Tomorrow is the day. The dreaded 20th of August. The day that my family and I have reluctantly acknowledged since receiving the letter nearly 2 months ago. August 20th is the day we hand over our keys to our apartment. Often times this type of situation would be one to celebrate. That is of course if it wasn’t being forced upon us. And if we didn’t have 4 children, and 4 pets. And especially if it didn’t leave us without a place of our own.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have some things to celebrate. It’s not like our 4 year tenancy at Malibu East Apartments has exactly been a five star experience. Between our own live viewing of “Cops” serving a warrant to our old neighbors for a drug charge, and living below a neighbor fit for the starring role on “Desperate Housewives” meets “The Bundy’s” of “Married With Children,” living out of a suitcase doesn’t sound half bad! Who’s got the bubbly?
It has been an interesting 4 years to say the least. Homeless encampments in the field behind our unit (which only bothered me the few times I heard them very loudly and drunkenly arguing at odd hours of the day and night) at least half a dozen different neighbors in and out of the apartment below us, the garbage dump/rummage lot behind our unit, numerous inconsiderately loud neighbors, the trailer park next door along with the obscenely loud mariachi music often heard well after appropriate hours, random gunshot blasts with some sounding way too close for comfort, and Mr. Grumpy and Mrs. Grumpier on-site managers.
It was Father’s day weekend when we got that infamous letter stating that as of August 20th our tenancy was being terminated. Not the 20 something’s below us we had to call the cops on for throwing a drunken 3 a.m. soiree complete with blaring music and marijuana smoke wafting into our apartment through an ever-so-slightly-open window. Not the “Dysfunctionals” (Peggy Bundy and her Son Bud) upstairs with their foul languaged fights and banging and stomping and music so loud our walls vibrate. Nooooo, of course not! That would make sense, and sense isn’t common at Malibu East.
We complained, and complained, and complained. There were times where we didn’t complain. Lots of times. But who’s counting anyways? Certainly not the managers, or property owners. If this complex was run professionally, we would not be the ones being made to leave. The nice, keep-to-ourselves family with 4 young children. It’s hard not to feel slighted in this situation. It’s hard not to feel singled out and bullied.
It’s also hard not to ponder the reason why? I mean for 4 years we lived here sans one complaint from anybody. Then in May I received that fateful phonecall. The beginning of the end. It was at 10:30 p.m. I was at work cleaning the gym. It went to voicemail. As I listened to the message wondering who was calling me at such a late hour, my jaw hit the floor!
It was Mrs. Grumpier saying that she had now received noise complaints from all 4 of our surrounding neighbors over a period of 2 weeks time (2 weeks and we are just now hearing about it??) She continued demanding that Curtis and I needed to knock off the yelling and arguing and banging or they were going to have to call the Sheriffs. WTF? This was the very first time in 4 years I was hearing about any complaints made regarding our family!
I called back getting Mr. Grumpy and I told him I was at work so it wasn’t us yelling and fighting. (I mean I can yell pretty loud but even my big mouth can’t be heard from 5 miles away!) So he very grumpily replied he would get dressed and go over to our unit to see what was going on then promptly hung up on me! He had a brief convo with Curtis mumbling something about it probably being the upstairs neighbor (Peg Bundy from Wisteria Lane).
So we met with the managers a few days later per our request to figure out the problem and solve it! We weren’t looking to fight, or prove our idiot neighbors wrong. We just wanted to get to the bottom of it all and fix our end of it. We have 4 kids! Four kids that deserve a stable home to live in.
In the midst of our little meeting with the Grumpersteins, the Mrs. began channeling her inner Dr. Phil and began telling Curtis and I how to be a parent! I kid you not! We have a 4 year old. She gets loud. She throws tantrums. She jumps. She screams. She’s four fucking years old! This ain’t a monastery you’re running here lady! Nor is it my therapist’s office the last time I checked. But that didn’t stop the woman from telling us that kids that age just mimic their parents. We need to be tougher. Like she was as a Mom. Thanks for the advice oh wise one!
