Good Questions: Is It Worth Trying to Salvage This Apartment Disaster?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Reader Pinky has a lot going on in her home and a lot to say about it. She bought THE book, but wants to know if the physical problems in her rental unit are worth the therapy. Brace yourselves, this is a long one…

(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first. Email questions and pics with QUESTIONS in subject line to: chicago(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com)

Hello AT,

To sum it all up, my apartment is wheezing out its final breath and I’m overwhelmed by it. I moved here about a year ago, sucked in by the vintage charm, amazing location, and homey feel. I overlooked the fact that it is possibly the only unit in the 16-floor building that hasn’t been extensively rehabbed believing that the updates were largely cosmetic and my apt. was great just as-is.

There is still lots to love about the place but as I filled out your worksheets (after buying Apartment Therapy, the book) a lot of my own problems began to make more sense. The decor is just right but I find myself involved in complicated DIY projects again and again when really the problem lies in the following:

1) It isn’t meant to be a studio. It’s a hacked off piece of a much larger unit and as a result I have a dining room, oversized walk-in closet, and a ton of built-ins that seemed charming but are ultimately useless because of their outdated shapes. My IKEA “china” doesn’t merit display and I don’t own enough cloth napkins to justify an entire cabinet of thin little drawers for their storage.

2) Literally everything is broken. My 2-inch wide kitchen features a semi-functional oven that smells constantly of gas, a temperamental microwave that uses up all the counter space, and an antique of a dishwasher that just yesterday called it quits. My windows are so difficult to open and close that my abs & arms are toned from this simple process. The ugly window AC unit seems to just spit dirt and allergens all over the place, the door won’t shut, and every faucet is leaky and lacks pressure. I’ve placed maintenance requests but nothing ever stays fixed for more than a week or so.

I was willing to suck it up for another year until I received a list of “new rules” under my door. I guess the management is trying to “segue” into a no-pets-allowed building and I am now required to use the service entrance and elevator if my dog is with me. I can’t have her in the pretty lobby (where I have to get my mail) or pretty front elevator and dogs can’t be walked on the sidewalk around the building!!?!

I so apologize for the ramble but I’m so overwhelmed by all of these things and the new policies have seriously diminished my feelings of commitment to this building. When I’m here I feel exhausted and ill, not to mention angry every time I get into the service elevator with my dog. I feel like I should give up and get out – is it worth trying to salvage this disaster?

Thank you,

Dear Pinky,

Know that you are not the only one feeling overwhelmed. That is why Maxwell wrote the book. First things first, though: Sounds like your stove/oven is leaking gas. Get it checked out! Also, we think any apartment where maintenance requests go unfulfilled is going to continue to get worse. Any readers have some sound advice for Pinky to breathe life back into a problem zone?

(photo via Chicago Uncommon)