Tuesday, November 19, 2013

House woes

Disclaimer: Long Loooooooooooooong rant ahead. But I need to get it out of my system. I realize it's a 4 page long rant. So have made it into sections.

The house hunting is going on still but we have a bit more of time. Yesterday for the first time in my life , I felt trapped. We actually felt cheated. I normally don't record anything bad that happens simply because- 1) who likes whining?
 2) who likes people who whine? And
 3) who wants to record things that are whinable? (OK dictionary - I know there is no word "whinable" but right now I seriously don't care)

It's not even been three months since we came to this house but the situation has become quite unbearable more because of the attitude of the people owning the house. (My dear last house owner! I appreciate you even more. You did not look very sophisticated, you did not speak that good...but you were great in things that mattered. You never were nonchalant. You gave us a good house and at such low rent)

The Initial Problems

We remember only 2 weekends which we have spent relaxed in this house because every single week something or the other happens. On the first week itself, we had no idea how the plumbing worked. Water did not come where it was supposed to come. When we called them they started berating the last owners (they had bought the house newly and we were their first ever tenants). They were of no use. It took around two weeks for us to figure out how the plumbing works. Then we found out that there was no shower in the bathroom. Come on its 2013. Anyhow that they kept and gave. Then we found that the geyser in the bathroom gave extreme hot water but there was no pipe for cold water. How is one supposed to bath in boiling water? It took a week and they made another pipe and gave us. That week we kind of adjusted. That same time we also found out that our water in the overhead tank was finishing very very quickly. We were around 4 people and vavoo was using cloth nappies so we had to use the washing machine at least two times a day. And the water tank would empty in one cycle. We found that they had a small 200 - 250l capacity tank. It was tiny. They figured out that we should not have a problem as instead of putting on the motor and filling the tank once every day we only had to do it say,2 or 3 times. What should be the problem? *Sarcasm*. If you think similar to them, I suggest you use such a small tank and see how difficult it is especially when you are at home with an infant in hand. Anyhow we asked them to keep a decent tank at least. Which they did after a week.

Backflow in the toilet Yuck!

Then my mom came and we found that there was backflow in the toilet. Yes! What we were not supposed to see we were cleaning on a regular basis. We told them but they were already getting fed up of the house. I guess they just wanted the returns and not the responsibility. It took around two weeks for them to take the issue seriously and it turned out to be a major issue.

The house owner was still ok, but his wife started trivializing issues. This house has only one bathroom and we have our mom who is aged and has medical conditions. The landlady was very insensitive - not going into the details. Frankly speaking I was beginning to get frustrated with her and had told my hubby that I was no longer going to talk to her about the house. I would not be able to bear nonsense anymore from her. Do you know some people who talk a lot of flowery sweet talk and do nothing? Yup! Voila, I hit jackpot this year.

Whenever I used to talk to her I used to feel as if I am talking to a wall. In fact I would have preferred the wall as at least it would not talk back insensibly. At least I could have pretended it was empathizing.

Anyhow two days were hell having no toilet. My mom got tensed, her depression returned and I am pretty sure I have scared her enough to never leave the comforts of her home again to come and stay with me. Who could blame her? I could not even give her the basic amenities.

After two days it became OK. Though they had not tiled the flooring of the toilet, we did not even ask, we just wanted the bathroom to be usable as soon as possible. And we are paying good rent for that house - believe me.

The Problem with the Water heater

Even during this time the heater was not working. There was some weird thing about the water levels in this house I guess, hot water would come in all pipes except the one it is supposed to. Somehow we adjusted but ultimately their rust ridden 20 year old heater died. We kept our very much newer heater in the bathroom but the issue persisted. We told them. They did not take us seriously and by that time they were behaving as if we were disturbing them so much so we began to deal with things on our own from our own pockets as we thought our peace of mind was more important than money. And frankly speaking the landlady's attitude was getting on to our nerves.

That coveted Diwali Weekend...

It was the Diwali weekend. My parents had left, we were having three days leave and we were looking forward to spending it with Vavoo leisurely. Three other guests were also coming that weekend. Even though this house had bogged us down we decided to light up the house this Diwali and just celebrate. We were trying to put on the lights when we heard water flowing somewhere. Guess what, Water was flowing from the walls in the bathroom. Some connection had burst. In two hours we would have guests for the weekend and water was flowing out of walls. It was a Diwali weekend.... which plumber would be free? Ultimately we got one and he came just because he felt sorry for us. It turned out to be a heavy duty work. Apparently the plumbing was of low quality and we using the washing machine in the pipe were stressing it out and hence it had a problem. He made it right somehow and told us to use it very very carefully. Obviously money came out of our pocket. We told the landlord about it but as expected, he was getting fed up with the house he had bought.

Gosh this has already become too long but it's just half the story.

Finding how "People live with one pipe also"

Why were we using the washing machine connected to the bathroom do you ask? Well there is a backstory here also. When we decided to take this house, the main attraction was a back room which was built extra and the pipes in the backyard. We thought we would just keep the washing machine there. But only when we came to the house, we saw that the pipes there worked only when the direct supply came and that too if we switched on another motor. Using the machine there was no longer possible. When hey realized that they said they would put a pipe for us (After all it was the amenity which we were told was there) After 3 weeks and water flooding our kitchen front area because of water flowing outside the bathroom to the hall every time the machine ran thanks to horrible flooring level of the bathroom, we asked them if we could do the work and take it out of the rent.

