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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

My landlady seems to believe that she can toss us out because I keep a messy apartment.

She thinks I should even hire a cleaning lady. Well, so do I, but if *she* insists, then shouldn't *she* pay for it?

She came into my apartment today because her bathroom ceiling was leaking. As our sink and toilet have been having problems, I do concur that it's probably the pipes, and we'll call a roto-rooter analog for an appointment.

But she was appalled.

I pay my rent on time. I'm quiet. I just don't handle cleaning.

And I want to *scream* at her. She just harangued me for a half an hour, and she wouldn't have stopped if I hadn't gotten almost *rude*.

She's not my mother.

The house will be done for Pesach because it is *always* done for Pesach.

Current Mood: furious

surely there's a section in the lease covering what is and what is not her (damn) business, innit?

[hugs for you]

It's a standard lease. I don't think it's mentioned.

It's not that she's wrong. It's the way she goes about it.

I almost got kicked out of an apartment over cleaning. They gave me notice to clean it up, because it was in violation of the lease.

I didn't really think it was any of their business either, but I was afraid to get anything fixed after that. (I don't mean I didn't clean it up; I did, and I tried to keep it cleaner, and eventually hired people. And I did get things fixed on occasion and never got warned again.)

This is bringing back memories: being in a group of religious women and saying I had trouble cleaning, and having my friend tell me later that I couldn't say things like that because they'd lose respect for me. I'm glad you're able to talk about it.

I'm sorry if I said anything wrong. I considered deleting my comment but decided not to. Good luck and I hope the landlady gets off your back. And that you have a happy and kosher Pesach.

Much of the drama currently happening in my LJ is the result of a defective cleaning gene.

May I reccommend FlyLady? Her messages are a bit overtly Christian now and then, but if you ignore the testimonials and just do the routines, it helps a LOT.

Second the recommendation of FlyLady. I have severely fallen off the wagon in the past year, but there's still a basic foundation of routines that keeps the house mostly functional, if a touch cluttery. And I keep on top of dishes and laundry

My landlady seems to believe that she can toss us out because I keep a messy apartment.

It depends. There is such thing as squalor, the health department can cite you for it, and you can lose your apartment over it.

If your apartment is cluttered (papers, books, clothes, etc) it's not until it reaches fire hazard standards that much can be done.

But if you've got ooodles of unwashed dishes and several bags of (rotting food) trash, *then* the health department has leverage.

There's a huge difference between cluttered and unsanitary. (And somehow, I don't think that you live in squalor.)

Judging from what happened to me, it's possible to have violated something in the lease without hitting a standard that the health department would become involved with. (Though my apartment was probably worse as far as clutter...)

If it's just clutter, it's none of her damn business. If you're throwing a party for rats and roaches, she has grounds to object. I'm guessing that you're not doing the latter. Really, if it doesn't endanger health or the integrity of the property itself, I doubt she's got grounds. What does the lease say?

If she's just a busy-body, you may have to be rude to her. :-(

There are no bugs.

Although - my brother-in-law's an entomologist. He says that we're actually reducing the number of cockroaches anyway - those commercial insecticides that destroy the ability to reproduce in them? Work. Really, really well, and don't produce resistance.

But we don't have bugs. Nor do we smell. We are just very cluttered and messy.

Most leases have a "good, clean, and sanitary" clause. It's very vague, but if she gets a sympathetic judge, she could actually get you evicted for not cleaning enough. She could also choose not to offer you renewal on the lease with much less scrutiny.

It's far from 100%, but I wouldn't take the chance.

This is New York City.

I pay my rent on time. She can't evict us.

Egads! That really, really sucks. That's one of the things I hated about apartment living: Someone else had the right to critique the way I live my life. Grrrrrumble.
Is a cleaning service in your budget? If the apartment is fairly small, it shouldn't cost too much to have someone come in every couple of weeks to spiffy the place up. Though, you might not want to look into until it gets it Pesach cleaning: If the service sees it trashed, they will assume that it is always that way a quote you a higher price.
I'm pretty lousy about the cleaning thing myself, as, being self-employed, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and cleaning is just not a priority. Alas, it isn't in our budget, but at least I don't have to worry about a busy-body landlady and her idea of how I should be keeping my home!

