Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 2012

This are the deets for May. Get the gist at Yelp.

May 30

I just had to email the text in between the first pair of asterisks to the on-site property management office:


Dear Management,

One of your maintenance workers was knocking on my door a few minutes ago (a little after 9 o'clock). I asked who it was, he said he was maintenance. Since I haven't asked for any work to be done in my apartment, I asked what the maintenance worker wanted through my front door without opening it. He didn't want to tell me why he was at my door until I opened it, so there was a quick back and forth (even telling me "'am, just open the door...", which I didn't do).

When he realized that I wasn't going to open my front door - even when commanded - he told me why he'd stopped by: to find out if one of the cars in the parking lot was mine.

Yes, I'm blogging this too.


As a writer, I like be as specific as possible, so I'm a little disappointed in not spelling out the stupidity of what got me so agitated. But I'll give the rest of you a hint:


But, after thinking about it, I did decide to shoot this one off as a forward to the manager's email address, since I accidentally left the manager's email address off the first email I pasted above (I usually like to send my emails to the three different addresses just in case):


Dear Management,

I left an email address off of the email I sent a few minutes ago. So, I'm sending it as a forward.

Although I explained the situation in the email below, I didn't go into why I believe what your maintenance worker did was rude. Since so many of your staff and third-party vendors have been rude to me for no reason at all, I understand that you may not be able to understand why I have such a problem with the exchange I had with your maintenance worker because you might think my complaint has no value; so, if this is the case - if you can't wrap your head around the reason why I'm not going to answer the door for a man who's telling me he's a maintenance worker but not willing to explain why he's at my door unless I open it for him when I haven't asked for any work to be done in my apartment - feel free to ask for a clarification.


May 16: And They're Using "Saftey First" as a Property Management Company T-shirt Motto?

So yesterday my new gas company came out to light the pilot lights in my hot water heater and furnace. Before he left, the technician asked me to sign a document stating that the reason why he didn't light my furnace was because it wasn't up to code.

The consequences of keeping the furnace lit (aside from wasting money), and the date that the building code rules were changed? I didn't ask. The furnace pilot light had been lit since the first week I moved in 5304 back in August of 2009, and nothing life threatening happened; having it off only makes things that much safer. Summer's also approaching, so having a lit furnace won't be necessary anyway. Lastly, we're leaving in six weeks, so my indifference towards this housing situation is going to be almost at the same level as the property management company/companies who's/who've been all too happy take my money as the leasee of 5304.

However, because we're talking about fire, and because the furnace sits a few feet across from the bedroom where my child's been sleeping since August of 2009, you know I've gotta blog about it.

May 14

I just had to send the following email to the on-site management office (and we're only in the 9 o'clock hour on Monday morning):

One of your workers had the electrical cord of one of their pieces of equipment in my electrical outlet without my permission, had the audacity to get snippy with me because I was screaming at him because I didn't want a stranger trying to steal my electricity for the umpteenth time, and didn't bother apologizing....and yes, I'm blogging it.

ADDENDUM (for May 14): It's midday, May 15, 2012, and no one from the on-site management office has contacted me in response to the email above (which I sent to three different email addresses)...and yet, they made sure to contact me twice within six business days about responding to their lease renewal offer. Right. I know.

ADDENDUM 2 (for May 14): It's late afternoon on May 15, 2012, and 10 minutes ago I received an apology from the on-site management office in response to the email above. As usual, a misunderstanding was cited as the cause of the issue, which, to be clear in this particular case, I've witnessed happening and reported three times since March 5, 2012. Okay. Whatevs.

May 9: Yep, another post.

While sitting in my livingroom this morning at around 11-ish, working with my homeschooled teen a couple of yards away, we both heard our front doorknob turn. Then, we heard footsteps walk near our open windows, accompanied by white noise and voices from a walkie-talkie, followed by an exchange between at least two people, one of which was standing by our unit.

Since I was tied to my computer working on a project that was due within the hour, I chose not to open the door (or pay attention to what was being said). However, I did call the on-site office for an explanation.

I got Allison, who put me on hold to find out why workers had tried to enter my unit. When she came back, she told me that the workers had the wrong unit, and apologized on their behalf.

Okay, but still....No one rang the doorbell or knocked - BEFORE OR AFTER THE DOORKNOB WAS TURNED - and I've communicated to the office in writing more than once that I didn't want anyone in my unit without my permission (i.e., when I'm not home). Lame.

Dear Management,

When you're leasing to a writer who's only mistake was moving to a county where tenant rights clearly don't exist (forcing them to do nothing less than fight with the pen keyboard), you still might want to consider flagging said writer's apt number somewhere in your workspace(s) to prevent fueling the flames.

Afterall, it's your rep on the line, not mine.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 2012

This are the deets for April. Get the gist at Yelp.

