i think that looking for apartments is ruining my life. jared & i arranged to do another walk-through over at Tiny House the other day. Tiny House is a tiny house in east lawrence that we kind of liked. it has that old-house charm, wood floord, big yard, etc etc, but it’s only one bedroom. i liked it quite a bit, despite acknowledging its Tininess. jared thought it was cute, but was really too Tiny. for whatever reason, he conceded to me & agreed to fill out an application for it. when i dropped our applications off, the property manager told me that another couple had beaten us to applying for Tiny House by about twenty minutes. if there’s nothing wrong with their applications, they’ll get Tiny House. if there’s some kind of hitch, we can swoop it & take it.
i rather surprised myself by crying about the idea of someone else living in Tiny House. it’s not that i was in love with it & thought it was perfect. honestly, i found it merely adequate. there are undoubtedly other rental properties in lawrence that are more suitable to our needs. maybe it was just the frustration of having seen it first, having dragged our feet a little with the applications (not having them ready to go as soon as we finished the second walk-through), having stopped to get ice cream & pre-natal vitamins before dropping off the applications…
anyway, jared gave me a little pep talk to make me feel better. it turns out that he was far less excited about Tiny House than he let on. he found it patently too Tiny, despite everything he said about how, “we could make this work. we can use smart storage solutions & be really happy in Tiny House.” suddenly the truth came out. Tiny House’s main identifying characteristic was also its primary failing. so i took some deep breaths & was like, “okay, this is early days yet. a lot of the most interesting properties in town aren’t even on the market yet. we’ll find something. & if we don’t…there’s nothing wrong with our current apartment. we don’t HAVE to move.”
well, scratch that. we DO have to move. i called my landlord this morning to inquire about the fact that everyone else in our building has received their letters asking if they want to renew their leases for august or not. i was just checking in because the renewal letters include the rent increases, & the rent increase would decide whether or not we really need to commit to finding a new place to live. my landlord informed me, “you didn’t get a letter because i didn’t send you one. i’m not renewing your lease.”
i said, “may i ask why not?”
he said, “because you called the city on me. i don’t renew leases for tenants who call the city on me.” (readers may recall that i was forced to call the city on him last fall after he flat out refused to install a bathroom door in our apartment, in violation of the city housing code. the housing inspector called him & threatened legal action if he did not install a bathroom door. he installed a bathroom door within days & we haven’t had any problems with him or the apartment since.)
i said, “refusing to renew our lease for that reason is retaliatory & retaliating against tenants who call the city to have their rights enforced is illegal.”
he said, “so it is.” & hung up on me.
so i called the city AGAIN & made an appointment to file a formal complaint about his retaliation. not that it really changes anything. i don’t know that the city has the power to FORCE him to renew our lease, & i don’t think we would be especially interested in renewing a lease with a landlord who straight up engages in that kind of illegal behavior. i don’t really know what, if anything, there is to be done about this, especially because the laws in kansas are so skewed in favor of protecting landlords. tenants in kansas have almost no rights. & clearly, when we do pursue the few rights we have, our landlords just violate some more of our rights. lawrence really needs a tenants union.
anyway, this means that we really do need to find a new place to live for august. i just talked to a landlord who owns a lot of the apartments above businesses downtown. she sold me on a historic two-bedroom apartment right on massachusetts st., right in our price range. living on massachusetts st. may be just as noisy as living on tennessee st., but since living on tennessee st. is no longer an option, i don’t know that i care. it’s walkable to the university, obviously walkable to downtown because it’s IN downtown, hardwood floors, etc. i’m in love with it already, but i think that all of this fucked up apartment searching/landlord asshole behavior bullshit has just given me stockholm syndrome. i feel like i would rent a cardboard box if it had some wood laminate & an east lawrence address.
i told jared the other day that i really don’t think he understands how stressful it is to look for apartments. we more or less collaborated on finding our first apartment in lawrence, &…well…look how that turned out. that was the one we had to actually have condemned by the city. jared loved the place, i hated it, but i bit my tongue because jared was so lukewarm about all the other places we’d seen (which were all with the same evil landlord that rented us an uninhabitable apartment, so i’m certainly not arguing that any of them would have been any better). i learned that i really shouldn’t stay quiet when i’m looking at an apartment i don’t feel great about. i have put my head down & done most of the heavy lifting with every apartment since then (in terms of looking, not in terms of moving) & it really sucks. it’s a process of sending dozens of e-mails into the ether to landlords who never get back to you. spending hours on the phone trying to schedule showings & sort out applicant rules. going to showings all over town, standing around waiting when landlords & property managers are late, trying to remember to look at appliances & water pressure & heating vents & stair railings & every little thing.
& now my one little sanity-preserving silver lining–that moving in august is completely optional–has been snatched away by mark e. lehmann, evil landlord extraordinaire. if anyone reading this lives in lawrence or is thinking about moving here, do yourself a favor & do not rent from vintage management. i hope he googles this.
but hey! in other news, how hilarious was the “top model” premiere? i loved that they made the girls do a runway show in giant hamster balls, & that every time someone fell down, the cameras cut away to show the audience smiling gleefully & openly laughing. that was even better than when cycle 14 alexandra got knocked off the runway by a giant pendulum.