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Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

Posted by michaelspicer (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 3:53

My problem is one of bad timing among other things.I live in a senior community.I'm 59 years old.I have been a music collector since 5 years old.I've transferred my music to cdr and I have both audio cd's and movie dvd's stacked neatly in a corner of my living room and all kinds of electronic stuff about ,but all placed nicely.Recently it became time for HUD to do their annual inspection of each unit.The management went to all the apartments to do prechecking so as to do any needed repairs before the state does their inspection.The manager looked over the apartment and told me my boxes had to go.The boxes contain all my audio video stuff and 3 of them have my dad's property that he'll be getting back when he returns home next month.He's currently in a nursing home due to a stroke.He and my mother live in the apt beside me. The manager told me that I have a lot of cleaning to do,to consider it a spring cleaning and told me she'd come back in a week to reinspect.I didn't see the kind of dirt that she obviously saw,but ,not wanting to face eviction, I spent 5 days breaking my back to scrub floors and kitchen appliances ,etc..She also said i had to get rid of all my boxes that they're a fire hazard...she wants 'no' boxes around claiming they're fire hazards.I mean be serious..I don't know ANYONE who lives in an apartment and doesn't have boxes somewhere around inside.She came back today to reinspect and commented, "well..it looks better..you still have a lot to do". i'm fed up with this nonsense.It turns out she was mostly refering to my stuff as being the mess,not dirt.I have one corner of the room completely taken up with stacked cd's and dvd's but they're stacked neatly.I have several electronic units on my entertainment center a rack full of DVD's and a sofa and a small coffee table.I have a fairly small living room but it's all placed neatly and organised.I also have to sleep in the dining area because the bedroom is right off a busy road that has traffic daily and nightly.My air matteress is complete with sheet and plush blanket and stays in the dining area which is beside the living room.It's not messy AT ALL.I realised today,what she's unhappy about is how all this stuff lessens the availbale recreational space in the rooms./there's plenty of space to walk to each room but (for example)kids wouldn't be able to play with toys ,etc.it's compact but not messy or in disarray . it's all organised but it still makes her unhappy..can she really believe i'm going to get rid of my music and electronic equipment just because it renders less walking space in the living and dining room???and obviously she doesn't like the air mattress taking up room in the den.To make matters worse ,bad timing was involved.My dog woke me up today to tell me he went potty.I normally leave pee pads for him on the bathroom floor.Last night while i was doing some of that spring cleaning i was told to do, I forgot to put the pee pads back down.So after my dog woke me up,i had just gotten my pants on, and the manager comes banging on the door to do the reinspection.i wasn't aware that my doggy had layed one on the bathroom floor (just minutes before i got up,) where i normally put the pads.The manager became aware of it immediately after i let her in..Firstly upon entering,she stated that "it looks better".secondly,she went in to the bathroom,i heard "oh my god" and she immediately stormed out of the apartment.So i don't know what to expect now.I was told by a neighbor i might think about contacting legal aid because he sees an eviction in the forecast. Somebody else told me that's probably not the case,that the manager is merely trying to please the state inspectors at this point but that i shouldn't worry about being evicted.I've lived here for almost 4 years.I moved here for the peace and quiet ..I'm bipolar and have dspd and i figured that i'd get peace and rest in a senior community,whereas family communities weren't quiet enough with people going to and from all hours of the day & night and i sleep days.It's stressful here in this complex which i didn't expect in a senior community. When mentioning to the manager, my hearing a neighbor's music(loud bass),i was told that i'm to expect that, living in an apartment.They don't enforce much of anything regarding loud noise here.I was told by someone else that most senior communities are run much tighter than this one and that the owners of this complex aren't concerned about things like curfew or loud music on the property, from cars or other apartments,etc..Anyway i'm sitting here tonight wondering if i'm facing an eviction anytime soon.Can i get evicted for having too much stuff if it's not in disarray or causing risk of injury? The windows aren't blocked.Plenty of room to escape a fire.Also my sleeping in the living room is for my own health.Bipolars can go into severe fits of mania when losing as much as just one night of sleep.. Routine ,daily sleep is essential regarding this illness..not an option./I mentioned this to the manager who was working here when i first moved in (which was in 2010) and explained that it was the reason i was moving into(what i thought at the time)was a quieter and more peaceful complex..i soon found that ,like so many people i've known in the past,she didn't take my illness seriously because i'm so physically healthy.i don't know what to do at this point because if i'm facing an eviction ,i'd have no place to go and what's worse,my mother would also have to move as she's 89 and has sleep apnea.she moved in next door to me a year ago.when my father returns home i'll be helping her with him.my dining room and living room are adjoined and together they look like a small music studio or something due to the equipment and all.no mess,no disarray it's all organized and very neat. I can't afford to be moving right now but i also am not tossing my music,movies and stereo equipment in the trash and i can't afford a larger apartment.am i in a dilemma or am i worrying unnecesarily?(btw,i DID toss the dog log as soon as i discovered it)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

First, chill--nobody gets evicted rapidly, so there's time to get info, etc.

