7 more outrageous landlord claims
Landlords may have a good reason why they haven't fixed the pipes or returned your deposit. Then again, they may not. It's up to tenants to tell the difference.
First off: a shout-out to all the good landlords out there. Thank you. Now, this is not about you.
No, this is about the not-so-great landlords, the ones who give good landlords a bad name. The ones who do little, spend less and feed tenants some pretty wild lines about why the air conditioning is still out.
Tenants, take note. If the landlord starts sputtering, only you can prevent a long, strange trip in the apartment. No housing cop is going to drop by for a routine check. Landlords themselves may be unaware of their legal duties; no one makes them take a test to enter the rental business.
Step one: Know which of the landlord's explanations are pure wind. Housing laws vary by state, but tenants have some pretty basic rights everywhere. For a sense of what they are — and how you can respond — start with these seven landlord claims. Then, for more, check out our first installment, "Don't fall for these 10 crazy landlord claims."
If the landlord doesn't respond, seek help from a tenants association in your area.
1. Landlord's claim: 'It's my apartment. I can come in whenever I want.'
Tenant's response:"Sorry. You may be paying the bank for the mortgage, but I'm paying you to occupy the space. So, unless it's an emergency, please set up a time in advance."
Some landlords may be a little more coy, even polite. Christine, a Maryland renter, says she had a landlord upstairs who entered her apartment repeatedly. He told her he had to bring her a fire extinguisher. Another time, batteries. Then another fire extinguisher. One time, he checked the television hookup. Finally, she left.
"Always trust your gut instinct," says Christine, still fearful about having her full name published. "I ignored it for months and knew right away when he started making excuses for coming into my apartment that something was not right."
Here are the facts: The landlord does have a legal right to enter, even if only for an inspection, but laws govern when and why. In most places, the landlord must provide at least 24 hours written notice along with a time. Only in an emergency may a landlord enter unannounced.
So if the washing machine is overflowing and the folks downstairs are getting a soaking — OK, the landlord can come in with a screwdriver and some towels.
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Even month-to-month renters without a lease establish tenancy and have a right to privacy. So unless there's a fire, a flood or a pack of squealing raccoons, landlords will have to snoop through their own families' stuff.
2. Landlord's claim: 'By the way, we're renting your apartment for Mardi Gras.'
Tenant's response: "Excuse me. No you're not. My lease isn't up."
Meghan Chapman was living in a New Orleans rental— sweetly perched right on the parade route— when management slipped a 30-day notice under the door after Christmas. She and her boyfriend were welcome to return after the high-rent month.
"We went and talked to them," says Chapman, who had several months left on the lease. "They had no sympathy."
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According to New Orleans lawyer Hardell Ward, a provision in Louisiana law allows a landlord to take possession of the property — even in the middle of a lease term — as long as the landlord provides one month free rent and has put that option in the lease.
Still, adds Ward, who works with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, he's seen other tenants get kicked out before Mardi Gras without the free month.
And, to be sure, the law in other states does not allow a landlord to terminate a lease.
"That's blatantly illegal," says Janet Portman, a landlord-tenant lawyer with Nolo, a publisher of legal information. "If you have a lease, the whole point is you have the apartment for the duration of the lease, unless you do something like not pay the rent or some other bad behavior."
The upshot: If landlords say they want the unit back for their nephew, or themselves, or a wealthier tenant, it's almost always not OK — until the lease is up.
- On our blog, 'Listed': Elderly residents accused of partying like frat boys
3. Landlord's claim: 'It's just a standard lease — no worries.'
Tenant's response: "Uh … well, I'm going to need the standard one day to review the document."
Guess what? There's no such thing as a standard lease.
That's right. You can find lease forms at legal sites online; leases distributed by property-management associations; even leases that some guy typed out in his basement and printed on paper with stately legalesque borders.
That's all fine. But there simply is no "standard lease," even for a particular state.
"It's a catch-all phrase aimed to prevent you from asking questions or scrutinizing," says Portman, also author of "Every Tenant's Legal Guide." "It's not like an IRS form."
Portman doesn't take sides and helps landlords, as well. She reviews leases for organizations throughout the country. The scary part, she says, is that many documents — even ones the lawyers draft — contain clauses that not only favor landlords but that also wouldn't hold up in court.
"They ask people to waive their rights to habitability … to notice to enter … to repair and deduct," she says. "They're not legal, but the tenant doesn't know that."
Always ask for a copy of the lease to review overnight. If something doesn't make sense or seems troubling, call a tenant advocate or lawyer for help.
4. Landlord's claim: 'Other people in the area don't have air conditioning.'
Tenant's response: "Well, isn't that special? Now can you fix the unit I'm paying you for?"
This is an even bigger stretch than the popular "No one else complained" or "It's just you."
