Saturday, October 29, 2016

Adventures in Slum Living -Episode 6: The Strange, Defective Middle Wall at 16 Benson Street, Albany NY

Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living
Turning the 
Episode Number Six: The Strange, defective, Middle Wall at 16 Benson Street

Curiously from the outside the apartment doesn't look that bad. And the general neighborhood is not that bad either although Benson Street is not the nicest street in Albany. As a relative remarked, "why is it that all of the streets around you look better than yours?" And apartments in Albany are usually not bad size. 

However, this apartment is actually cut in half down the middle with a strange, dividing door and wall built in the middle. Of course, like everything else in the building it's defective and badly installed.

Here's the before picture of what the door locking mechanism looked like. I'd started to do some repairs at this point, you can see some spackling compound, but I really had not done much.

Here's the after picture. I'd done a lot of repairs and filled in the strange, gaping, ugly hole in the door, but I had not sanded the filler and made it look nice and finished the painting. I also had not cleaned up the hardware, nor started on the strange chip over the bolt. (which will be shown later.) 

You will note that there are two bolt locks and one sliding blot that are attached to the door designed to keep it locked and prevent people from entering one half of the floor from the other half. 

As mentioned, there was one day when the girlfriend thought someone was trying to enter through this door and called the landlord. (It does sound that way when the people on the other side use one of their closets. We can also hear them having sex, which is quite noisy and would be comical, except it's not, As well as when they argue, which is pretty much the same way. At some point I'm going to have to write a separate post on them.) 

As mentioned the landlord's response was to send me an e-mail saying he could not understand her because she had an accent. Therefore he ignored it. The landlord, Wayne B. Whitney, is a moron and a fucking, childish asshole. (He will, in time, get his own post.) 

So inspected the door carefully, discovered that one of the bolts was not aligned properly and would not lock or shut. I called the landlord and told him that it was not properly installed. 

"Yes, it is," he said. 
"No, it's not," I said. 
"Yes, it is," he said. 
"No, it's not. You can come and check yourself," I said. 
"I bought it that way." said Wayne B. Whitney in one of the most childish statements I've heard in years. 

So here we have shots of the poorly installed bolts.
This is the top bolt. 

This is the second, lower bolt.


You will notice that the ruler goes in much deeper on the upper bolt than on the lower bolt. This is because the upper bolt fixture is misaligned and will not lock properly.

As described above, the issue was mentioned to the landlord and you saw his response.

As mentioned the wood frame on the lower bolt was damaged. I did have some thoughts on how to fix that, but, well, why bother?

Here's a close up of the chipped wooden door frame and the lower bolt, the only one that works, by the way.

This is a shot of the lower sliding bolt, notice the same shitty Wayne B. Whitney paint job.

And, finally, some poor quality door knob painting.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Adventures in Slum Living --Episode 5 -- Turning the Heat Up on the Thermostat Box ---Wayne B Whitney's 16 Benson Street, Albany, New York Apartment

Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living
Turning the 
Episode Number Five: Turning the Heat Up on the Thermostat Box

My landord, Wayne B. Whitney, has assured me that "there is nothing wrong with the apartment" at 16 Benson Street in Albany. Therefore I cannot imagine that he would mind if I share some pictures of it with the general public. 

Here we have several photos of the thermostats. As people will recall, I had a verbal agreement with Wayne Whitney where I would fix up his apartment in return for supplies. He rescinded on that agreement and refused to pay for supplies. Now, when I lived there with my girlfriend, I continued to do repairs nevertheless, so that she and I would be living in a nice  less awful place until we found something better. Alas, she moved out, I stayed a bit longer (although I am now moving out), and found myself arguing with the landlord about not just desirable repairs but essential repairs. --all of which he refused to do while making calls to one of my relatives with childish and unrealistic threats of evicting me. 

So here we have several photos of the bathroom thermostat. Enjoy!

