.  In the daylight I checked, and the bench was still away from the chain link fence.  I wasn’t going to mention it to Cool, because she was already freaked, and I wasn’t 100% certain (just 98%), but Cool mentioned she had heard it, so I know it happened, b/c we had both heard it.

Wed Oct 5 a pack of stray cats were eating from our bird feeder and making a tapping sound on the window.  Cool thought it sounded like the knocking of before so she knocked on our neighbor’s wall.  We absolutely know the first 2 incidents were a person though b/c the first time Cool had run outside and actually seen a person.  And the 2nd time, I had banged HARD on the window.  Hard enough that my knuckles were bruised the next day-and I never bruise.  No animal would have sat there for that banging.  And I had done it multiple times, twice.  It would have startled away any animal.  And after I had banged, someone knocked back at me.

Thurs Oct 6, 12:30 PM:  A man was sitting in Bronco and Cough’s parking spot, which is directly across from my living room window.  My curtains had been open.  I took a pic, but his head was down.  He stood and looked into my apartment so I called the non-emergency police line, but before I could complete the call, the man meandered to 300 W.  I asked for police patrol.

11PM:  heard walking in the fire alley and a quiet jangling (like keys in a pocket).

10-6-16:  Texted the apartment manager asking when any safety measures will be taken–never got a response.

10-6-16:  Wrote in official apartment portal-

Someone tried to break into the bedroom window this last Wednesday (9/28) at 10 PM. On that occasion, a person knocked on the window, then used some sort of tool to try to pry the window frame apart. Luckily one of us was home and called 911. We also reported the incident to management the next day, but so far no additional security has been completed. Saturday (10/1) at 8 PM, someone came back to the bedroom window and knocked. I pounded the window to scare them off–and they tapped again. We called 911 a second time, and the officer gave us some tips: 1) The cars on the side of the building are an attractant to burglars and homeless people. Some are also in violation of fire code. 2) Get a motion sensor light. 3) Put razor wire along the top of the entire fence, because someone is probably climbing over. 4) Consider a gate on the back side of the fire alley. I need to feel safe in my apt–please make some changes soon so we don t have to move.

Sat Oct 8, 5 AM:  Saw flashlight through blackout curtains (through sleep mask while sleeping).  But for certain.

Sat Oct 8, 5:10 AM:  Thud on bedroom window.  Goose ran behind curtains and stayed, so it may have been a cat.

Sun 11 PM:  tromping in fire alley (may have been police patrol).

Mon 1:40 PM-police drove by front of apt.

Tues 10/11, 3 PM:  marked police car was sitting on the street next to the park.

Wed, 1 AM-ish:  I got home from work, and the homeless car was parked street-side at our apartments.

Wed 3:15 PM:  the same man that had been sitting in front of the window last Thursday slowly walked past our window toward 300W.  He was with another guy, and they walked slowly, looking in the apartment.  The neighbor also came outside and commented how the two guys had been leering into his apartment–so it wasn’t just me that noticed.  I called the police just to make a report.

Wed 4 PM:  The apartment manager (Royal) was leaving and we caught him.  He has been on the job 4 days Bryson left in Sept?, a woman took over for a week, Dusty was with us for a week or 2, now this guy.  We asked for locks or lighting or safety measures and he said the management company couldn’t do anything–it was all up to the owner.  He was defensive and scoffed in our faces as if we were being hysterical and unreasonable.  He kept saying they are not the police and cannot have 24/7 security.  I tried to tell him there were things that could be done–such as the police suggestions.  Lights for starters.  I also said we were coming from a place of frustration, b/c we were living in fear, and no one from the apartments had even acknowledged our requests/complaints.  And no action had been taken.  He told us he/the management company couldn’t do anything because everything was up to the owner.  We don’t have contact info for the owner.   Royal said the owner wouldn’t do anything–and didn’t have to.  He also told us the housing association doesn’t regulate apartment owners.  The conversation escalated to a confrontation for sure.

Wed 4:30 PM:  The police called back to get a full report of all the incidents.  I recounted the 4 incidents we called about and offered the other 2 that I thought/hoped were the police.

10-13-16, 12:45 AM:  Noticed homeless car parked street-side at our apt as I got home from work.

Oct 15-16:  Started looking for a new apt.  Contacted several options located around work.

10-16-16, 1 AM:  Someone moved the bench.  We then heard footsteps in the back alley.  After an hour, finally called the non-emergency police line to report it.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, flashlight shined in the bedroom.

10/16, 2 AM:  2nd flashlight swept across bedroom–assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/17/16:  Went and looked at a unit in a different apartment complex.  Turned in our application for it.

10/17/16, 2:30 PM:  A homeless man and woman with a bike and a sleeping bag were on the walkway directly above our apartment waiting for the neighbor to get home.