April 30: The Installation

So just before 8:30 a.m. - while the office was still closed (like yesterday when I first called about the issue) - James and Tommy arrived to replace the hot water heater. But now, I have to wait for someone to clean up the mess (excess water in the carpet, and dirt/mud/stuff from the dirty soles of one or both of these maintenance staffers), which James was nice enough to say he'd follow up on after asking me how I wanted it handled......or should I have offered to clean up after him and Tommy?

I don't know. but I emailed the office about what James said he'd (help?) arrange, stating that I'd be expecting someone to stop by today unless I was notified of someone coming later.

It was great to have the carpet cleaner at my door before the lunch hour to take care of my entire hallway. What was weird was receiving an email from Darla, the Property/Community Manager - about an hour after the hallway had been clean - stating that she couldn't tell me when someone would be stopping by since carpet cleaning is done by an outside vendor. I mean, did I receive her email late because of a(nother) technical glitch (which will be explained on my upcoming documentations page), or did she really send the email after everything had been cleaned up?

It's gonna be a slow two months (which is when the last lease I signed ends).

April 29: The Sunday Emergency Maintenance Call

While walking down my hallway this morning at around 9-ish, I noticed that my carpet was wet near the room of my apartment where the washer/dryer is supposed to be kept. Normally, this is a sign that I have water leaking from the above apartment; but today, it was the hot water heater with a drip coming from the bottom of it.

I called the emergency maintenance number listed on the April 2012 Newsletter. James answered the phone, and I explained the situation. He arrived within minutes. He stated that my hot water heater was no longer working, and he offered to get a new one for me as early as today, but no later than tomorrow morning. When I asked where he'd get me a new one, he explained that they're available on-site, but he didn't have access to the room that carries them.

He turned a valve, stepped out to get something to drain the hot water heater in order to stop the drip. While he was out, I checked my hot water and noticed that there was no water coming from any of the hot-water side of the faucets in my apartment. Okay.

When James came back with a vacuum in an attempt to clean up the water, he explained that he was trying to contact Pappy to find out when he could get a new hot water heater to replace the one I reported dripping. He also said that he was willing to work around my schedule after I continued pressing him for a specific time frame for when I should expect to hear from him today, so I gave him my home number and my cell number, explaining that we might be gone and not able to let him in.

Before he left - without the water vac he brought in to clean up the water, so that's still in my apartment - he explained again that the hot water heater would be replaced either today or tomorrow, and that if I didn't hear from him by a certain time today, that it'd be fixed by tomorrow morning.

So after he left, I had no drip coming from my hot water heater; no water coming from any of the hot-water sides of my faucets; and (sorry James) plenty of water on my floor after the vacuum was brought in.

I called James 20 minutes after he left, asking him to turn my hot water back on, stating that I would put something under the drip until the hot water heater could be replaced. He gave me verbal instructions to turn on the hot water, telling me to turn the circular valve nearest the top pipe counter clockwise (So, no, he didn't want to come out to undo what he'd done after I asked him to. Or should I have demanded him to come out?). I hung up the phone, did what I was told to do, but still had no water - hot or cold - coming from the hot-water side of any of my faucets in my unit.

I called James and told him that he needed to come out and turn the hot water back on, as I had no hot water coming from my faucet after following his instructions, and that I hadn't had a shower today. We agreed that he'd do it within a couple of hours, I stressed no later than 12 noon, so I hope he got my hint.

We'll see if things can go back to normal - with the addition of a plastic container under my hot water heater to catch the water dripping - by 12 noon today. And we'll see how soon it takes to get a new hot water heater since that's what was offered.

April 29: The Sunday Emergency Maintenance Call, Part 2

So James stopped by well before 12 noon to turn my hot water back on, resulting in both water flowing from the left side of my faucets and heat to make it hot. We placed a container under the hot water heater to catch any drips. He reminded him of the vacuum he left behind, and he explained that he trusted leaving it in my unit until he returns tomorrow.

I also got a few tips to help me with water issues in the future, along with the assurance that nothing shouls bust, or explode, or whatever happens in worst case scenarios involving hot water heaters.

Thanks for your help this morning, James. I think I might speak to you if I see you around the property (i.e., give you a wave or a head nod).

And hello, Mr. Shower. How you doin'?

April 19: I said, "No!"

So someone knocked on my door about 15 minutes ago trying to tell me that they needed to use my patio to work on the balcony above mine. I won't get into the way this guy expressed this idea to me, but will save it for another time. However, I did ask him to confirm that all he wanted to do was use my porch to place his equipment, and he looked me in the eye and said, "yes".

So I called the office and get Darla, the Property/Community Manager, and explain what's going on, and that I'd rather not have people they pay to work on the property knocking on my door if I haven't requested a work order.

