Designed by Nicole Skarlatos

When I returned to my student-only apartment complex from winter break, I was watching television on my couch when I looked up and saw a portion of my ceiling looked as it was bulging downwards. Because I was curious and mildly concerned, I stood on a chair to investigate the spot in question. It did not take me long to realize it was full of water from the inside.

Worried the ceiling may pop open at any moment, I filed a maintenance request. It wasn’t raining or snowing, so I wasn’t too concerned.

The next morning, I woke up to two people yelling at each other in my living room. As none of my roommates were coming back for another week, I was justifiably confused as I didn’t have an email saying maintenance would be there.

But they were there. I thought I heard two people, but only saw one — a young girl I recognized from the front desk of my complex. I say hello and before she can answer, a middle aged man walks through my front door.

He introduces himself and goes on to point to my ceiling. I was so concerned about the random people in my apartment, I had yet to look at the state of my ceiling. When I went to bed, the ceiling was in tact. Sealed. Not open.

On this fine January morning while I stood speaking to two people I didn’t know, my ceiling had a hole in it.

The girl goes on to tell me she was poking around with the stick to locate the spot I was talking about in my maintenance request. To be sure this was the wet spot I was talking about, she poked it, only for it to go all the way through and drop drywall pieces all over the hardwood floor.

Wondering where the man came from? I was too, until he goes on to tell me he was placing a bucket in our ceiling to catch water coming in from the roof. To clarify, they didn’t want to fix the roof until the weather was clear — which it was at the time of this incident. So to catch any water coming in through the hole in the roof, a bucket — as in a large orange Home Depot bucket — was placed on the rafter in the ceiling.

Fast forward a month, and the bucket is still in the ceiling and the hole is still there. After Reno’s several snow storms the past month, water has made its way past the bucket and into the apartment. Countless calls have been made to the maintenance desk, but the only answer we’ve been given is to put an additional bucket under the hole so the dripping water doesn’t ruin our floors.

While I understand there’s worse issues to have, it’s frustrating to feel ignored by your apartment complex that promises so much before you move in. They tell you there will be constant security, helpful staff and countless amenities. These are embellished statements.

Moral of the story, I pay way too much money to have a hole in my ceiling.


Olivia Ali can be reached at or on Twitter @OliviaNAli.