Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Luck to the New Tenants

New tenants moved in to 821 W. 30th St. yesterday. Good luck to them. I hope they don't have any problems and that things turn out better for them.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Move-out Inspection Video

video Here's the full video of the move-out inspection for the record, for the house we rented from Terry and Patti Shulman. As I mentioned earlier, it was kind-of irrelevant as they never did the required move-in inspection. That's Terry Shulman in the video. He blames us for a tear in the wallpaper. That's the only thing - in the video - that he says he plans to ding us for.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Move-out Inspection, Part 1

video Here's an excerpt from the video of the move-out inspection at the house we rented from Terry and Patti Shulman. It was kind-of irrelevant as they never did the required move-in inspection. If there's no record of how it was, then the landlords can say whatever they want. That's Terry Shulman in the video. He blames us for a tear in the wallpaper. The wallpaper is super-old. As you can also see in the video it is peeling at every seam and has a number of tears. That's how it looked when we moved in. Of course, if there was a move-in inspection, we would have recorded all these things. Live and learn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Master Bedroom Wallpaper

The wallpaper in the nook at 821 W. 30th St. was old and crackly and peeling at the seams. It had weird tears and was probably 20-50 years old. Here are the pictures I took after we moved out and cleaned the place up. Unfortunately there are no move-in photos of the wallpaper. And there was no move-in inspection - Terry and Patti Shulman did not do one. This wallpaper would definitely have been reported on the move-in inspection.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No Move-in Inspection? It's Virginia Law

Virginia Law requires a move-in inspection. See p. 18 of the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Terry and Patti Shulman did not provide one when we moved in. I did not expect this to be an issue, as I want to believe that people are generally good. They are not uniformly. If you are a renter make sure you get the move-in inspection. Cover yourself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Best of Richmond, 2008-2010

We moved to Virginia in 2008. It's a different place from Houston and Huntington Beach. We've had some great - and terrible - experiences. Here's by list so far (in no particular order).
  • Virginia Commonwealth University. This is a great University, with good people, and attractive facilities. The VCU Math Department is uncommonly collegial - a great place to work.
  • Richmond restaurants: Millies, Juleps, La Milpa, Tex (the Texas BBQ guy), Picollas - mmm... all good, can't wait to go back.
  • Virginia History - a lot of things happened in Richmond - it's neat to be able to go and see these places.
  • Respect for and Preservation of Old Buildings -I love that so many old buildings have been preserved here. VCU has a bunch of them - they are now used for various academic departments and administration.
  • Woodland Heights and Forest Hill neighborhoods - there are great friendly people here.
  • Richmond Ballet - this is a fantastic regional company - I'm really impressed with everything we've seen from them.
  • Richmond traffic - it's basically non-existent compared to LA and Houston!
  • Humpback Rock - this is a great short hike with an incredible view at the end.
  • The James River Park System. There's great hiking along the river, and Riverside Drive is exceptionally scenic for a city drive.
  • The Byrd Theater. This is a gorgeous movie palace from 1928 that still shows movies every nite.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Move-in Inspection

There will be things wrong with any place you rent. Get a move-in inspection. Record these things. Otherwise at the time you move out, these can be attributed to you. I generally believe that people are good and act in good faith. They are not. Here's a move-in inspection form.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Landlords

Over 23 months we paid Terry and Patti Shulman $28,750 in rent, always early, sometimes weeks early. We contacted them 4 times for issues about the house. Here's what happened. We contacted them:
  1. When the microwave broke.
  2. When wasps appeared in the house day after day and we couldn't figure out where they were coming from.
  3. After several nights of hearing animals running around the attic. What were they? Rats? I went up in the attic to check a couple of times but they stopped when they heard me and saw the beam of the flashlight.
  4. When the dryer broke and the dryer plug fused to the outlet. The melting plastic made the whole house smell like a chemical factory.
What did the landlords do?
  1. Nothing. We ended up buying a new microwave. After that I was always worried that the refrigerator or the AC would break. Then what?
  2. Nothing. I sprayed wasps as I saw them. Jeanine worried about the baby. They eventually stopped.
  3. Nothing. Well, they recommended that I plug any holes in the attic. I didn't see any. Jeanine worried. The animals only came back a couple of more times.
  4. Nothing. We ended up doing our laundry at a friend's place. A couple of times we used the washing machine and then hung the laundry to dry all around the dining room. What if the refrigerator or AC broke? Then what? Fortunately we moved before either of those issues arose.

