Monday, April 27, 2009

Cautious Optimism: The Lead Saga Continues

Of course, since I only started this blog a week ago and this is only the fourth post, you don't know about the lead saga. Quick version of background: I moved into my lovely apartment last summer when friends moved out of it to move cross country for work. This apartment building is one of two with reasonable rents in this part of my Big City, meaning that a 2-bedroom apartment is approximately the same rent (or less) than 1-bedrooms nearby. Reason for the reasonable rent discovered during licensing process--lead-based hazards. No problem, just get it remediated, right? (No abatement, since that can only be done if the apartment is vacant.)

Easier said than done. And to this point, to their credit, the problem is NOT the landlord. And thus begins the saga. The problem is The Agency. The inspector comes, writes a report, I get it a month later, the inspector calls to come again, he writes a report... I talk to the Lead Person at The Agency, she says "but you passed the inspection." First of all, I didn't. I read the report and it clearly said that I failed. Second of all, if I had passed, shouldn't the licensing worker have called me? Or was I supposed to be psychic and called her to tell her? So after she looks back and discovers that "oh, you're right" she says that she will send me the report. Three weeks go by, nothing. (Yeah yeah, I know I should have followed up sooner. I'll take the blame there.) I email the Lead Person--"I haven't gotten the report yet, could you fax it or scan it and send by email?" No response. Another week goes by, "I'm coming to The Agency for a meeting this afternoon, can I stop by your desk to pick up a copy?" No response, so I decide to skip the meeting.* Another week goes by, I email the Lead Person. She calls, "You need to talk to the Licensing Worker." I call the Licensing Worker. "The Lead Person doesn't send those reports." Wha...? Me: "She said she'd mailed it to me, and it is supposed to contain the directions for my landlord." LW: "Let me call her." Finally an email: "You were supposed to give your landlord the first report. And by the way, here's the informal email from the lead inspector that says what needs to be done."

So I was nervous that the landlord wouldn't be receptive to making the repairs, since none of the paperwork went through the "official" channels that would start a clock running for legal enforceability of his responsibility to remediate the lead. But I spoke with him this morning, and while everything has to run through his boss, he sounded quite willing to get someone to come in and fix my windows. So again I am cautiously optimistic. Maybe I'll be licensed by Christmas.**

*I work for The Local Government and thus this was a meeting for work. I had other priorities that day, and my participation in the meetings isn't all that valuable. In my opinion.

**What does this post have to do with Frum Fostering, you ask? Here it is! I'm definitely inappropriately excited about decorating for Christmas. I went to my favoriate Big Box Store after Christmas and bought a bunch of decorations when they were on 75% off sale, and hope to be able to use them next year. Holidays (mine and the kids') are--and have been--an area of introspection for me as I move forward with the fostering process. Do the kids come to shul with me? Stay up late for sedarim? How to observe Easter? And so on. More to come.

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