Darla put me on hold, contacted the workers via radio, and got back to me stating that they were only trying to explain what they were doing (which was what I assumed, however, like I said, this guy didn't communicate his thought in the most professional way.)

As soon as I got off the phone with Darla, the same guy who knocked on my door was on my porch plugging his equipment into my outlet like the other lame-o did back in March. I had to call Darla again to explain what they were doing, making it clear that I no longer felt comfortable to leave my home today (because I have errands to run before my 3:00pm and 4:00pm appointments, which last about an hour) because I've got people on my porch using my electricity.

She apologized, said she'd come out and speak to the guys, but still.....Lame.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 2012

This are the deets for March. Get the gist at Yelp.

March 20: No, come on in!

So my son and I stepped out on 3/11 (about an our or so after calling 911, which I documented below); and when we came back, my son noticed that his bedroom window was cracked. I emailed the on-site property management office about it, and a bathroom issue (my toilet had stopped flushing). I gave my availablity for the week (since I no longer give permission to have staff in here when I'm not home), and requested not to send "Pappy" (the Aspen staffer I reported to Fair Housing for referring to a painter from Mexico as a "taco" in front of me and my son (My son is of Mexican descent) while standing in my apartment (Yes, I have the documentation; and yes, I will be uploading it.).

Darla Warnock, Property Manager, replied to my email on the morning of 3/12, stating that she'd put work orders in for both issues to be schedule on the same day. She also met my other, personnel request by sending someone other than "Pappy" to take care of things.

(But that didn't stop me from calling the police. The window had been cracked from the inside, so I was concerned. I spoke with Officer Snow of the Sandy Springs Police by phone, explaining my suspicions...more on that at a later which he responded that the police couldn't come out on a suspicion. This wasn't surprising since they do very little even when they have more than a suspicion to go on...and more on that later too, but feel free to scroll down to Jan 18 to get a little taste of what I'm talking about.)


Although Tommy, a maintenance staffer, arrived within the three-hour time slot during which I was available on 3/12, "the glass man" arrived almost an hour late. Considering my history with this property management company, I have to question why arrived after I made it clear I wouldn't be available. Tommy mentioned something about "Pappy" saying that someone would come about the cracked window later that day. So, was "the glass man" late out of an act of passive-aggressiveness on "Pappy's" part? Was it because of a miscommunication between the office and maintenance? Or was this just a case of indifference regardless of the fact that I made the effort to be as flexible as possible by giving them a week's worth of availability?

So, "the glass man" arrived, took measurments, and told me that someone else would be by on 3/13 or 3/14 to install a new pane. He also put his two cents in about the cause of the crack, stating that the building was probably settling from "all of the rehab" going on. Well, okay.

So it's about a week since 3/12, and the pane was installed today....unannounced. Why is this an issue? Because, once again, someone dropped the ball of professional communication; and whether that ball was dropped unintentionally or deliberately, it was an inconsiderate and lame move. There could've been the chance of us not being here, possibly causing drama since I've requested not to have anyone in my unit when I'm not here and these were off-site vendors.

Sorry, but if nationwide take-out chains can deliver - early or late - with a professional attitude, then why can't these guys do it?

March 11: Yep, More Construction Noises

Just finished speaking with Officer Muehlenbrock, who responded to my 911 call after having to deal with hammering and the sounds of some sort of machinery (like a power saw) above me. Yes, on a Sunday.

So on January 29, I’m told by an officer that the noises above me were because of new neighbors. On March 5, when I had workers on my patio using my electricity without my permission (i.e., stealing), Officer Ellis said that construction was being done above me (directly above me or in the apartment above that, I don’t know).

And, of course, the property management office is closed today, there’s no one to speak to – even if I wanted to deal with hit-or-miss customer service.

March 5: What's Mine is Mine (so to speak)

I just caught someone using the outlet (i.e., my electricity) on my porch....Just before my water pressure decreased. Not cool.

Officer Ellis from the Sandy Springs police just spoke with me. He told me that a construction worker (for Aspen Square Management?), that construction work has been going on upstairs (SO DO I OR DON'T I HAVE NEW NEIGHBORS? ), and that - even though these workers were using an outlet from my unit (i.e., my electricity), that it's not a criminal act. Officer Ellis said he could not take a report, but would speak to the front office for me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

February 2012

This are the deets for February. Get the gist at Yelp.

Feb 28: Cleaning House (so to speak)

Litter and most of the debris around my front door and on my patio have finally been cleaned (even though Darla Warnock, the property manager, hinted in an email to me that I was responsible for cleaning up after my neighbors and/or their guests, instead of the property management being responsible for it, the latter of which had been the case since McKinley took over in 2010)! I didn't even have to ask.

