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Cars Kept Flying Off Mulholland at Canyon Rental House

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Curbed Horror Stories are firsthand reader reports about terrible Los Angeles apartment experiences past and present. This week, in honor of Renters Week, we're having a rental horror story showdown. We'll post a few horror stories each day with a vote for the best on Thursday. The winner will advance to the national round of our network-wide contest (and the nationwide winner gets a free month's rent!). Horror stories to, if you please.

The house was perfect! The rent was affordable [address redacted] (Coldwater Canyon and just a little south of Mulholland -- Charlton Heston lived across the way.) The house was a spacious ranch, lots of sliding glass doors, a good-sized pool, a den where my husband could write. We'll take it!

The landlord was an affable Frenchman who lived in a small condo in West Hollywood. We invited him (to his home) to celebrate the signing of our lease with a Champagne happy hour -- poolside. We popped the cork and were just about to take the first sip when a car flew off Mulholland and onto the hill above us. We dropped our glasses and ran to the sight of the rollover vehicle. The car bumped its way down the hillside as we ran toward the young male driver. He managed to jump out and run downhill toward us. He had some minor injuries so we dragged him into the kitchen and sat him down. I cleaned up his scrapes and gave him plenty of water. Our landlord, Michele and my husband Ed went to look at the car. It was totaled. Michele offered to drive the young man home to Van Nuys while we called a tow truck to come and pick up the vehicular remains.

During our years of renting this house, cars careened over Mulholland on a regular basis, once a month. It usually happened during a dinner party. One of our daughters would announce, "A car just flipped over our hill again!" It made for weird entertainment each time. All our guests would run to check out the scene. I remember Dan Petrie, a wonderful and wise director friend asking, "Why don't you just move?". Good question...


The straw that broke the camel's back came after a month's worth of steady rain. Hillsides were saturated and we began to notice waterfalls forming on the hilltops. One Saturday morning, as I surveyed the water level in the pool, there was a loud, thunderous noise and the entire hill behind our house came roaring at me. It broke though the glass doors and the yard was filled with rushing mud. I closed the hallway door and screamed, "Everybody up! The hill behind us is going to bury us alive. Come on, let's get out -- get the dog and cat -- get out to the car". Our two daughters rounded up the big collie and the cat -- we all waded through the mud and got into the car. As we made our way onto Coldwater Canyon our neighbor's patio furniture tumbled down the road behind us. I had grabbed our wedding album, family photographs and bank records. Ed took a shopping bag with six pair of shoes. Our daughters had the dog and cat with them in the back seat, along with their guitars. ... our younger daughter, cried, "I'm sorry about taking my guitar. I know it takes up a lot of space but I'm materialistic". We made our way through the downpour to the Chateau Marmont Hotel and Carmen at the front desk told us to go right into the Tony Randall bungalow. She would send an electrician to turn on the heat soon.

As we settled in Ed decided to take off his wet clothes and put on the chenille bedspread -- toga style. Our landlord, Michele, showed up with a magnum of Champagne to commiserate. He took one look at Ed with the white chenille toga and said, "Ed, I see you've gone Hollywood". He informed us that the gas, water and power had been turned off at the house, that the road was impassable, the pool heater was covered with five or six feet of mud. It might take a month or more for mud removal. In the meantime, I filed an extension with the IRS to file our tax return in June.

We lived at the hotel for six weeks. When we got back into the house to survey the damage we found everything caked in mud, including my 1971 Mustang convertible. We had to have the mud scraped off the entire bottom of the car. We lost all our furniture and television set in two rooms, every book we owned, our patio furniture, the cable box, you name it. I estimated our loss and provided several pictures along with our tax return. A month later we received a notice saying that our losses were denied because the President had not declared the state of California a federal disaster area. That was the coup de grace!
· Renters Week 2012 [Curbed LA]