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Aug 15 2011

I think he takes landLORD a little too literally

It’s no secret that I hate my apartment. tl;dr I have no privacy, I’m getting ripped off on my electric bills (which he once refused to pay), I don’t have control over the heat or internet, and the place is infested with spiders. Seriously, I’ve killed about one a day since I moved in. Last night a hairy one CRAWLED ACROSS MY CHEST WHILE I WAS LAYING IN BED.

Sorry, my terror deserves all caps.

The upside to all of this is that I’m finally moving in two weeks. Hurray! I found a wonderful new place in Capitol Hill (not Washington DC, the Seattle neighborhood that’s filled with gays and hipsters and awesome food and bars). But that also means other people are checking out my apartment. I missed most of the viewings this weekend since I was in Omaha, but today one couple from out of state called me to ask how it was.

Thanks for giving my phone number out to random strangers, landlord.

Anyway, they were really nice, and I told them the truth about the place. I was in the same situation last year – moving from out of state and unable to find anything – and I wish I would have had someone to ask about the place (the current tenant had already moved out). When they asked if I felt comfortable here, I relayed the story about the time my landlord found out I was an evolutionary biologist and proceeded to debate me for twenty five minutes about how creationism was correct.

She paused. She said it wasn’t surprising, since he had made some anti-Catholic remarks at the end of their phone call, and that her husband was Catholic. And he had also asked them if they were church goers – they weren’t (like many Catholics?).

I shouldn’t be surprised that he was dumb enough to say anti-Catholic stuff on the phone, since he’s had no problem ranting to me about creationism or how horrible unions are. But the latter makes me wonder. Is it because of me? Is my landlord running around fretting that he has a Dirty Atheist living in his basement? It’s obvious if you look at my bookshelf or glance at my mail that arrives in our shared mailbox – lots of letters from the Secular Student Alliance, Secular Coalition for America, and Planned Parenthood.

I better not see a fee for exorcisms or blessings come out of my security deposit.

43 comments

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  1. 1
    J. Mark

    Now that was a fun posting to read….I can’t believe he gave them your number….they probably asked him for it…..and just “off the cuff” talking religion over the phone to folks is WRONG!

  2. 2
    Wildy

    Maybe they got over confident when you let that one spider live?But it’s good to hear that you’re leaving that bad apartment for a far better one.

  3. 3
    Simon

    Capitol Hill in Washington, DC also has lots gays, hipsters, and awesome food and bars. I should know, that’s where I live :-)

  4. 4
    Simon

    Er, “lot’s of” that is.

  5. 5
    Epistaxis

    Is it because of me?

    Nope! Any sane landlord will be careful about bringing up politics and religion.Also, why isn’t Capitol Hill in Olympia?

  6. 6
    zyxek

    No, you were right the first time.

  7. 7
    Jadehawk

    because Seattleites got ambitious and named the neighborhood in the expectation that Seattle would become the state capital (at least that’s how it was explained to me)

  8. 8
    skepgineer

    I spent 6 days apartment-hunting in person and still fucked up.   The major flaw in it is that the gas oven has no ventilation other than the windows on the opposite end of the apartment.  Also the oven also has layers upon layers of metal plates at the bottom of it which makes it 10 times harder to clean than an electric oven, and it was filthy on all surfaces except the outwardly visible ones when I moved in.  Hello, bronchitis.   Also I’m massively overpaying by not having a roommate.

  9. 9
    Karen

    I shouldn’t bring this up but… spiders are your friends.  If they aren’t there, then  the critters that actually eat you, suck your blood, whatever, have free reign.  Give me a spider crawling across my chest rather than a furiously itching mosquito bite any day…

  10. 10
    Benjamin Machanik

    We’re also currently moving. Our reasons: Our landlords irrational hatred of non-human animals and her eagerness to declare random inspection times while both of us (me and my partner) are in lectures.

