The votes have been tallied on all the Curbed sites; here now: the Renters Week 2011 Rental Horror Stories Finalists. One of these guys will win a free month's rent (up to $2,500), funded jovially by Curbed. Let the voting begin!
Editor's Note: This poll will be open until Monday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 EST. Voting irregularities will be strictly policed.
UPDATE: This poll has been closed as of 2:30 EST on Mon., Nov. 19.
Here's a refresher of all the contenders:
NYC: Pay garnished for an empty apartment:
"Check the pay stub: Garnishment. Perplexed, I go to the payroll department. They give me the number of a law firm that is responsible for the garnishing of my wages. After many exhausting phones calls and dead ends, I finally reach a lawyer who says that because I didn't show up in court when summoned by the 'landlord,' the judge ruled that the owner of my previous apartment building could garnish my wages to collect unpaid rent. The previous land lord was under the impression that I was still living in the apartment that I vacated at lease end two years prior. [...] The rent that I was in arrears for tuned up to about 52,000 dollars, plus legal fees, all in all they wanted more than 60k. After consulting with a great many attorneys and trying to get this resolved, I ultimately ended up declaring bankruptcy."
Boston: Neighbor who needs money:
"The next day, we were watching some TV and we heard a weird noise, like scratching on the outside of our house. We ignored it, just as we did with the cat meows, cats in heat, and cats fighting. Then, in a moment of shock and horror, we look over and in our third-story window is our neighbor, the drug addict... smiling at us. He had leaned a ladder up against the house, climbed up, and started smiling and waving, as if we'd be thrilled to see him. His mood turned a bit and he started banging on the window and telling us he needed money."
Washington D.C.: Roommate with a Vicodin problem:
"She denies calling her boyfriend this morning and threatening suicide. I am confused by all of this and that is when I have an investigative idea and collaborate with the officer. The officer and I ask to see her cell phone to view her phone log to determine which one of them is telling the truth. She agrees and as we view the call log, we see repeated phone calls to N at about 5:30 am. When questioned and caught in her lie, she admitted that she called him and told him that she 'would take a bunch of Vicodin' and that 'he would be sorry.'"
Philly: A hole in the bathroom floor:
"But then, our shower broke. Our tiny bathroom could only host a stall shower (oh, how I missed baths the year we lived there!), and after about 10 months, it was impossible to take a shower without at least an inch of two of water coating the bathroom floor. The drain had simply stopped working. So I called the landlord and asked them to take care of things. First, the landlord simply ignored my calls for about a week. We were renting from a pretty popular agency in Philly, and they kept taking my messages and then apparently disregarding them. After I left a handful of threatening messages left while sopping up our bathroom floor with mildewy towels, the landlord finally sent a plumber … who somehow figured the issue was related to our toilet. So he removed the toilet and took it with him. And then he disappeared. For a week. What was left instead of a toilet, you ask? Well, of course, it was a hole in the bathroom floor!"
Miami: A disappearing TV and chicken blood:
"The last rental I ever had was moving into a furnished townhouse down here in South Florida. The first week, while looking for additional furniture on Craigslist, I saw photos of my living room (TV, sofa, coffee table) for sale. After the landlord claimed it was a mistake, a week later the TV disappeared. Owner response: "for service". The TV never returned, but the owner did the week following, this time with a live chicken in his hand and two very large friends dressed in all white and speaking no English. They said they were going to need to apartment for the evening and that I should make myself scarce. I left, very nervous about what may be going on. This turned out to be for good reason. When I returned, there was chicken blood on the wall from the sacrifice they were making while practicing Santeria."
Chicago: Millions of pigeon mites:
"As if that wasn't bad enough, I then remembered that my skin had been itching on and off for a few weeks. I thought it was just sensitive, dry skin, but when I took a super-close look at my arm, I realized it too was covered in bugs, buried throughout my arm hair. Freaking out, I examined my bed sheets. They looked white, but when I looked closer, it was clear, the bugs were everywhere! I wiped my floor with a damp white paper towel. It came up brown with thousands of slimy smashed bugs. They were so small, I hadn't noticed them, but suddenly realized there were millions of them, covering every surface."
Detroit: Food left from previous renter:
"After just plugging the fridge in, I opened it and realized that all the food from the previous renter was left over, and even better... the fridge has been unplugged for over a month. As I opened the fridge door, rice grains fell out on the kitchen floor. Did I say rice? Oh, I meant maggots. Not only were they in the fridge, but under as well. The entire floor under the fridge was rotting due to water damage from a poorly defrosting refrigerator and of course, puddles of maggots were thriving."
Los Angeles: Decomposing body left in the apartment:
"He explained to us that the previous tenant had not only died in the apartment, but was presumptiously dead for about a week and a half before being found. The neighbor told us that it was he who had called the landlord many times and ignored before calling the fire department to break into the building through the kitchen window and let the police in to bring the body out."
San Francisco: A convicted felon and homophobic slurs:
Jesse started dating Tyler, a convicted felon (still don't know on what charges) whom she grew up with. It became readily apparent that along with Tyler came loads of coke. She got fired from her café job and stopped paying rent for months at a time, racking up thousands in unpaid bills but refusing to move out, swearing she was looking for a new job (all the empty bindles and 40's said otherwise). [...] To top it all off, Tyler started beating her in the house. I'm talking find your roommate bleeding and unconscious in the hallway. I'm talking being on a first-name basis with one of the officers at Park Station. [...] The real high (low?) point came when I was awoken at 3 in the morning by Tyler beating Jesse's recently-out-of-the-closet teenage cousin just outside my bedroom door, screaming various homophobic slurs."
· All Renters Week 2011 posts [Curbed National]