Monday, July 12, 2010

821 W. 30th St

821 W. 30th St, Richmond, Va 23225. View Larger Map This is the Google Maps picture of the house we rented. It was "good enough". The house itself is a mess, but it is close to a lot of parks, close to the city, and has great neighbors. Terry and Patty Shulman put this house on the market in February. That was a pain, especially with a little baby. People walking through your house when you're not there, people walking through on the evenings and weekends when you are there, trying to arrange walk-throughs at times when the baby isn't napping... Terry was even walking people through himself when the baby was very sick. It's one real downside of renting. The house was originally offered for $282,000. It eventually went down to $258,000, but never sold. It is assessed for $230,000. Zillow.com's "zestimate" for the house is $216,000. We would not have bought the house even for $216,000. Among the many things wrong with the house included:
  • The house was incredibly drafty. Every visitor commented on this. There is a large gap under the front door. We stuffed that up - but it wasn't the whole story.
  • There's no tub. And no place to put a tub. The upstairs bathroom is very small. The existing shower is cruise-ship sized. We bathed the baby is a portable tub in the kitchen. That got old very quickly. Jeanine insisted on a tub in our next house.
  • The door to the baby's room didn't close at all. Several doors were "challenged". The house was built in 1920, the house has moved quite a bit, and the doors are probably all original.
  • The baby's room is crazily slopped. I often had the sensation of being at sea when I walked around that room. The furniture we put in that room did not stand on all 4 legs.
  • The columns on the porch are slanted. I guess they've moved with the foundation. It makes it look a little like a haunted house.
  • The mortar between the bricks in the basement and on the porch is crumbling. It leaves a fine powder. Wiping it up doesn't do, as it keeps crumbling.
  • The grout is crumbling in the downstairs bathroom. Cleaning the bathroom floor was always an adventure. You had to strike the right balance between scrubbing hard and knocking more tiles loose.
  • The basement is wet. The dryer in the basement broke while we were there and the dryer plug fused to the outlet. The outlet area seemed very wet to me. I'm not an electrician - but this may have been part of the problem.
  • There were 2 episodes of wasps appearing in the house for several days in a row. They may breed in the ventilation system. We were never able to figure it out.
  • Several times we heard animals running around the attic at night. They seemed to be about the weight of a small cat. I guessed rats or possums. We still don't know. I don't think possums run as fast as these guys ran. Because of the baby in the house, Jeanine was very nervous about this.
  • The wallpaper in the entryway is horrible. The wallpaper in the upstairs bedroom was old - very old - and peeling from the top, at the seams, and was torn. It crackled to the touch. It could have been anywhere from 20-50 years old. I'll post pictures later.
  • The kitchen counters were some old plastic-y linoleum-y stuff. I don't know. What was irritating is that even after you cleaned the counters, they still felt sticky. Yuck. There was a burn-hole in the kitchen island. I often wondered if someone put out a cigarette there.
  • The door to the basement is partially blocked by the kitchen counter. That was a real pain for trying to get laundry up and down. For bigger items - like our tub of holiday decorations - you had to go out the back staircase into the yard, and then up through the backdoor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Terry and Patti Shulman

If you googled "Terry and Patti Shulman", "Terry Shulman", "Patti Shulman", "The Storefront" B&B in Staunton, VA, or "Shulman Creative", you are at the right place. They were the landlords, and these are their businesses.