Curbed Horror Stories are firsthand reader reports about terrible Detroit apartment experiences. This week, in honor of Renters Week, we're having a rental horror story showdown! We're posting our two most favorite tales of horror for you to read today. Tomorrow starting at noon, we'll let you vote for a winner who will advance to the national round of our network-wide contest for a chance to win a month of free rent! Polls close at noon Friday because we really don't think this city is up for another Hatch-style month-long epic internet commitment just yet. Read on now and come back tomorrow to have your say on which horror was more horrible.
Horror Story One: Snow on the Inside and Epic Mold
I rented a beautiful 3 bedroom, 1300 sqft apartment in the Midtown area of Detroit and took possession of the apartment on February 1st, 2011. Within 24 hours, I'd noticed that the apartment would NEVER get warm, even with the heat set all the way up. I come to find out, there were huge gaps between the walls and the windows. My Dining room actually had snow on the INSIDE, coming from the window.
I ended up having to buy spray sealant to seal all the cracks in ALL the windows. I didn't notice this when I looked at the apartment because it wasn't snowing that day and the landlord told me that the heat was turned off until a tenant moved in. Over the next 2 months, my water heater would go out at least once a week and I would have to call the maintenance man to please relight my water heater...this went on for two months until the landlord finally decided to replace the stupid thing.
Fast forward to July of 2011... I'm standing in the kitchen on July 31st, when I noticed a small leak coming from the kitchen ceiling, which was odd since my apartment was on the top floor and it was blazing hot outside-no rain. Within 15 minutes, my entire kitchen ceiling collapsed. Come to find out, the A/C was in the attic space above my kitchen and the drip pan was too small and had been leaking water into the attic space for several weeks by then. After the ceiling collapsed, I had Fiberglass insulation floating FOR DAYS, and I ended up having to cover up all of my furniture with sheets as well as my electronics.
It took the landlord 23!!! Days to replace my kitchen ceiling.
During this time, I started coughing very hard and also started developing a rash all over my body from the insulation....and I decided-better safe than sorry-and purchased a Mold Test Kit from Home Depot. At this point my kitchen had been "fixed", and I placed the mold petri dish on top of a kitchen cabinet. Within 48 hours, the entire petri dish was BLACK with mold.
I contacted the landlord who told me....”I'll put a fan in the attic, that should take care of it.”I told him-this is NOT how you perform mold abatement, and he told me; “I'm tired of this drama, if you don't like living here, just move, but I'm not doing anything else.” I found NEW mold growing on the walls inside of my kitchen cabinets, inside of my BEDROOM CLOSET (my bedroom was next to the kitchen) and in the hallway closet. I asked him once more if he will fix this, and he said no. Worrying about my health, I decided to pack up and move and found an awesome Condo Apartment only 6 blocks over, still close to my office.
Horror Story Two: The Landlord’s Girlfriend Loses It
While in school, I moved to Detroit for about a four-month stint. The move was a last minute, end of summer decision to accept a temporary fellowship. I arrived in Detroit clueless about where to live, with a very limited budget, and zero furniture. After some extensive Craigslist research, I finally found a furnished room to rent in an apartment packed with other young adults. It was close enough to work that I thought I could walk (ha!), and near enough to a Wayne State for me to hope for some sort of night life--Woodward and [redeacted] to be precise. My landlord (who we'll call L) and other roommates were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I was relieved to find a place that as a young, single woman in a new city, I felt safe without spending every penny on rent.
The first few months went on swimmingly (my car got broken into, but that was my own fault for leaving temptations visible). Then one night, I woke up to one of the most intense fights I've ever witnessed. It turns out that L (with whom I shared a wall with) was or had been dating one of the girls who lived in the apartment below. This girl was an extremely jealous person. Earlier in the summer, she assumed that I--a female roommate and nothing else--was trying to steal L from her. Late that night, she came upstairs and was let in by L only to find another woman asleep in his bed.. L claimed, they were studying late and she had fallen asleep (it was about 3:30 am). The girlfriend assumed he was cheating. The other woman got the heck out of dodge.
The fight that ensued would put the Greek gods to shame. The whole apartment building woke up. She was screaming (in broken English) about all sorts of sexual acts that they did and that she was accusing him of (both very graphically and with some amusing euphemisms thrown in). He denied everything. She became incredibly violent, to the point that her roommates got involved trying to hold her back. Bookshelves were pushed over (by her). Things were thrown (at him). It was so intense that we had homeless people on the street shouting up asking if they needed to call the police. The whole thing lasted about an hour and ended with her roommates taking her back downstairs, our door being chained, everyone going back to our respective rooms for a few hours of sleep, and (shocker) the police never showing up.
The scene I woke up to the next morning was an entirely trashed hallway/foyer and kitchen (the only shared space in the apartment). Books, tupperware, etc were strewn about. Best of all, the entire place smelled slightly of gas. She had turned one of the stove burners on just enough to release the gas, but not to spark the pilot. I moved out about a month or two later when my fellowship was over. Remarkably, L and I still keep in touch, and I've been back to visit several times since.
· Welcome to Curbed's First-Ever Renters Week [Curbed Detroit]