SOMERVILLE, MA—According to the residents of 117 Maple St., Unit No. 2, literally every appliance, fixture, surface, and structural feature in their apartment is defective to some degree.
Tenants Justin Kelly and Luke Epting told reporters Wednesday that the two-bedroom apartment's myriad flaws range from cosmetic issues such as uneven floorboards and ceiling stains, to slightly more bothersome problems like the poor cell phone reception in the bedrooms and the fact that the electrical sockets only have two prongs.
"The walls have a few nicks on them, and you have to pry open the tray on the DVD player with your fingers if you want to watch a movie," said Kelly, 27, adding that during winter months they have to put a bowl under the radiator to collect water that leaks from the supply pipe. "And sometimes the living room light doesn't work, but not because the bulb is burnt out. You just have to flick the switch on and off a few times real quick and wait for the pop sound before the light turns on."
"It's weird, but that's what you have to do," Kelly continued.
The two roommates told reporters the vast majority of the flaws are easily worked around, explaining that over the course of their 22-month occupancy they've gradually gotten used to the shrieking hot-water pipes and having to plug the drafty windows with bath towels. Kelly and Epting added that only a few items are considered completely unusable, including the entryway intercom, two of the four stove-top burners, both residents' printers, and most of the lamps.
"There are a few issues, but it's not like we won't be getting our security deposit back or anything," Kelly said. "So long as we don't burn the place down, anyway."
None of the apartment's three smoke alarms was fully functional at press time.
While noting that each of the rooms possesses its own array of unique imperfections, Epting suggested that the bathroom likely contains the most defects.
"Some of the tiles are missing, and you can see the showerhead is rubber-banded on," said the 26-year-old paralegal, noting that the thick layer of condensation on the toilet was "pretty normal," and that sometimes the bathroom sink has really low water pressure even if you turn the hot and cold water up all the way. "Also, you have to grab the doorknob and lift it up to close the door. Otherwise it will open up on you while you're in there."
"The thing that's kind of annoying is that it's really hot in there all the time," added Epting, raising his voice above the buzz of the overhead lighting. "But luckily it's right off the kitchen, which is always freezing, so it balances out."
Although Kelly and Epting admitted that the discoloration behind the kitchen sink was spreading and that the lock on the apartment's front door had grown increasingly "temperamental," they said that the apartment was in a great location and well worth the $1,400 rent.
"None of it's so bad that we need to call somebody to get it fixed," Kelly said. "It's just small stuff. Like there's this one nail in the hallway that keeps coming back up every couple weeks, and sometimes I'll stub my toe or tear a sock on it. I tried to knock it back in, but the hammer's a piece of shit and the head keeps coming off."
Unlike the apartment's two primary residents, Epting's girlfriend of five months, Liz Fehrenbach, 25, admitted that she remains unsettled by the problems.
"The apartment really doesn't get any natural light, but when it does, it's so bright that you can't watch the TV because of all the glare, and the entire apartment just feels like an oven," said Fehrenbach, adding that the wireless Internet the residents steal from their downstairs neighbors only seems to work in the living room and hallway. "I still always forget that you can't use the toaster and microwave at the same time or else the power goes out."
"But at least I barely ever notice that weird garbage smell anymore," Fehrenbach continued.
When asked for comment, landlord Frank Czerniak stated that he planned to raise the rent by $250 a month when the current lease expires in May.