Friday, August 19, 2011

The Pipes Broke And Landlord Wouldn't Fix It

I read an article in the Winnipeg Free Press today, Nobody should be living like this, and it reminded me of a tenant I once had.
Now, I don't know what happened with the people mentioned in the Free Press today. Nobody really knows but those intimately involved. But I know what happened to me.
I had a tenant a few years back. He was a nice guy. He had a job. And he rented the suite above me. Our house is a duplex, we were living on the main floor, and we rented the upstairs suite. Or at least that's the way it used to be, back when this particular guy lived here.
One day I noticed a ripple in the wall in my kitchen. I thought it was a bit odd, and didn't remember seeing it there before. The next day the ripple was larger, and there were more ripples developing. It quickly became apparent that something was wrong, and it was coming from upstairs. We paid our tenant a visit, and had a look at his bathroom. The sink was leaking. It was leaking so bad that the rug in front of his sink was soaking wet. I asked if he was aware that his sink was leaking. And I asked if he was aware that the rug in front of his sink was soaking wet. He was. He said he didn't want to bother us.
I explained to this tenant that the water was running down the wall in our kitchen. I said it was wrecking our house. And I told him to please bother us when something isn't working. And please bother us when there is water all over the floor. Again, I told him that the water leak was wrecking the house. We got a bucket for the sink, until we could get it fixed properly. And we asked him to keep an eye on the water in the bucket when using the sink.
Next thing I know, a few months later, there was a strong odor of cat feces. I mentioned this to the tenant. I asked if maybe he needed to empty his litter box. He said no, it was clean. The odor continued. Finally, I said I wanted to have a look at the apartment. We went in, and found the entire apartment covered in cat feces. It was up the stairwell, and on the floor in all of the rooms.
His cats looked sick as well. One was missing an eye, they both seemed riddled with lice. I asked that he do something about the cats, and get the place cleaned up, fast.
We also noticed a huge ice dam behind the entrance door. It was surrounding the drain pipe from his kitchen sink. We asked how long it has been like that. He didn't know. We had a look at the kitchen sink, and it was full of stale, dirty water. We asked if the sink worked. He said it did not. He said it had been clogged for quite a while. But again, he did not want to bother us.
We started defrosting the pipe, and taking care of the new issues. And we told our tenant he had to get his place cleaned up or leave. He was already 2 months behind in his rent and we were getting a bit tired of hearing him tell us that he didn't want to bother us.
The tenant left in the night, never to be seen again.
We were within feet of this tenant, and he didn't want to bother us as he was destroying our home. We said hello almost on a daily basis and he still never said a word. I wonder what stories he tells HIS friends about his slum landlords when he lived in the North End of Winnipeg.
This person was a friend before moving in, and destroyed our desire to be landlords.
That was the end of our having tenants. We cut a doorway in the wall and took over the entire house.
And that was the end of trying to earn extra income in a duplex.


  1. I rarely see articles written about the reasons a landlord would not fix a tenant’s home problem. It’s obvious that the guy’s negligence was why everything turned out the way it did. From the leaky pipes, to his pets’ conditions, and the untidiness of the suite, telling him to leave was possibly the best solution, and the right decision for you to make.

    Gayle Manning