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 How To Transcend A Condo Nightmare. No, really…How?




Can You Help Me Transcend?

tran·scend


Definition:  to rise above; surpass; to be greater than.


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How does a person rise above a nightmarish condo situation, while having to live there day after day? 
I can tell you, it isn’t easy.


CONDO HELL.  Soon, I will have lived in condo hell for four years.  It started out with a quick change in attitude from the guy who sold me the condo as soon as I bought the place.  (He was also the Developer, and is one of the Trustees.)  His behavior went from friendly and agreeable to dark, antagonistic, and, on occasions, threatening within a short time after my purchase.


Within a month, I had my first bout of raw sewage and overflow incidents which kept happening for the next two years.  This Trustee would not take responsibility to have the situation corrected, even after the City’s Plumbing Inpector contacted him and told him he needed to get it fixed.


On top of the sewage problems, the condo was filled with rental tenants who did not give a hoot about the neighbors or the property.  I was dealing with second-hand smoke streaming through my condo, excessive noise on a regular basis (any time of the day or night), unseemly trash and property maintenance issues, etc.  I witnessed violence between the tenants on a couple of occasions, and even received a death threat from a former neighbor.  On the day that neighbor moved out, my car was seriously vandalized. 


There was a stream of bug infestations, mold issues after the sewage incidents, and health scares.  I have lived in fear of illness and disease, retaliation, and for my general safety for four, long years.


SEEKING JUSTICE AND TRANSCENDENCE.  While I wait for the court system to decide if I have a case, with little understanding of what I can really expect, I am being encouraged by caring people to find a way to ‘transcend’ this place and experience.


I adore my pets, and I have one who is very, very special.  This beloved cat suffered through chemotherapy after being diagnosed with nasal lymphoma.   Research says the disease is exacerbated in dogs and cats from second-hand smoke.   That is what we lived with for two years, due to the fact that we have no ‘fire stop’ between the condos.  I had sore throats most mornings, when the former rental tenant lived in the abutting unit; and I found out later that he smoked more than cigarettes in there.  The Trustee I mentioned owned that condo, and did virtually nothing to help. 


I want to spend as much time with my pets as possible, but I find myself not wanting to go home after work.  I want to be able to enjoy their company and relax, and/or do some creative writing or work on my charitable pursuits when I get home each day.   But nothing changes for long in that building.  I have tried meditation, and I’ve begun doing more things outside of the condo, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time there.  But how and when do I get to enjoy a peaceful, safe, respectful home?  I pay two mortgages, rising real estate taxes, and condo fees, and yet I do not feel like this is ‘home.’


Any ideas?  I figured I’d put this out to the ‘Universe’ since I’m not having a lot of luck on my own. 


Just so you know, I joined a spiritual congregation to find some community and to meet folks with similar values. I’ve tried implementing gratitude exercises, too.  I try to list things each day I’m grateful for, including having a roof over my head.  Yet, it sometimes feels hollow, as I struggle with frequent and continuing condo- or building-related annoyances and incidents. 


I could use some guidance, ideas, and insights.  Does anyone have experience transcending a really bad condo experience?  Could use a few ‘there’s light at the end of the tunnel’ stories, if you’ve got’em.  


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* This situation culminated into what I now think of as The Great Raw Sewage Overflow of Summer 2009.  For a couple of days, other people’s fecal matter and tainted water poured into my tub, toilet and dishwasher, and overflowed into my other rooms.  I was terrified for my pets’ health and safety, and we were virtually homeless for a few days.  (I still shudder if I think about it for too long.)

 City of Boston Adding Fuel to the Fire in Scared Condo Owner Situation

February 8, 2010 1 comment

Strange Communication from Boston ISD

After two and a half years of living in a condo nightmare—with raw sewage overflows and other issues affecting your property, health and safety—how do you think you might like it if your City treated you as if you were invisible and unimportant?

What if you told your Mayor that you were afraid of the serious possibility of retaliation regarding your condo nightmare, and you received a BRIGHT YELLOW NOTICE on your door from Inspectional Services indicating to everyone in the building that you’ve made a complaint?

