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  1. #1
    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    Landlord Responsibilities

    My wife and I recently decided to rent out her condo as she now lives with me and we are very new to the renting world so I have some questions. First she had one tenant prior to this new guy and the first tenant was pure awful, trashed the place, had animals in there, basically left it a shithole. I went in there after him repainted, cleaned and recarpeted the apartment. This new tenant moved in and said the condo is not up to standards after I have put roughly 2 thousand into refurbishing it. He has given me a list of demands that he wants me or he will take 'legal action' to get released from the lease. He is demanding back his 1600.00 deposit and first months rent. To do the repairs (which are purely cosmetic) it would take an additional 2 thousand dollars. I am at a loss at this point and would appreciate any insight.

    http://www.scbar.org/publicservices/...tiesoftenants/
    Last edited by Clevername; 2012-12-22 at 03:02 PM.

  2. #2
    Do you have a tenancy agreement, or an agency, and what does the local laws say? It's difficult for people to help without knowing what jurisdiction we're talking about here.

    Though I think it might hinge on the actual state of the condo. Is the tenant being unreasonable or is it really not up to standards?

    You should probably seek professional advice, too.

  3. #3
    Legendary!
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    Well, if the place is still a shithole, then you're at fault. Tenants do have some basic common sense rights. However, if the tenant is being a douche over small insignificant things, then take him or her to court. You will win.

    Just remember, tenants do have rights, some basic things have to be met, and if you're not up to it, you shouldn't be renting out to anyone.

    Point is, if you rented out the condo as a "normal" condo, then it should be a normal condo. If you rented it out as a shithole destroyed by the people who lived there before, then I'm sure the rental agreement reflects that.
    've is short for have. C/Sh/Would've or c/sh/would have. Not c/sh/would of.

  4. #4
    It's almost impossible to know without the list of demands are. Normally they're have to be certain things up to par level but the entire place doesn't have to re-painted or anything. My estimate taking you to court will prove more trouble then it's worth. It's likely he will take pictures of place and see if anything in that messes with you're clause when you had him sign.

  5. #5
    Go see a lawyer specializing in this stuff.
    I wouldn't try to solo through all the regulation, have professional do it.

  6. #6
    Warchief Jakexe's Avatar
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    Really hard to say without knowing where you're from. Here if the previous tenant leaves a mess he/she is required to pay assuming the bond would be taken they are still required to pay but before leasing out the owner is required to fix the residence to standard. Any non-cosmetic fixes are to be paid via the owner, any cosmetic fixes are to be signed off by the owner and paid by the renter.
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    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    Yeah I realize I should see a lawyer, he signed the agreement site unseen. He just had a friend come look at it and the friend approved. The condo was built back in the 1940's so it has your normal wear and tear. In addition, I am from Charleston SC

  8. #8
    You have tenancy agreement right?

  9. #9
    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telila View Post
    You have tenancy agreement right?
    Yes, signed

  10. #10
    Then that dictates what you have to do (In accordance with laws of course) as far as work needs doing.

    Generally though....exterior, your job. Interior, their job. (Largely, not everything obviously)

  11. #11
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    It all depends on your local legislation and also what was stated in the written agreement that was signed. There are, unfortunately, a lot of places that aren't too bothered with cosmetic upkeep as long as it's a safe place to live in and the structure, plumbing, etc (basic needs and safety of a person living in a building) are upheld. I have seen some pretty shitty rental places that don't replace carpets or repaint, but it's all within the law. It's also the tenants responsibility to check out a place before renting - if they didn't and went ahead and signed the tenancy agreement then that is not your fault. If the agreement has already started, they have a legal responsibility to finish it if the property is up to your city/state's tenancy standards and you (the landlord) are not breaking any terms in the contract. You would have every right to keep their bond if they wanted to break the contract. I would check with a lawyer just to be sure!

  12. #12
    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    Well after reviewing the rental agreement, I believe he doesn't have a leg to stand on and will post here verbatim, thanks for all the comments though.

    10. CONDITIONS OF PREMISES. Tenant acknowledges that he has inspected the premises and agrees that the premises and the common areas are in a safe, fit and habitable condition. The electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning system, if any, and any appliance furnished with the premises are in good working order.
    EXCEPTIONS: NONE

    and that is signed by him.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Clevername View Post
    Well after reviewing the rental agreement, I believe he doesn't have a leg to stand on and will post here verbatim, thanks for all the comments though.

