It’s no secret that I’ve been frustrated with our living situation here in Auckland. I have a “love”/”strong dislike” relationship with our apartment.
Love the location, love the apartment itself.
Strongly dislike the agencies that represent the landlord, the amount of time it takes to get repairs done, the rent we are paying (and the fact that they keep raising it), and strongly dislike the poor communication.
I think that I’ve reached the point where I’ve had enough.
Here are just a few of the things that we’ve dealt with during the nearly 2 years that we’ve lived in this apartment:
– On our moving in day, the agent showed up late, then complained about the fact that he had to come to work on a holiday. Not the “aw shucks, it stinks having to work on a holiday” kind of complaining but the “I hold you personally responsible for this” kind of complaining. We’d been in New Zealand all of 3 weeks and hadn’t the slightest idea that there was such a thing as “Queen’s Birthday” weekend. He handed us the keys and did an about-face. So nice that the garage door openers had dead batteries and we had to spend $40 to replace them right off the bat. When I asked the agent about the batteries, he said it was our responsibility.
– The apartment was filthy. Footprints on the floors, dust everywhere, dead bugs, ball caps and lamp shades and rubbish in closets, and enough dirt, dust, debris, and grease on top of the cupboards that it looked as though an animal had been shedding up there. We saw all of this when viewing the apartment and were assured that it would be cleaned. It wasn’t, and I spent about a week cleaning and photographing the mess. Nail holes in the wall that were supposed to be filled had either been done haphazardly with big clumps of spackle or weren’t filled in at all.
– The blinds broke while in the “up” position. That’s a pretty big deal when you’re living in the heart of the city and anyone in the park across the street can see in. Or in the building next to yours. Or in the building across from yours that’s being renovated and has construction crews crawling all over it. It took nearly 2 weeks to get someone out to fix them, and since the windows are ginormous (something that I love), we couldn’t cover them up with anything. It took multiple emails and phone calls to get someone to fix them.
– The washing machine leaked water all over the floor during the first month of living here. All over. All I can say is that I’m thankful that our kitchen has a drain in the middle of the floor.
– The intercom to buzz people into our apartment broke when I was about 4 months pregnant. It took over a month to get it fixed. Do you know what it’s like to race down 7 flights of stairs while pregnant in an attempt to catch delivery men? I missed multiple deliveries and was more stressed during that time than I’d been since moving to New Zealand. I called… emailed… spoke to the building manager in-person… nothing was done for over 5 weeks and it finally took me calling every single day to get it fixed.
– The semi-annual inspections. The letting agent was supposed to give us 24 hours notice before doing them. He emailed me last minute, asking if he could come by and do a quick inspection (no more than 10 minutes) the following morning. My sister was visiting from the States and I told him this, but said that it was OK for him to come by provided that it was (a) early and (b) that he gave us an exact time. The next morning we waited. And waited. And waited. I emailed. Texted. Nothing. My sister’s last day in New Zealand. Gorgeous weather… finally, he texted (at 11:50am… only 10 minutes remaining of the “morning”) to say he couldn’t make it.
– He rescheduled for over a month later. He showed up early when I wasn’t there, sent an irritated text, and I had to race back to the apartment (remember, still pregnant at the time) to meet him.
– A month before our lease was set to renew, we contacted the agent to sign a new 12 month. Suddenly (!) the owner was interested in selling (despite being told that he wasn’t only a few weeks prior). A potential buyer was brought by to view, but apparently nothing came of it. We were allowed to sign a new lease, but at a higher rate, naturally. We started the new lease a few weeks before I had Joe. Looking back, I wish that we had moved but I didn’t want to deal with packing and finding a new place while 8+ months pregnant.
– During this time, we had several more blind break-downs, several problems with the lights, etc, all of which took at least a week if not longer to get repaired. A floor board came up and, guess what? It’s still not fixed.
– The roof started to leak into our master closet. On 3 separate times, I had to take all of our clothes and shoes out, dry them, mop the floors, etc. It took multiple calls and emails to the letting agent to get the building manager up to look at it and confirm that, yes, there was a leak and yes, it did need to be fixed.
– The faucet handle came off of the guest bath shower. It’s still not fully fixed. The shower plug in the master bath stopped working and the only way to take a shower in that bathroom was to keep the plug pressed in with one hand. It took over 2 weeks to get that fixed.
– Several more lights burned out (we have very high ceilings and need an extension ladder to have them replaced, something that the letting agents are supposed to take care of for us) and it took weeks to get them to send someone out to replace them. The only light in the guest bath burned out and it was nearly 4 weeks before it was replaced. We couldn’t use the bathroom during that time unless we took a flashlight in there with us. No thanks.
– Our oven stopped working. Repeatedly. I had emailed twice about getting it fixed but got no response. About 2 weeks before my due date, I called to find out what the heck was up and was told that someone would be out to fix it. 24 hours later, still nothing. I called again, and was told that they didn’t know what had happened, but someone would call me. Finally heard back from someone, they came out, and told me that nothing was wrong with the oven except for a bent fan in the back. When Joe was a few months old it started to act up again, and the stove top started to flare out big bursts of flames whenever I lit the burner. Again, it took over 2 weeks, multiple contact attempts, etc., to get this fixed.