  11. 11
    Charlie Poole

    Why doesn’t anyone invoke the Fair Housing Act on this guy?  The $10,000 fine for discrimination might change his attitude a little … make it even worse and really give him something to whine about. Housing discrimination can be reported to HUD at 1-800-669-9777

  12. 12
    Alexander Wilkins

    It’s illegal for her to do that. I believe a 24 hour notice is required by law.

  13. 13
    Stray Cat

    “Reasonable notice” is required by law. I think, to most courts in most state, that’s 24 hours. But not sure about all.

  14. 14
    TheSecretAtheist

    Well, on the bright side, at least your landlord isn’t filling your place with thousands of scorpions in order to try to get you to leave…  (Spiders are one thing. Scorpions are totally, TOTALLY unacceptable.)http://consumerist.com/2011/08

  15. 15
    Chris Kalil

    While that is true, its better to have neither. It reflects somewhat poorly on the cleanliness of the housing unit if you can have a large population of spiders. I am going to assume that Jen isn’t significantly more messy than your average grad student, so…Of course, I can’t comment on the landlords and spiders without being a hypocrite, not after my arachnophobic roommates were visited by a four inch wolf spider (which I relocated outside…)

  16. 16
    Svlad Cjelli

    Hmm, thousands of scorpions might actually be harmful, if they cooperate.

  17. 17
    Azkyroth

    I concur, which (along with the fact that they’re pretty clearly finding their way back in since I’ve relocated the same spider with the same missing leg once or twice, I believe) is why I leave the spiders alone.On the other hand, I don’t really want them in my bed.  I love spiders and all, but…it’s platonic.  I don’t feel THAT way about them. O.o

  18. 18
    Andrew Hall

    I was a landlord for several years, and even though the laws vary widely from state-to-state,  any landlord should be somewhat afraid of getting sued. (A friend of mine is in the process of suing her landlord and is getting pro bono law help from the state.)

  19. 19
    Kes

    Except he doesn’t sound like he’s discriminating at all. He rented the place to an atheist, and clearly this Catholic couple are prospective renters who actually wanted to live there enough to check with the current tenant. Badgering tenants about their beliefs makes you an asshole, but if they’re still your tenants, then you aren’t discriminating against them (by denying them a place to live based on their beliefs.)

  20. 20
    Praedico

    It’s not necessarily a reflection on cleanliness, really. It could simply be location.When I was younger, I once lived next to a farm, and despite the house being perfectly clean (my mother is a cleaning wizard) we were plagued with small flies, and consequently had spiders everywhere. Small ones though, since this was in northern England.I was sleeping on the top bunk in a shared room, so I would read at night by torchlight, shining the torch up so the white ceiling reflected enough light to read by, but not enough to disturb my sleeping roommate. The flies were attracted to the circle of light on the ceiling, and the spiders would gather to hunt them. It was actually quite interesting to watch the spiders lunge at passing flies, but I was always terrified one would fall down onto me.Grats on getting a new place, Jen! If I’d had spiders like those in my bed, I’ve have probably burnt it and taken to sleeping in a hermetically sealed box.

  21. 21
    LS

    I’m surprised you’ve stood for as much as you have, Jen. Last week my landlord sent a plumber into my apartment to fix my sink (non-emergency repair, it had been busted for months) while I was at work without informing me, and I sent her a letter threatening legal action if she ever allowed anyone into my apartment without the legally required 48 hours of notice again. You have rights as a tenant.

  22. 22
    Bridget Marie Blodgett

    You could look at importing some house centipede. They scared me to death when I had them but they apparently eat spiders. They stay away from people usually but you can catch them on the carpet or ceiling if you suddenly turn on the lights in a dark room.

  23. 23
    LS

    WA state law requires 48 hours of advance notice, except in the case of an emergency, or other extremely specific cases.

  24. 24
    LS

    I’ve received more spider bites while sleeping than any other kind of insect bite.

  25. 25
    J. Mark

    I think spiders are pretty much atheists too….better than an influx of Christian praying mantises!

  26. 26
    Lorax

    Are you sure they are spider bites?