All miss the mark. A rental agreement is between the tenant and landlord. What others do in the building or the neighborhood or across town is irrelevant. If you agreed to pay for an apartment with air conditioning, the landlord has to maintain the air conditioning.
"It's just basic contract law," Portman says.
MSN Real Estate reader "Herkxena" reported being fed that line by an apartment manager after requesting that the air conditioning be repaired quickly; it was hot, and the tenant's elderly mother shared the unit.
The manager said they'd get to it when they could find a repairman "and that I should just live with it because others in my area have apartments with no air conditioning."
Herkxena informed the manager that the lease agreement included air conditioning. When the manager hung up at that, Herkxena called headquarters.
"We had a new heating/air-conditioning unit installed within 24 hours," Herkxena writes. "Had I not complained to the corporate office, who knows how long it would have been?"
Having been a landlord for 35 years, I think I have been through about everything. I am truly honest and have have had some rentors that have stayed for 13 years or better, only to turn on you one day, cause they realise they have paid you over 40000 and could have had a decent house for that amount!! This particular one decided she wanted a new bathroom even though there was not a single thing wrong with the one there! She just wanted me to spend some money! I had just redone everything in the place before she moved in i.e. new appliances, carpet and vinyl, the walls are paneled so what is there to do? The carpet and such was still in very good shape as she did take good care of the place! So I figured I would do this even if it did not need it! Well a short time after this she moves out. Leaves the place a total mess as such I had never seen all the time she was there! I think she just did this to try to get even for having spent so much when she could have had a house for a lot less at the time. But then there are those that make you wish you had never seen their face! I rented to two sisters, One of which was leaving her husband! With in a week of moving in, I get called by three others (this is an 8 Plex) that these people were leaving their garbage in the hall instead of taking it to the dumpster. I go there and tell them that they cannot continue to do that as it stinks up the whole entry. A while later I go by and see a mountain of garbage piled in front of the living room window. About that time I also got several calls from others wanting to rent but did not have any openings. I got a call again from one I had already told that I had no openings. Well he said someone is moving out. So I go over and sure enough he was right. Well being honest I told him that if he cleaned this carpet, which was brand new when they moved in 3 months earlier, that I had someone to rent it right away and I would return their security deposit. He turned and told me to "stick it" Not sure I heard him right, I asked again what he had said and he told me again to "stick it" !! I said you mean your willing to give up your security deposit cause you dont want to clean the carpet? He the third time told me to stick it!! Well they had ruined the carpet so I had to replace it again even though it was new when they moved in!!
About 4 months later I get a letter from the State Consumers dept.. THese same ones claimed I refused to give these people their secutity deposity back!! These people came home 4 times and found me sitting in their appartment!! Yeah right!! Her sister went down the basement to the storage area and upon coming up the steps she said a couple of rats followed her into the appartment from the basement!! (THis would be up 17 steps, arround the corner(180 Degrees) and clear to the other side of the building and into her appartment!!) Well the State does not know any different so I get a letter stating they want me to show them this rat infested place!! I had to take off work, drive 18 miles home just to prove to this inspector that there were no rats in this place!!! One really wonders many times if it is really worth the troubles you put up with to provide people with good housing!!
Just one of the hundreds of what an honest landlord has to go through. This was two sisters whom one had left her husband. They rented only three months. I had inquires at the time that would have taken a vacant appartment. But I had none. Well on the first I get a call from one of these looking for housing and I was a bit uneasy as I had already told this party that I had none at the time. Well someone is moving out he said. So I go over there. Here he was right! The party had everything out of the appartment! Being I had someone to rent this place right away I said to the tenants that if they clean the carpet I would return the security deposit. He turned to me and said to "stick it" ! I was not sure I heard him right so I asked again what he had said. He again told me to stick it! Well I had just put new carpet in this appartment just before they moved in and the reason I wanted it cleaned was that I got a call from some of the other tenants at the time asking me to tell these people to take their Garbage out to the dumpster instead of leaving it in the hall outside their door because it stunk so bad. (THis is an 8 plex) A week later I go by the window and see a pile of garbage bags 5 foot high in front of the window. ) This pile had actually rotted the new carpet. Well I replaced this carpet again Right away cause it was ruined! Six months later I get a letter from the State! This party said that I refused to give them their security deposit back! That they came home 3 different times and found me sitting in their appartment! Yeah right!!! That one was down the basement in the storage area and that 2 rats Followed her sister into the appartment!! This basement has 17 steps and they would have had to go up all these and turn 180 deg. corner and go completely to the other end of the building and into her appartment!! Well the State does not know better, so I get a letter from the Health department stating they were coming to inspect this rat infested place!! I had to take off work drive 17 miles home to take this inspector down the basement and show her that there was no sign of any rats in the place. (she had specific places to look and found no sign what so ever of any sort of rodents!! I realize times are tough now but for most people, but I still have a 1500 dollar payment to make each month weather or not I have any rentors at all!! The banks still want their money!! I try to be a good landlord but you still get took many times a year by those not so honest. I have had tenants stay 13 years and then all of a sudden turn on you "cause you have spent very little up here in this time) Well the place was just all redone with new appliances new flooring through out. THe walls are planeled so what is there to do? THey just all of a sudden realized they had paid 40000 to me in rent and could have bought a nice house at the time for that, you know? One thing that would help is that any inspector or anyone receiving a complaint should be required to first call the landlord and see if this party is current with the rent, because I have never in 35 years ever had a complaint filed by one that was current!! It is those that are looking for something for nothing that do the complaining thinking they can get free rent by complaining. This is just one of the things I have observed in the 35 years in the rental business.
