One thing you might not want to discover is that inside your kitchen wall is a major leak and that basically that wall is full of swollen, wet wood and mold. And maybe a few mushrooms.
I’m not talking shiitake, either.
The other day a tenant called to report brown water seeping out from the wall near where the counter meets the wall and that her photos that were taped all over that wall had been mysteriously falling off. I went down there to check it out and found the paint bubbling. Um, yeah something is very bad here. The plumber came to check it out. I won’t get into the drama that comprises me trying to get an ANSWER out of the plumbing company but needless to say, it involved multiple calls and a fed up call to the building owners to come in heavy handed with them. I still didn’t hear back from anyone and was freaking out a bit. The current tenant is moving out today. The new tenant is moving in on Tuesday. The window of time to fix this problem is small and yet NO ONE WILL TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.
Maybe this would have been better handled if I did not have such acute PMS at the moment. Ahem.
Anyhow, finally the plumber came out again to further assess the damage and guess what he did? Without warning he tore the wall off! TORE. IT. OFF. While the current tenant is trying to pack and clean her apartment. That is very inconvenient. (Understatement.)
It’s a disgusting mess. He showed me the leak, explained about pipes and the seriousness of this disaster using plumber terms- all of which I didn’t completely follow but I got the jist. The wall needs to be dried out, rebuilt, the piping needs to be completely overhauled, an environmental cleaner needs to be hired to dry out the wood and assess it for mold. I was in there for less than ten minutes and I left with a headache. With the apartment door open I could smell the mold from the top of the stairs before I’d even reached the floor.
Last I checked black mold is toxic and VERY BAD. Maybe it’s not black mold but whatever it is it is nasty.
So I called the owners with the plumbers prodding (wow, that sounds dirty) only to get their voice mail. I left a clear message that we had a SITUATION HERE and waited for them to call back. At the very least I thought they should compensate the tenant for having to find other accommodations on her last night there, especially since this is no fault of her own and it is potentially black mold. You can’t fuck with that. When the landlord called me back, I think she was trying to be calming but it sounded a little condescending. “It will all get fixed” and “I’ve seen worse” (I sent her photos) and “The plumbers will get in there and fix it. They will work at it until it is all done.” I wasn’t so hopeful seeing as how it took three calls and one from the owners just to get the plumbers to actually deal with the situation. It’s not like I was reporting a dripping faucet. There is water in the walls for the love of donuts!
I’m kind of worked up over the whole thing. I’m inconveniencing multiple tenants during this disaster- the current tenant in Apartment Mold, her neighbor who shares a kitchen wall with her, the woman who lives above her and the couple that lives next door to her. Those two can’t use their kitchen sinks for an undetermined amount of time because every time they run water up there it drips into the wall making it impossible for the wall to dry out. And I’m holding off on calling the new tenant to delay his move in date depending on how fast everyone works to fix this major problem.
This is a very old building and things like this are bound to happen. My issue right now is trying to disseminate information that isn’t being delivered to me and to take care of my tenants. I got the owners to cough up $150 extra for the tenant who was living in Apartment Mold on top of returning her deposit before she leaves the country. Small victory! But we’ll see what happens with the repairs from here on out. . .
As a bonus, though, since the tenant can’t clean her kitchen upon move out, guess who gets to once all this is said and done? Yep. Me! Fun times as The Super. FUN TIMES.