Elijah (__recidivist) wrote in poor_skills,

Apartment problems

I know this is not the best community for this, but you folks seem to know a lot about renting laws. If there is a better community you can direct me to, please do.

I and my two roommates rent a basement apartment in Boston. We've had a lot of problems with the pipes (they're generally very loud, one has been leaking off and old since October) and especially the bathroom. Usually at about once a day, sometimes less, sometimes much more, the water will drain out out the toilet with a loud bubbling sound. Sometimes there is also a sucking sound in the bathtub when this happens. A few times the toilet has filled up with soapy water. A few times both the toilet and bathtub have filled up with dirty water (water with actual dirt in it).

And twice, they have filled up with human shit.

There is human shit in my bathtub. For the second time. The human shit of, presumably, everyone in my apartment building.

Like most landlords, mine like to do things themselves. So, while we obviously don't call them every time the toilet makes noises, we have called them each time about the feces, the dirt, and the bubbles. Because there is clearly a fucking problem here. Only once did they bring a plumber. That time they found that someone had ben flushing pads and accused "the female" (my roommate) of flushing them. She's not stupid and she doesn't flush pads. When we called this time they asked again if we have flushed anything unusual. We do not because, again, we aren't stupid and we don't enjoy having shit in our bathtub.

Adding to the problem is that there is a sizable language barrier between my roommates and the landlord.

I do not know what to do if they do not bring a plumber today. This is clearly a bigger problem can can be solved by spitting in my toilet and turning the shower on with your clothes on, which is all the landlord seemed to do yesterday when there was dirt water in the bathtub. They clearly cannot fix this alone. It sounds to me like something that involves all the fucking pipes in the city of Boston, but how would I know, I'M NOT A FUCKING PLUMBER AND NEITHER IS HE. How do I make them fix this? What agencies can I refer them to to force them to do their jobs? Can I call a plumber myself for another opinion and take that out of the rent? Can I take money out of the rent for pure fucking pain and suffering (including bladder pain because, hello, none of us can pee until they come deal with this)?

Help me.

Summary: My landlords do not have the skills do deal with plumbing problems that clearly affect the health of my roommates and I and are extremely resistant to calling a plumber. What recourse do I have?

EDIT: Thanks for all your comments. Yesterday the landlord told us they couldn't find a plumber, so I got one myself (after a Google search and a phone call, shocker, there are a lot of plumbers in Boston) and a few hours later, we had someone snaking the main drain. They found a couple tampons, so I think it's possible that when the landlords said pads before, they meant tampons.

The landlords cleaned the bathroom for us, but I am still going to contact the Board of Health on Monday. The toilet has already made a bubbling sound a few times and when I came home from staying at my girlfriend's fifteen minutes ago there was a puddle of rust water on the floor outside the bathroom and the pipes were even louder than usual.

The landlords really dragged their heels on this shit and kept trying to pin it on us, even though the three plumbers who came all said it was a problem with the main drain and not our specific toilet, as the landlord said. They told us last time that they would circulate a letter reminding people not to flush anything they shouldn't be (anything other than human waste and toilet paper), but I don't know that I believe that that happened.

The toilet, as it happens, is brand new; a few months ago a hole developed in the tank of our old one and it had to be replaced. I think the dirt thing is a bad sign, granted, it seems preferable to the feces.

The best part is that yesterday during all of this, we had two real estate agents call and ask if they could show our apartment.

EDIT: I just got home from work Saturday night and there is bubbles and dirty TP in the toilet and mulch in the bathtub. I dn't know what to do. None of my friends are in the city tonight to take me in and I don't have the money for a hotel.
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