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The Inspections Never End

I’m starting to feel like I’m in the military.  Pretty soon they are going to insist that we spit shine our shoes and that they should be able to bounce a quarter off of our beds.

The manager went around putting notes in everybody’s doors to let us know that there are going to be two more inspections next week.

On Monday, June 10, 2019, the Midwest Housing Equity Group will be inspecting random units at around 1:00 pm.  Then on June 11, 2019, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency will begin inspecting at 9:00 am.  In the meantime, the manager will be reinspecting apartments before they arrive.

This is really getting ridiculous.  Not only have they taken a perfectly good place to live and turned it into a living hell, they are now going to harass us at every turn.  We have gone to Legal Aid, but they seem to be dragging their feet just as I expected.  Nobody wants to stand up to an organization that is providing assistance to the homeless, even if they are screwing everything else up in the process.

This is my home, for the time being.  These groups will be looking at random apartments.  I really do hope that I made it perfectly clear that this is not a showroom, and that I won’t be opening the door should they come knocking to inspect my place again.  In Minnesota, as in all other states, tenants are entitled to what the law calls a reasonable right to privacy.  This management company has no respect for tenant’s rights in any form.

If I wanted to see a dog and pony show, I’d go to the circus.

Around here there are apartment buildings where if you receive a social security check, the entire check goes to the apartment building.  They allow you to keep between $50 and $75 for personal expenses.  The rest goes to the building owners.  Sounds like quite the racket, doesn’t it?  One such apartment in Virginia is just 3 blocks away from me.  This is absolutely the worst place that you could imagine living.  I can just see them trying to turn Ivy Manor into such a place.  They’re well on their way already.

Spent Needles

Spent Needles

This is something that I’ve never seen around Ivy Manor before this non-profit agency took over the place.

Found in the alley behind Ivy Manor on April 19, 2019

Found in the alley behind Ivy Manor on April 27, 2019

Found between the Ivy Manor and the apartment next door on April 28, 2019

Found in the front courtyard at Ivy Manor on May 22, 2019

Found on the front lawn at Ivy Manor on May 22, 2019

Found in the alley at Ivy Manor on May 23, 2019

I’ve read about this kind of thing happening all over the country, but usually in the bigger cities.  Virginia, Minnesota is a ton of just over 8,000 people.  What’s wrong with this picture?

It just keeps getting better all the time

It just keeps getting better all the time

They did it to us again.  The manager put a note on everybody’s door giving us notice that there would be an apartment inspection on May 28th.  They gave us a whole 6 day notice which I don’t think is even legal.

The problem here is that the manager who is doing the inspections expected us to sterilize doorknobs and to have floors so clean that she could eat off of them.  She is a clean freak at home and thinks that everybody else should be too.

Now to be honest, I’m a mildly cluttered person who is finally doing away with a great deal of clutter.  However, my home is not filthy dirty like a few of the apartments in here.  By the same token, I’m not little Miss Suzie Homemaker by any means.  My cleaning has always followed the philosophy that a home has to be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who lives in an apartment just a few blocks away from me who suggested that I move into his building.  He introduced me to his landlord who I told all about what has been going on at Ivy Manor.  He said that he sees no reason for inspecting no more than once a year if you pick your tenants carefully.

The woman that I mentioned in the post entitled “Home Online and Off”, (the big hoarder that we had here) tried to move into his building.  His apartments are as close to luxury living as it gets for this area.  Many of the apartment building in this area can only be described as slums that I even hate to walk past let alone living in one.  All of these places turned this woman down for an apartment, including the 3rd Avenue Apartments which are the worst of the worst.

We had a woman in the building who had a steady stream of “gentleman callers” who started coming in at about 7 pm and continued coming until the early hours of the morning.  When they found out that she was a prostitute, the previous manager evicted her.  Well, guess what.  They are letting her back in.  So much for picking your tenants right.

We also had another tenant, a black man, who thought that every white woman in the building would fall madly in love with him as soon as they saw him.  Then the complaints started coming in that these women wanted nothing to do with the guy and they wanted him to just plain stay away from them. He was also one of the biggest drug dealers into the building.  When this guy moved out over 2 years ago, the manager and a couple of tenants went in to clean his apartment.  They looked up in the artificial ceiling and found thousands of dollars worth of pills that he must have forgotten about.  I just found out yesterday that he is moving back into the building.  It just keeps getting better and better all the time.

A couple of us went to see legal aid yesterday.  It will be interesting to see if they will do anything.

