apartment problems

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
denismurf
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:29 pm

apartment problems

Post by denismurf »

A couple of weeks ago I moved into a brand new apartment building, expecting everything to be in perfect shape since new.

But, the toilets don't deliver enough water after flushing. Some electrical outlets are dead. A built in ceiling light fixture doesn't work. Some manuals for appliances are missing (matters when clothes washer or dryer fails to function); same for the built in air circulation system. Those pin-shaped keys that open locked interior doors in case of emergency are missing.

There were a few other things that the onsite fixit guy was able to fix. For example, they forgot to turn on the water valve to the washing machine.

I notified "management" of these problems a week ago. They claim that the toilet water problem is my fault for not holding down the flush handle long enough to allow the tank to fill every time I or a guest flushes a toilet (there are 2, thank god; one already overflowed when clogged with poop that could not empty).

My question: Does the owner have some legal responsibility to ensure that a residence he rents out satisfies some minimum level of functionality? Or, since I signed off on the initial approval checksheet, is it now up to me to hire a plumber and an electrician to make the toilets and electrical built ins functional?

Or, should I just enjoy the things that do work and assume that everything else will work out in the fullness of time?
ponyboy
Posts: 1021
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:39 am

Re: apartment problems

Post by ponyboy »

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!

Every time you contact them, the date/time, what was discussed. If they fix something...when was it they fixed. You have to be as detailed as possible in tracking this.

Its not your responsibility to fix these things. Its the landlords. Keep hounding them. If they refuse contact your local housing authority. Report the landlord. Now that detailed sheet you've been keeping track of will come in handy.

Also...as far as whatever checklist you signed...big deal. Does that mean if your refrigerator breaks tomorrow that you're out of a fridge? I mean...you signed that checklist right? Thats not how it works. If things are broke they need to fix it.
Globalviewer58
Posts: 594
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by Globalviewer58 »

Sounds like a poor job of checking the work by the contractor. Make a list of items that require attention and indicate your highest priority issues with requested completion dates.

Electric outlets that do not work may need the breaker reset. This is usually located in a panel you can access and review the On or Off status of each breaker. Flipping to On like a light switch toggle may fix the outlet.

Holding the flush valve on the toilet allows water to fill the bowl. If you must hold the valve then it is possible that shortening the chain can remedy the irritation. This is a trial and error, iterative issue to address. Or just hold the valve for a few seconds until water flows past the flapper into the bowl.

New buildings are often delivered with issues that require attention. This goes for homes, apartments, etc.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 13091
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: apartment problems

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

He's saying that there should be instructions on how to use a toilet? Really?
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
harrychan
Posts: 1773
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:37 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: apartment problems

Post by harrychan »

Sounds like shoddy work by the GC to turn a profit. Document everything. Read through the lease rental agreements to see who is responsible for what. In some states, you can withold rent through an escrow to make the landlord / management company perform. But so far, nothing you mentioned is really illegal. Just a lot of small nuisances.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
orca91
Posts: 1223
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by orca91 »

denismurf wrote: Or, since I signed off on the initial approval checksheet, is it now up to me to hire a plumber and an electrician to make the toilets and electrical built ins functional?

Or, should I just enjoy the things that do work and assume that everything else will work out in the fullness of time?
Definitely don't hire plumbers or electricians on your dime to fix the apartment issues!! That's a perk of renting, not having to foot those types of bills.

Talk to neighbors to see it they're having similar issues. Go at the management with numbers and you will likely see results.

Sounds like it was a hurry up and build it with not a lot of quality control and maybe to the cheapest bidder for the owner to maximize profit. I don't know that for sure, but sounds like it could be. Also a part of renting, you don't get to pick who does the work and how much gets paid for quality work over the cheapest bidder.
Random Poster
Posts: 2321
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: apartment problems

