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Cold Nights

Fall Has Finally Begun in Southern California

Even with global warming, there are cold nights in Southern California, usually beginning in October or November. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any torrid days during the winter: It’s just that they may be bookended between nights when the mercury descends into the 50s or even the 40s.

This presents a problem for Martine and me, because due to rent control, we are persona non grata to the owners of the apartment building in which we live. The owners would love to charge between $3,000 and $5,000 a month for our two-bedroom apartment, but by law they can’t unless they can convince us to move. Under “vacancy decontrol,” they can charge whatever they want from the next tenants.

As part of their policy, they do not readily respond to requests for building repairs. For instance, the wire connecting our thermostat to our gas heater is the original post World War II wire, so that sometimes our heater goes on, and sometimes we freeze. I am no electrician, so I would not venture to make the repairs myself.

This morning I called the apartment management company but have not heard back from them. This is very typical of our interaction with them. They can be counted on to do as little as possible, preferably nothing at all if they can get away with it. So I have to do a little dance, making sure that the wiring is replaced without giving the owners an excuse to get us out of here.