  27. 27
    Reverse Polarity

    You may get a better landlord next time, and a better apartment, but you’ll still have spiders. I sympathize. I’m fairly arachnophobic myself. But spiders thrive in the year-round mild climate of Seattle. They’re everywhere, in every house and apartment in the city. You can’t escape them. Only the knowledge that there are NO poisonous spiders in western Washington keeps me from going completely insane.

  28. 28
    LS

    Reasonably. Twin puncture marks, and spiders are the only vermin I ever see while awake.

  29. 29
    Three Ninjas

    “lots have”.

  30. 30
    Three Ninjas

    Could also be bats.  You wouldn’t expect see them while you were awake. #evidence

  31. 31
    Outside!

    All spiders are venomous, but I don’t know of any that are poisonous, so eat up!

  32. 32
    Ashley Marie Kingham

    I thought my rental company was bad…now I’m not so sure.  That’s awful.  Glad you get to move, hope things are much better in the new place!

  33. 33
    Der Cat

    That’s just what the spiders want you to think….

  34. 34
    Der Cat

    Or Vampires. Those bastards are sneaky.

  35. 35
    Vanessa

    Obviously you do not have arachnophobia. I would SO prefer a mosquito bite every day to a spider being anywhere near me.

  36. 36
    Buglover

    You are smart and probably know this already but just in case (since you are clearly dealing with an jerk of a landlord) here is some advice from a current landlord, tenant, and daughter or a property management company owner. 1. Once your stuff is moved out take pictures of EVERYTHING! Document, document, document (this will prevent potential unnecessary security deductions)2. When you move into your new place, take pictures of EVERYTHING before you move in to document the condition (this will prevent potential unnecessary deductions when you move out)3. Leave a forwarding address via email or certified mail (some landlords will not mail you the security deposit but claim that they did and try to keep the money). So evidence that they have your forwarding address is key.4. In Seattle, your landlord has 14 DAYS to return your security deposit with a written signed statement explaining any deductions. Security deposits CAN NOT be used to cover normal wear and tear of an apartment (i.e. painting, carpet cleaning, etc).5. In Seattle, if you do not get the security deposits in 14 days, and you take your landlord to court, he will have to pay you DOUBLE the amount of the deposit if you win. This makes an excellent threat if your landlord is being a douche about the deposit. Lots of good info at this website http://www.seattle.gov/dclu/Pu

  37. 37
    Jen

    Uhhh…what if it says in my lease that my security deposit covers carpet cleaning?

  38. 38
    Jen

    Ditto.

  39. 39
    Gary Usleaman

    “The Seattle neighborhood that’s filled with gays and hipsters and awesome food and bars”You’re moving to Heaven? :-)

  40. 40
    Buglover

    Then it is carpet cleaning beyond normal wear and tear. He would need to show that you did more damage then ‘just living in’ the apartment. Just because it is in your lease doesn’t make it automatically legal. A lot of landlords will but blatantly illegal shit in the lease just so they can point to it later and say I told you so.Still you should ask for a receipt of the carpet cleaning as proof that he actually did it. Also was your carpet freshly cleaned when you moved in? Because the deal is you get to leave your apartment in the condition it was when you moved in. So if your carpet wasn’t cleaned when you moved in he technically can’t charge for a cleaning when you move out. That is why the move-in pictures are so crucial when renting. You can always wait 14 days and if you don’t get your deposit send a certified letter quoting the Seattle rental code and say you will skip taking him to court if he forgets the carpet cleaning fee and returns your full deposit.

  41. 41
    enuma

    Jen’s apartment being a basement apartment, the problem is likely due to moisture rather than a lack of cleanliness.  I had a basement bedroom growing up, and I was killing spiders daily.  My little brother, who was the messiest person in the house, barely got any spiders in his upstairs bedroom.

  42. 42
    CJ Mitchell

    While living in my dorm at UW I discovered a taurantula (yes, actually!) hiding under a pile of neglected laundry.I killed it with one of my favorite funky used-bookstore finds: The Secret Doctrine.  Killed it dead.And never put clothes on the floor again.

  43. 43
    doctressjulia

    Good advice.

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