Plumbing nightmare.

I’ve avoided posting about this because it’s been both so infuriating and so depressing I don’t want to “contaminate” my blogging pleasure just to write about it.  But write about it I will,  because the situation has reached a point of ludicrousness that would be funny if it wasn’t making me feel all ragey and insane.  Right now I just feel like screaming and I feel helpless too, because there’s really not a damn thing I can do to get it resolved.

Most of you know I rent my duplex.   The house I live in is over 100 years old (it was built in 1908) and has lots of charm and many of its original features.  However, old houses (that haven’t been kept up with and brought up to code) have their dark side.   The darkest and most irritating thing about this house is the atrocious plumbing.

I don’t think the plumbing was ever modernized or brought up to code.   There is no water pressure valve, at least not one that’s easily accessible.  There is no accessible crawlspace to access the plumbing, which means if anything goes wrong, the only way to tell what the problem is is to dig up the kitchen floor and get under the house that way.

The water pressure has always been terrible.  But over the past two weeks, it’s gotten really bad.   So bad you cannot take a shower at all, and it takes me 45 minutes to fill the tub.  By the time the tub is sufficiently full to actually get in it to take a bath (about halfway) the water has already turned cold.   If you are running any faucet in the house (there are three — the tub, the bathroom sink, and the kitchen sink), you cannot run another one at the same time.

I have been texting and calling my landlord and at first all he did was ignore me.  (I do not have a lease; it is month to month–so technically I have no rights as a renter).   I’ve been saving all the text messages in case I need them later.     I finally lost my patience. After an angry text from me, in which I threatened to not pay the rent until the problem was fixed (and let him know I’d have to buy a gym membership just so I could take showers), he told me to find a plumber myself, one who would do a “cheap” estimate.

I do not know any plumbers, and know zilch about what they charge or who is any good, so I had a friend of my daughter’s who is an unlicensed plumber look at the situation.  He said he couldn’t even do an estimate because there is no access to even look and see where the problem would be.   He also told me that fixing it would involve several things, including carpentry since the kitchen floor would need to be torn up and replaced.

I texted back my landlord explaining that the problem involved a lot more than just snaking a sink, and contracting would be involved. I also reminded him that as the tenant, researching plumbers and contracting was not something I knew how to do and was not my responsibility anyway.    He answered back, saying he’d send his “guy” (a drunk handyman named Roger with a bad attitude) out to assess the situation.  Fine.  I didn’t care.  Let his drunk jimmy-rig something.  As long as I got water, I didn’t care if he had to use drinking straws and duct tape them together. And put a piece of plywood or something over the huge hole he’d have to dig in my kitchen floor to access the pipes.

He said Roger would be out yesterday or today.  Well, he didn’t show up either day.    I called my landlord (Roger refuses to speak directly to tenants) to ask about this.  I was told that Roger had arranged to send out the electric company to look at the wiring for the house, since he’d have to use a backhoe to dig up part of the yard to get to the plumbing.  They were supposed to be here this afternoon. I informed my landlord that hadn’t happened.

He told me to call them myself.   I called Duke Energy, and was told they didn’t take care of “underground services.”  I was given the phone # to a government agency that supposedly takes care of “underground” matters.    I only got a menu of options, and finally was asked to submit a “ticket number” to get help.

Huh? A ticket number? I didn’t have a ticket number!  I called back my landlord and asked him what the hell I was supposed to do.   I couldn’t call Roger either since I don’t have his number and he doesn’t want tenants calling.  My landlord assured me Roger was “taking care of it” and he would be in touch with me when he has more information. He also told me that he could evict me if I don’t pay my rent, regardless of the fact I am getting practically no water.  Because I don’t have a lease, he could probably actually do this, so I agreed to pay the rent, but told him I’d like it reduced. He said he would consider this.

Meanwhile I have no real solution to my plumbing issue, and tomorrow night is supposed to go down to 17 degrees and the pipes (which are much thinner than standard and are also not insulated) are very likely to freeze.  Last winter I was able to avoid that nightmare (I’ve had my pipes freeze before and then burst when it got warm again) by keeping all the faucets dripping when it got cold, but now I don’t even have enough water pressure to run more than one faucet at a time, even at a drip.   So I have no idea what I am going to do.

Please don’t suggest moving, because I don’t have enough money to do that. I don’t expect any advice anyway; I just needed to vent.

9 thoughts on “Plumbing nightmare.

  1. Ugh, what a headache! I’ve had my share of plumbing issues (both as renter and as homeowner) over the years. It is, in fact, why I now must spend lots of $$$ on bathroom remodeling: plumbing issues that leaked into the wall. So I feel your pain. 😛 And a landlord who won’t work with you, makes it even worse. Doesn’t he care about his investment/property being properly maintained?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Evidently not. I hear his wife (who he’s divorced from) just wants to sell the place. But they aren’t going to get buyers unless these problems are fixed. The bottom line is my landlord is a lazy slum-lord who just doesn’t want to be bothered and wants to keep collecting rent until the place falls down. A real shame too, since the house has a lot of charm and potential and could be really great if someone wanted to fix it up. I did a few things like paint the walls and replace the kitchen floor tiles (the upside to his not caring is he lets you pretty much do whatever you want as long as it’s not major construction). But there are things like the awful plumbing and the bad wiring I have no clue how to do myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There’s enough water to function, but only barely. It is VERY annoying not to mention infuriating. I hope something is done and SOON. Thank you.


  2. I had been wondering about your silence. No wonder you haven’t posted for a few days! My father was a lawyer. He told me tenants have the right to withhold part of their rent and spend that money in fixing what a landlord refuses to fix. Of course, he practiced in New York so the laws are probably somewhat different. I would get advice from a tenant-landlord legal clinic if I were you. And I notice you said you didn’t think you were a legitimate “tenant” because you were on an month-to-month basis. That doesn’t matter. You are still as much a tenant as if you had a lease. You have the same rights. The asshole is responsible for maintaining a livable living space. Hey! Have you ever thought of getting on Judge Judy? They pay litigants $5,000 just for being on the show. Even if you lose, you still get paid. The highest award she is able to grant the winner of a case is $5,000 so, worst case scenario, the loser pays the winner the $5,000 he/she already got paid so he/she at least is out nothing. But I’m sure you would win. The landlord is responsible for providing plumbing. If you can get accepted for her show, you would benefit wonderfully from it. Of course, I’m sure she is picky about whom she picks. Worth a try, anyway. If not, really try the remedy my father described. But do it with legal advice as the laws are different in every state. Good luck. My thoughts are with you.

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