Landlord did not do what was agreed - Angry!

czarinax17April 29, 2006

I am absolutely astonished!

I paid down a deposit a MONTH ago on my new apartment, and at that very time, the landlord told me that they were going to:

1. Give the carpets a VERY thorough cleaning or lay a new one because the carpet was stained up and not in the best shape.

2. Fix a cabinet door that is off of it's hinge in the 2nd bathroom.

3. Paint! Paint the entire apartment because the previous tenants lived there SEVEN years!

Keep in mind, they have had a MONTH to prepare and fix these things.

To my surprise after picking up the keys today, I walk into my new apartment to find the most putrid , disgusting odor emanating from the carpeting. The stains were better, but the heavy traffic areas were still dark. The carpeting, still damp. The smell, is like a moldy musty smell, which must mean all they did was do a surface steam clean, only bringing the dirt to the surface, and not giving it a full professional cleaning. I swear, the smell was so horrid, it burned my eyes and throat.

They did not paint. They merely patched a few dings in the walls here and there, and spot painted over them. The walls look terrible because now we have spots of bright white shades splotched over duller white. I cannot believe this!

They did not fix the cabinet. They had a bunch of boxes sitting in the kitchen, that was new lighting fixtures. It looked like they had installed two of them. At any rate, these are in my way now, and they weren't finished installing them.

Aside from those things, the apartment itself is perfect for us, but I am absolutely livid that they did not paint or give us a decent carpet cleaning or heck, replace it.

Sooo.... I phoned the landlord to speak to him immediately about this and he told me..... "I don't like to replace carpeting when small children will be moving in."

I said, "Ok, what about this musty moldy smell?"

He told me to go get some lysol and just spray it heavily all over the carpeting and that should take care of it.

I said, "Ok, why didn't we get fresh paint?" He said, "Generally I don't like to put on fresh paint with small children moving in because they tend to muss it up anyway".

I cannot even convey on this forum how disgusting this is to be treated this way, AGAIN because I have a child. So, because I have a child, I get second rate service? What in the world. Seriously. And my daughter never tore up the place we are moving out of.

My husband phoned him again, to let him know that we wanted paint, carpet, and the cabinet fixed by tomorrow night. LOL - yes, he was irrational and angry. There is no way carpet and paint can happen in 24 hours.

Anyway, we got no where with the landlord. I have to be out of my present apartment by sunday night. And now I am stuck with moldy carpet and crappy paint.

My solution to this problem was to go and try at first spraying some lysol. It barely covered it. I do not know what to do about the carpet. It's not like I can afford to hire a professional to come out pronto.

Anyone have ideas?

I cannot believe we were lied to a month ago and told we would have these things, and now we do not.

We are going to paint ourselves and save the receipts. I mean, I'm locked in for a year now. He has me and I sure as heck can't just go elsewhere now!

If anyone has good ideas about what I can do quickly with this carpet, please let me know. I am very very strapped for cash at the moment. More lysol? Baking soda?

*sigh* :(

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Well, I would tell the landlord that he should of told you he was not going to do the things because you have a child before you signed. I would think that would be false respresentation and that would be a way to break you're lease. I would look into that if thats what you wanted to do. I have a spot bot bissel and it is small but it works great on my carpet. That would be to small to do a whole carpet though. I am not sure but i am sure if you look online it might help not sure though. good luck.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 7:02AM
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Does your lease specify that he would do these things?

If not does your local housing code specify minimum conditions of occupancy?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:02AM
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This was a verbal agreement - and it is to my understanding that under the CA tenant/landlord laws, verbal agreements are legal and binding.

I cannot find where legally a fresh coat of paint must be given to a new tenant.

To answer both posts above,

I cannot break the lease being I have no where else to move to. Here I thought I had really researched this time, but to no avail this happens! I move today however, as the moving truck is already reserved. I am hoping when I return there that the smell is better. :(

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 11:29AM
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"the landlord told me"

Unless you have a witness other than your husband this is just a he-said, she said" issue. If it wasn't written into the lease, you are going to have a hard time enforcing what he said he would do.

