Thursday, 14 June 2012

Let's Talk Morris Court

First, it's on a completely different system than any other building. We report to a property manager. We go in to interview, and the office is straight up 1972. They have a typewriter, and it gets used. The furnishings read like a who's who of craigslist's 'free' top posters. The shut down elementary school was a huge score. I'm not going to lie, I checked under the conference table for gum. 

We have an informal interview, which is kind of weird. It's like he asks a question, and then there is the awkward moment of which person is going to answer. Dino does. All of 'em. I end up sitting there looking pretty. It really is weird out-numbering the interviewer. 
It’s also weird knowing the guy. 
As the interview is wrapping up, Dino asks a usual question, "how many others are you interviewing for the position?" 

"Well, given that you guys are normal, and speak english, I was kind of hoping you'd take the job. I don't want to call the others. They're crap." 

Well, that's cool. On that note, we're going to just take a raise right away. True story. We asked for an additional 30% on the spot. PS-what is it with these jobs appealing to angry eastern Europeans? That was our competition anyway. Apparently it was one resume after another of communism`s left-overs. 

Then we`re told about the owner. His routine was: he enters the building, goes to his office, goes to his bathroom, then exits the building. So, take a guess what his complaints may pertain to?Well, weeds growing along the stairs to the back door. Leaves in the stairwell. Lint in the laundry room. That is the extent of the concerns he has with the building. My list grew to be slightly more expansive. Did I mention Cokie the Bear lived here? Yes, leaves are a concern, but a heroin addict hardlining on the first floor is fine. 

My favorite was the lighting. The hallways were pitch black. The halls are about 30-40 feet long, and there were 2 florescent tubes-one at each end. In fact, it was so dark that the red glow from the exit signs cast more light. If you want to make your building look appealing to crime-turn the lights off! It had this seedy underworld thing going for it. You know all those creepy apartment buildings they show in the movies? The ones where the bad guy is holding out, and the good guys end up shooting him? Yeah, filmed at Morris Court. 

There used to be lights. Lights use power. Power costs money. Money cuts profits, ergo-nuke the lights. We actually had to sneak the bill through as an ‘emergency repair` to avoid the wrath of the owner. Easy to do as walking down the hall didn`t enter into the routine. 

You know what else costs money? Heat. If you just go and turn that off, you can save a fortune. There was a switch installed that cut power to the whole heating system. He`d pop by in the afternoon when it was warm, and turn it off. Then leave. We`d get a call at around 10pm-you know, that sweet time when you are climbing into bed when you get a call from someone asking who they have to fuck to get some heat. 

These were annoyances. We managed to ignore them. Then I started to work on an apartment. That`s when it got interesting. 

One of the units needed to be painted. I was doing some of the prep and I wanted to fix the texture of the ceiling, as some of it was peeling. Now, i know enough not to make love to this shit, as it contains some bad stuff, so I take a blade and quickly flake off the loose stuff. As soon as I touched it, no word of a lie, a square meter slowly started peeling off the ceiling, in slow motion. 

Nooooooooo. That sucks. The stink was unreal. There is nothing quite like the smell of disturbed mold. And holy fuck! The ceiling under the texture was black with it. At this point, my nice little 2 day rehab was over. I decide to investigate a little further and see how far it goes. I cut a hole in the closet and discover this green and red stuff growing in a semi-circle pattern. 

Oh. I should mention-it was already rented for occupancy in 12-13 days. 

I have a remediation company come the next day and even they didn`t know what the green and red organic aids was in the closet. Encouraging. I tell them the scoop, and he makes a few phone calls. Comes back with a plan. Pending pricing approval, they can have a crew in the next day, peel everything, contain and remediate over the weekend, and you should be able to have drywallers working in like 4 days. I do some quick math, and it should be able to be done by the 1st-barely. Of course-the mold guys wanted $8000 minimum plus extra work, and we`d be left with a destroyed apartment. My drywallers would have been good for probably $1500 on a rush job. BUT-its rented, and mission impossible, she`d be able to take possession. 

I make my rushed phone call, and I`m told-we`re going to need a second opinion. We`re sending a guy. He comes, and takes forever and tells us he should be able to have a quote into us by next week. 

Next week? Dude-the other guys were going to be done by next week. 

And then we hear nothing. We finally step out on a limb and rip up her lease, as we wanted to do originally. Thanks to the whole situation, that gave her about 5 days to find a new apartment. 

The owner cancelled everything. Too expensive. And so far, it has sat there-for a year. So what`s more expensive? The remediation would have been paid for by now. Instead, we have a dead apartment that still needs to be fixed, and we are now a further $9000 in the hole. 
Ultimately, we gave up on trying to improve the building. We have yet to rent an apartment for a dollar more than it was previously rented for. We then even stopped trying to actively maintain the building-even that was running up against a wall. We now do the bare minimum needed to make the phone calls stop-and its not from laziness, but pure frustration.

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