Renters Speak: Lead Paint Chips and Sweatpants Lawyers

From ‘Saralegal,’ the girl with the best lawyer-to-be nickname ever:

Here is my tragic tale of woe from an apartment in Baltimore, MD.

To accommodate my job, I moved from the suburbs to Baltimore City. I found an apartment in a cool old building and was set to move in a couple days after law school graduation (conveniently, when my family would be in town to help me move). Two days before move in, the leasing company informs me that the building did not pass its lead paint inspection due to chipping paint on the outside. They assured me that it would only be a couple of weeks before the building was ready, and that they would house me temporarily in a studio apartment in one of their other buildings. And they offered to have their maintenance men move my stuff again, since the delayed move in date would have otherwise required me to hire movers. Sounded good to me.

THREE AND A HALF MONTHS LATER (during which I am living out of boxes and attempting to recover mail lost/misplaced due to the uncertainty of my address, including student loan checks and my irreplaceable entrance ticket to the bar exam), I am finally told that I can move in. I prepare to move, and they call me again to tell me that the INSIDE of the apartment has now failed lead paint inspection. Fortunately, this only caused a delay of one week.

It gets deliciously worse after the jump.

Over the weekend, I help move my stuff in to my new apartment. It starts raining, and since the complex only has a pickup truck (of COURSE they did not rent a moving truck), we had to stop. They moved in the rest a couple of days later while I was at work. I arrived home to find my brand new mattress dirty and torn, and most everything else scratched and/or otherwise damaged.

Of COURSE, the company disavowed their responsibility in this.

Upon moving in, I discover my oven does not function. I call maintenance. Three weeks later, a maintenance person enters my apartment while I am at work, leaves the door unlocked, and someone consequently breaks into my apartment and steals my DVD player, my VCR, and my laptop.

The company again denies responsibility and informs me I should have had renter’s insurance. I told them renter’s insurance (which I intended to get, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet) would not be an issue if they hadn’t left my door UNLOCKED. In BALTIMORE.

The very next day, after being larcenized, I arrive home to find a summons from rent court. Yes, the very company that moved me into my apartment has sued me for non-payment of rent in the temporary studio apartment that I had vacated. In spite of the fact that I moved into another building that they MANAGED and paid rent for that. I called to complain (again). They assured me they would dismiss the case before court.

As I did not trust them, I arrived for rent court the next week. Sure enough, they had not dismissed the case. When the judge called the case, I presented all the information to the court. The representative from their company (who showed up for court in sweatpants) had NO IDEA what I was talking about. The judge dismissed the case, and I had to get a special letter to send to the state bar so that they wouldn’t deny my admission for being delinquent in my rent.

I continued a dialogue with them in order to get compensated for my stolen property. They steadfastly refused to repay me, and the property manager was a total condescending bitch about it. I started getting a lawsuit together. Fortunately, the judge I clerked for knew the owner of the management company from hell, and put in a call to him. He instructed the property manager bitch to assist me in putting a claim in to their insurance company, which paid out on my claim.

Then, a new management company took over the building, and I went the months of December and January without working heat in my apartment.

I swear, the building is CURSED.

We’d blame the management, but we’re not as generous as this young woman.