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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are You Missing Your Flyers Today?

Are you missing your flyers today? If so, I may know where they are.
My husband took the garbage out this afternoon, then came in the house and told he someone just filled our dumpster with a pile of flyers. He said they were still wrapped in plastic.

This is not the first time we have seen flyers tossed into our dumpster. But it is the first time I got a photo of it, and posted it here.
If you know what these flyers are, and if you pay someone to deliver them, you may want to have a chat with those who tossed them in my dumpster.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Apples Wasted On The Ground

There is an apple tree in a yard a few houses away from me. The tree has wonderful, large apples growing on it. I know, I tasted them last year. But, the owner of the residence does not seem to care that the apples are not picked and used. He doesn't seem to care that the apples just drop to the ground and rot, attracting insects and rodents.
Last year, I reported this issue to 311 and By-Laws. I wanted to see if something could be done about the apples falling on the ground. I also asked the property manager if I could pick the apples off the tree, to cut down on the waste, and number of wasps being attracted to the area. He said he had no problem with that, and I acted on it. But the tree had already been overtaken by wasps, and I was stung while trying to clear the apples from the tree. My husband and I only managed to get one single bucket of apples, before leaving the rest to the wasps.
This year, it seems we have the same problem. The apples are falling from the tree again. I would contact the property manager on the issue, except he seems to have a problem with me and/or my husband. When advising him, the other day, of loud partying coming from his property, my husband was advised to "sharpen his pencil". He was told there was nobody living there. We found that a very odd statement, especially after watching someone move in, seeing a bicycle chained to the front steps, and witnessing people coming and going from the property. But, if he doesn't want to acknowledge things happening at his property, I guess I will go straight to the City with issues related to his "unoccupied" property.
I was hoping the apples could get picked this year, and not wasted by dropping on the ground, and getting totally infested with wasps, while growing on the tree. Unfortunately they will be a nuisance again this year, instead of a treat for the kids.
I will try to document the issue enough, this year, that the By-Law department acknowledges an issue with this tree. When I asked about the issue a few months ago, I was told there was no issue last year. I was told there was a complaint, and the apples were taken care of. That is not how I remember events unfolding. But I guess it is all in the documentation. And I will try to get the tree listed with Fruit Share in the North End, so it can be picked yearly, and not be an issue to me or anyone else going forward.
I tell ya, if it's not one thing, it's another, on my block in the North End of Winnipeg.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, We Witnessed A Miracle Today!

The garbage truck came down the street today. And it stopped in front of that huge pile of bulky items the next block over. You know, the pile I just blogged about. The pile that 311 just told me I had to count, if I wanted them picked up.
I wonder why BFI dropped by to get the items. Was it because I wrote a blog piece yesterday about that great pile of crap? Or was it because I sent an email to my Councillor, Ross Eadie? Or was it because I sent an email to the head of Waste Management at the City of Winnipeg? Or maybe they came by because everyone on the block has been calling for the past month to have the stuff removed.
When I saw the BFI truck roll by, and stop in front of that pile of bulk items, I took a walk over. I wanted to make sure they picked up the entire pile. While I was on my way, I heard a neighbour comment. She said it was about time they came by to pick it up. I asked if she had contacted the City about it. She said she had. She said she has been calling for a month already. She said the woman who just moved into the house with the garbage in front has been calling the City as well. The new resident was concerned about the garbage because she has kids, and doesn't want them around that big mess of garbage on the front boulevard. And besides, it should be picked up. These people get paid to pick up garbage, and should be doing their jobs. And she said the family that was at that house last month was calling too, to get the garbage picked up. Apparently, they had concerns about the garbage pile, and their kids were climbing on it. They wanted it gone too.
Another neighbour came out of their house to watch the BFI worker clean up the pile of garbage. He had the same comment. "It's about time".
It seems everyone on the block has been calling the City to get this mess cleaned up.
And finally, the heavens parted, and a BFI truck decended on the street to take the refuse away.
It really shouldn't feel like a miracle. It is just garbage being picked up. But sometimes it is such a struggle to get this stuff picked up, that it really does feel like an act of God. It feels like we witnessed a miracle today. The garbage was picked up.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Please Count The Exact Number Of Chairs, Mattresses and Dressers

There is a large pile of bulk items in front of a house down the street from me. The houses along that stretch of my street have no back lane, so garbage is placed on the front street in the black carts. That means bulk items get piled on the boulevard awaiting removal.
I took a picture of the pile of bulk items back on August 3-4, but did not submit it to 311. I need the exact house address in order to submit a pickup request, and I could not read the address on the house.
It is actually a bit of a process in finding the correct address. First I would have to locate an address on one of the houses near the one in question, preferably a neighbouring property. If I do not get the address when I am on the street, I go to google and check the street view for the nearest address that is posted on a house and is visible. Then I go to the City of Winnipeg Property Assessment Search website and start typing possible addresses that may be associated with the property in question. It is best to get the addresses on both sides of the one in question, to ensure I have the correct address. I would hate to give 311 the wrong information and have them tell me that I made a mistake. Especially with this sort of report, as it may involve City By-Laws. For that, I definitely need the right address, or By-Laws may tell me the bulk items are not associated with the house I have lodged a complaint against. But really, I just want this garbage removed.
So, I finally took the time today to search google, and the City Property Assessment site, and I found the correct address.
This is the email I sent to 311 today:
There is a large pile of bulk items on the front blvd of xxx xxx Ave that has been there since the beginning of August. I have attached a photo of the pile. There are mattresses, couches, chairs and dressers on the blvd.
And I included a photo:
I thought I took care of everything, and the issue would be dealt with. Apparently not. It seems I have to go out and count the number of chairs, mattresses and dressers. Sorry, if you think I am going near that bedbug infested pile of crap on that front boulevard, you are sadly mistaken. And if you think I have that kind of time on my hands to devote to that pile of crap, again, you are sadly mistaken.
Here is the actual reply I got from 311:
Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your email. There has already been a collection request put through to the department for the 2 couches. The department will require the exact amount of chairs, mattresses and dressers that are located on the front boulevard of xxx xxx Ave. Please respond at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

Service Representative
311 Contact Centre

Now, if they already got a request to remove some crap from the boulevard, wouldn't that be enough? If I advised them that there are also dressers, mattresses and chairs in the pile, wouldn't that be enough? And if I attached a photo of the pile, wouldn't THAT be enough? Apparently not. Apparently citizens reporting crap on the boulevard have nothing better to do with their time than to count items for 311. Not this lady.
Just schedule the damn truck, and pick up the crap on the boulevard, would ya!