I live in the Woodlands of Knoxville, a “gated” community (the gates are usually open or frequently broken) where people have the option of purchasing units. They can buy these units and live in them or rent them out to students. If they rent them out to students, then they can manage it themselves or allow the office to manage the property for them.
I live in a unit managed by the property. Downstairs, in a privately-managed unit, the tenant has two horrible dogs that bark for hours on end. (Try three and a half hours straight yesterday. Yeah. It’s ridiculous.) Unfortunately for me, because the Woodlands of Knoxville doesn’t manage the unit, the most they can do is fine the tenants and notify the owners of the property. (What a sweet deal, right? They basically get money without having to actually FIX THE PROBLEM. Where can I get a job like that?)
Also unfortunately for me, the Woodlands of Knoxville doesn’t seem to understand that regardless of how they’ve tied their own hands with their policies, my rights are still being violated, and that violation constitutes a breach of their lease agreement. At this point, they want me to call Knoxville Police Department and Knox County Animal Control because they say there’s “nothing else” they can do.
TN Code requires a good faith obligation to perform the duties in lease agreements and in the TN Landlord-Tenant Act. In addition to basically blowing me off in their e-mails (it’s obvious, based on their responses, that they either: don’t read my messages in their entirety, or think I’m an idiot who doesn’t know my rights—like a lot of the other tenants who live here), the Woodlands of Knoxville isn’t really putting forth a lot of effort to enforce the other rules and policies that they have chosen to enact. Tenants aren’t allowed to have grills, for example—they pose a fire hazard when kept on the porches that contain the only staircase in some of the buildings. But a LOT of tenants have grills. Big ones, too. Tenants also aren’t allowed to leave trash out in common areas—on porches, in breezeways, etc. The landlord is actually required by Tennessee Code to provide a dumpster for complexes as large as the Woodlands of Knoxville and to maintain property to provide a clean, habitable living environment. And yet, tenants leave piles of trash outside their doors—sometimes in bags, sometimes loose trash, sometimes in giant trash barrels. And they stay there for days, sometimes weeks.
On my way home today, I took a drive through one SECTION of my apartment complex and took pictures of the trash and grills I saw. These units are townhouses, and there are around 12 of them in the area I perused. 9 out of the 12 had trash or a grill, in violation of the Woodlands of Knoxville’s policies and Tennessee Code. I sent them pictures, which I also uploaded to Flickr, in case they couldn’t open the Zip file I sent them.
Now, if the Woodlands of Knoxville refuses to enforce a minor, revenue-building policy such as removing trash and imposing fines, how on earth can I believe that they’re acting in good faith on my behalf? I can’t, and they don’t understand that, either. It’s mind-boggling. All I have to say is, thank God this is the last year I’m living here.