The simple fact of the matter is, eventually every decent tenant out there is probably going to be responsible enough to be able to move on to home ownership eventually if they want to do so. This is bad news for any decent landlord - so it is important to choose your battles wisely with the better tenants.
Given my experience as a renter prior to owning, what eventually prompted the decision to start looking to own was frustration with the landlord that had built up over a period of time - he probably thought he was really great and involved with improving the property. But the fact of the matter was that he was actually very intrusive, even expecting to stay overnight at the house when he would fly in "for repairs," none of which were ever repairs or improvements I had specifically asked for, conveniently during local holidays and festivals (he still had friends in the area and seemed to always have time to attend the parties), but if I ever said the timing didn't work for me it was always, "Oh, well I already purchased the ticket." It would have been completely different if the dates had been mutually agreeable and if he wasn't expecting to stay at the house. Aggravating as this was, I hadn't gotten to the point of planning to move but when he wanted to increase the rent significantly, I felt the cost increase did not justify all of the intrusiveness when I could own in several better areas for less. I could tell he was not expecting me to be able to close on a home before the rent increase would have taken effect. I certainly wouldn't have had the fire under my butt to look for a house if I hadn't been tired of my privacy being taken advantage of.
I had always been a responsible tenant and had previously lived in two large apartment complexes managed by national companies (both sooner or later became irritating to live at, for very different reasons, even though I was a clean, quiet tenant who always paid on time - one in hindsight was actually a great place but they tended to micromanage to the point of being annoying; both thought it was perfectly acceptable to increase the rent every year). Something that is important to consider is that it is very easy for a landlord to unintentionally cause good, or even okay tenants that at least pay and don't trash the place, to decide maybe it's better to live elsewhere (especially in this economy with all the cheap houses), and the odds are that they will be replaced by the many irresponsible tenants that outnumber them. I definitely feel like landlords are at a disadvantage when they have destructive, filthy, behind-on-the-rent, or other bad types of tenants that take forever to get rid of, and sooner or later every good landlord probably gets undeservedly stuck with them. But, for all of you that are posting about all the awful tenants you've had, keep this in mind: you may think you're one of those fantastic landlords that this article isn't about, but it might be a good idea when you think you are being proactive to put yourself in the shoes of your good tenants and really think about how they could possibly perceive your actions. If you're considering an action that may actually stress out or upset your tenants somehow, it's just going to get harder for you to retain the decent tenants because they can always leave (and the responsible ones you want are probably researching you online to see if anyone's posted anything negative about renting from you before they sign anything).
LLs are gamblers. They gamble nothing's going to go wrong while they pocket your cash & they try to wriggle out of it when something does go wrong. "That's what renter's insurance is for." No, not when you're negligent, it's not, get busy. Private LLs are even worse because these guys are totally clueless as to how far they can push a tenant before it blows up on them. They're the worst offenders who see it more as EZ money instead of a business & think they can get away with just about anything. At least complexes understand there's a limit under the law & will eventually have to cave. That jerk on the other side of your duplex who isn't getting why you're pissed off that he's partying loudly till 4am with about 20 of his closest friends & therefore hasn't hauled himself up in the morning to snowblow the driveway so you can go to the job that puts cash into his hands, that's the type of idiot LL who's the real problem. Yeah, I really don't care that you & your bimbo wife....the one whose tummy-tuck I pd for after she spit out your 4 rugrats & decided she just didn't look good in a bikini anymore....own the dump. You're still an immature & inconsiderate ****. Good luck keeping a tenant in the future, if that faulty wiring doesn't burn the place down first.
LLs OUGHT to be licensed & their rental premises ought to be inspected for blatant code violations (such as the breaker box, lack of snow removal, knee-high lawns, trash-filled yards, vermin infestations, etc) for renewal of their license. And included in these ridiculous "application fees" you now have to pay just to look at an apt (which were never incurred as little as 20 yrs ago), all tenants should receive, courtesy of their state's attorney general's office, a tenant's handbook of rights as it applies in that state. Let's at least start out with a level playing field.
