Sage of Winds (sagesoren) wrote in housematehorror,
Sage of Winds

The Upstairs Lady

I'm sooo glad this community still exists so we can read back on other people's bad experiences and feel less alone. My experience was nowhere near as bad as most of what I've read here, but here goes.

My wife and I moved to a new province a few months ago and ended up renting the basement of a house occupied by a woman I'm going to call KC. She was the one in charge, though we think maybe she was actually leasing the house from the actual homeowner and sort of just allowed to do what she wanted.

Anyway, she was around 35 and had two twin boys, age 7. They were only around some evenings/weekends, and KC worked weird hours because she managed a pub. Here's the run-down of our bad situation:

- We didn't have to sign a rental agreement. ???? This kind of concerned me. You're legally covered in Canada for some things even if you just have a verbal agreement, but eek. KC made it out like everything was ~soooo cool and casual don't worry about ittt~, but that didn't really help. :U
- We were never told when her kids would be home. We shared the kitchen/dining room upstairs with her, but it was right near her area of the house, so if they were home, they'd be doing their homework/causing a ruckus in that area and we felt totally unable to cook with KC also occupying the kitchen. We ended up trying to be out of the house as much as possible in the evenings because we didn't want to be home when the kids were.
- On school days when the kids were home, they got up early (6:30ish) and would proceed to be loud as fuck. They stomped a lot and did a lot of shouting. However...
- We had to be really mindful of her kids' bedtime and not watch TV or anything after like 8pm as not to disturb them.
- The kitchen didn't have a normal garbage. It was a small basket (the woven kind) with a grocery-sized bag in it, located in the dining room. Naturally it would take a bit of time to fill a whole regular black garbage bag with these little ones, and the not-yet-full black bags were kept out on the deck. (Great idea, I know. :U)
- Since it would take awhile for us to fill up the big bag (KC didn't cook at home much unless her kids were there), the black bag would be hanging around for awhile. Naturally, stuff--squirrels, usually--would end up getting into it, which made KC kind of mad. She always had us clean it up because we were at fault for leaving it there for too long.
- KC then started a black bag just off the dining room area. It was inside, so nothing could get into it, and we figured this was for the best. We started putting the small garbages into this black bag. As soon as we did, KC immediately started putting them outside again. Squirrel problem persisted. We had to keep picking up little bits of stuff.
- We were consistently gone for a few days one time and didn't do any cooking at home, so the next black bag ended up being almost entirely KC's stuff, since she was with her kids during that time. She left the black bag out again. Squirrel caused trouble. We were responsible for cleaning it up, even though everything from the bag was pretty clearly hers. (Remains of children's art project, part of a school lunch, cigarettes when neither of us smoke, a pizza box... and my partner can't eat pizza, so we never bought any. ????) We began keeping our black bags downstairs with us until they were ready to go out. KC's continued to get torn into outside.
- KC then buys a proper kitchen garbage... and never uses it. It ends up in the other corner of the dining room without a bag in it. Black bag problem persists.
- We routinely washed kitchen odds and ends for KC and always put the dishes away, both handwashed and from the dishwasher, and regardless of who did them, but she vehemently refused to touch anything of ours. If KC had a single plate and some cutlery in the sink when we did dishes, we'd do those too, but if we left even a single teaspoon in the sink, she would leave it on the counter and just do her own. She sometimes put single dishes of her own into the sink with our stuff, would forget it was hers, and then refuse to wash it.
- Cable was included in our utilities, but we didn't have a cable to plug into for the ten+ weeks we lived there. Apparently the previous tenant stole it for some reason. KC kept saying she'd hook up the cable for us, but it never happened.
- We were never told anything. Like, at all. We were told where the recycling went, and that was it. We find out a month in that we've nearly hit the data limit for the internet and are responsible for overage charges if they occur. We didn't know there was a limit (or what the limit was). We decided to stop using the internet altogether until the next billing period to be safe, but KC refused to tell us when the billing period would end. She claimed she "had no way of knowing", even though it would be on the Telus bill, and that she "didn't have time to call and ask the company". Telus has account info online if you're a customer, and billing dates are one of the things you can check there. :T
- Laundry area is downstairs, so KC has to pass through our livingroom to get to it. She leaves a ball of blankets and other laundry on one of the chairs in our space for over two weeks before finally putting it back upstairs instead of actually washing it with no explanation. ????
- We informed KC 14+ days before our moving date, as is legally accepted on rental guidelines for Canada. All we were told was that yes, we could pay half a month's rent for that month because we were leaving by the middle of it. This seemed fine. KC gave no other information on specifics for moving out.
- On moving day, KC has to work and won't give us our damage deposit, since she's leaving before we'll be done cleaning up, etc., which is totally reasonable. Says she'll "mail it to us". I'm concerned. KC's aunt is left in charge of the house that day because her kids are at her place on this particular weekend and she has to work. Aunt is friendly and seems pleased all morning by our industriousness and thorough cleaning.
- Since we were given no specific instructions, we do all the standard cleaning. We sweep the whole space, under couches, etc. (The furniture in our livingroom was hers, but the rest was ours.) Bathroom surfaces are all cleaned. We wipe out our parts of the fridge and cupboards. We remove all the garbage, including the stuff that wasn't ours, just to be safe, since we don't want to invoke her ire and lose our damage deposit somehow. Note there are no carpets in the house except for a door mat at the front entrance, which is used by all of us and is not in our space.
- Move out Saturday. Hear nothing from KC. Text her Wednesday to find out the deposit status. No reply. Text Sunday (today) about the same issue. KC tells us she's keeping $200 of our $700 deposit for cleaning, because we didn't use bleach and "didn't vacuum". We didn't even know there was a vacuum cleaner in the house, since there are no carpeted floors.
- She sends us a collection of photos of the offending problems. All 8 photos are instances of things like single hairs in places such as behind the bedroom door. There's one of an empty ziplock bag under the bathroom counter. We were not told to use bleach. We used standard bathroom cleaner and multipurpose cleaner. I tell her this and point out we were told nothing about needing to clean with bleach, in spite of her knowing of our impending move for weeks. She forwards me $500 without another word. It's maybe a 500-sq.ft space at best--a bedroom, a closet, a livingroom, and a bathroom. Sweeping is not a $200 cleanup. I object. She doesn't text me again.

We're free of her, at least, and we moved back to our original province, so we won't have to see her. The cost of half a month's rent plus the $200 she siphoned still added up to less than a regular month's rent, too, so that's one up side, but I'm still kind of frustrated. :U Will add to this post if I remember more miscellaneous nonsense.
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