Instead of The Bold and the Beautiful it is The Renters and the Slumlords…

Douchebag, douchbag… La, la, la…    <- That is my landlord song.

Today I present you with another episode of The Renters and the Slumlords. I thought this other post was the last of the saga, boy was I wrong but I am feeling a bit punchy so I am going to try having some fun with this.

So, on friday we had our face to face meeting with Slumlady. She was all ditsy and unfocused as usual. She made small talk about my pregnancy the whole time and avoided discussing the real issue at hand.

The best part of the conversation was when she tried to inform me of how dangerous cats can be to pregnant women. We rolled our eyes and explained how N takes care of the pets these days and that everyone knows pregnant women aren’t to handle cat feces.

We were damn polite about this and didn’t even bring up how the moldy leaky basement is more of a health concern than having cats in the house! We really could have gone off about that. I don’t have cat shit particles blowing through the HVAC system, just mold spores. Honestly, which is more harmful?

Anyway, Slumlady’s signature isn’t even on our lease so having her sign the mutual release letter wasn’t even an option here. I explained how she needed to have her husband sign the letter and she assured me it would be dropped back by once he signed. We are giving her until tonight to return it, then we are going to start harassing.

Funnily enough on Friday afternoon after meeting with Slumlady I get this USPS email notification about the most recent certified letter we sent. It has almost been 14 days since it was sent and…


someone actually picked the damn thing up! I think hell must have frozen over.

Saturday we got the signature confirmation card back from it. After all the phone conversations and us putting stop payments on checks, someone went and picked up our freaking letter with the now canceled check in it. What a joke!

Then I got to thinking. I bet Slumlady went to talk with Slumloard about signing the mutual release letter and he started asking her questions. Now she’s not the brightest light bulb in the bunch and N and I are betting she never even relayed half the information to him.

Since Slumloard only provided us with Slumlady’s contact information it is his own bad, I mean he is the one putting such a dimwit in charge of important stuff…

Well, N thinks that Slumlady got in to some hot water with Slumloard about all this and that Slumloard went to get the letter so he could learn the severity of the situation (since Slumlady is so loopy).

The signature confirmation card shows our letter was forwarded to a different address than the one we were told by Slumlady to send correspondences to. It was forwarded to a P.O Box owned by Slumloard in a completely different city than the address of Slumlady and Slumloard signed for it. Now I am wondering if the two aren’t separated and sabotaging each other or something like that.

It just keeps getting better and better huh?

Now we are waiting to see how the drama is going to unfold. Was Slumloard left in the dark by Slumlady about all our complaints and attempted correspondences? Will Slumloard contact us and try to renegotiate or will he just sign the release? What do you think is going on and what could possibly happen next?

At this point it is all kind of like a soap opera huh? Instead of The Bold and the Beautiful it is The Renters and the Slumlords… I think I am now going to take Teeni‘s suggestion and change my tagline.

Harvest of Daily Life

because real life requires real people …

and cast iron stomachs some days!

In Indiana breathing mold is okay but home birth is not, just an FYI.

Yeah I know the title seems kind of odd huh? I have been tying all sorts of weird things together these days like posts about a ladies hoo-hoo’s and mold. This is just the way my brain is working these days… Hopefully it is mildly entertaining for you cause this mold thing is making me beyond pissy! This is a pissy post by the way.

Yeah, so in Indiana having a baby in your home with certain midwives is bad news but you can be exposed to any level of mold spores by your landlord because there are no defined limits on mold here! Nice huh?

Yep, I found out that there is no regulation on mold growth here. We talked to the Indiana department of health about it today. Really just goes to prove how much the laws truly protect us.

DEM (direct entry midwives) and CPM (certified professional midwives) are not able to legally practice in Indiana simply because their training did not include licensed nursing. They are thoroughly trained and know their trade but they are considered unlawful by the state, the reasoning is that law is “protecting us”.

Yet mold safety limits are not set in Indiana and the presence of mold is not a health department or code enforcement issue (we’ve called both organizations) here despite the CDC’s statements that “If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present.” and that all forms of mold are bad and should be removed. Where is our law that protects now? *scratches head*

Oh and our landlords did allow that certified letter and rent check we sent to get returned to us. The post office held the letter and left them notice to come pick it up, the letter waited for for 18 days but the landlords just couldn’t be bothered with it… So now we are waiting for it to appear back in our mailbox so we can determine what to do now. Good thing we wasted like $5.00 to send it. I am just so damn mad about all this rental drama today!

Thanks for all your well wishes. Yesterday I was feeling a bit better but today I am back to feeling like a cold is coming on. We have our air ducts in the bedroom closed off and I have a humidifier with vicks vapor stuff in it that makes my breathing less painful but my head still aches and so does my body (like I am running a fever).