– After living in the apartment for over a year, the letting agent realized that they didn’t have a key (apparently they’re supposed to, but didn’t) and asked us to mail in one of our keys to have a copy made. Chris and I each have a key. They wanted us to send in one of them, leaving only 1 key between the two of us for who knows how long, so they could make a copy. Uh, no. We said that we couldn’t go with only 1 key and that we would instead be happy to make a copy and then be reimbursed. The agent told us this was fine, so I packed up Joe and went to get a copy made. The first place that I tried didn’t have the right type of key, so I went to another one. I waited… and waited… and waited… finally, the guy came back and told us that I would need to bring the letter requesting the key copy with me to prove that it was being done under the authority of the letting agency. The letting agent never told me this, nor was it included in the letter, but fine – whatever.
– I went home and the next day went back with the letter, only to have the employe tell me that the letting agent wasn’t on the list of authorized agents and he couldn’t make the copy with just her signature. Augh! I emailed the letting agent, and guess what? She informed me that she’d already gotten a copy made from the building’s on-site manager. Apparently she hadn’t thought to tell me, the mother of a 3 month old without a car who had been schlepping around Auckland trying to get a copy made for her. Oh, but she did tell me that the building manager would drop off the key to me, and that I would need to drop it off in person at her office downtown. Remember – we didn’t lose our keys, they lost their key.
– The letting agent came out to do another semi-annual inspection and told us that, as far as they knew, the owner wasn’t planning to sell or increase the rent. Less than 48 hours later, we got an official letter informing us of a rent increase and saying that the owner wanted to get a property appraisal while considering selling.
– The letting agent asked for a day and time to do the appraisal. I asked her who would be doing it, how long it would take, etc., and the only response that I got was that she “didn’t know how long it would take” and that it would be “2 men”. A day later, I got an email from a woman (the same who’d handled the viewing the year before but who works at a different company than the letting agent) asking to arrange a time. I gave her the same time as what I’d given the letting agent and confirmed that it would work. The morning of the appraisal, I got a text from the selling agent to confirm. A few minutes later, I got a text from some guy saying that he was coming by to do an appraisal as well. I thought it was weird that 2 agents from 2 different companies were doing an appraisal at the same time, and I mentioned this in my text to him. About 45 minutes later he texted to say he was looking for parking (the other agent, a woman, was already there doing her appraising). When I told her that this other agent was looking for parking, she was clearly not happy and started to complain to me about all of the problems with that particular company. A few minutes later I got another text from the guy, asking if another agent was currently there (I’d already told him this twice, but texted back to confirm). I never heard from him again – he never showed, never texted back, nothing.
– A few weeks later, after having heard nothing at all in the interim, I was informed that the owner was selling but not actively marketing. However, the selling agent wanted to bring someone by to view. We arranged a time and I talked it over with Chris. We decided to email the letting agent to ask about our lease (which was set to expire in about 5 weeks) to see if we needed to get things together in order to move out or if it was possible to extend it till October, at which point we’ll be traveling overseas. Surprise, surprise… the letting agent had no idea that the owner was selling. She confirmed that she would get back with me by Thursday to let me know about our lease, extending it, etc.
– Today, Friday, I emailed the letting agent to find out about the lease, and she said that the owner never got back to her and she would have to follow-up next week. I felt like getting on the phone and saying, “You said you would get back to me by Thursday. That was yesterday. If you hadn’t heard from him by the end of the day on Thursday, then you should have called him or emailed him first thing today to follow-up, not wait until I got in touch with you.”
– A few minutes later, the selling agent emailed me to arrange another viewing, this time the same day as a dinner party and sandwiched in-between several days and late nights of work. The place will be a mess (well, a “mess” by my standards) and just one more thing to add to the growing list of stuff to do.
I don’t know – what do you think? I’m annoyed and irritated and fed up. I feel like I’ve been polite and civil, despite the frustrations and the time the letting agent got annoyed with me for not being able to meet her when she wanted (her response when I told her that the time wouldn’t work was, “Oh – sorry. I thought you were a stay-at-home mum”, as if stay-at-home mothers have nothing else on their schedules but to, well, stay at home).
Chris and I have talked it over and on Monday, I’m going to call some short-term places to see what they’re offering and if it’s possible to get something booked. We’ll see, but I’m to the point where I’d even consider doing several short-term lets rather than stay here and put up with this rigamarole for much longer. I know that not every tenant in New Zealand has to deal with this kind of malarkey, and actually know of several people who have had great letting experiences in Auckland. I’m just fed up with ours. Thoughts, anyone?
Update: I’ve created a “wanted” advertisement and started emailing a few different places about short-term lets. I’m hoping that we hear back soon. I can’t make any phone calls till Monday, but figured that I could at least feel that I had dong something by sending an email or two to different properties.