10.9.09

There are times I DO enjoy a good fight!

3 months ago (June 12th, 2009), there was an explosion in the laundry facility of my apartment complex. This explosion, caused by a faulty, coin operated, gas drier, damaged the building and the centralized water heaters That provided water to entire complex for all tenants. Electric water heaters have been installed and are not functioning, correctly (they were not designed for this type of load!). Electric water heaters are being put in, because the gas company will not turn the gas back on, until the building as a whole is fixed! Also, the boiler system for the entire complex is in this same building. And it runs off of gas, as well.

Because of this, I have been taking my daily showers at a truck stop at the cost of $10.00 each and a 20 mile round trip.

So $10/day + (20 miles/day at $0.55/mile) is $21.00 a day it costs me for personal hygiene. At 30 days a month, I am paying $630.00 for access to a service required by the Oklahoma State Tenant and Landlord laws as being available at all times in reasonable volumes. My rent is only $610 and month!

So, tomorrow I deliver the below message to the office manager as well as put a copy in the post, signature receipt required. I have pulled the names out to keep the guilty from getting spammed and slammed. I want them to be able to continue conducting business.

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I have thought long and hard on what to say in this message. And everything I have come up with is so negative, so harsh that I have continually decided to not deliver it, until today. Today I have had my fill, and it is time to deliver this information to you. I will provide a copy to the local office manager, and also send a copy, via USPS mail to the corporate offices. These are the actions an attorney friend agreed as reasonable and qualify as good faith efforts as I attempt to rectify these issues. Sending a letter with my grievances and proposed resolutions, before engaging in legal recourse is a sign of positive cooperation.

Item one: I have been accused of owing back rent. I have one payment to make of approximately $400.00. As I have told the local office person, I am uncomfortable paying on any supposedly owed rent from before the first of the year because of a lack of evidence. I have been informed of several issues with the 'books' of CDV, and their lack of accuracy because of misuse or mis-management. With this level of mis-management of funds, I'm not even certain, beyond all doubt, that I owed the back rent I have agreed to pay for the year 2009. At the time I spoke with the local office manager, I agreed I had probably missed a few payments and agreed to pay the reported back rent of 2009. Discussion of any fees and charges due for 2008 was had, but no unquestionable proof has ever been provided, just changing numbers.

Item two: For the last THREE MONTHS we have not had hot water.

Item three: For the last THREE MONTHS we have not had an on site Laundry Facility

Item four: For the last THREE MONTHS, the only information about the situation has been rumor and word of mouth between the tenants. Management is NOT keeping us informed about what is going on. To management this may be just another property, it may be just a a job they are at for less than banker hours every week. To me, this is my HOME. I LIVE here.

Item five: For the last THREE MONTHS, I have been driving 20 miles round trip and paying $10.00, every day so I can take a shower at the truck stops west of town. I have not asked CDV or Vanguard to cover these costs, because I have tried to be patient. That patience has now expired.

Item six: For the last THREE MONTHS, I have had to have laundry done elsewhere. The on-site laundry was an amenity that permitted me to still do other things while the laundry was being done. Now I'm paying considerably more to use a laundromat facility AND get nothing else done, during the process.

Item seven: From the Oklahoma Bar Association Web Site (http://www.okbar.org/public/brochures/tenbroc.htm)
Q: What services am I entitled to?
A: (1) Except in the case of a single family residence, your landlord must keep all common areas used by more than one tenant safe and clean.
(2) Your landlord must keep your premises in a safe, liveable condition.
(3) Your landlord must keep all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances in good and safe working order, unless otherwise agreed to by a "conspicuous" writing independent of your rental agreement.
(4) Your landlord must, if your dwelling is other than a one or two-family residence, provide trash receptacles and frequent removal, unless this is provided by a government entity.
(5)Your landlord must supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, and reasonable heat, unless you live in a single-family dwelling or have a separate metered utility connection for these services.
(Italic emphasis is mine)