It is confirmed, I am breathing in mold while in the house, the mold tests are beginning to show mold growth on them so that proves it. Now we just need to see if the mold presence on the indoor tests proves to be more that the control test we were instructed to run outdoors. The tests have another day to incubate.

If there is more mold in the house than there is in the air outside that is considered bad news. I am certain the air quality is impacting our health and the health of the pets since we are all having respiratory issues.

Here is what those petri dishes are looking like today:

This first photo is of the outdoor air sample, the control test that determines what amount of mold growth is normally in the air surrounding the house. Click on the image for a larger view.

The next photo is of the basement test. This one was placed on the floor near the area that water seeped under the bar and in to the tiled area of the basement. Click on the image for a larger view.

So far it looks like more mold was present in the basement air test that in the outdoor air test. Just to be sure we did a second basement test today and N is also planning to run a HVAC mold test to sample the quality of the air from our heater and AC unit.

Honestly I am at a loss as to what the next step is. I do not have the physical or emotional strength to move right now nor do I think I will throughout the course of this pregnancy.

I know we are going to have to either way as our lease expires before I am due. Obviously we don’t want to remain in a home that has moldy air while I am pregnant and I am certain we can get out of the lease if we want to despite the lack of mold regulations in the state…

We are looking for a place to buy right now because quite frankly we do not want to be moving every year for the next 3 years while we are here for N’s job, especially with a child. But buying a home is also something you don’t just rush in to. If we rushed we might end up owning a dump that also has mold issues except we would own it and have to spend a ton fixing the issue.

I am just exhaused and can’t find a solution. In a perfect world we would already own a home, I would be decorating the baby’s nursury, things would be calm and I wouldn’t face heath risks as a result of my home’s air quality… Reality has presented me with the exact opposite of perfection and we’ll just have to find a way to make it work, as usual. That just pisses me off today, I am going to eat a corndog now.

The final chapter of the crappy evansville landlord drama.

Today is a good day! For those of you following the rental saga, here is the latest (and hopefully the final) update.

After months of certified letters, emails, phone calls and face to face meetings that accomplish nothing we’ve finally decided to ask the landlords to release us from the lease come May 1st.

We decided that asking to be released from the lease was the better way to go. If we needed to get a lawyer and present all our documentation supporting their breach of the lease we could. It is just that starting the legal battle takes much time and lots of money we didn’t really want to have to fork out if not necessary.

So, N made the phone call to the landlords this morning. He is the professional one who can present things in a non emotional way. I just tend to be blunt and rude about things like this and say stuff like F-you, you are an idiot. LOL…

Anyway, N got a call back about 10 min. before we had to leave for my chiropractor appointment be we figured that would happen and were ready.

During the call he outlined our frustrations with the rental situation. Talked about how paying them rent has been an ongoing challenge as a result of them changing banks and addresses monthly.

He brought up our health concerns over the mold and the fact that we asked them to take action back in November to help remedy the mold issue but they ignored our requests.

He talked about how we’ve sent multiple certified letters that they’ve refused to pick up and he basically said that we would like  to be let out of our lease, penalty free so we find a more stable home before baby Tater comes.

Her response was “Okay, we just need to get the owed rent from February and March first”… She didn’t even care about us wanting to be let out of the lease!

We recorded the phone conversation for our records and we’ll be typing up a letter stating that we’re being let out of our lease by the landlords that she will sign.

We’ve also placed a stop payment on the previously issued checks from February and March per her request and have turned those in to one big cashiers check to give her when she signs the “early release from lease letter”. Thank goodness we are out of here!

Basically we get the keys to our new place on April 1st and will have a month to get out of our current place and to tidy it up before the move out inspection here on May 1st.

We are super stoked and feel like a huge burden has been lifted from our shoulders. We are still trying to be sure we keep good documentation of all of it just to cover our butts but essentially it should be all done and over with now.

We found our new place, got released from our current one and are pretty much on track for getting all this madness taken care of before Tater comes. Yay!

For those of you in similar situations with unresponsive landlords you may find the following posts and references helpful. Read all about our moldy, indiana rental and what we did about it in these posts (arranged from newest to oldest):

You may also find the following external links helpful:

Slumloards, credit scores and a prenatal chiropractor [in a pear tree]…

Being all pregnancy slackerific the majority of the time means that when the energy does actually come in spurts we have a crapload of stuff to accomplish all at once. Thankfully as a team N and I have managed to continue getting everything dealt with that needs to be. It is days like today that make it all possible.

I had N get me up early today so I could get busy taking care of some Custom Gifts by Talina duties… Things like bookkeeping, taxes, order processing and all that fun stuff. While I was in business owner mode N was dealing with our February rent check saga on the phone.

You probably can recall all the ridiculous landlord drama I’ve already shared here but I am pretty sure this latest development takes the cake. It requires a little back story though… Feel free to skip the back story if you already know it.