Since you're having a HUD inspection, normal rules might not apply to you. I would say that you need to contact someone connected w/ HUD and find out what your requirements are in terms of how much intrusion is allowed/required. Her complaints aren't something that other landlords would be allowed to make, legally (though that hasn't stopped some of them).

HOWEVER, I found a HUD inspection checklist, and nowhere on it is there a mention of how much room is required to remain in the space. It's all about the physical condition of the walls, floors, appliances, windows, etc.
(google "Inspection Checklist - HUD")

So no, I don't think she could successfully evict you. And if there are no physical repairs to the property that need to be done, I think you should deny her entry. Just keep the chain on and say, "Now's not a good time."

Of course, she can make your life difficult if she wants to badly enough--but she didn't before the annual HUD inspection. It's a lot of work to evict someone; I don't think she'll bother, to be honest.

In the meantime, if you feel you need to get her off your back, what if you got tall shelves, and set the boxes on those? Can you swing that? Everyone is allowed to have shelves with belongings on them; maybe the fact that your stuff is in boxes or stacked on the floor is setting her off.

I honestly don't think she can evict you because you own things, nor because your permitted dog pooped on the (presumably) tiled bathroom floor.

Or another idea--you sleep in the dining room--what is in your bedroom? If you moved things around, and had some of the boxes, etc., in the bedroom, would that lessen the crowded look?

(for that matter, move the dining room table into the bedroom, and simply officially switch the rooms. NOBODY--certainly not HUD--cares what you use the rooms for.)

(and HUD doesn't give a flying leap if you have crumpled candy bar wrappers everywhere, or soap scum all over the sink. Mildew, that's bad, bcs it's damage. But your stuff? HUD doesn't care, and a sane landlord doesn't as well--until the load is so high that the floor is in danger.)

If all that stuff on boxes were in a bookcase, you'd have the same fire hazard, right? Which is why the "fire hazard" thing is sorta bogus--I've never heard of someone not being allowed to have lots and lots of stuff in their apartment.

In fact, if you had books, floor to ceiling, alll walls, it would be a bigger fire hazard than what you do have. CD cases, audio equipment--that doesn't burn.

Complaining about a single piece of dog doo on the bathroom floor (i.e., not soaking into the carpet) is not something that would get you evicted at any other place. It might make a landlord worry about the carpet, but they couldn't do it right away, and you'd have a chance to persuade them that they were mistaken in thinking you were careless with their property.


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

I found this--I have no idea how much the "look like a model home, no one living there" is credible.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_to_clean_and_how_for_hud_apartment_inspections

But still--you can't get evicted that easily.


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oh, and...

Oh, and in the future--if you do let her in, make her wait outside the door while you, oh, put your pants on, go to the bathroom, check all the floors, flush the toilet, wash the plate in the sink, etc.

She can cool her heels out there while you give yourself time to remove anything she might hassle you over.


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More on shelves

Shelves are particularly good bcs not only do they look like you made a conscious decision about storage instead of just letting stuff sit around (play a mindgame with her), they also keep boxes, etc., from spreading out horizontally because they make it possible to spread them UP vertically.

Often boxes spread about because they don't stack well. And if you want something from one of the boxes, it's a pain, so people leave them spread out, which makes the room look crowded and unorganized.

So, my vote is to check Freecycle and Craigslist and see what you can come up with for tall shelves. (Or short ones, even)

Or, look into some like this one from Walmart.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sterilite-5-Shelf-Shelving-Unit-Light-Platinum/8282891

It's 75" tall, so that's good. It's designed for sort of lightweight stuff (I wouldn't fill it full of boxes of books and expect it to last very long).

Walmart also has cheaper ones, w/ a 50-pound limit per shelf, 2 for $50.

And there are metal versions of this sort of thing, too. I have an inexpensive one I've been using for years.

ANOTHER IDEA: I mentioned moving some of the stuff into the bedroom--if you move it around a little in the apartment, half in one room, half in another, it'll look as if it's less stuff.

ONE LAST NOTE:
When she brings this up again, remind her that HUD only cares about the integrity of her building; it isn't interested in the belongings of the people she rents to.