    10. CONDITIONS OF PREMISES. Tenant acknowledges that he has inspected the premises and agrees that the premises and the common areas are in a safe, fit and habitable condition. The electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning system, if any, and any appliance furnished with the premises are in good working order.
    EXCEPTIONS: NONE

    and that is signed by him.
    If you have this with a note reads No Exceptions you should likely add something about people losing their deposit so it's bullet proof. So it looks like you're pretty much in the clear if he was supposed inspect it beforehand and didn't. Then signed. Most courts go with the person holding the legal document. At most he will try get his deposit back but I don't see him actually getting it back.

  14. #14
    Legendary!
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    If it's truly cosmetic, then the tenant is an asshole and you can tell them to piss off.

    If you're hiding something, and there's actually something wrong, then most likely you'll be paying for it.
    've is short for have. C/Sh/Would've or c/sh/would have. Not c/sh/would of.

  15. #15
    could just be messing with ya i know i use to take advantage of new landlords when i was younger roughly the idea is to give a first and last then complain about everything possible with hold paying rent in the long run (and deffinatly not my prouder moments in life) By making outrageous claims i was able to squeeze at the very least 1 free month of rent more if the landlord could be held off from a formal eviction. If your gonn abe a landlord your always gonna come across ppl that do the first and last and 1 for free trick. Make sure you know how to handle these situations legally and fast and you can save yourself some headaches.

  16. #16
    Scarab Lord Roose's Avatar
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    Unless you agreed to them specifically, cosmetic shit is all on the tenant. Only matters of health and safety are actionable, at least that is how it is here.

    Best thing is to always state that they are moving in "as is". Then again, states vary greatly in real estate law.

    ---------- Post added 2012-12-22 at 12:04 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Clevername View Post
    Well after reviewing the rental agreement, I believe he doesn't have a leg to stand on and will post here verbatim, thanks for all the comments though.

    10. CONDITIONS OF PREMISES. Tenant acknowledges that he has inspected the premises and agrees that the premises and the common areas are in a safe, fit and habitable condition. The electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning system, if any, and any appliance furnished with the premises are in good working order.
    EXCEPTIONS: NONE

    and that is signed by him.
    Yup, that is what that clause is there for. Leases are the landlord's protection.

  17. #17
    So it looks like you're pretty much in the clear if he was supposed inspect it beforehand and didn't. Then signed. Most courts go with the person holding the legal document. At most he will try get his deposit back but I don't see him actually getting it back.
    You can't sign away your rights - if (for example) the OP had a condo that was filled with toxic spores from being used as a grow-op by his first tenant then the second would appeal to environmental standards set by the state and win. There are typically requirements that the home must not leak water, must maintain a livable temperature, etc.

    I have no idea what the tenant is claiming is wrong and I have no way to know if he's being reasonable.

    Also, courts don't side with land-lords as a rule: if you've ever tried to evict somebody who hasn't paid their rent in 6 months you'd know what a pain in the ass it can be. Renters have a surprising amount of clout but very few know what their rights or, nor how to take advantage of them. They won't break an agreement because "I don't wanna rent no more" but if they can demonstrate even a trivial breach you'll be left without recourse.

    I also wonder about the logic of trying to force somebody to rent your home when they don't want to. You've already had one person wreck the place - are you really willing to say "fuck you, pay me" to somebody else and then force them to try and live there? Even if you can win a court case that places fault for destruction of the house on the tennant - it can be damn near impossible for a person to collect rent and restitution. The court will order payment in your favour but its up to you to get that money and it's not as easy as just showing up with a bucket to carry off stacks of cash. It seems to me like you're playing a risky game. A particularly clever renter might try something like "oh I fell down the poorly maintained front stairs. Here are all the emails and phone-calls I sent the landlord (which they just invented) complaining. My back hurts so much! I need money!" Even if you can defend yourself from the charge, it'll tie up significant resources for (literally) years. In small claims court it costs him effectively nothing - it'll cost you several thousand dollars to defend yourself and could cost substantially more if they win.

    Why exactly do you want this guy in your house? It seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
    Last edited by evn; 2012-12-22 at 06:28 PM.
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  18. #18
    Warchief Clevername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evn View Post
    You can't sign away your rights - if (for example) the OP had a condo that was filled with toxic spores from being used as a grow-op by his first tenant then the second would appeal to environmental standards set by the state and win. There are typically requirements that the home must not leak water, must maintain a livable temperature, etc.

    I have no idea what the tenant is claiming is wrong and I have no way to know if he's being reasonable.