The majority of landlords regard tenants as their own personal banc of ATMs. You don't like it, move along, there's always a fresh sucker with a fat wad of $20s to take your place in line. LLs will do absolutely no more than the minimum required by law, & less if they can get away with it, in exchange for your money.
They'll start by putting the least amt of time, effort, & money into the rental property as they can. Cheap 5-gallon bulk containers of flat white paint plastered on walls, woodwork, & doors, even tho satin, semi-gloss, enamel, or vinyl wallcovering will wear better, is washable, & doesn't need to keep being repainted constantly because it's not the unscrubbable dirt magnet that flat paint is. But flat is cheap & that's all they see. Cheezy pennies' worth commercial linoleum & carpet tiles glued down, never waxed or shampooed, ever, replaced one at a time only when desperately needed & who cares if it's a totally different color by then. Flimsy, impossible to keep clean because they warp when wet, particle board cabinets in kitchens & baths; scratch n dent fixtures & appliances; nasty cheap lighting, that looks straight off an I Love Lucy set, from some discontinued outlet; leaky PVC pipes; anything used or secondhand; all DYI because why pay a pro. You can tell that the minute you try to microwave something while having more than one light on & doing laundry at the same time & the circuit breaker trips all the time. They scoop up that cleaning deposit between tenants but they never clean. You know that when it takes an entire bottle of Windex just to make all the windows stop running brown when you move in. Not to mention the rat's nest in the drain. They'll never change the locks regardless of how many tenants they've had or how many sets of keys might be floating around out there, because hey, they got the originals back, that's all they think there are. Anything to cut corners & then the LL determines since he put $X00 into this dump total to get it "tenant-ready", that's what he should get back every month? OK.
I got better bang for my housing buck back in the 70s & 80s when you could get a nice 1-2-3 BR place for $200/mo or less than you can get nowadays at these overinflated prices. And at least back then if there was a sudden plumbing issue & resultant flood, the LL cared enough about his property to send out a plumber to rectify it right away....not instruct you to ruin your towels mopping up, try to give you directions on how to fix it over the phone, & finally get around to doing something about it a wk later & only because you begin quoting "habitability" at him & threatening to shut off his ATM flow because you can't use the shower you're paying for without making a bigger flood. Even renting thru a complex doesn't mean mgmt & maintenance are going to get up off their behinds & do anything without a prod from your calls to corporate.
#1 what business has ((romankckier}} below have here?? "the Meet'the wealthy".com bitch adjacent to my commented tenant issue.
Is there no rest of them stinking up the web????I'm gonna click "thumbs down " just cuz!
The Landlords claim ("I told you, I will not fix the air-conditioning") against a
((pre-existing )) air-conditioning or any other appliance ((is negotiable)) in a court of law.
Its his (the landlords) responsibility to remove any piece of property or objects left behind by prior tenants to be considered as outdated or out of service appliance
to be regulated by him . Any physical evidence of a pre-existing property is by law servicable by landlords.
Thats why, you don't find hot plates & cook appliances in hotels.
But why is that an issue here? most people are clear on this? If consensus, shows a needed knowledge on this, there must be some real idiots out there.
From my experience there are more bad tenants than bad landlords out there. Landlords have to jump through hoops when tenants decide it's just not convenient to pay the rent, and by the time the eviction is granted you can be sure that the apartment will be unrentable. But every time you ask for more than a minimal security deposit the tenants don't understand why they need to put so much down on the deposit. Not to mention any attempt to only rent to hot females is frowned upon (they actually call it sexual discrimination) I call it trying to get a tenant that knows how to clean up after themselves.
Is that picture of a landlord? Yubba dubba doo!!
The rest of the article is short-sighted.
Just watched an episode of Hoarders where two lazy tenants with emotional issues ruined the structure of the house they were renting with their hoarding. What a landlord nightmare!!
I just bought some rental property with a house I am buying. The tenant that was in the rental property had been there since September '10 and when she found out the owner was selling, she suddenly decided she was moving. She had a one year lease which i was willing to honor. When she left the carpet was destroyed and there was marker on the walls. Part of the floor tiles were cracked or missing. Everything else was spotless. I asked the previous owner to come look at the place to see what was damaged or was just normal wear and tear. When she looked she was agashed. She had taken pictures of the place before she rented to this person. She gave me the photos which are dated and I will use them with the photos I have just taken, when this tenant wants her deposit back.
The one thing to remember, is when moving into somewhere or renting to someone, take before and after pictures, both parties. They will and do come in handy when trying to get or keep the security deposit. I have been on both sides of the fence.