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 firstname.lastname@example.org, if you please.
My coworker and I recently moved to Los Angeles, or more specifically, West Hollywood just a few months ago in August for school. We spent 2 months searching through countless properties all over the county, until we finally stumbled upon this perfect immaculate white apartment in a small rent stabilized building with 2 parking spots (cause we all know how rough parking can be). Upon entering the premises as our own tour guide, as door remains unlocked for viewing, we fell in love. [...] My roommate's room had a slight odor and faint stain in the carpeting where she knelt down to smell and immediately screeched of a foul urine like aroma. We assumed that perhaps since the doors were unlocked, a perspective tenant may have entered with an animal who instinctually marked the territory. She and I dismissed the smell as we would ask for an additional cleaning after signing the lease.
We moved into the apartment on August 1st. The carpet in the bedroom was replaced on the very next day and we carried along as happy renters. The weekend following the move, my boyfriend and I were heading out to the Hollywood Bowl to see a concert. We were followed out to the car by a neighbor who frantically asked us if we knew about the history of the apartment. He explained to us that the previous tenant had not only died in the apartment, but was presumptiously dead for about a week and a half before being found. The neighbor told us that it was he who had called the landlord many times and ignored before calling the fire department to break into the building through the kitchen window and let the police in to bring the body out. The deceased tenant also had small little dog who was trapt in the room in which the man had passed with him; needless to say, even as man's best friend, we all undergo survival mode.
After hearing this, the rest of my night was haunted with thoughts of the ghost of the man who passed away, images of what he looked like when he was both alive as well as decayed, and making sense of what the foul odor and stain was that we had prior complaints of. The next day, I immediately informed my roommate, and we researched online about the laws pertaining to disclosures of death of tenants in the unit before renting and more specifically the sanitation procedures in cleaning up biohazards that we believed the stain was caused by.
On Monday when the management's office was open, we called first thing in the morning to follow up with the reasoning behind the lack of disclosure and demanded proof of sanitation. The landlord as well as the company who represented him was lackadaisical in their response. They had claimed that they didn't know about the death, that he had only passed the same day that he was found, and that lawfully they did not have to discuss the death with us. As for the sanitation, they claimed that there had been no trauma and since the body had been taken out the same day as it expired, there were no decomposition fluids to clean. The management said that they painted the walls, replaced the carpets, and replaced appliances and that was their only duty. Because not only one neighbor, but almost all of them elaborated on the unprofessionalism and scandal of the company we decided to do our own research about the laws and the death.
We called a sanitation company that deals with what is called Trauma Scene Waste and Biohazardous Cleanups who informed us of the proper procedures and certifications that are essential to ensure correct sanitation be established. The owner of the company suggested an easy method of quick relief to our anxiety about the hidden mischief of the apartment. He suggested that we cut the side of the carpet where it meets the wall and lift up the carpet and the floor padding to see if a stain or odor would appear and from there we would know if it was indeed properly sanitized or masked with new patches of carpet. My roommate and I who were determined to find the truth bundled ourselves up in mock face masks of gauze and tape over our mouths with two pairs of gloves on each hand with saran wrap around our shoes entered the room and did exactly what we were guided to do. We found a apparition of a body on the floor of the room in the exact same spot that the stain in the carpet showed as well as animal defecation stains all over the room. There was not a foot of cement that was not covered with some form of bacteria. Enclosed are the pictures of what we had found.
Appalled by what was revealed to us, we immediately notified our landlord and the company again, who brushed us off once again with empty promises of addressing our concerns. We sought further laws and legal advice for days which eventually added upto a month and a half of back and forth negligence from the company. A month and a half after waiting for answers, we finally moved out. We now are awaiting court next month to finally force the rental company to adhere to the severity of what had happened within our apartment and to reimburse us for all inconveniences, restless nights of haunting thoughts, and possibly exposure to harmful bacteria.
In addition to the pictures of what was uncovered after lifting the carpet, we found the coroners report which legally confirmed the accusations of the neighbors. The tenant was indeed dead for upto 10-12 days in the apartment, where he was mildly decomposed and body fluids had in fact seeped through the carpet into the cement flooring.
· Renters Week 2012 [Curbed LA]