Hoboken Rental Horrors: What to do?
Living in Hoboken has its share of headaches. From trouble parking to stiff property taxes. You’d think a renter who commutes to work would have it easy, right? Not if their apartment is a living hell.
Bloomfield Street Apartment Issues
“My roommate and I have been living in Hoboken since August 2009 in one of the older homes in the neighborhood. Since then, we’ve had continuous problems with plumbing, heat, structural instability, mice, electrical, leaking roof (which coincides with peeling paint, rusty ceiling and potential mold growth on the wall alongside).
I just want to say that we did have a good relationship with our landlords but it’s getting progressively more ridiculous and it seems they have become more hesitant to address our concerns and less/non responsive if they do. And when they do it is a constant game of good-cop, bad-cop and contradicting one another (landlords=husband and wife) seemingly in an effort to frustrate us enough and waste enough of our time to stop caring about their inaction.
For the first six months, our bathtub would not drain. It was snaked several times but it took six months before action was taken to replace the pipes. We had to shower in rainboots because the tub was almost always filled with sludge.
We’ve also had mice consistently scampering around in our walls since last winter. The exterminator has come but I don’t think anything has been done other than placing a few sticky mouse pads throughout the place. If they paid for an extensive extermination job, I doubt I would be woken up at night by squeaky, angry mice battling for territory in my walls.”
The rest of their troubles, plus a suggested answer from a Hoboken Lawyer – after the jump!
(Bloomfield Street Issues, continued…)
Heat, Leaks and Rust too!
“And then there was the heat. It’s nice weather now, but over the past few weeks it was down in the 40s at night. Nothing was done to address our freezing apartment until I sent them our legal rights as tenants. They told us that the temperatures haven’t been cold enough but when I have to boil water on the stove, light all of the candles I own, and wear my jacket throughout the apartment just to remain comfortable, I beg to differ. And we pay for heat anyway, so that was even more confusing.
The kitchen floor sinks inward and the stairs leading up to our apt (third floor) are visably detaching from the wall. We had a housing inspector visit the place under a year ago, but I personally think it was a shady transaction, if you know what I mean. So no action was taken.
The one major reason which has been the icing on the cake is our roof. In the beginning of the month we noticed a small rust stain on our (tin) ceiling. We notified them immediately with concerns of a leak.
There were a series of subsequent storms and the rust is now spreading across half the ceiling and there are water stains running down the sides of our wall (above an electrical outlet). Our first concern is mold, second is electrical damage, and third is that there is soft/wet plaster or sheetrock above the tin that could weigh it down and cave in.
So, we’ve been more than patient but this lack of concern for our (overpriced) apartment is driving us insane.
Now, that being said- do you know if there is anyone in the town who deals with this type of crap who we can alert? Is there any way to go over their heads? Can we withhold rent or will we end up screwing ourselves in the end?
My roommate and I don’t have a lot of time to run around looking for tenents rights’ representation, but I’m sure there’s got to be others out there who have successfully dealt with landlords who don’t want to maintain their properties, despite the ridiculously high rent.
If there is anything you know of or any resource out there we can consult, we would really appreciate it.”
Answer: You control your destiny. Get Out!
One Hoboken Lawyer volunteered to answer the question – but for legal reasons, chooses to remain anonymous. They respond:
They are stuck in a situation that is unhealthy and they believe they have no option but to remain in the relationship. What prevents these tenants from moving, fear of losing their security deposit, fear of being sued, or instead of fear do they feel that the benefits of the relationship out way the problems. Is there rent actually lower than other Hoboken rents and they want to live in Hoboken no matter how bad the apartment is, or do they feel that the Landlord somehow is going to get better, that despite all evidence to the contrary their Landlord will just come in one day, spend thousands of dollars and fix all the problems, or do they think that some outside agency, the City Inspectors or some group of concerned Citizens will band together to fix up their place. Obviously they don’t have children because no one in their right mind would allow a child to live in such conditions.
From another perspective they should understand that for the truly poor and needy there are government programs and private organizations that would help. The tenant writes that he is going insane, that is not good or healthy. So take pictures, write down all they problems, and send a certified letter to the Landlord saying that you were “constructively evicted” and wait thirty days to see if your Landlord returns your security deposit If you don’t get a letter or they decide to take your entire deposit, file a lawsuit asking for double your security deposit back. However, I note that the tenant is so busy that “My roommate and I don’t have a lot of time to run around looking for tenants rights’ representation” so I doubt they will actually fight for their rights.
Now not to rub salt in an open wound but maybe they can make some money to help them move out by staging a Halloween fright site? They could call it “The Hoboken House of Horrors,” at the minimum they have some good horror stories to tell their friends and family and kids and grand kids as they grow old.”