I cannot believe that in that whole complex, you are the messiest person w/ the most stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: tall plastic shelf unit, only $40


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

The boxes were actually in the bedroom when she told me to remove them.they were stacked atop one another against a wall.She said "fire hazard" and gave me a week to unpack what was inside.I already had a few pieces of audio equipment in my living room and when i unpacked i added more..nowhere else to put it.I made certain that it's all organized well and polished of any soil and not obstructing pathways in or out of the room, 'nor blocking access to the window. i'm not a messy person but when she inspected(initially),she found the kind of stuff that most of us wait til we move out of a place to bother cleaning.I've lived here nearly 4 years now ,so i admittedly did have some legitimate cleaning to perform..It was when she voiced her dissatisfaction with my 'stuff' that i got angry as well as fearing eviction.She stood in my entryway yesterday,(the re-inspection) looking at my 'stuff' and says " it looks better..but..you DO know that the state inspectors are going to be in here on the 31st!?..)I simply nodded and very casually or matter of factly said "yeah"..it was a kodak moment. I want to thank everyone for their response.i feel 100% better now.I spoke to a few people(acquaintances) at the local Denny's this morning shortly after my initial post here and they told me how absurd my manager's notion sounded to them,but i still felt panicky..The responses here put an end to that panic..Thanks again to all of you who replied.btw,i never bothered to move my vinyl LP's..They're still in the bedroom.Classic 60's 70's and 80's fire hazards don'tcha know!

This post was edited by michaelspicer on Thu, Jan 30, 14 at 11:27


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

The boxes were actually in the bedroom when she told me to remove them.they were stacked atop one another against a wall.She said "fire hazard" and gave me a week to unpack what was inside.I already had a few pieces of audio equipment in my living room and when i unpacked i added more..nowhere else to put it.I made certain that it's all organized well and polished of any soil and not obstructing pathways in or out of the room, 'nor blocking access to the window. i'm not a messy person but when she inspected(initially),she found the kind of stuff that most of us wait til we move out of a place to bother cleaning.I've lived here nearly 4 years now ,so i admittedly did have some legitimate cleaning to perform..It was when she voiced her dissatisfaction with my 'stuff' that i got angry as well as fearing eviction.She stood in my entryway yesterday,(the re-inspection) looking at my 'stuff' and says " it looks better..but..you DO know that the state inspectors are going to be in here on the 31st!?..)I simply nodded and very casually or matter of factly said "yeah"..it was a kodak moment. I want to thank everyone for their response.i feel 100% better now.I spoke to a few people(acquaintances) at the local Denny's this morning shortly after my initial post here and they told me how absurd my manager's notion sounded to them,but i still felt panicky..The responses here put an end to that panic..Thanks again to all of you who replied.btw,i never bothered to move my vinyl LP's..They're still in the bedroom.Classic 60's 70's and 80's fire hazards don'tcha know!


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

I agree that the landlord is overstepping bounds and you needn't worry if the basics of the structure are being maintained and cleaned.

Just one thing: if the boxes you mention are cardboard, I'd switch them out to plastic containers - better protection for the contents, less chance of mildew, and less of a perceived clutter and "fire hazard" (whether true or not.)

Good luck!


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

It's only a fire hazard if they are blocking your exits or windows.


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

First, try to get the inspection standards *in writing* from the manager. She's either got a list specific to your complex that she is working from, or a list from HUD. She's not allowed to make up standards.

Second, talleysue has some excellent ideas if you can do any of them. The main thing is to make sure that people can move freely about the apartment without bumping into the boxes. All doors and windows should be easy to get to.

Third, even if HUD doesn't pass your apartment, you are given chances to fix whatever they find wrong. And they will give you a nice, specific list of what's wrong, so that you will know exactly what you have to fix.


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

I found the link below that lists what HUD inspectors are looking for, if this is of any help to you.

Please come back and let us know that all is well with you.

Here is a link that might be useful: inspection list


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

We only have one side of this story. Might there be a hoarding issue?


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

I think it's a bit too soon to jump on the hoarding bandwagon. You can have lots of stuff and not be a hoarder.

If the tenant's belongings do not create a fire hazard, do not block doors and windows and do not cause damage to the unit or invite an infestation of bugs, there's no reason the tenant can't have their things around them.


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RE: Can i get evicted because my living room looks like a studio?

I can't believe that no one can't have boxes or anything that is nicely stacked up.

I agree there has to be room to get out in case of fire plus if you need ambulance, they must be able to get in and out with their stretchers they use.

Does she also know for sure you are not in the bedroom, its more storing those boxes due to he noise level?

Is there no storage lockers for you all to put extras in them?

And pets have accidents, it would be totally different if it was dried up and could see it wasn't being picked up. Plus make sure the smell from it isn't there either.

Seniors are noisy due to losing their hearing and tvs, etc. are full blast and so noisy.

Or you have to tell your dad that he needs to get a storage unit so the boxes can be put in it.

I agree it might be they are on the ground and if put on shelves, cupboards, etc. she might be okay with it and no get down on you over it.

I agree she can't come barginging in as she likes, put the chain on and make her wait.

And yes, containers are great to have, the clear ones so you know what is in them.

Can you find CD's storage cabinets,etc. to put them all in too?

And maybe put the mattress you sleep on, what only at night, away for the day or buy a pull out couch to use if there is space and you can afford to something like that??????


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