Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's getting cold out

Sorry, I'm still obsessed about having no temporary housing after the fire.  Are all insurance claims turned into their version of Absurdism?   Loss of use coverage is needed the moment that my house is uninhabitable, or at least from the point their first adjuster has seen the house for himself two days after the fire.

48 DAYS later, my dogs are still outside, and I have nowhere to have my clothes that were whisked away for cleaning delivered to so I'm in shorts and sandals outside in the evening and during the night and in the morning with the dogs.

I fall asleep and then wake up worried that I don't hear my dogs, and go out and check on them.  Early this morning, it was 44 degrees. 

After being shown another house last week and saying 'yes, I'll take it' at 5 minutes after the time my appt was set for, I was turned down approximately 75 hours after that because the home owner changed her mind.

Something's wrong with this process if they claim they can get people into a temporary housing within a day.  One homeowner took 8 days to decide she didn't want to rent to me, and it took the insurance company 10 days to rule that one of the houses I was shown was too expensive because it wasn't comparable.  I have a 3 BR/1.5 BA house, and that 'yes, I'll take it' was on a 4 BR/3 BA house that I agree was too big but when all the other choices have been removed, I'm the only one that thinks I need to settle for something at this point.  Their obstructionism has already saved them over a month's rent.

Instead they want to push me into a house with two landladies who had a lot of verbal conditions like - don't use or go upstairs, only go down to the basement for laundry, don't block the driveway because we need to access the garage that we use for storage.  They provide electricity by stringing extension cords along the ceiling of the basement and I could see visible 'fixes' made with tied-off cord.  And the fenced yard is not directly accessible from any door in the house and the gate doesn't close properly so use it as your own risk.  So my 'no' ratcheted up to 'hell no'. I wouldn't obsess over it so much if they didn't repeatedly go back to the topic of that house.

So rather than working on showing me another house, they whine about my pickiness.  Their expertise has led to them showing me 4 houses in close to 50 days, and I've agreed to 3 of them.

Since I'm up most of the night checking on my dogs outside, either when it's warm and they won't be quiet, or when it's cold and they're too quiet, I got on the internet to look for other rentals.  There's got to be someone somewhere that can empathize with my situation and be willing to accept the insurance company paying rent.  I paid for coverage that included this benefit, and now after paying for years without ever having any claim, it's difficult to utilize in an effective manner.

Within 12 hours, I got a call and was shown a townhouse after lunch.  The agent who showed me the furnished townhouse equipped for short-term rentals for displaced or corporate rental was also a dog owner.  Peggy felt my pain, and she also pointed out an ideal window ledge for the cats to sun themselves during the day.

I increased my acceptance rate from 75% to 80% and called the adjuster with the information to get me in there.  He wanted to include the original short-term real estate experts even though I found the place, and the annoying thing is I have to grant them their cut of the deal to handle the direct rent payment, or I have to front all the security deposits and rent until the insurance company reimburses, and he estimated it would be 90 days from date of request to reimbursement check issued.

What an informational gem that call was.  Consider the following: 

Let's say I did as the insurance company suggested and found a hotel that would take us with at least the two dogs back on the night of the fire, and then waited for them to find the longer term temp housing.  I would have paid a nightly fee plus 15% hotel taxes for all these nights on my credit card - even cheap at weekly rate plus pet fees, I could easily see $100/night. They've already suggested monthly reimbursement for the future so on Day 30, I would have sent them the total of my hotel to date ~$3,000.  I could expect that reimbursement around Day 120?   Interest charges would accrue if I didn't pay it off each month.

I know I can buy more clothes, but I already have a lot of clothes.  They're simply out of reach at the moment.  I'm like my dogs when the morning sun comes up.  They don't move to the sunny part of the lawn to warm up, but stay next to the building.

I have considered boarding the dogs. As each house is found there's a lengthy wait of playing  'any minute now you can move in', and my guys have not done well with boarding in the past.  They go to the vet before the stay for the extra shots, then they come home sick and stressed and need another trip to the vet.  My canine boys want to be inside, laying around with their cat friends keeping them company.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is something happening?

Things may now be trundling along  - on the house, not my writing.

Following my last update on Day 30 following the house fire, the insurance company granted permission for a company specializing in short-term housing to find me something and they would pay the rent.

That specialized real estate company called me on Day 30.  Her phone manner did not match the rave reviews I had heard back on Day 1.   They can 'get you in someplace in a day' and 'get you back to living your life'.  Uh, no.  It sounded more like I was being a pain in the ass for having a fire, having a second person (human) in the family not only lives in my house but claims the largest bedroom, and having pets that survived the fire.

So I answered the questions about people and animals with an idea in mind that I don't want a lot in way of live-ability because I don't want to lose a deposit buying someone else's carpet or furniture.   I live with pets, but I understand not everyone else does.  One of my dogs will shed by year end, and it's not pretty.  But ideally, I'd like a fenced yard and the ability to wash clothes.

On Day 34, I received a phone call back from them asking if I was available 'now'.  It was the morning of a work day, and I was working at home since the remaining contents of my house were being packed up to allow for demolition (smoke inside hollow walls - fire smoldered but never got to travel).

So it's my fault for the temp housing delay from Day 34 -> Day 35.  I was shown two houses on Day 35.  Both had laundry; one had a fenced yard.  I can walk my dogs, but the unfenced one had pre-stained carpeting and was really big.  I could imagine a multi-generational family living there, rather than one with a lot of kids due to the generous size of all four bedrooms.

Here's my question about the form I completed when I chose the smaller house - why does it matter if I'm employed and have an acceptable credit level?  I have been out of work, like many others have.  What effect does that have on my house fire and my house insurance company already approving they would make direct payments for my family's temporary housing?   I'm not even a risk in terms of disappearing because there should be awareness that I have a permanent house a town away.

What do they think I do - call up all the cat ladies and invite them over for an evening of the finest boxed wine and cat videos on YouTube?

I filled out their form anyway so I didn't add further to the overall delay. 

On Day 40, I called them to find out what happened.  What happened to tomorrow or the next day?  Since I was under the impression they only showed me houses that would accept -
  1. Growing Angrier Cat Lady 
  2. Mostly Absent College Student 
  3. Barking Dog who generally behaves but must have the last word 
  4. Yodeling Alarm Dog 
  5. Cats (plural) who are all the same color.
Their response - how many pets do you have again?  And what breed are those dogs and their weights? 

I've answered this back on Day 30, and gave them the answers again.