When we first signed the lease with our landlords we were provided with their mailing address for the rent payment. The lease also stipulates that we can make payments directly to the landlords checking accounts and it lists the banks they use. We were also provided with several deposit slips from their bank for depositing the rent checks.

Up until November the address and banking information they provided us with was correct. In November we sent out that certified letter detailing our issues with the safety of the home and we also included our December rent payment. Well, the certified letter was never picked up by them and was eventually returned to us.

Conveniently enough the landlord showed up at our door while our certified letter was in limbo land. She had new bank deposit slips and a letter explaining that they moved residences and also banks… Now our payments should go to their new address or deposited to their new bank account, more deposit slips were provided.

We also discussed our issues with the leaking basement/ the mold and were assured they would come out to take a look at it all after the holidays and make necessary repairs (it’s February now and no landlord has been here to inspect or repair anything).

We paid our December and also January’s rent with one check that was handed over to the landlord the day she stopped by to give us a dehumidifier for the basement after our discussion. We refused to make out another rent check until the first one was actually returned to us… That is the back story in a nutshell.

Well we just attempted to pay our February rent via electronic bill payment and have been waiting since the beginning of the month for the funds to leave our account. At first we thought it was an issue with our own banking facility as they did not process the payment electronically, they sent a paper check instead…

We’ve been worrying that our check is lost in the mail or stolen and have been upset that our bank didn’t process the payment electronically as we had requested.

I was just sure we were going to have to pay about a month in late rent penalties to the landlords and have been waiting to find out exactly what happen to our rent payment.

Today after more digging N found out that our landlords account was closed before our rent payment even went out. We’ve not been notified of a third new account or a new address to send payments to, the info they (the landlords) have most recently supplied was the info we were trying to use.

When N called their bank to try and figure out where our rent check is today the bank representative said she wasn’t allowed to say more about their account but that it had been closed and that our rent payment would have been returned to our bank…

So now we are waiting for our bank to provide some sort of documentation of the check being returned to them as a result of the payees account being closed.

The documentation is important proof of our attempt to pay rent on time and in a timely manner (so we aren’t evicted or charged penalty fees for late payment). We’ve never had a landlord who was so difficult to pay rent to!

The even better part is the landlords are delinquent on the property tax owed to the city on this place, they have been since July 2008 and also have penalty fees and money owed from 2007 on this property (it is public information) and also on all the other 40 properties they owe…

The thing with property taxes here is that if you get severely behind on them the city/ sheriff can auction your property to recoup the owed money… So we are particularly interested in finding out more about the tax situation as it could result in us having nowhere to live. We are also wondering if they are even making the mortgage payments on this property, if it is foreclosed we’ll also be out on our ass so to speak…

Good times huh? Isn’t it amazing how all this randomness and drama just finds us (or do we find it? Never mind don’t answer that…)

In other news, I saw a prenatal chiropractor on Saturday because my pelvic pain was getting so bad I couldn’t sit or stand for longer than 30 minutes. Turns out my tailbone/ right pelvic bone was jacked up. It was stuck between a standing and sitting position which is why only laying on my side made me comfortable.

I’ve got followup appointments scheduled with the chiropractor to check my pelvic alignment and to keep me in check, since the insurance covers 80% of it. We figured it couldn’t hurt to relieve my pain and to keep my back and pelvis in proper position especially since I’ll be having Tater in about 4 months!

For those of you (who have commented) who are also pregnant and having tailbone, pelvic or back pain I would strongly recommend finding a prenatal chiropractor and having them take a look at you.

It made a huge difference for me! I thought I was having circulation issues, possibly getting hemorrhoids and having back pain as a result of the weight of my growing uterus. Turns out all my complaints were resolved once the Doc got my right pelvic bone back in correct position. Amazing!

Oh, and look what just arrived in the mail. It is even cuter than we thought!

cocalo bali courture nursery set

We love it even more than we thought we would. The green and blue are so vivid and cheerful and the fabric is super soft with adorable designs and fun textures. Happy day! We even found the perfect way to include just a splash of pink in the room, see:

We also heard back from the mortgage lady today and got the news we expected. Once the disputed items on the credit report are resolved and once the student loan status is changed from derogatory to “in good standing” (in 2 months) we’ll be approved for a mortgage. It is just a matter of going up 18 points credit score wise…

In the meantime N is going to get more answers from his employer about the future of his on air career. Buying a home might not even be something we want to do in this particular city, especially if N’s career growth is limited. Once he knows more about the employers plans for him we’ll be able to decide about our home buying saga.

Basically we’ll either stay here through the remainder of our lease (late august 2009, if the house isn’t auctioned out from under us before that) then we’ll buy something or we’ll move from here ASAP and get in a nicer rental home that we can STAY in for the remaining 2 years left in N’s contract.

