Lease question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    As you might remember, in early July (I think that's when it was), the owner of this house I'm renting just HAD to come by because she supposedly drove down the road and saw a window AC "that didn't look right", then somebody botched communications and I got a call from owner's rep and she was yelling at me at 9:00 at night. Then, I get the very unprofessional letter saying owner wanted to retake possession of the property and would I move out 2 mos early for a used washer and dryer, which I turned down.

    OK, in early August I had to travel out of town for work and had a pet sitter watching the dogs. The pet-sitter told me on the phone that she'd come by but couldn't let the dogs out because the fence was taken apart in placces and there was a truck working in the yard. As it turns out, the fence was put back in place but the owner had someone come over and take 2 trees out while I was out of town. Fine, but I was never notified at all be them.

    Then, last week a get a call from owner's rep saying owner wants to come by last Friday to check house and make sure it's safe for hurricane. Mind you- all these people know I work and have to take time off work to meeet them unless it's evening or weekend hours. Anyway, I said fine but I needed to know specific time. Owner's rep said owner would call me that evening (Thursday) but owner never called. Then on Friday, they sent us home from work to prepare and evacuate so I got ready, called owner's rep and said that owner had never called to arrange time but I was getting ready to evacuate if they wanted to come over after I'd left with dogs, fine. When I got back Mon. am, I saw a chain lock latched that I never lock so I knew either owner or rep had been here. Yet, they didn';t change a single thing- no window ac out of window, anything. Fine.

    Then today, owner's rep called saying owner will have estimators here Fri at 10:00 am to provide them an estimate for replacing all windows and refinishing floors. OK- first, I'm not due to be out of here until end of Oct and I doubt any estimate is going to be good for that long so I am now wondering if they are going to call me up next week and tell me that I need to be out of house for 2-3 days to accommodate this work being done before I actually move out. And if they do, do I have a legal standing to either tell them "no" or tell them they will have to foot the bill for me in a hotel? Furthermore, what about this frequency of having to accommodate them wanting to do whatever while I'm still living here, especially now that it's to a point I'm having to take off work for this stuff? And NONE of it is an emergency or major repair? And NONE of it is anything I called in about.

    If they think they are just going to have all this done on my time, they have another thing coming. I think I'm going to call rep back tonight and tell her to make sure either she or owner is here to let estimators in Friday morning because I'll have dogs at the vet.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm in Canada, not US... so take this with "to be validated"...

    The "check up on" stuff, they can do with 24-hrs notice.
    The tree removal etc. - if your lease doesn't specify that you have leased the house "and fenced yard", then they do not have to maintain fencing.

    But - non-emergency upgrades? NOYLB.
    That stuff is either done between renters, OR by explicit request and consent by renter.
    We NEVER did that stuff except between renters, OR when working with very long-term renters who were going to be staying even longer... in which case, its reasonable to negotiate a window of time to replace carpets, for example. (10-yr-old carpet in a rental place is usually overdue for replacement - we had some 20-year renters...)
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I am in canada and not the US but I doubt our tenant protection laws are much different on certain areas. I would think absolutely they cannot remove you from the home for cosmetic upgrades without ensuring they've provided suitable accomodations and compensation if you need to eat in restaurants, as well as a kennel for your dogs if the hotel doesn't provide for animals in the rooms. I would also think that like here it would require a decent amount of notice to you.

    This lease sounds like its turned into a disaster, and leaves you stuck dealing with morons. I'm glad you're looking for a new place and hope you find something nice and with someone rational as your landlord.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    I'd pull out the lease and read it. No they should not be allowed to put you out to do work that you did not request. They can do that after you leave. And if all this stopping by stuff is inconvenient, you do not have to accommodate them. Like you said, it's non emergency stuff and poses no benefit to you. You should not have to take time off from work to meet anyone at your house for their renovations.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't read all the details of the lease lately- it's very lengthy. The owner's rep position is that the owner can come into the home whenever she wants and the law only requires 24 hour notice. That might very well be true, but I would think there has to be a limit on how often if we aren't talking about necessary repairs, etc. I don't know- I just know that no reasonalbe landlord would be expecting this- or at least I never had one that went to this point back in the days when I rented for years from various people before- well, not except for the one who turned out to be a weirdo.

