I hate my apartment. Since the first day we moved in, it has plagued us with problems: a dishwasher that makes everything come out dirtier than when it went in; a rotting fridge replaced by a rusting one; a small washing machine that doesn't always drain and barely cleans; heating vents that either overheat some rooms or stop working in others; leaking light fixtures near electrical wiring. The rodents living in the closets that piggyback on our rent are multiplying faster than my cat can play with them to death. The upstairs neighbours, who play such extreme sports as bi-monthly over-the-balcony garbage launching and midnight stairwell bowling, are cranking their terrible bass-ridden music even louder at night. But the worst offender is the mold festering behind the walls that can no longer be held back by the drywall. It is growing rapidly across the ceiling and making everything smell foul. Ignored (by the landlord) water trickling has turned into bubbling paint and damp drywall, which is now evolving into expanding fuzzy patches that make the whole place reek. I can’t wait to move into my brand new shiny apartment at the end of the month, with working appliances and breathable air. I can barely fathom the concept of living healthy in my own home, but it is something I look forward to.
What bothers me the most, however, is...
that the landlords are just going to slap a coat of paint over everything—mold and all—and rent it out to another set of unsuspecting renters the day after we move out. We’ve given them ample opportunity to fix the issues since we’ve noticed them (a year ago), but they know that if they were to dig around, the whole building would fall apart. It would cost them a pretty penny to fix the problem, so why bother when it’s easier to hide them and hope they can get a few more rent checks out of the new tenants before they realize they’re living in a toxic dump? We can file a complaint with the Tenancy Board, but it’s too late for us for it to make a difference. How many renters are unknowingly living in dangerous environments? How many lives are going to be—and should be for their own health—disrupted by being forced to move out until their homes are clean?
How many people are suffering and not saying anything out of fear of reprisal because they don’t realize they have renters’ rights? How many other landlords are getting away with cutting corners at the renters’ expense in order to save some profit dollars? When or how are living conditions in Halifax going to improve? Especially considering the money we're forking out for these terrible shelters over our heads.---Gas-Masked