*sigh* explaining all this has sure made me tired, are you tired after reading it? I guess that means it is time to move from the office desk to the bed and resume my pregnancy slackerific ways for the rest of the day. Ooo, here are some belly pics (one in undies and bra and one in clothes) since so many are asking. These were taken 3 days ago. Now go place your baby weight bet okay? You could win cash!

I am just a tad angry right now!

Lets see, it has been 18 days since we sent off our rent check and our “we are concerned about mold” letter via certified mail to the landlords. As of today the letter STILL has not been claimed and is sitting at the post office.

N called the landlord over the weekend about it and their response was “well, we’ve been busy and we figured it was returned to you already”. She then said once it was returned to us we could “drop it by some store of theirs” or she could come by and pick it up from us.

Yeah, you are going to have to come by and get it from us since your laziness is not our issue. We sent the letter off to you like we are legally required to and you were too lazy to claim the dang thing, not our issue!

So like I said it has been 18 days since we sent our letter and rent off and the landlord doesn’t seem to have any desire to get it. It is still sitting at the post office and a notice was left at the landlords residence to come claim it.

This raised some questions for us so we looked at county records and found that our landlord owns 38 other houses (not including this one) just within this county. Oh and the house we are living in is worth about $80,000, they are charging us $875 a month and are making killing.

Well no wonder they don’t care about cashing our rent check, they have tons of money coming in from us and other sucker renters! Now N thinks they are acting unresponsive and avoiding our communications because they know they are caught and have wronged us.

Like I said in a previous post, I am fairly certain we have a mold issue just based upon the home’s age and the leaky basement issue. Our basement is finished, here have a look:

I think the electric heater/ fireplace thingy gives the decor age away don’t you?

Then there is the wood siding and the indoor/ outdoor carpet that is water stained from our recent floods.

Check out the green cabinets! Those scream 1970 to me.

So I am wondering… If all the decor and “finishing” in the basement is that old and there is such a big leak issue down there. How many years of mold growth do you think there are? It is kind of scary to think about.

We are certain there is mold growing because we have all had some odd respiratory issues since moving here, including the pets. You know allergies, sinus issues and even bloody noses. Generally nasty stuff!

That is why we sent out the certified letter outlining our concerns about their “lack of disclosure” on the flooding issue. We also mentioned the fact that the moisture from the leaks is impossible for us to fully clean up since the basement is finished and that they need to provide us with a means to clean up the soaked carpet each time the basement floods (aka a carpet cleaning machine or dehumidifier).

Seems like we covered all the bases right? Too bad they have not claimed the letter from the post office and they intend on leaving it unclaimed until the letter is returned to us…

I am not sure what to do next. We did just spend $50.00 on 4 do-it-yourself mold test kits so we’ll have proof of the mold soon but we can’t really afford an attorney to sue them. Is that the only way to take action on this?


Updates: There have been updates regarding this landlord saga, you can see them by checking out the following posts.

  1. Slumloards, credit scores and a prenatal chiropractor [in a pear tree]…
  2. In Indiana breathing mold is okay but home birth is not, just an FYI.

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It's begining to look like Christmas! (but where is the snow?)

We are finishing up the holiday shopping this week and are ready for Christmas now! Things are pretty low key for us since it is just the two of us this holiday season. We aren’t visiting the family for the holidays and we are kind of looking forward to having a low key holiday. Since it is our last holiday alone before we are officially parents it is kind of fitting.

N has a scheduled “sick day” tomorrow so we are going to brave some of the stores to finish up some last minute shopping. We also may be going to a show tomorrow night if he can snag some tickets. It is the touring production of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

The basement is flooding again a a result of the pouring rain we have had since last night. Oh and our landlords still haven’t picked up or responded to our certified letter that we sent detailing our concersn with the flooding and possible mold in the basement.

Do you eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts? If so you might want to go snag a dozen doughnuts this week. We went over the weekend and were given 12 free gift tags/ doughnut coupons that were pretty cool. Each gift tag is festive and each one is good for a free doughnut in January. I think this is a great stocking stuffer for kids, they always love doughnuts right?

I have noticed another weird pregnancy symptom these days. I have been “double sneezing” lots lately and it is the strangest thing. I have NEVER double sneezed before in my life so it is either because I am pregnant or it is because of the toxic mold growing in our basement. Odd huh?

I am counting down the days till I am at my 2nd trimester because my hair is looking mighty nasty these days. They silver hairs are really showing and my doctor says I can resume dyeing my hair in the 2nd trimester, by does my hair need it!

Well, I’ll let you know what my weight is like after the prenatal appointment on Thursday that way you can go and submit your entry to my baby weight contest, also if you want to see who has entered you should check out the contest page. Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy! Now I am of to make the blog rounds since I have been slacking big time!

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