The opening salvo

My oldest son lives in an apartment downtown that strikes me as a fairly obvious firetrap. He’s been there for five years or so, and I finally bought him smoke detectors last summer when I noticed he didn’t have any. (The owner installed the wired ones required by code about six months ago.)

The front windows have large cracks covered by rotting duct tape. Oy.

He has two roommates. In the past week, power surges have blown out a total of five of their surge protectors. (Whee!) The landlord is renting the downstairs storefront and, as they’ve been working to separate the electrical system for separate billing, it keeps blowing out the rest of the building.

I found this out when my son called to ask me if it was “normal” for surge protectors to burn up. (As in “melt.”)

Anyway, I’ve often wondered how they could rent this place in such bad condition. I didn’t get involved because, well, it’s cheap and it’s near where my kid works. But I did a little search last night and found out the property is owned by a politician. (You saw that coming, right?)

My son’s really stressed out because his roommates say they’re going to move out and stick him with the lease, so I offered to speak to the rental agent on his behalf.

She gave me a bit of a runaround, tried to blame everything on them. I told her the issue was my son’s safety and brought up the lack of smoke detectors. “But he should have told me!” was her response.

“If you’re a rental agent, you know what the city requires to get a use and occupancy certificate,” I said. “He shouldn’t have had to tell you, you should have known.” (Since the city requires wired smoke detectors, how is it she didn’t know?)

Then I told her I noticed the place didn’t have any fire extinguishers, either. “Oh, I’ll see that they get them,” she said.

Anyway, I haven’t had to drop the politician’s name yet. We’ll see if the electrician shows up this week to rewire the property, as promised. Let’s just say they’re on my radar.

4 thoughts on “The opening salvo

  1. This is the hard part of being a parent. They want to be on their own, but don’t seem to acknowledge or simply can afford better. Good luck with this, especially if you can’t afford to help. This is a heartbreaker.

  2. Well, how good of you to spare this bottom-feeder the embarrassment of a public outing while your son is risks his life, it sounds like, living in such a place. Do you suppose it only fell into disrepair when your son moved in? You don’t think the politician knows it’s a fire trap and doesn’t, let’s see what is it politicians are best at, oh – give a shit? Pardon such a strong reaction, but I’m surprised at you, Susie.

  3. Can I take that comment back? I guess I was reacting to all that’s going on in Wisconsin and across the country threw it back at your situation. I was rude and I apologize.

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