Like many Portlanders, Todd Mellors is preparing for Christmas guests, but he's thinking less about the eggnog and more about the puddle of water that forms in his living room whenever it rains, and the black tarp covering his front window.

"It's like, 'Hi, welcome to my shanty,'" he says.

He's been dealing with this major leak since a few days after he moved into his new apartment in Pacific Court on October 1.

Once he noticed the leak, he called and left numerous messages, sent letters, and filed web-based maintenance requests with the building's manager, Capital Property Management, but says he didn't receive a response until a month and a half later, in mid-November. Maintenance staff eventually put up the black tarp, but the window still leaks and now he's lost his main source of natural light.

"We are at the mercy of a vendor's schedule," said Maureen MacNabb, Capital's owner. "We also have to go to the owner [of the building] for approval for that repair."

According to Joe St. Onge, Capital's maintenance manager, the first time he recalled seeing a request was on November 16, and he responded to the request the following day, but couldn't find the source of the leak.

In his opinion, Capital has "some of the better buildings in Portland."

Tenants in other buildings disagree: Several complain about heating issues ["Cold Comfort," News, Dec 6]. One tenant, who declined to have his name published, says "Seeing my breath in my apartment is nothing new when it's below freezing outside."

Jamie, a tenant who asked that her last name not be included because she's afraid of a no-cause eviction, is also frustrated by Capital. She said that she called several times over two and a half weeks to report a major hot water leak in her bathtub. When a maintenance person did show up, they fixed the leak, but broke the faucet handle—it now sprays hot water whenever the shower's on. According to Jamie, her electric bill skyrocketed by $200 because of the leak.

"I can't say in the past we've had numerous complaints," says MacNabb, when asked about the tenants' complaints. "Something seems to be stopping our efficiency, and that needs to be looked at, no question." She also met with Mellors, and says she feels "we could have done a better job in effecting repairs a little more expeditiously." She says she offered him a $200 rent credit, and the right to break his lease if he wants to move.

For Mellors, this incident illustrates the need for a change in landlord-tenant law. "If people stood up and said 'no!' we would have better renters' rights!"