Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Three weeks ago (about the same time I gave my 30-days' notice that I'm moving), my front doorknob jammed and I could no longer open the door. I brought this to the attention of my landlord immediately.

I've had almost no contact with my landlord in my 18 months here. Here's the extent of it -- once, when my landlord complained in a flier on our complex's front door about the city council possibly reclassifying apartment complexes as commercial property, which would double his property tax rate, I attended a city council meeting to argue against the reclassification. I thought that would help him out.

When I called the landlord, a woman (not sure if it's his wife or secretary or whatever) asked me to use the kitchen door and the landlord would fix the front door. This was three weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I again asked when the front door would be fixed. The woman, who was a little more agitated this time, said my landlord was away for a couple of days and he'd fix it when he came back.

Which would be fine -- except that it's a code violation not to have two functional exits. I'm still here for another week and a half. I live on the third floor. If a fire breaks out in the kitchen between now and then, I'm going to die. When I called last week and had to leave a message, and never got a callback, it was obvious to me that my landlord was just waiting for me to move out to fix it.

So on Friday I called the Worcester building inspector, who, in a rare and shocking display of government efficiency, actually showed up at my apartment Monday, the next business morning. He confirmed that, yes, this was a code violation and told me he would contact my landlord with a demand to fix the doorknob within 24 hours.

Yesterday I came home from an errand and found a new doorknob -- sitting on the floor of my living room, unscrewed, some assembly required. And a big hole where the doorknob should go. (I'm not a carpenter by trade, and my lease forbids me from doing any repair work on the apartment.) At least the broken doorknob is gone. But you'd think my landlord would take the extra step and actually install the doorknob. Looks like someone's a little pissed that they got a visit from the building inspector.

I've never clashed with my landlord about anything, and he's never complained about anything I've done.

I can't get out of here quickly enough.

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