For background:

  • STATED CONDO/RAW SEWAGE PROBLEMS.  I sent letters and E-mails to Mayor Menino’s office for over a year and a half describing my condo/raw sewage nightmares.  I have also written and called several Inspectors.
  • VISITED MAYOR’S OFFICE.  My friend Ed came with me about a week or so ago to talk with someone in authority about what has been happening regarding my condo nightmare.  We spoke to one of the Mayor’s ‘Hotline’ Aides. who took note of our questions about lacking permits, and years of sewage related episodes.
  • STATED FEAR OF RETALIATION.  While at the Mayor’s office, I provided a binder full of correspondence relating to the condo problems—including statements that I have been living with the fear of retaliation from the people involved.

Instead of having someone call me me to get clarification about this ongoing, maddening situation, I get this:

A BRIGHT YELLOW NOTICE on my doorknob—for everyone in the Building to see—stating there has been a COMPLAINT to INSPECTIONAL SERVICES. 

The almost-funny thing is that, although it had my condo number, it had the name “Donna”  on it.  My name is clearly not Donna.  I have been sending correspondence to the Mayor and the Inspectors for over a year and a half.  How hard is it to get my name right after all this time?  The subliminal message I’m receiving from the City feels like:  We are clearly just going through the motions because you continue to bother us.. Read more…

 THE RAW SEWAGE SAGA

January 27, 2010 Leave a comment
 

Raw Sewage Overflow in Tub, Toilet and Dishwasher (Summer 2009)

THE RAW SEWAGE SAGA.   I mentioned in the previous post that I thought I was doing something good for myself.  That condo purchase was the beginning of a frightful and frustrating drama that made me understand how few rights condo owners have. 

I only found out after the first raw sewage episode, which happened only a month after I moved in, that there had been a machine that sat in front of what is now my condo every two weeks to blow out the pipes.  The Developer/Trustee (who is also the one who sold me the place) paid a plumber to install a new pipe there— without getting proper permits—once he bought the place in 2006.  This was so he could be rid of the machine that blew out the pipes. 

Had this guy told me about these significant plumbing-related details before I bought the place, I would have paid for an inspection—and I would have mostly likely passed on buying the property.  (Decent plumbing is important to some of us gals.)

A couple of months ago, my pets and I were relocated to a local hotel for nearly a week while they tore up my nice, new hardwood floors to put in new pipe.  The workers damaged my property in the process, covering it in dust and debris from the jack hammering and dirt under the flooring.   You would think that it would be enjoyable to have time with my pets in a hotel, but trying to get my work deadlines accomplished while splitting my time between the hotel and office was exhausting.  My pets were stressed, too.  And no one should be forced to share one room with a crepuscular, grumpy bunny.  Read more…

 Raw Sewage in America!

January 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Raw Sewage Overflow Lasting Two Days! (Summer 2009)

I thought I was doing something good for myself.  

Bought a condo in 2007.   It was supposed to be a good thing.  Instead it has been two and a half years of horror.  My experience at this place has been something like the ‘Seven Plagues,’ including:  
  • Raw Sewage Overflows
  • Excessive Noise and Rental Tenant Violence
  • Insect Infestations
  • Second-Hand Smoke Exposure and Compromised Fire Codes
  • Property Maintenance Issues and Financial Deficits
  • Experience of Hostility and the Fear of Retaliation
  • Ongoing Condo Trust Rule Violations 

In my case, the Building Developer, Trustee and Seller were the same person.  I was told not to get a home inspection by the Seller and his Real Estate Agent (who I first believed was my agent), and that if I did, I would lose out on getting a one-year warranty on all the new appliances, cabinets, workmanship, floors, and bathroom.

The Real Estate Agent and the Seller both put pressure on me one night, and the Seller said, “… if you are concerned about money, and if something goes wrong—like the refrigerator dies—you would have to come up with another thousand dollars to get a new one if you choose to get an inspection over my warranty.”  

So, I spoke with my mortgage financing company, and they said an inspection was not mandatory.  However, I had been asking the Seller and his Agent (multiple times) if there were any assessments being planned or if there were any problems with the plumbing or electrical systems.  I was always told “no” and that they had spent a lot of time on the property, and that things were in great shape. 

RAW SEWAGE.  One of the more serious problems I encountered had to do with the raw sewage episodes.  One night, within a month of moving in, raw sewage poured from my tub, toilet and dishwasher for hours.  I was freaked!

There were at least 13 more raw sewage related episodes in the next couple of years, including one that lasted for two days, and ended in my condo unit being condemned during last summer by Boston Inspectors. 

My pets and I were virtually homeless for several days, and I have feared contamination and disease from the sewage all this time – for me and my pets. 

This is just part of the story…

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