Don’t fall for these 10 crazy landlord claims
6. Landlord’s claim: ‘It’s in the lease.’
Tenant’s response: “Sorry, but did your Uncle Fred draft that lease? Let’s check state and local laws, too.”
“Just because someone prints it on paper doesn’t make it valid and binding,” says Steven R. Kellman, a tenant lawyer and director of the Tenants Legal Center in San Diego.
Does an illegal clause invalidate the entire lease? No, probably not. But a tenant cannot be held to an illegal demand simply because it’s contained in a legal document.
“A lot of these tenant laws are not negotiable,” Portman says. But many professional leases will “ask people to waive their rights to habitability,” or their repair rights or the landlord’s notice to enter.
“What’s really creepy is that the landlord didn’t write the lease, a lawyer did,” she says.
In short, don’t buy this line. Research the question yourself. There is no such thing as a “standard lease,” and many, even from apartment groups, will contain errors, lawyers say.
“It’s a business. It’s not a public agency. And the last I checked with landlord-tenant law, greed is still legal,” Kellman says. “Tenants need to protect themselves.”
7. Landlord’s claim: ‘I can’t afford to fix it.’
Tenant’s response: “Gee, sorry to hear you’re having money problems, but, um, can you tell me again how that’s my problem? Wait, here’s an idea: Why not use some of the rent I’m paying to bring the unit up to code?”
The landlord will say he is too strapped to fix the water, “but of course the landlord has hot water. What an amazing thing,” Kellman says.
“They don’t negate their obligations to provide habitable dwellings because they don’t have the money,” Kellman says. “If they can’t afford to be a landlord, get out of the business.”
8. Landlord’s claim: ‘No one else complains.’
Tenant’s response: “Wow, what a lucky landlord you are! You’ve found tenants who don’t mind the smell of mold and the drip of leaky faucets! And what good news for me: By now you must have a hefty fix-it fund saved up!”
Sigh. This whopper is such a routine psychological ploy it might as well be printed on the bad-landlord’s business card.
“You’re the only person who complains about the water pressure.” “You’re the only person who complains about the heat.”
“They’re minimizing the problem,” Fry says. “If you’re the only person who’s complaining about it, it must not be very significant. Well, start comparing notes with other tenants in the building. They’re complaining about the same thing. It’s a lie.”
9. Landlord’s claim: ‘I don’t do repairs.’
Tenant’s response: “Oh, you don’t? So does that mean I don’t have to ‘do’ rent?”
Only in very few, special cases – such as when a manager is hired or drastically reduced rent is offered – may a contract be drawn up that arranges for the tenant to make repairs. But these are not regular leases, and they are rare, Portman says.
“Generally the landlord cannot shift obligation to the tenant to provide habitable dwelling,” Kellman says. “That’s the landlord’s responsibility. That’s what they’re getting paid for.”
And if you signed a no-repairs provision in the lease? See No. 7. The clause in the lease is likely illegal, Portman says.
10. Landlord’s claim: ‘I lost my house and have nowhere to live. I need the apartment back.’
Tenant’s response: “Well, I’m sorry that you haven’t been able to pay your mortgage, but I have been able to pay my rent, which means until the lease is up, it’s my home, not yours.”
Unfortunately, tenant advocates have been hearing this one a lot lately, as real-estate investors lose their shirts and suffer foreclosure. But, again, the issue hangs on elementary contract law. The landlord agreed to sell the space for a specified time. No take-backs.
“I think it’s a cultural perception that if you own something you can do whatever you want with it,” says Alouise Urness, a community organizer with the Tenants Union of Washington State. “That’s why we have laws to assure that people who aren’t in an ownership class are protected.”
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I rent a place and he pays the hot
water and the heat cause it's oil
( so he pays the oil )
but he lets it run out every mouth
then we are with out , now he left
it run out of oil and burn something up I've been without hot water
and heat for 7 days now .
so what are my rights ???
and rent is coming due on the 1st.
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Everything you see online is about horrible or crazy Landlords: what about crazy Tenants who make irrational, unverified claims such as: mysterious fumes, odors, oily water, mold, toxic environment, etc. all of which having been investigated (time & expense to the Landlord) by numerous town agencies and others (Water, Fire, Health Dept., HVAC experts) and remain unconfirmed - then break the lease still owing for utilities, additional services provided not stipulated for in the lease, physical damages, late payment of rent fees, etc. I had one tenant who complained about an ant "infestation" - exterminator did not see a single ant when called in at significant cost. The exterminator commented that he saw this "all the time" and that "tenant must be looking to break the lease".
There are many good, responsible landlords that get ripped off and are harassed routinely by their tenants. All landlords are not rich, miserable people and many rely on rental income to survive.
Tenants need to learn that if they wish to break the lease, most landlords would be happy to discuss this and would probably agree to an early termination as long as it does not leave them high and dry - i.e. giving them anywhere from 30-90 days notice so they have adequate lead time to re-let. No landlord wants a tenant that cannot afford the rent or someone who is generally not happy in the rental.
As a landlord and as a past tenant I will state it's all about the individual. When I rented my first apartment I had a security deposit equal to the rent. After vacating the unit 7 years later I received the entire deposit back. During the leasing period the landlord repaired all issues that where needed. As a tenant I returned the home in the way the landlord delivered to me. "That is called being responsible".
As a landlord myself I have taken on the same responsible approach as I was taught. Yet, not everyone has adopted the same behavior. Example, I have a 3000 sq. ft. home that was well maintained until I rented to the tenants from 6e**. I should have known when the first months rent was late, it was going to be a dad situation. I noticed during every inspection that the place was going to pot. From the exterior to the interior. Then we have the calls about this and that. The home came with a trash compactor. I informed them that the compactor should be kept clean in order to keep the pest of ever kind at bay being that the home is in a farming community. They did the opposite and used it for all trash. When I examined it I suggested that they discontinue using it because it will create a problem, and it sure did. I ended up with a pest problem which resulted in a destroyed trash compactor. After that the well. The husband who did not work was a know-it-all and started screwing with the pump. He drained it and didn't reset it properly which resulted in a $2,800.00 motor replacement. Follow came the irrigation system that was damaged due to heavy equipment running over the PCV pipes which flooded my property, the neighbors property and caused trees to die because of lack of water. When the AC went out and they withheld over 50.00% of the rent I knew it was time to contact my attorney.
My attorney informed me of my rights. I had the AC and Heating system replaced which was very expensive. Then I sent a certified letter which included their 60 day notice. The day before they where to vacate I informed them that I will be taking possession of the property the next day. The response from the wife was "I work nights and I could not get a truck until the 3rd". Yet they had over 60 days to get a truck. Five days later, Saturday, I return to a home that was still occupied by the tenants. They had tons of items left behind including furniture, clothing, electronics, "trash", dirty rooms and baths and a "dog". I waited until nearly sunset when the husband came alone stating he was there to clean. Trust me, he alone could not clean that place in one day because it took two full days and three active humans just to clean what "he" eventually left behind - including the dog.
I could go on-and-on about this experience and share other things that happened. Bottom line is "TREAT PEOPLE AND THEIR STUFF LIKE YOU CARE ABOUT IT". If you know you are not the cleanest person on the planet "get someone to help you" as you would if your car is broken and you know you can't fix it.
This goes for both "landlords and tenants". Each side has a responsibility!
PS. The security deposit didn't cover half of the costs.
House are apartment. Depending on how long a person has lived in the rented unit.
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