Post by Random Poster »

denismurf wrote:But, the toilets don't deliver enough water after flushing.
This might be due to code/local regulation regarding water usage.
denismurf wrote:Some electrical outlets are dead.
Seems like a legitimate complaint and issue for the landlord to remedy.
denismurf wrote:A built in ceiling light fixture doesn't work.
Same as above, provided that "doesn't work" doesn't mean "the light bulb is out."
denismurf wrote: Some manuals for appliances are missing (matters when clothes washer or dryer fails to function); same for the built in air circulation system.
Use Google: you will likely be able to find the manual online. Expecting the landlord to provide you with one is a bit much.
denismurf wrote:Those pin-shaped keys that open locked interior doors in case of emergency are missing.
Your complaint seems excessive---I've never seen them either, but I'm sure that you could improvise with another tool if you really needed to.
denismurf wrote:There were a few other things that the onsite fixit guy was able to fix. For example, they forgot to turn on the water valve to the washing machine.
This may have been for safety reasons, and it isn't a bad idea to turn off the water valve whenever it isn't in use.
denismurf wrote:My question: Does the owner have some legal responsibility to ensure that a residence he rents out satisfies some minimum level of functionality?
Well, yes, but missing manuals and a non-turned-on water valve hardly reaches the level of "not functioning." I'd recommend that you keep your "punch list" to actual, reasonable, issues.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5437
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: apartment problems

Post by lthenderson »

denismurf wrote:A couple of weeks ago I moved into a brand new apartment building, expecting everything to be in perfect shape since new.

The toilets don't deliver enough water after flushing.
Easily adjusted by changing the height of the float inside the tank.
denismurf wrote:Some electrical outlets are dead. A built in ceiling light fixture doesn't work.
Make sure the breaker hasn't been tripped and they aren't switched outlets or burnt out light bulb for the ceiling light. If they truly are dead and don't work, then yes, the landlord should fix them.
denismurf wrote:Some manuals for appliances are missing (matters when clothes washer or dryer fails to function); same for the built in air circulation system.
Really? I've never seen those provided in an apartment. In any case, if the provided appliance fails to work, it is the landlord's responsibility to fix.
denismurf wrote:Those pin-shaped keys that open locked interior doors in case of emergency are missing.
Paperclips work just fine
User avatar
tinscale
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: apartment problems

Post by tinscale »

denismurf wrote:But, the toilets don't deliver enough water after flushing.
They are low-flow (water-saving) toilets, and probably a cheaper model that doesn't work so well. You have to put less in them, flush, and repeat.
Last edited by tinscale on Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
tinscale
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: apartment problems

Post by tinscale »

Duplicate post, deleted.
denovo
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by denovo »

These threads would be a lot more productive if OP mentions what state this is in. 50 states, at least 50 different rues/procedures.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln
User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 10090
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by cheese_breath »

Jack FFR1846 wrote:He's saying that there should be instructions on how to use a toilet? Really?
Maybe a 'test drive' should be performed before sign off? :D
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
rob65
Posts: 379
Joined: Mon May 09, 2016 1:30 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by rob65 »

You might check all of your electrical outlets to see if a gfci switch needs to be reset. They are designed to prevent electrical shocks in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, but any light or outlet on the same circuit will also go out.
Mudpuppy
Posts: 6622
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: apartment problems

Post by Mudpuppy »

The landlord should send the apartment handyman out to fix the outlets (even if it's just a breaker), to look at the toilets (may not be much that can be done if it's just a poor model), and to check the light fixture.

It's a bit unreasonable to expect manuals or the pin-shaped keys (and in an emergency, emergency responders will likely break down the door before trying to find the key... interior doors break easily).
Topic Author
denismurf
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by denismurf »

OP here, in WA state.

Maybe I was spoiled. After some 40 years of headaches as a homeowner, I decided to switch to renting apartments. This is the 4th one, brand new and the most expensive. All the others had shortcomings, but everything essential worked or got fixed. All had manuals to accompany appliances. All had emergency keys to unlock doors locked from inside by grandchildren. And most importantly, all the landlords reacted promptly and courteously when I told them about something that was missing or not working correctly. I can't imagine any of them reacting to a complaint about nonfunctioning electrical fixtures or low toilet flow by implying that I was stupid or unreasonable. In fact, all were insistent about wanting to know immediately if I felt that something was wrong with their rental.

So, to whom do I complain, if it comes too that?
Carson
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri May 09, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by Carson »

Who is your lessor?
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.
harrychan
Posts: 1773
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:37 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: apartment problems

Post by harrychan »

Perhaps resetting expectations that rentals can have problems and there will be landlords who don't give a hoot!
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
Topic Author
denismurf
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:29 pm

Re: apartment problems

Post by denismurf »

OP again.
The landlords are nice people. I suspect their own expectations of how many problems would plague a new building were unrealistic.

Despite how I sound, I also recognize that I have to lighten up a little.
Post Reply