Item eight: Again from the from the Oklahoma Bar Association Web Site (http://www.okbar.org/public/brochures/tenbroc.htm)
Q: What do I do if my landlord does not make necessary repairs or provide necessary services?
A: You must give your landlord written notice of any needed repairs to keep your living quarters safe and healthy (It is recommended that written notice be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, when possible).
Your choices (if the defect affects safety or health):
(1) You may tell your landlord in the notice that if repairs are not made in 14 days you will move out in 30 days after the notice and your lease will be over.
(2) If the repair costs less than $100, you may tell the landlord that you will have the repair made yourself and subtract the cost or value from your rent if the landlord does not repair in 14 days.
(3) If an essential service fails due to the landlord's fault or willful act, you can, at your option, by giving written notice:
(a) End your lease and move immediately.
(b) Move somewhere else temporarily. You will not owe the landlord rent while you are living in substitute housing.
(c) Sue the landlord for damages based on the difference between what the apartment or house is worth without the essential service and what you are required to pay under the lease.
(d) Make your own arrangements for the service and deduct the cost from your rent.
(4) If the conditions are so bad that there is an imminent threat to health or safety which is not remedied as soon as conditions require, you may give written notice of the problem and end your lease immediately.
(5) If a fire or other emergency makes your living place unsafe, you may end your lease by moving out and giving written notice within one week.
None of these rights are yours if the damage is caused by you or your family or pet, or a person or animal on the premises with your consent.
(Again, italic emphasis is mine)

For the last three months, I have tried to be patient. There has been no formal communications regarding the 'missing' services. There have been no formal, proactive communications on when the services will be restored.
Given these options, through lack of action and communication, I here by, formally, exercise my rights as listed above.

June saw 18 days without hot water.
July saw 31 days without hot water.
August, another 31 days without hot water.
For September we are at 9 days and counting. At the current expectation, as set by historic precedent, neither hot water nor lease covered amenities will be returned and functional by the end of the month. The same calculations will be used at the end of September to determine rent payment due for October.

18 + 31 + 31 is days. That is $800.00 for showers, alone.
80 trips to the truck stops at 20 miles, round trip, chargeable at 55 cents per mile (http://www.hrblock.com/taxes/tax_calculators/rate_tables/standard_mileage_rates.html) is 80 trips times 20 miles times $0.55 per mile is another $880.00.
This brings a to date total expense to me of $1680.00.
I have no way of quantifying the expenses related to not having hot water in the kitchen for the purposes of cooking and cleaning. This has driven me to eating out more, rather than purchasing food at the grocery and cooking for myself.
Rents paid for June, July and August were paid in good faith that the services would be restored quickly. I now call those rents due for return to me as caused by breach of contract. As demonstrated above, the costs to me, excluding inconvenience, is $20.00 a day ($10 for the shower rental plus mileage). With a rent of $610.00 per month, I should owe no rent for the months of July or August and a pro-rated refund for rent of June.

My proposal is
a) All 'back rents', prior to the loss of services and other monies due are nullified and considered paid in full.
b) Rents paid in good faith for June, July and August of 2009 are refunded to me, immediately ($1830.00).
c) Reimbursement of the above documented out of pocket expenses related to the lack of hot water in the complex. ($1680.00)
d) Rents for September and months going forward will be considered paid in full, until such time as services are restored, because of the daily expenses I incur due to the lack of this critical service.
e) Amenities such as a working and viable laundry facility on property, as well as properly functioning dishwashers (which require hot water to work effectively) must also be restored to full functionality as they represent components of our contracted agreement and have been functional through precedent.

From my perspective, there is no room for negotiation on this. This is a breech of the leasing contract. I appreciate all patience that has been extended to me, during my time as a tenant at multiple Vanguard properties. I have been patient, and I am providing a reasonable response to an otherwise untenable situation. I have neither the funds nor interest in moving. If these services are not fully restored by the end of September and the property brought back up to the same level of service as when I contracted to living here, I will have no choice but to seek another location to live, and seek additional legal recourse for the relocation and related expenses. I will have to consider this an action forced upon me by Vanguard's inaction and seek legal redress of all related funds.

To summarize, any outstanding 'debt' CDV/Vanguard state I owe is considered paid in full. Rents paid for June, July and August are to be refunded, in full. Reimbursement is to be made of the above calculated expenses incurred. Rent for September and months going forward will be waived, in consideration of the daily expense of alternative solutions required for personal hygiene.

Should you determine CDV and Vanguard no longer desire my business, all above mentioned funds become due upon notification of such desire. This refund will be required to secure other living arrangements and cover deposits and other relocation expenses. Failure to provide this refund while attempting to force me out will result in my seeking legal recourse as the only avenue available to me.

The situation with the lack of required services must be addressed. The tenants and governmental agencies providing for the residents on assistance should receive weekly updates as to the progress and expected return of required services (hot water) and the previously provided on site laundry.

If you have any questions or need to speak with me regarding this, please leave a message at (phone number removed to protect ME). I will return your call to schedule a meeting at the Vanguard offices with members of Vanguard management that fits my availability.

Sincerely,

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I sincerely doubt I will ever see that $3510.00 I have demonstrated they owe me, but I WILL fight for it. I will fight VERY hard for it!

1 comment:

Hey said...

Well you deserve to fight for it i guess continue it for your good sake. Oklahoma City Electrician