Cleaning service is.

After Pesach, I'll call one. I just need a reminder.

Every two weeks should do it.

Um, wow. That's quite the rude landlady there! I mean, I'm assuming that we're just talking about clutter because you certainly sound like you're sanitary etc. It really seems like she wanted to yell at somebody like a mother yells at a child and you were unfortunately there.

She still has kids at home - only one child is married. She just can't stand that she lives under a mess.

Sanitary, yes, in that I don't leave food lying around and anything that touches food is clean.

****hugs**** How annoying! I live in the same building as my landlords, too, and my bathroom also leaks. They seem to think they have the right to tell me to keep my bathroom window open all winter so that the 'fresh air' can keep it dry in there, to which I reacted about as well as you're reacting to this--I have asthma and cold air can induce an attack.

She's like that, too.

I happen to do that anyway - but that's because it's our preference. We're glad to have a bathroom with a window at all.

Different jurisdictions have very different landlord/tenant laws. In New York, it is VERY difficult for a landlord to evict a tenant who has been paying their rent on time, and is up to date on their rent. Your "messy apartment" would have to constitute a health or fire hazard in order for you to be evicted for it. And, she CANNOT insist that you leave, without taking you to landlord/tenant court and having a judge agree to evict you.

On the other hand, she can find lots of ways to make your life miserable if she wants to. There is very little protection for tenants against harassment by their landlords in New York.

Wait and see if this blows over. If she continues to harass you, and refuses to leave you alone about your housekeeping, the Court Dispute Referral Center at Brooklyn Criminal Court (where I just happen to work) offers free mediation services where you can try to settle your differences in a neutral location with the assistance of a trained impartial mediator, and the presence of armed Court Officers for safety.

I hear stories like this everyday, and your landlady doesn't know how lucky she is to have quiet, rent-paying tenants who are not selling crack out of their apartment! I've provided plenty of Kleenex to weeping landlords who can't get THOSE tenants evicted!

Don't let this get you so upset that you can't enjoy Pesach -- you owe it to your guests!

She wants to inspect my house before Pesach.

Here's the thing. She *is* a pesach-cleaning is spring-cleanig type. It won't suit her.

My kitchen will be Pesahdich. The surfaces that touch food will be kashered (stainless steel sink) or covered or lined. My table will have a clean tablecloth on it. Everything else will be picked up and vacuumed or washed. This is how I was taught to do it.

I don't know if that will be sufficient for her, and that terrifies me.

I'mnot sure she actually *can* toss you out for that. You might want to talk to a lawyer in the relevant field.

She can't. This is NYC. Law is on the tenant's side.

Your landlady...augh! How intrusive!

I collect clutter. I don't mean to, it just happens that way. It's mostly things that I've decided I can't live without, yet I have no place to put it that it's out of sight. That changed this month when I had all the carpet ripped up and hardwood floors installed. I bought heavy duty garbage bags and a 100 boxes. If I had to think about whether to keep something or if I hadn't used it in ages, it went into the donate pile. If it was broken it went into the trash pile. If I hadn't gotten it fixed in all this time, I wasn't going to. Another pile was for things that were going on eBay or the garage sale.

The flooring is done, the boxes are open and things are put away. I have a few things that have no place to go and I'm going to do one more declutter on them. If I have nowhere to put them and I have no plans to use them, they're going in the trash, the donate pile, or the eBay/garage sale pile, but they are not staying in my house and sitting on a coffee table or in a corner. There is no clutter anywhere now, and if you'd seen my house before, you'd have been shocked. Never again!

Check for a certain clause in your lease?

First of all, my deepest sympathies. Your landlady has no right to harangue you over such a personal matter, especially if there is a certain clause in your lease that states that as long as you pay your rent on time and do not participate in illegal activities, the landlady is to let you live in peace. I know my leases tend to have that clause. Does yours? Just in case.