Home Online and Off (An Update)

Home Online and Off (An Update)

Well, the issue of the theme is solved.  I decided to borrow an idea from one of my favorite blogs.  I usually get the premium version, but after a little research I found that the free version is just fine.  I checked out the features of the PhotoBlogster Premium theme and found that there wasn’t one feature that I couldn’t duplicate with a little bit of CSS code and some PHP editing.

As for the home offline news…

Within a couple of hours of posting yesterday, I was looking at my visitor stats and saw a whole bunch of visits from a local IP address that I didn’t recognize.  It turns out that they were coming from the headquarters of the owners of the building.

Suddenly there is a rumor going around that they are looking for a new management company.  As far as rumors around here go, I’ll believe it when I see it, but this is a start.

Yesterday evening, I went over and helped out on the serving line at the Salvation Army.  Our bag lady came in looking rather upset.  She received notice that if she is not out of her apartment by June 1st at noon, they will take her to court.  Sadly, there isn’t another apartment building in Virginia that she hasn’t been evicted from for the same reason, but she brought it upon herself.

Hopeful a few other things will change, but I’d say once again, a pretty good start.

Home Online And Off

Home Online And Off

This has been a really crazy few months.  I’ve lost and rebuilt my site for the third time since I registered the domain.  I don’t really get upset over things, but this was different.  This loss was because of something that I simply couldn’t explain.  When I finally figured out that a bug, or a series of bugs in WordPress caused the problem, I was irritated to no ends.  Oh well, it did give me a chance to try something new and different.

I purchased the Divi theme which I was really starting to like.  Yesterday, I started having all kinds of problems with dead links and malfunctioning drop down menus in my side bars.  Links wouldn’t even click and the drop downs wouldn’t open.  I also found that the light boxes in my photo gallery were screwing up.  The theme you see now is very basic and doesn’t have any of the functions that I really want.  I’m looking for another theme, but until then, this is it.

Last night I ended up reformatting the laptop that I always use.  I thought I had a wireless card starting to fail, but a few things didn’t add up.  I’ve been playing around with computers since they first came on the scene in 1980, so I’ve learned all of the signs of failing components.  None of the signs matched up this time.  I reformatted and reinstalled last night and so far the wireless has been working perfectly.  I lost all of the pictures that I had on the hard drive, but most of them I had backed up on an external hard drive.  With computers, if it’s not one thing it’s another.

At home offline is a whole different story.

In January 2018, the new owners of Ivy Manor completed a nearly 2 year long renovation.  I always thought that when you renovate a building, you are making it better.  This was definitely not the case here.  We were told that they put over $10 million into the renovation.  I’m firmly convinced that somebody walked away with a great deal of money in their pockets that they shouldn’t have.

  • Doors falling off the hinges.
  • Bathroom sinks falling off the walls.
  • Newly replaced window weight ropes already breaking.
  • Ventilators in the kitchens and bathrooms that don’t work.
  • We were supposed to have an intercom system between the apartments and the front door which never materialized.
  • We were supposed to have central air which never materialized.
  • We have wood floors which turn brown if you spill even a small amount of water on them without wiping it up immediately.  They used the cheapest materials they could get and then didn’t bother to seal the floors.
  • There was supposed to be new drywall throughout the building.  I was told that I had all new drywall in my place.  There’s a crack in my wall that was there before the renovation that gets bigger every time they blast over at the mines which is about 5 miles away.  The crack is now at least 5 times as long as it was before the renovation.
  • They downgraded our kitchen sinks from normal double basin sinks to one single deep basin.  It makes washing dishes a major pain.
  • The sinks in the bathrooms are commercial grade sinks like you would find in the restrooms at Walmart.  I can let the water run for 15 minutes to get it hot and it barely even gets warm.
  • My apartment door doesn’t latch when it closes.  I was told that they all worked the same way.  No they don’t!
  • The smoke alarms are so sensitive that making toast in the kitchen sets them off.

And the list goes on and on and on.

To give you a brief history, Ivy Manor was erected in 1924.  The original tenants were doctors, lawyers, school teachers, and business people.  When I first moved in 12 years ago, I had a neighbor lady who had lived in the building for over 50 years, and she probably hadn’t been out of her apartment in at least 20 of those years.  When I moved in, Ivy Manor was a drug house.  Any drug that you can imagine could be had simply by knocking on one of your neighbors doors.  The place was a dump.  When I needed to move, I moved in here because it was the only place I could find at the time.