    Also, courts don't side with land-lords as a rule: if you've ever tried to evict somebody who hasn't paid their rent in 6 months you'd know what a pain in the ass it can be. Renters have a surprising amount of clout but very few know what their rights or, nor how to take advantage of them. They won't break an agreement because "I don't wanna rent no more" but if they can demonstrate even a trivial breach you'll be left without recourse.

    I also wonder about the logic of trying to force somebody to rent your home when they don't want to. You've already had one person wreck the place - are you really willing to say "fuck you, pay me" to somebody else and then force them to try and live there? Even if you can win a court case that places fault for destruction of the house on the tennant - it can be damn near impossible for a person to collect rent and restitution. The court will order payment in your favour but its up to you to get that money and it's not as easy as just showing up with a bucket to carry off stacks of cash. It seems to me like you're playing a risky game. A particularly clever renter might try something like "oh I fell down the poorly maintained front stairs. Here are all the emails and phone-calls I sent the landlord (which they just invented) complaining. My back hurts so much! I need money!" Even if you can defend yourself from the charge, it'll tie up significant resources for (literally) years. In small claims court it costs him effectively nothing - it'll cost you several thousand dollars to defend yourself and could cost substantially more if they win.

    Why exactly do you want this guy in your house? It seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
    I am not trying to force him to rent I have no problem with him breaking the lease and moving out what I do have a problem with is the fact that he paid us for security deposit 830 and first months rent 830 to hold the place for him while he moved down, that's two months of rent we could have had from other renters that he wants back in full. The house is perfectly livable and safe with much remodeling done. It was not professionally cleaned but it was definitely move in ready and the cosmetic gripes he had are (loose framing on closets doors, splits in tile in kitchen, light bulb out in bathroom (laughable), two electric outlets not operational, holes in bathroom cabinet under the sink) while these are deficiencies for sure they do not make the place dangerous or uninhabitable. If these concerns were deal breakers than his liaison friend should have brought them up upon viewing the condo. The fact is that condo is in prime condition for a 20 something year old like him, he is in walking distance to a huge bar scene and a 5 minute drive from downtown the only reason we held this place from him was because his references were immaculate and he was a young professional, I will not be bullied by him just because his mommy is a lawyer.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Clevername View Post
    My wife and I recently decided to rent out her condo as she now lives with me and we are very new to the renting world so I have some questions. First she had one tenant prior to this new guy and the first tenant was pure awful, trashed the place, had animals in there, basically left it a shithole. I went in there after him repainted, cleaned and recarpeted the apartment. This new tenant moved in and said the condo is not up to standards after I have put roughly 2 thousand into refurbishing it. He has given me a list of demands that he wants me or he will take 'legal action' to get released from the lease. He is demanding back his 1600.00 deposit and first months rent. To do the repairs (which are purely cosmetic) it would take an additional 2 thousand dollars. I am at a loss at this point and would appreciate any insight.

    http://www.scbar.org/publicservices/...tiesoftenants/
    Depends on the changes.

    Re-painting and sealing are essential. I'm not sure where you are, but in NJ all upper-level apartments must have carpeting. Cosmetic improvements (assuming they ARE purely cosmetic) are not usually on that list, however.

    What changes are we talking about here?

    ---------- Post added 2012-12-22 at 08:48 PM ----------

    Again, I don't know where you live but based on what I'm reading here:

    It was not professionally cleaned but it was definitely move in ready and the cosmetic gripes he had are (loose framing on closets doors, splits in tile in kitchen, light bulb out in bathroom (laughable), two electric outlets not operational, holes in bathroom cabinet under the sink
    The place is, indeed, not to renting standards.

    Inoperative electrical outlets are unacceptable
    Kitchen tile splits represent a hazard that can spread.
    Holes in a cabinet
    Loose framing

    These are things he, as the renter, is neither obligated nor permitted to fix. It's not his place so the money to pay his costs is not for him to spend.

    The light bulb is stupid though. He can do that.

    You do, in fact, owe it to him to fix those problems even though they are "merely" cosmetic.

    You do NOT have an obligation, however, to return his security deposit and first month's rent.

  20. #20
    Scarab Lord Roose's Avatar
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    It is also in your best interest as landlord to fix these things. Things only get worse after someone has been living there. A $10 fix now may turn into a $3000 job if left unattended. You do not want renters trying to fix stuff that they have no idea how to fix. Seen some real messes.

    You would be surprised by how many people think that light bulbs come with the fixtures only, so go ahead and put them in all sockets to start with.

    Cosmetic would be like ugly paint or stained carpet. Something that ONLY affects visual appearance. Everything you listed deals with the function in some way.

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