Paint splashed over everything. As you can see, Wayne Whitney apparently has never heard of the use of masking tape prior to painting, nor has he grasped the concept of either using a rag to wipe paint clean before it dries or else, less desirable, of using a scraping tool to clean off paint from some surfaces after it dries. 


These are some random shots of the kitchen thermostat (I think) --same silly paint jobs.


Now I don't claim to be the world's greatest handyman, but I know something about it and am willing to learn more. Therefore I offer these two photos of the living room thermostat, the one that I cleaned up while painting one of my living room walls. 

Please remember THESE ARE THE ONES I FIXED AND CLEANED. The photos above are the BEFORE picture. The photos below are the AFTER photos which show the work I did to make the living room thermostat look better.

Here's the same thermostat box before I went to work on it. 

See, no splashed, ugly paint.

Not the best, but considering what I started with and a desire not to damage the underlying mechanism, not too horrible. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

If a bathtub is designed for Washing, How dirty can it be? --Episode 4 in slum living in Wayne Whitney's 16 Benson Street Apartment

Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living

Episode Number Four: If a Bathtub is Designed for Washing, How dirty can it be?

As explained previously, I moved into a rundown apartment in July. Although the place looked like shit, I was in a great hurry to find a place, had little time, and the landlord, Wayne B. Whitney, and I had a verbal agreement where he would provide supplies and I would fix his 16 Benson Street, Albany NY apartment. 

Instead he rescinded on that agreement and then refused to make any repairs himself. Alas! Sad to see isn't it? 

This time we will start with the bathroom. Now, on one hand, it strikes me as a bit cruel to post these photos of Wayne Whitney's 16 Benson Street apartment in Albany, New York. On the other hand, as Wayne Whitney likes to brag to his friends about being a property owner, and assures me, "there is nothing wrong with the apartment" perhaps he thinks these pictures look good. I have no idea, actually, how he thinks. 

This is the shower head. As you can see it is held in place with electrical tape. OK, lots of people use electrical tape as a stop gap measure before moving on to a more permanent and better looking solution, Alas, it has been like this since before I moved in. Hmmmm?

More electrical tape, this time to hold the shower pipes and fixtures to the wall, Electrical tape? Surely one would think even Wayne would know that its' duct tape that's the handyman's friend. 

Starting at the top, more details of the shower and bathtub. 

Now here we have the space under the bathtub.  This area is so bad that Wayne Whitney actually noticed it was a problem. He even assured me several times and talked in detail about how he would fix it, because he knew that the dripping bathtub was damaging the floor and dripping wet floors would eventually damage the apartment below. 

Now his plan for taking care of it was a bit strange. It had something to do with putting a bowl of salt under the bathtub. I am not making this up. One of the neighbors had told him that salt absorbs water so if you put a bowl of salt under a leaking bathtub it would reduce the amount of water, "One of the neighbor's, an old landlord, told me this," he said. "It's an old wives' tale.

Apparently Wayne Whitney does not understand the idiom "old wives' tale." Hmmm? 

Perhaps the neighbor who told him did, because, I, for one, cannot imagine it to be true.

Apparently his idea on how to learn household repairs is to ask the neighbors. Hmmmmm? I wonder how that work out.

By the way, notice one important detail here. After all this talk, there is not even a bowl of salt under the bathtub. (Of course, that wouldn't make much difference because it's a stupid thing to do, but at least it would show an effort.)

The above shot gives a good view of how the bottom of the tub is rusting and the area under the table is not properly tiled. Apparently Wayne thinks that bathroom tiles are for cosmetic effect,  and does not realize they serve a purpose in waterproofing and reducing water damage to the wood floors underneath. Therefore he leaves the wettest, yet least visible area of the bathroom floor untiled.

And now we come to the drain. I asked him to put some liquid plumber down the drain He said he did. Obviously he didn't. As you can see the drain is plugged and the water sits there. 
See the little object on the right? It's a bottle cap floating on the water just to illustrate.