The landowner said, they would definitely do it, but they did not. It was three weeks before this happened.  The next day when the land lady came to see the problem area (just see mind you, not do anything about it) we asked her about the pipe in the back yard once again. She said - politely as always, that it was in their mind and they would definitely do it in two weeks. The two weeks have gone and they have not breathed a word about it. In the meantime she also commented how people do live with one pipe in their house also. Hubby did not think this comment even worth honoring. She passes many such comments which were plain insensitive. As if people who live with one pipe would give this much rent and live in such a big house.

So now the only usable pipe was the one in which the heater was connected and the one in the kitchen. So we connected the washing machine to the kitchen/ geyser as and when it was possible. Our water machine was not hot water compatible so the simple act of putting on washing machine itself required a lot of thought from then on.

At this point we thought that enough is enough. If there was one more problem with the house we will shift. But it was a decision we did not want to make because

1) Vavoo was happy in his daycare and the location was perfect for me to come and see him in lunch which may not be possible if we went somewhere else.

2) Really! We just shifted..... What an effort and Money does not grow in trees. We already lost half month rent in the other house.

The Last straw

After this last week came the issue of the burning geyser.  As usual we called up the landlord and he told us to go and tell his wife to come take a look at it. I went there. She came out with a "oh here they come again look. Let me be patient martyr look". I was tensed and worried obviously- the bathroom was smoking. I told her something weird had happened and could she come and look at it. She started saying "what will I do coming and looking at it. IF you and our husband are saying there is a problem then there must be. What is the point of me coming and looking at it..Blah blah." I felt as if she was meaning that we were disturbing her too much so I told her that her husband told her to come and look which she did not hear at all. And I repeated it once again. Suddenly she turned to me and said. “Why are you talking so roughly to me? I always talk so lovingly to you. You always talk so rough. I don't like it. It's there in my mind. I don't even like talking to you but because you smile at me, I also smile"

I was shocked. Till now, despite all the problems above, we have never complained or said what a horrible house they had given to us... though we informed them of what was happening, we never complained. We were always patient and empathized with them because we felt they had had a rough deal too. Nobody in that colony knows of how extremely terrible it was to live in that house. There was a bathroom full of smoke and the only problem this lady had was with the way I talked to her.  Really!

The Light bulb moment

It was a light bulb moment for me and I realized this person has no intention of doing anything for the house. It was something I always knew but it became final for me that there house owners were not the kind to take responsibility for the house. I told sorry and left. She had a problem with that too as I did not stand and listen to her admonishing me. Frankly speaking, I simply thought it was worthless standing there. I had listened to what she said. I had apologized. My hubby was listening and he was surprised when he heard me apologizing. He was even more surprised when I said I had apologized because I talked roughly. I was practically pleading at first.

We realized that we had to shift now. There was no heater. Putting on the washing machine was a head ach. It was winter and the house was a safety Hazard. We thought that they would be pretty happy to see us go too as whenever the problems came they kept saying how it was alright if we looked for another house and how they wouldnot complain and blah blah flowery talk. In fact I have felt that they actually wanted us to leave. But by this time I had already become weary of them. They had one month rent as safety deposit and I was almost sure that they would not give it back. My hubby however believed in the best of people.

How we realized that we were trapped.

He called the landowner yesterday night -(btw we were trying to talk to them for two days but they are rarely available) and told them that we were looking for a new house and that as he knew about the problems we were facing could he please waive off the one month notice we had to give. His tone changed and he point blank refused. So hubby said "OK but let the notice be from 15th of November to 15th of December. He refused for that too saying he won't get any tenant and that we had to stay here till Dec 31st and then only he would give back the deposit - .i.e. we have to pay December rent too. His broken promises obviously were not an issue for him. With his track record I am sure even if we stay till Dec 31st this guy is not going to give us our deposit back. Mark my words. We had given our previous land owner just 20 days yet he returned every rupee. Never before have I met a house owner like this. My PG uncle was miserly in many things but even he did not make an issue.

A person who is good will be good always. Personally we feel pretty miserable  right now. I and hubby have never dealt with such cheapness before. Some advice us to make a hallaboo, not pay rent the next month and to cut from the deposit but .... that would make us feel even more bad.

2013 has been a year of a lot of emotional stress. The only reason I would say 2013 was good would be because of Vavoo. Only because of him 2013, I will look back at you with fondness . Otherwise I can't wait for 2014 to come.

OK now I feel bad.

 I guess 2013, you were necessary for me to grow as a person. You have given back much that I had lost. So I guess this pain was necessary. After all you gave me my peace.......in some unexpected ways.


  1. Sorry to hear that the new house has been such a bad home for you people... It is hard to come by decent home-owners, on the other hand as a home-owner sometimes you end up with a horrible tenants too. The world has all kinds of people, your luck decides which kind you run into.

    1. I guess there are just good people and not so good people. Anyhow it was the first time in our lives that we are dealing with such kind of people. 30 years- I guess we were very lucky till now.

  2. Replies
    1. Yup. This time we looked at some 6 houses. But we got one in a good deal. It's not finalized yet but will be on sunday. It is stretching our budget a littlebut we decided to spurge a bit because the house is definitely worth it - atleast how much we can see from outside. By sunday we should know.


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