You know how it is when you try to do the right thing but it turns out to be the wrong thing? Well, maybe you don’t. You probably always do the right thing. But anyway, that’s what happened to me. Doing the wrong thing unintentionally, that is.
Here’s what happened. In my apartment are a gazillion window blinds. That is only a slight exaggeration. In the living room alone there are four and one of them is huge. It covers three windows. Since I moved in I have found these blinds to be a little tricky. They are honeycomb blinds that go both up and down and, sometimes, don’t.
But I am getting ahead of myself. The first problem I encountered was that the gizmos at the end of the pull cords started to fall apart. They were shaped like peanut shells if peanut shells were built in two halves, and, because they were past their best before date, they kept on separating. I decided this was an untenable situation after the umpteenth falling apart and some temporary scotch tape remedies, and so I bought new toggles for all the cords in the living room and breakfast nook.
Well, to be honest, I only bought the gizmos for toggling the blinds bottom up, not the other way round. I never use the top down cords. In attaching the gizmos, I had to cut off the metal clips at the ends of the cords in order to insert the cords into the new toggles and now the blinds no longer go all the way down to the sill. Hey ho. I am in imperfect blind fixer, but on balance I decided I was further ahead.
The next thing that happened was that first one blind and then another fell out of its mooring in the drywall in the top of the window frame. Yes, you read that correctly. The brackets had been screwed into drywall, not wood. “Ok,” I thought. “I can fix this”. Accordingly, I went to the hardware store and bought the necessary anchors to more firmly affix the brackets to the drywall. They worked like a charm, and I felt like a DIY influencer. I have done this for four blinds now and have a ready supply of anchors awaiting the next blind to fall out of its frame.
Just as I was priding myself on having solved my blind-related home repair problems (with the help of several YouTube videos), I was faced with a new one. The biggest blind, the one covering three windows, got stuck. It would go up and down half way, but it would not lower itself all the way down to the sill.
“OK,” I thought. “I have repaired blinds before, and I can do it again.” No problem. I will go to YouTube, find a video that shows how to take down the blind, then find a video that shows how to take off the cover, then find a video that shows how to untangle a tangled cord spool. Easy.
Well, not quite. I was able to take down the blind and I was able to remove the cover, and I could see that four out of eight cord spools were tangled, but I couldn’t figure out how to untangle the cord spools. My DIY credentials are obviously not up to influencer standards.
That’s when I decided that my landlords should know about the problem. I emailed them to explain the situation and my limited DIY skills, and they advised me to get the blind repaired or replaced. So, I took the blind, cover, and brackets to the local agents recommended online by the blind manufacturer. I figured they would untangle the cords and send me on my way. I was wrong.
As soon as the window blind people saw it, I could tell from their reaction that this blind was not going to be repaired in a hurry. I saw downward glances, I heard sighs, and I watched obfuscation as they passed my blind from one person to another. Long story short, they said it couldn’t be repaired because (a) there was mold in the upper folds and (b) there was a small tear at the top. They gave me information on people who clean blinds, they gave me a quote for a replacement, they told me that I had voided the warranty on the blind by interfering with it, and they offered to give me back the blind. I declined, with thanks.
As a good tenant, I immediately notified my landlords of the bad news and forwarded a copy of the quote for a replacement blind. It won’t be cheap. A few days later they dropped by to measure the window frame. They are a lovely couple and I think that, under different circumstances, we could be friends. I apologized for having voided the warranty by taking down the blind and removing its cover, but they didn’t seem to hold it against me.
As they were leaving, my landlords said they would get estimates from other window blind agencies and told me they were glad to have me as a tenant and after asking about my future plans said they were thinking of selling the apartment. Wait, what?
Since then, and having been made aware of the potential for mold, I have noticed a problem with condensation on the windows which I am now trying to mitigate. There does not seem to be any mold on any other blinds, and I have cleaned the frames and blind rails with a vinegar solution, so I feel confident all other blinds are in relatively good condition.
Now I am left wondering if the landlords are upset because I tried to fix the blind and voided their warranty but are too nice to say so, or that they don’t mind too much about the blind but would rather have a different tenant, or maybe they think that I’ll buy the place from them. It is also possible that none of those things is true. I have no idea. Either way, I am wondering if my attempts at home repair turned me into an undesirable tenant. I can only say I meant well, but that’s probably what all the bad guys say.
A sad story of DIY gone wrong. I don’t know what to tell you.
Me either, Barb.
Not the “bad guy”… but may about naieve?
However, I would say that, based on my own experience of renting in days gone by:
1. What are the terms and conditions of the lease?
2. Lease or not, probably wise to mention any future problems with the landlord before putting your DIY skills to work.
I could tell you about the time I put my meagre plumbing skills to the test and fitted a swish new hand basin and cabinet in the bathroom in my flat.
Oh, what fun we had( sic).
Flooded the flat and almost ruined a new carpet we had just laid.
The landlady was not impressed!
I am so used to fixing whatever I can that it never occurred to me that I shouldn’t do the same as a renter. Now I know better!
And we all thought we were just being helpful, responsible adults.
*Ts & Cs apply
I think in the range of experiences landlords have with tenants, your well-intentioned, but failed, DIY attempt is small potatoes compared to what they have previously experienced. If you mentioned the mold on the unrepairable blinds, they may be telling you how much they like you as they don’t want to hear you saying they are responsible to mitigate the presence of mold. That tends to be an expensive endeavor!
I hadn’t thought of that! Hmmm.
Your mention of mold really caught my attention. The blinds in the condo are almost as old as the condo…17 yrs? We got them to replace those weird strips of whatever that one would pull open and closed. But with all the water issues at BY, I need to check the blinds for possible mold. It is time to replace them in any case. But with what type? I just don’t know. Yet more issues, right? Tenants have not mentioned mold. I think you did what was natural for you to do with your situation. Maybe remind yourself that you are no longer responsible for all that maintenance stuff!
It is worth checking, Mary Beth, but you have much drier air there than I have here. If I have all the windows closed I get condensation on the glass so I’m keeping one open slightly even though it is getting colder.
Hardly the bad guy!
🙂 thanks June.
I”d say, they are pleased with you as a tenant, they don’t mind the blind situation at all, and that they are thinking of selling, and wanted you to know…and they probably hope you’re interested in buying. I imagine the blinds folks would have found more than one reason to claim the warranty void.
Those are kind thoughts, Sally. Thank you. I think you may be right about the blind folks.