Oh, and she didn’t stop there. Giving us parental advice was just the tip of the iceberg. She went on to accuse us of fighting loudly enough one morning at 5:00 a.m. that she heard us while walking her dog. She was 100% certain that it was us. She could see our bedroom light on. Oh I’m sorry, totally my bad. I mean if she saw a light on in our bedroom then of course we were the culprit! Duh! And if she was so certain that it was indeed us then why the “F” didn’t she call us, or knock on our door? My guess to that answer is because she is full of shit!
First of all, we’re the lazy type who hit the snooze button 50 times before dragging our butt’s out of bed! And that’s never earlier then 6 a.m! Second of all we’re a family of 6 with 4 kids living in a 2 bedroom apartment. The living room is our bedroom! That light she saw would’ve been the girls’ night light. I tried convincing her of the truth, but apparently she’s too delusional to handle the truth!
The next thing we were told had me fighting back tears. She told us that apparently a few of the neighbors went above them and wrote a letter to the company that owns the complex. At that point I interrupted her and asked her where that left us and our fate as far as our tenancy was concerned.
They told us to try and be mindful of our noise (um I thought we always had been which is more than I could say for our neighbors) and they assured us that they would patrol the area near our unit and pay close attention to any noise and where it was coming from. And that was pretty much it! They never followed through with their promise. In fact after all of this went down we saw them less than we ever had before!
So Curtis and I went home and had a chat with the kids. We told them all that we needed to be extremely careful about our noise levels. Curtis also installed some insulation material on all of the doors and cabinets to prevent any slamming. We took our warning very seriously. With 4 kids, less than stellar credit and basically one income, we knew if we had to move that finding a place we could afford in this area would be near impossible.
Sure enough about a week later we got a letter from the property owners stating that we had complaints about our noise levels. Of course it stated that if it continued it could affect our tenancy. We were franticly reminding the kids to be quiet. Even during the day when our 4 year old was playing normally and running around we would tell her to stop. Apparently we weren’t tough enough as I’m sure our parenting expert Manager would have told us.
The day before Father’s Day we got our letter telling us we had 60 days to vacate our apartment. As much as we despised living there at that point, we were devastated! We knew what we were up against as far as finding a new place to live. Being that Curtis’s Son has Crohn’s disease which can be very debilitating and exacerbated by stress, we talked to a legal aid lawyer about requesting “reasonable accommodations.” This was to basically try and buy us some time to be able to find a place to live. The lawyer told us that they had to comply by granting us at least some extra time. I wrote up a short and sweet professional letter requesting an additional 90 days and mailed it through certified mail.
A week later we got a letter back that mentioned nothing of our request but reiterated the move out date of August 20th. And that’s all she wrote! So tonight is our final night at this shithole we have called home for over 4 years! Glad to be getting out of here for sure, just not thrilled about the way it has ended. We were treated unethically. The whole thing just felt like a conspiracy to get rid of us. It was handled in a very unprofessional manner.
What’s really funny is that when we signed our 12 month lease in May of 2012 Mrs. Grumpypants specifically told us about the idiot living above us and her 17 year old Son. She said they often got into horrible fights with yelling and cursing. She also told us (so un-grumpishly) to please let them know if it got out of hand and they will talk to her. She also told us that because we had children they would take noise complaints regarding us in stride. She said they totally understand that kids make noise and that that wouldn’t be held against us in any way. Pretty freaking ironic with the way things have transpired right?!
In retrospect, we should’ve taken those comments as a warning to the living situation and lack of professionalism that is now blatantly obvious. But of course hindsight is 20/20. It is what it is. I know bigger and better things await us. But that still doesn’t numb the sting of being treated like a dollar sign. We are human beings with 4 innocent children.
Sure, kicking us out might enable the company to raise the rent for the next tenants, but what’s a few hundred bucks to a multi-million dollar business? What all of this has done to our family has had a much bigger impact. A very negative stress-inducing hardship. If it weren’t for the fact that we have family that care enough to take us in, we would be a family of 6 living homeless in the streets!
That about sums up corporate fucking America! Profit over people. Always. It just sickens me. So for now our family will be split in half living between family members until we find another place. Not looking forward to being apart and not having our own home, but at least it’s temporary. Good things to come! After all we’ve been through these last few months, karma won’t let us down!
In other news, if anyone is looking for a 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment, #68 at Malibu East on Santa Rosa Ave. Will be available after tomorrow!