Then came Tracy, who I can say was the best manager this place has seen since I moved in.  Tracy worked her tail off to make this a clean and safe place to live.  When she wasn’t in the office doing the paperwork, she was out in the building cleaning.  And when there was a problem involving a bad tenant, Tracy dealt with the problem personally.  Thanks to her, this place was a clean and safe place to live.

Three years ago, a local agency that assists the homeless purchased the building.  They told us that they wanted to turn Ivy Manor into a clean and safe place where young mothers could move in and raise their newborns.  They were going to make this place “family friendly”.  Then, as soon as they had their first two young mothers move in, they partnered with a local mental health organization and everything went from bad to worse and downhill from there.  They began moving every meth head and heroin addict they could find into the building.  They moved in all of the individuals they could find that no other landlord in the county would touch with a 10 foot pole and a pair of rubber gloves.  These were the people who couldn’t get apartments anywhere else because they caused so much trouble in other places in the past.  Doesn’t sound very family friendly does it?

I posted a couple of times about finding spent needles around the property.  I’ve also found spent needles in the hallways here.  This is something we have never had until this agency took over.  As for being a clean place, the hallways get vacuumed once a month if that.  We have a tenant who has urinated in the elevator twice.  One evening, a few days ago, this tenant put a pan of hamburger on the stove and then passed out drunk.  The smoke alarm in his apartment went off and the first department responded literally within minutes.  They’ve been here quite often since the renovation.

We’ve also had a couple of brothers whose favorite pass time was stabbing each other on the weekends.  Meth is running rampant in the building once again.  Unless I know who a person is, I don’t open my door for anybody here anymore.  There are other tenants here now who are afraid to open their doors to anyone.

There was an issue a couple of months ago where I was sure that somebody had been in my apartment while I was out.  I reported it to the manager, but she just told me that this wasn’t possible.  The sword that you see is sitting in a lacquered wooden display stand where it always sits.  One afternoon I came home and found the sword on my coffee table half out of the scabbard.  The one thing I could be absolutely sure of was that Johnny didn’t take it down.  A couple of weeks later, they had a locksmith come in to change all of the locks in the building because a master key somehow got out of the office.  They still swear that nobody could have gotten into my apartment.

What is really making this situation unbearable is woman who lives down on the second floor.  She is a hoarder and a bag lady.  Every day she leaves the building and returns with plastic shopping bags of junk hung under her coat.  It may sound crazy, but this is true.  This woman has probably not bathed in months.  The body odor is so intense that it’s enough to knock you off your feet!  A week ago she came to my apartment for me to help her with something.  I made the mistake of letting her in.  It took me three days of spraying my recliner with Fabreze and Lysol to get the smell out of the chair and out of the room.  I finally had to quit using the sprays because Johnny was gagging from them.  I have two wax burners and two oil burners going to cover the smell, but they barely do the job.

But that’s not the end of this.  Her apartment smells so bad that my neighbor who lives directly above her is literally being gassed out of her apartment by the smell, and I can smell it in my apartment as well.  My neighbor has been staying with her mother because she can’t stand the smell in her apartment.  I’m told that this woman is supposed to be moved out of the building by the first of next month, but I have no doubt that it won’t happen.  She has received more than one eviction notice, but she just ignores them.  As far as she is concerned, there is no problem and everybody, especially the manager is out to get her.  The work that will be necessary to prepare this apartment for another tenant is going to be unimaginable.

A few years ago, we had another hoarder in the building.  After she moved out, they filled five of these dumpsters cleaning out all of the junk that she had collected.  No doubt this one is going to be just as bad if not worse.

The management company takes no active role in managing the building.  If there is any problems here, the management company tells us to call the police.  Before our manager Tracy took over, the police were here several times a week.  Tracy had it down to about twice a month.  These people have completely undone all of the good work that Tracy did.  The police are getting tired of coming here are often as they have since the renovation.  This management company should be taking an active role in dealing with these problems since they are the ones who have caused most of them.

There are five agencies that apparently have claims on apartments in the building, and in order to keep the grant money flowing in, they have to have all of the apartments filled.  They don’t screen anybody coming in.  They just fill the apartments up as fast as they can.  This situation is intolerable, and it really doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better anytime soon.

I plan on sending links to this post, and future posts about Ivy Manor to several newspapers and TV stations.  We’re thinking that if these organizations get enough publicity about how they’ve completely destroyed a good place to live, maybe they’ll start doing something.

At least we can hope.

 

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