We decided to rent for a year rather than buy immediately in Texas for a couple reasons: 1) We don’t know the area and we didn’t want to accidentally buy in a bad spot. 2) We hoped to buy a fixer upper and we didn’t want our kids living in a construction zone. I can’t tell you how many of my friends said, ‘You are going to LOVE renting! It is so great not to have to worry about anything for once! No home repair worries! That’s someone else’s problem!’
The house we are renting is in a great area super close to my work. I can, and do, walk when the weather is nice. The house is 70 years old. Yeah. 70. Our house in California was 60 so the age didn’t scare me – plus, maintenance isn’t my problem! The difference between my house in California and this house in Texas is my house was well maintained. This house…well…it just isn’t.
We had problems from day one like lights, sprinklers, and gates not working but we moved in anyway because it didn’t seem like a big deal. What we didn’t realize was the hell the plumbing would be in this house. Every time we took a shower, the toilets bubbled and emptied. If you flushed while someone was in the shower, or within 20 minutes of a shower, the toilet would overflow. We called them out about once a month to ask if they could fix it for four months. They’d send out a drain snake person but it was never fixed so we got in the habit of not flushing toilets around shower or laundry times (which is hard to train a 4 year old so we still ended up cleaning toilet flooding regularly). Things kept (and keep) breaking. The oven and stove were out for a couple weeks in December. The light fixtures in the bedrooms stop working sometimes (we’d replace the bulbs but they’d burn out in hours so we stopped) so we use flashlights for weeks until they send someone out to replace the fixture. Yes, I could be a pain on these but I was trying to be understanding that the homeowner is a teacher and this was his parents house and he has no money.
But February was…well…I just can’t. My husband turned on the washing machine and left to run errands. He came home and raw sewage had filled the shower and tub. The toilets would no longer flush. He called the property management company who said they’d send someone out. They still hadn’t arrived by 5pm THE NEXT DAY so we called again (we’d been not showering and driving to the grocery store to use the bathroom). They finally sent someone out to snake the lines at 8pm. That guy pushed the snake further than the last service guys and found/removed a giant root ball that had grown into the lines and the sewer drained from inside the house. Hurray!
We still had problems though, the fill valve in the master bathroom had stopped working in January and we had to keep a bucket in the bathroom to fill the tank with so we could flush. The toilet base was also leaking so we had to keep a towel around it. We asked them to fix both those things and they came out a couple days after the sewage backup to fix them. They fixed the fill valve but discovered a crack in the pipe under the toilet and couldn’t put the toilet back on correctly so it rocks when you sit on it.
Then the toilets stopped flushing. Again. Yay! More overflowing toilets to clean!
Yeah. Turns out, the guy who ‘fixed’ the master bathroom toilet was trying to get the toilet back on and accidentally pushed a ton of wax down the pipe…then left. We called the property management company to fix it. Another service company came to snake the lines and found the wax and removed as much as they could. They talked to us about the repairs needed on the broken pipe in the master bath and told us to be prepared to have water shut off and no access to the bathroom for a while. They would be tunneling under the house to fix it.
By this point, I’m done. The whole reason we were renting while we renovate the house we just bought was to prevent our kids from living in a construction zone. We are replacing all the flooring, painting the whole house, replacing 24 windows, completely remodeling the master bathroom, and redoing the flooring, tiling, and cabinet paint in the kitchen. Yet, this rental house is so much worse than a construction zone. Turns out, I prefer dust and noise to cleaning raw sewage repeatedly. Call me crazy! I asked the property management company if we could be released from our lease if we could be out in 30 days due to this constant nightmare.
They have declined.
So now I’m waiting for yet another service company to schedule time to do the tunneling under the house to fix a broke pipe and we’ll have no water or flushing toilets…again. My frustration level is through the roof and I feel so trapped in this situation. Renting has been the worst experience and I never want to rent a house again. I’ll choose construction where I control the environment every time. I’m so lost on where to go from here and I’m so tired of cleaning up poop – literally.
Beks is a full-time government employee who enjoys blogging late into the night after her four kids have gone to sleep. She’s been married to Chris, her college sweetheart, for 15 years. In 2017, after 3 long years working the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, they paid off more than $70K and became debt free. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s exploring the great outdoors.