So what's wrong with that?

Well, my son's rain/snow boots (which were not on the patio, but on the inside of our porch area, which we've been waiting almost three months to have re-secured to avoid theft, among other uncool activities that have taken place around my apartment) - that are not in plain view - were nicked. Yeah, he's grown out of them, and it saves me a trip to Goodwill; but still...the boots are my property, and they were located in an area that I pay to use.

February 13: Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink (or Shower In)

Our water's been off for five and a half hours since 10:30 this morning. The note on my door from the office (undated and without letterhead, of course) stated that the water would only be off for 2-3 hours.

Emailing them is a hit-or-miss kinda is quality customer service, so I posted a question on their Facebook page. My request for an update on their Facebook page was deleted (See my screenshots on my Yelp profile.).

At 4:40-ish pm, Larry Gooch, of Atlanta City Watershed, confirmed that the no-water issue -- at The Magnolia at Sandy Springs, mind you; so no one's even notified ATL City Watershed that the name of the property has been changed so they can update their database -- wasn't on their end.

February 12: Flirting with Machinery

I love sipping coffee on Saturday morning while listening to my (new?) upstairs neighbors toy with the same type of machinery the constructions workers were using while they were renovating - especially at 7:37-ish.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 2012

This are the deets for January that I couldn't post on my Yelp page because they only allow posts that are under 5001 characters.

Jan 29, 2012: Just had to call 911 again about noises above. It's Sunday, when no construction should be going on AT ALL. The leasing office is closed for the day. According to the property manager, renovations should've been complete on Jan 27. So, what gives? Are they trying to do construction on a Sunday (which is against the law to my understanding)? Are these new tenants whose lease is supposed to start on a day when the on-site property management office has always been closed? If they are new tenants, how did they get the key to their unit since it is Sunday? And since the property gates are closed on Sunday, how did they get in (and how will the responding Sany Springs police officer get in?)? If these are new tenants, does everyone get the same privilege when they move in?

Jan 24, 2012: Within 10 minutes of entering our apartment, I heard movement, the patio door slide open once or twice, and a heavy object hit the floor (our ceiling) twice - all coming from the vacant unit directly above me. Since it occured at around 7:40-ish in the p.m., almost two hours after the property manager, Darla Warnock, told me the construction workers end their shift (they're renovating the unit), I called 911. Although Officer Davis didn't visit me after checking out the situation, Sandy Springs police documentation states that she was here for 15 min before leaving the property.

Jan 18, 2012: I have construction work going on above me before 7:30am. I had to call 911 since the on-site property management office isn't open. Even if I didn't work at home, this wouldn't be something I'd want to deal with while getting ready to go to work or getting my son ready to go to school.

When the police arrived (I'll get his name later), I was told that I had to take it up with the leasing office because the issue was between them and those they've contracted. Since I was dealing with the same type of noise when I was told that residents were living above me (which occurred under the last two property management companies, Lynd and McKinley...more on that later), I asked the police officer what the difference was between reporting both issues to the police. The police officer told me that they write reports and cite people - residents or construction workers based on my understanding of what he was saying - accused of making noise based on their discretion. When I told the police officer that I felt like I was getting the run around, his response was that I felt like I was getting the runaround because I was dissatisfied. He also suggested that I move.

You know I had the close the door in the police officer's face, right?

Jan 13, 2012: I had to call the emergency maintenance line at 8:50-ish in the pm to report water leaking from my bathroom ceiling light.

The last time I had to report a leaking ceiling (in another area of my apartment) was on December 26, 2011, and that call was in the evening as well. With the Dec 26 emergency maintenance call, nothing could be done until Dec 27 because there was no key available to open the apartment above mine, which was where the water was coming from. According Allison Williams, an Aspen Square office staff member who stopped by my apartment on the morning of Dec 27 to take pictures of the severe water damage (more on that another time), the residents above me had recently "vacated" the unit. A notice of abandonment was tacked on my former upstairs neighbors' door shortly after Dec 27.

You know what also would've been nice? Aside from not feeling like I had to send a written notice via certified mail to the on-site office about work being done to my unit due to the Dec 27 water damage (more on that later)? Direct communication from the on-site property management office giving me a heads up about the loud-enough-you'll-need-earplugs drilling, hammering, and heavy-object dropping in the unit above mine that started as early as 730 on two different occasions since late Dec, and lasted practically all day from 8:30am to 6:30pm today, January 13.

Not just because I work from home and homeschool my child, but because I'm a paying resident who'd like to know when I'm going to be inconvenienced. I mean, let's face it, if the on-site office is going to let me know in advance about when my water's going to be turned off, why can't they tell me when my son and I are going to have to endure what always sounds like semi-heavy construction work going on above me? Lame