When I moved in Wayne Whitney had put some silicon gel around the leaking, plugged up bathtub drain and he described it as a temporary measure. This was in July. The silicon gel is still there, at least a little bit, honestly most of it has peeled away and floated off and is probably now part of the drain stoppage.

The water spout. 'Nuff said.


The above shot is looking up at the bathtub spout from underneath.

And there we have it. The bathtub in Wayne B. Whitney's 16 Benson Street, Albany New York apartment.

Here's a random shot of the bathroom before I moved in.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Wayne Whitney's Wacky Weird Wall Wires --- Episode 3 in "Adventures in Slum Living."

Apartment Repair Fails: or My Idiot Landlord
Adventures in Slum Living

Episode Number Three: Wayne Whitney's Wacky Weird Wires  

In my previous posts, I explained how I came to live in an apartment at 16 Benson Street owned by Wayne Whitney, a local landlord who has refused several times to spend money to fix his apartments. Essentially we had a verbal agreement where I would live in the apartment and provide free repairs in return for him paying for the supplies. He rescinded upon this agreement because he did not wish to pay for the supplies and assumed that painting a building consists of slapping a  thick coat of inexpensive paint over everything in sight.

But no matter. Living in a run down apartment like this results in some strange things sometimes. Like these wires in the wall. What are they anyway? (My guess is that a previous tenant had some sort of wire or cable he wished to run up the wall.) But more importantly why could Wayne Whitney not spend two minutes and use a pair of pliers to pull them out, then spackle the holes, then put a nice smooth coat of paint over the walls? I don't know. You'll have to ask him, I've asked people to explain his behavior to me and the best answer I can get is "he just is not able to see quality repairs and distinguish them bad quality repairs and he does not notice or see the run down quality of his buildings so he's not aware of it." I don't know. All I know is that this is the answer I've gotten when I've sought one out.


Going from top to bottom down this section of wall --mysterious wire #1 

Note the wire to the left of the top of  this closet hinge.

What is it? Why was it painted over instead of removed? How many years did the landlord intend for it to sit there mysteriously? Was it intended as a puzzle to mystify the archeologists of the 22nd century or did it at some time actually serve a purpose? 



At this point, he has refused several times to fix things, insists "there is nothing wrong with the apartment," and has made several harrassing calls to my relative (who recommended I rent from him as she does business with him) when I have complained about things up to and including the fact that my front door cracked, broke, and the door knob fell out due to his poor installation of the door and knob.


Mysterious painted over piece of metal #2 

Now really we have here what appears to be a hammered in electrical staple. Would it really not have been a good investment to spend two minutes with a pair of pliers to pull it out? Or did the landlord expect people just to ignore it for eternity? Why, obviously, the answer appears to be the second.

This was here when I moved in, unless I remove it it will be here for the next tenant, and, since Wayne Whitney painted over it, he obviously knows it is there but did not care enough about his property or his tenants to take the time to fix it. 


Now a friend has told me "if you continue to complain Wayne Whitney will find a way to hurt  you." So let it be known that should I be assaulted mysteriously put him on the suspect list. As he is already on the local police radar as a sex offender, at least I'm sure they will look into him as a suspect.


Mysterious piece of metal #3 as we move down the wall.. 

Same thing, an electrical staple that could have, and really should have, been yanked out with a pair of pliers or vice groups but wasn't. Damn, there should be a law against this. Perhaps there is? Anyone know?


More mysterious metal jammed into a poorly maintained wall and covered with a thick, unhealthy coat of paint.  


And here at the bottom you can get another shot of yet another piece of metal jammed into a wall, apparently intended as a monument of some kind or a memento of some sort. What other explanation could there be? I don't know. If you wish you could ask Wayne Whitney himself. 


Here's an overview of the corner, if you wish perspective as to what it looks and where these strange, painted over pieces of metal rest.

As for those lovely hinges and their amazing paint job, well, they deserve a blog post of their own.