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When I moved to Virginia, I had to quickly find a place to live – and I had to choose something sight unseen. I knew to expect much higher rents than I’d shelled out for my last place ($525 for a two-bedroom because of a mistake on the company’s part.) I thought I’d rather look for a landlord instead of a rental company, and I originally created this list of apartment wants when I thought I was moving to a different city. When I shifted gears to the south, things changed quickly, I scoured craigslist, and it became a game of Take Whoever Will Offer A Lease First. I fell in love with two studios immediately, and when the second one offered me a lease, I took it. (I later found out that I would have been offered the first had I waited a day, and I kick myself all the time for it – but, live and learn.)

I love the layout, it’s an open floor plan and roughly 675 square feet with an in-home washer and dryer, which is a plus. However, the minuses are many.

  • The landlord told me the couple upstairs were active – no big deal. I figured they were young… definitely did not figure that they were parents of two middle schoolers. That would have been a great detail.
  • That said, I wouldn’t have minded paying 1/3 of utilities as they have two floors and I have one – except that I think now it should be broken into 1/5. I don’t feel I should pay any part of their kids electric use.
  • Because the upstairs already has an account with the only internet provider that services the area, I’m forced to split their bill – which comes out to $45 for internet only, because they have a bundle with cable (for a TV I don’t have) and phone (obviously nothing I’d have access to.)
  • This is a smaller detail, but I didn’t consider that we’d share a mailbox. (This is only an issue now because I’m sure that they took something addressed to me, but haven’t bumped into them lately to ask for it.)

These are minor offenses. The majors?

  • There is no heat on the lower level. I don’t have my own temperature controls, which, okay, that’s fine. But there’s only one vent, and it’s sealed off. HOW IS THIS LEGAL? (Actually, I’ve read the state’s Landlord Law and it’s not legal. At all.) His solution was space heaters. He’s brought two so far, but anytime I plug both in, the circuit blows. (Also, did I mention – open floor plan, no walls, so this poor space heater tries to heat all 675 square feet.)
  • I literally haven’t showered at home in over two months because there’s no hot water. It’s not a matter of everyone showering at once, because I’ve tested it early mornings, afternoons, evenings – even late nights after events. The best I’ve ever managed is lukewarm, and the last thing you want in an apartment sans heat is cold, wet hair.
  • There was a terrible rain the weekend I moved, which caused part of the walkway back to my side door to walk away. It took me three complaints, and he finally came and filled it in (unevenly) with gravel. This has done nothing to solve the problem – I’ve fallen down the hill twice in the dark…
  • …because he also hasn’t installed the motion light he promised when I moved in. Our property is totally wooded, which is awesome – you can’t see the house from the road at all. That also means that any light from the moon is blocked, and my poor little eyes are left to their own squinty devices – and my high heels left to walk a very narrow path.
  • I’ve come home twice to find the oven turned itself on.

There are a few other things that I think are wrong and against the code, but I’m going to try to bide my time with the legalese. Because really, it’s a decent value, and a great commute to work. I’m really going to try to stick it out, at least until the lease is up or I move on.

What’s the worst rental problem you’ve ever had to deal with?