10/17, 12AM:  Possibly homeless car parked street-side by our complex.  Looks slightly different than the homeless car that I remember before, but still the same size and color.  A woman was outside of the car, and stuff was on the complex lawn outside the passenger side.

10/17, 12:35 AM:  Flashlight through bedroom window and footsteps, assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/18/16:  Application for new apartment approved.  The new landlord just needs a reference from our current apartment.  She calls and calls, but cannot get through.  Cool makes a dozen phone calls to random places because our management company has no evident contact information, and we never had contact info for the apartment owner.  Finally, a different complex managed by the same company gets in contact with the regional office who gets in contact with Royal, our apartment manager.  He is annoyed anyone is contacting him.  When Cool asks him to contact this new apartment landlord, Royal off-handedly mentions how our current owner contacted him and said they didn’t want to renew our lease.  We are out at the end of December.  Also, his demeanor on the phone was annoyed/rude.

So I’m not sure,

  1. why, out-of-the-blue the owner (with whom we’ve had ZERO contact) would terminate our “lease.”
  2. I’m suspicious our confrontation with the new manager, Royal, where we asked for ANY security such as lights or removal of concrete blocks and broke-down cars from the fire-alley had everything to do with this given the timing.
  3. We don’t have a lease until December.  The only lease we ever signed for this current complex was the first one when we moved here.  It was for 6 months, and ended October 2015.  That lease specifies that if no other lease is signed, it defaults to a month-to-month arrangement.  And month-to-month is an additional $100/month.  I’m sure we just slipped through the cracks, because it’s been a full year since our original lease expired and no one asked us to sign another lease–or raised our rent price.
  4. I am concerned about an eviction.  I don’t want it on my rental history.  And WHY?  We just passed on info from the police about amping up security.  We’ve paid all our rent, have been quiet, and clean.  We’re actually great tenants.  We just demand things like hot water, flushing toilets, and ask for ANY security measures.
  5. I’m SUPER concerned once they find out we don’t actually have a lease through December, they will put us out in 15 days, without cause, per our original lease conditions.  That’s October 30.  Our new apartment isn’t vacated and available to us until Nov 15. . .  And that’s before any carpet replacement or painting that they will surely do, driving the date back.
  6. We had to band over backwards to contact the manager–and he had already known about our non-lease renewal–when was he going to mention this to us??!
  7. I’m so, so, so glad we were all but in a new apartment at that point, because this news would have REALLY flipped me out if we had to start from scratch.  It’s not always easy to get into a new apartment.  Especially with cats–and he have a price range that can’t budge b/c we had absolutely no notice or time to plan/save.

later that day (10/18/16) I typed up a formal notice of termination for the current apartment.  It asked that we get a walk-though in order to redeem our deposit, and that we leave last day of December (or mid-Dec if they are willing to pro-rate rent).  And I typed it into the apartment portal online.  There is no formal address to mail it to, and that makes me nervous.

10/19/16:  Dropped formal leaving letter off where we drop rent, since we have no contact info for the management or owner, and there is no formal office for anything, and we can’t even send it certified mail.

10/20/16:  Paid $400 deposit at new apartment.

10/21/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.

10/24/16, 12:30 PM:  A group of 3-6 people dressed in rags had a bike and shopping cart and bags on the sidewalk between our complex and the studio property next door.  They seemed to be hanging around, and I wondered if that was a new bus stop or if the park was doing some kind of maint and asked them to step off that property for a time.

2:35 PM:  When Cool got home from work the group was still loitering around on the sidewalk.  We closed all of our curtains b/c where they were standing had a direct view in our apartment.  After we did our afternoon workout, about 3-ish PM, I looked out and they had moved along.

10/25/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.  Cool called a lot of numbers trying to see what recourse we have if they just never respond.  Because I don’t want to go and get slapped with abandonment fees.  No one knows–everyone just gave her more phone numbers to try.  We texted the number for the apartment managers and heard nothing.  So Cool called the number.  Royal is no longer our person.  Now we have Brian.  This is the 5th manager we’ve had since August (2 months).

10/28/16:  Still haven’t heard anything about our lease (they think we have), and acknowledgement of our end date, or a walk through.

10/29/16, 5-ish PM:  Saw the police go to apt #2, two doors down.  Eddie, who lives there, said someone in a red hoodie had banged on his front window (blinds closed) and shouted his name.  The police and Eddie came to our door, because we were peering out our (blinds open) window, and since we had had trouble with banging on our window.

10/30/16, 3PM:  The homeless car parked inside the laundry area.  Looked they’d been in our apt complex for awhile and were very comfortable here.

11/1/16, 10:38:  Noticed the homeless car in the complex parking-lot by the laundry area.