Tradie me this…

So a few weeks ago, I started having issues with the apartment I’m renting. Basically it flooded, with the water coming from the apartment above me. My gripe isn’t with the incident itself, but with the multitude of tradesmen that have been around to fix it and deal with the subsequent repairs.

The property manager for my apartment has been fantastic throughout the whole ordeal. Huge props to her and the real estate agency. But the tradies have been an absolute nightmare.

Initially they sent around a plumber the day the issue was first discovered. He said it was the bathroom in the apartment above me, and thought that putting some silicone around the fittings would fix it. It didn’t.

The problem kept getting worse and was spreading. So they sent around a different plumber, who working on the first plumbers diagnosis of it being a problem with the bathroom, proceeded to replace the bathroom fittings in the other apartment entirely. That didn’t fix it either.

By this time the water had caused pretty severe carpet damage in the bedroom and the hallway. And water was leaking from the ceiling of the bedroom, toilet, and bathroom.

Then the real fun began. I needed an electrician sent around to check all the power outlets and lights because there was so much water. I obviously had to go to work rather than sit at home all day dealing with tradies, so as is quite common, I asked the electrician if he could get the keys from the property manager and let himself in. Oh, no. Can’t do that, it’s too inconvenient to drive all the way from Crawley to Claremont…Seriously?

Then they sent around yet another plumber to take a look. Same thing. I had to be home – going to pick up the keys from the real estate agent was inconvenient. Yet again with the pipe fitters and tilers. And they still hadn’t figured out where the water leak was coming from!

Eventually they figured it out – the pipe fitter got talking to the plumber and between the two of them they came to the shocking realisation that it was a problem with the mains water supply and not the damn bathroom. So they had to knock a hole in the wall and cut a hole in the ceiling of my bathroom to get to the piping. That’s a whole other story, but the point is that they managed to stop the water leak. It’d been leaking for a week and a half at this point.

Then came the endless stream of tradies to deal with the fallout. Checking all the electricals. Removing the water damaged carpet. Replacing doors and window frames that had been water damaged. Painting the relevant affected areas with anti-mould paint…It goes on.

But I kept running into the same problem. The tradies kept refusing to actually go to the property manager to get the spare set of keys and kept expecting me to be home on no notice. I have quite literally lost count of the number of times they’ve rung me on my mobile phone at work and said “we’ll be there in 20 minutes, you have to be there to let us in”. Dude, seriously, I have a job. When I said that they needed to go and get the spare set from the property manager they simply said “no”.

Here’s the thing, I live by myself. I do not have the luxury of having a partner who can stay at home and take care of these kind of things while I’m at work. My partner and I don’t even live together (for a variety of reasons). It is not an option. They all seem to be working on the assumption that people don’t live alone and that you can always make arrangements for one person to be home to deal with them.

If they actually gave sufficient notice, then maybe I could make some kind of arrangement. The problem is that they never show up on time.

For example, last week:

Tradie (5pm at night): I’ll be there at 6.30pm to fix it.
Tradie (6.30pm at night): I’ll be there at 9am in the morning to fix it.
Tradie (9.30am next morning): Sorry, I’ll be there at 11am to fix it.
Tradie (11am): I’ll be there around 1pm.
Tradie (1pm): I’ll be there between 2-2.30pm.
Tradie (3pm): …

For the record, they actually showed up at 4:45pm, stayed for 10 minutes, and then said they were knocking off for the day. This despite it being an urgent job because half the ceiling was collapsing in the toilet that they were supposed to fix the day before…

So even if I was able to arrange for someone to be there to let them into the property, nobody has the luxury of sitting around all day waiting for them to actually turn up to do the job. All of my friends have jobs. Nobody can take an entire day off in the hopes that the tradie will actually show up.

I know this is a rant-fest, but the attitude of these tradies is abhorrent. If I say that I can’t be home because I actually have to be at work, then that’s the end of the story. Go and get the spare set of keys from the property manager – that’s why they have them!  If you say you’re going to be there at a particular time, then be there! I can tolerate being 5-10 minutes late or so, I know traffic can be a hassle sometimes, but wasting my entire fucking day is not on.

And seriously, if you’re going to track mud and crap through my apartment, clean up after yourselves. If you’re going to use my toilet when you’re on the job – don’t piss all over the toilet seat, and please flush afterwards.

Ugh. It’s not even over yet. They still have to replace the carpet that was torn up, and they have to fix the ceilings.

Why me?


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