By: Revanche

Tackling home repairs on a grand scale

November 18, 2013

If you felt a huge gust of wind, it was my WHOOSH of a relieved sigh. After MONTHS of playing phone tag with the landlord and his assistant/representative, and writing a formal letter (which we never used to need because they were totally on top of things), we finally got someone out to address the repairs that have become rather critical in the past few years.

Repairs and maintenance have been a big problem this year; it’s what happens when you can’t stay on top of the more minor repairs and they snowball into bigger ones. It’s also what happens when a house ages and needs more major, regular, maintenance.

At a minimum…
All the plumbing needs work: hot water’s stopped running in one sink, one sink won’t stop dripping, yet another doesn’t drain.
We’ve found mold hiding under the paint and that has to be stripped out, cleaned and repainted.
It’s been over a decade since the last paint job, so all the walls need a new coat.
The doorbell is broken. It’s been broken so long I’d forgotten about it.

There’s more, I just can’t think of it all right now.

Part of this is because Mom and I managed much of the routine household stuff; we did all the liasing with the landlord for any arrangements or requests, and we shared the other housework out enough so that no one was overloaded. Now that I’m not at the house regularly, the few hours I do have on each stopover are spent scrubbing, vacuuming and cleaning which doesn’t make a dent. Dad’s got his hands full with his work, generally, and keeping up anything that’s not an essential, or even those, isn’t a priority. He doesn’t cope with grief and loss by cleaning like I do, or Mom did, he copes by immersing himself in other things.

This makes me a bit crazy that he’s living in such rundown surroundings, that he’s just been making do because he can’t get around to it, but it’s hard to be upset with him; I’m not sure I’d rouse myself to do repairs if I were alone after 30 years of marriage, either.

Thus, the utter relief to finally have cornered the landlord’s contact to get things started: they’ve come by and made a list of things to address. We are lucky, by the way, that while some of these fall under keeping the place habitable, not all of them are and it looks like they’ll go ahead and take care of everything anyway.

We’ll set up a repair schedule in the next couple of days. And I can finally stop feeling so damn guilty that I can’t be in three places at once and hold two jobs to pay for everyone and everything.

5 Responses to “Tackling home repairs on a grand scale”

  1. Morgaine says:

    OMG I know exactly how you feel! My Mom’s house is literally falling down around her! My parents never had much money so home repairs were very piecemeal at best. Now that my Mom only has her income to go on, nothing is getting done around the house as she can’t pay for home repairs (sometimes its more the need to hold on to her money even when she has the money to fix something). I was over at the house this last weekend and her toilet was leaking into the basement. She bought a new toilet when one was on sale in February but hadn’t paid anyone to install it! So they’re still using the old one but turning off the water at the back until it needs (and I mean NEEDS) to be flushed. It was so sad (and gross!) Unfortunately, since she owns (minus mortgage) her house she can’t just call in a landlord, she has to get these things fixed herself. And believe me, I’ve tried to convince her to sell, not happening. There’s only so much one can do, we have our own house to pay for now, and as much as I’d like to help, plumbing isn’t my thing.

    Good luck with helping your Dad out 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      Oh gosh, that’s awful. Obviously I know how you feel – so frustrating to see the long term being sacrificed for the short term, no matter the reason. We’re REALLY lucky that our LL is willing to take care of quite a bit after all.

  2. Quest says:

    My parents are in the same boat. Their house is damp and moldy and both the spouse and I became really sick while we were staying there for 2 weeks this year. We are convinced it was the mold. The spouse is only just back to normal after being home for over 2 months. My parents’ landlord doesn’t fix a darn thing. They desperately need an upgraded bathroom and kitchen. The plumbing is awful, the toilet backs up, the hot water tank isn’t big enough … I could go on. Staying at their house is literally one step above camping. As we were leaving to fly back home, a giant hole opened up in the ceiling because of all the rain and water just started running in …. the roof had developed another leak.

    • Revanche says:

      I would not be surprised if it was the mold that was making you sick 🙁
      I realize that most landlords don’t fix too much, they consider nearly everything normal wear and tear and therefore the responsibility of the tenants, unfortunately. What a terrible way to live.

  3. […] way to even out that tax bill than to let my property where actual humans live go to shambles. I’ve been on the other end of that stick and it […]

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