    I called and left a VM for owner's rep saying I would have dogs at vet Friday am because I'm not going to take off work to sit here and accommodate this so she or owner needed to find a way to let the estimator(s) in the house and do whatever they needed.
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    PERFECT. It's available, they have your permission, but you are not being inconvenienced.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah- I can live with that although it still inconveniences me. I have too many things to do to always prepare for owner coming over at her or rep's schedule. However, I'm still hoping someone from this state chimes in to give me any legal rights I might have re. the possibility that owner wants me to leave while this work is actually being done. Obviously, if floors are refinished, they can't be walked on for a certain period of time and I am sure that a landlord can't leave openings without windows and consider the place livable, even for one night. I would hope there is a limit on how long a tenant can be "put out" for work that isn't necessary for making a place habitable.

    by the way- this stuff isn't a result of any damage caused by the hurricane. There was no damage. There is wear and tear on the hardwood floor finish but the windows are probably the originals and the house is around 100 years old. Apparently the owner is trying to do as much as she can to prepare for wither moving back in herself or putting the house back on the market while I'm still living here. I can apprecaite that and would try to work with it to a certain extent, but not weekly and not when it requires me taking off work. I have leased the place thru the end of Oct.- it's not like I'm moving out next week.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's probably some limitation on how often... but that's a secondary issue.
    The OWNER can come on 24-hrs notice - probably with certain legal restrictions.
    YOU are not required to BE THERE, as far as I know.

    AND, the owner CANNOT require YOU to be there to let a THIRD PARTY in, unless it is emergency repairs at your request (plumber for an overflowing toilet... OK, I'll take time off work for that - I would have to do that if it was my own home anyway).
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I realize I am not required to be here. But re-finishing floors and replacing windows means I can't be here doing things I need to be doing so I am being displaced. Plus, I have 2 dogs that either need to be taken out of the home or put in the yard or shut in a room while people are here. That isn't going to happen for a 2-day period or on a weekly basis, especially if I'm having to take off work to accommate it when this isn';t even necessary work. If the roof had blown off during the hurricane, it would be different.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The ESTIMATING... I might make a case for on the owner's behalf.
    The WORK - absolutely NO GO. THAT waits for when you move out.
  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    here are the pertinent articles from the "Our State" Residential Tenant and Landlord Act. These are the most up to date as they went into effect July 1, 2011. If you need anything else, pm or email me. I think I gave you my email back when you were interviewing for your current job. I am a landlord so I can point you in the right direction. Should you prefer to call someone "more professional", you can call our state's consumer affairs office toll free at 1-800-552-9963 or your local legal aid which I believe would be (your area code) 275-0800.

    § 55-248.10:1. Landlord and tenant remedies for abuse of access.

    If the tenant refuses to allow lawful access, the landlord may obtain injunctive relief to compel access, or terminate the rental agreement. In either case, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees. If the landlord makes an unlawful entry or a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes repeated demands for entry otherwise lawful but which have the effect of unreasonably harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, or terminate the rental agreement. In either case, the tenant may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees.

    § 55-248.18. Access; consent.

    A. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency. The landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in case of emergency or if it is impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times. Unless impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant at least 24 hours notice of routine maintenance to be performed that has not been requested by the tenant. If the tenant
    25makes a request for maintenance, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant.
    B. Upon the sole determination by the landlord of the existence of a nonemergency property condition in the dwelling unit that requires the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit in order for the landlord to properly remedy such property condition, the landlord may, upon at least 30 days'written notice to the tenant, require the tenant to temporarily vacate the dwelling unit for a period not to exceed 30 days to a comparable dwelling unit, as selected by the landlord, and at no expense or cost to the tenant. For purposes of this subsection, "nonemergency property condition" means (i) a condition in the dwelling unit that, in the determination of the landlord, is necessary for the landlord to remedy in order for the landlord to be in compliance with § 55-248.13; (ii) the condition does not need to be remedied within a 24-hour period, with any condition that needs to be remedied within 24 hours being defined as an "emergency condition"; and (iii) the condition can only be effectively remedied by the temporary relocation of the tenant pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.

    The tenant shall continue to be responsible for payment of rent under the rental agreement during the period of any temporary relocation. The landlord shall pay all costs of repairs or remediation required to address the property condition. Refusal of the tenant to cooperate with a temporary relocation pursuant to this subsection shall be deemed a breach of the rental agreement, unless the tenant agrees to vacate the unit and terminate the rental agreement within the 30-day notice period. If the landlord properly remedies the nonemergency property condition within the 30-day period, nothing herein shall be construed to entitle the tenant to terminate the rental agreement. Further, nothing herein shall be construed to limit the landlord from taking legal action against the tenant for any noncompliance that occurs during the period of any temporary relocation pursuant to this section.
    C. The landlord has no other right to access except by court order or that permitted by §§ 55-248.32 and 55-248.33 or if the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you, LDM!! I'll see what happens over the next couple of days then proceed from there. If I understood all that correctly, they have to give me 30 days notice if they want to do a lot of work under these circumstances and it should be at no cost to me. Although I will say, this is like the building code and a lot of it sounds very vague and subjective.