In the future, make sure ALL promises to fix up are in writing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 4:49PM
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Czarinax17... I got your back... Your covered, I have researched this sort of thing... Mold is a serious health issue. I live in California and infront of me on my lap right now is the "California Tenants" guide, signed by Gov Schwarzenegger (the link is below).

scroll down to the buttom of the page. "click" the blue circle icon "PDF for Download (smaller file, text cover)". That link will take you to a PDF File for the laws that govern California leasing.

1. A rental unit must be fit to live in; that is, it must be habitable. In legal terms, "habitable" means that the rental unit is fit for occupation by human beings and that it substantially complies with state and local buidling and health codes that materially affect tenants health and safety. (typed straight from the book)

2. Conditions that make a rental unit legally uninhabitable:
- Clean and sanitary buildings, grounds, and appurtenances.

After you read the guide. You NEED to call your HEALTH DEPARTMENT, ASAP!

Secondly, you need to call the California Department of Consumer Affairs. (800) 952-5210

Don't sit around and wait for your landlord to fix this... he is NOT going to do it, he had a month and didn't do it. FIGHT THIS, document everything! Secondly its illegal to discriminate because you have "children", and you are correct, in California an oral agreement is "legal binding".

Follow up and fight this; your facing Health issues, MOLD is a serious problem, believe it or not.

GOOD LUCK, post here and I'll help you as I can.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 10:52PM
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First off, thank you to all who replied here! And thank you Gregg for looking that information up for me!!

I went over yesterday and completely lysol-ed over all of the carpets and opened the windows. Went back later and the smell was gone. I'm still demanding a professional cleaning. We shall see what happens come monday.

I swear, are ALL landlords slum lords and liars, or what? I truly thought I could see through it all but I guess they put their game faces on when contracting an apartment to you. Jeez. :(

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 6:29AM
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well... the smell might be gone because you lysoled it, but there's still other things that need address if you ask me. The Paint; you should not have to pay anything out of pocket to fix an apartment up when you move it. If you can live with everything, than great, it's your place. Personally, I'd be fighting this one, that's why you left a deposit. I hope when you moved in, everything was documented on the leasing papers of what was wrong with the joint.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 2:06PM
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In some municipalities it is REQUIRED BY LAW that they paint all the walls for each new tenant (it's part of why landlords like to keep the same tenants for several years). Check into that.

And I would write him and say, "this letter is to confirm our phone conversation in which I reminded you that you had verbally agreed to repaint the walls. I informed you that they had not been fully painted; patches had been made,a nd only those patches have been painted; now there are bright white blothces on dingy gray walls. This letter is to confirm that you told you would not paint because a child would be living in the apartment.

Then a graph about the carpet, including the physical reaction, the moldy smell. And the summary of what he said to you: that he refuses to thoroughly clean carpets because a child will be living there.

Then add a graph that says "it's illegal to discriminate against tenants because of children."

and another one that says you consider him to be in breach of contract, and that if he doesn't rectify the situation, you will act on that breach of contract and take step sto have the lease declared null (and then you'll move out early).

Send it registered mail.

And also call whatever local organization oversees the housing in your city; call city hall or your city councilman's office, and ask them who that is. That's what those folks are there for.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 3:15PM
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Sounds like you should have the right to have the carpet professionally cleaned at your expense and then deduct it from the rent, after first photographing the condition.

The paint and cabinet I'm not sure of. The legality of an oral contract is not the issue--proof is.

One thing to remember is that the landlord's strongest weapon is not a lawsuit but ruining your credit. You can always send the agencies an explanation that you were in the right, but that's what they all say!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 7:46AM
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Before you start withholding part of your rent, check on landlord tenant law in your state and/or city. There are places where that is not legal and you could be evicted, etc. for non-payment of rent.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 2:17PM
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Be SURE and take pictures that are dated of the carpets and the walls. At least when you move he will not say you did the damage. Actually, I would make two sets and send him one now with a letter to add it to our file!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 8:05PM
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An Update:

I finally moved in. I LOVE all of the space I have but this carpeting is still smelling mildewy and musty. I am angry about that. I keep spraying lysol on it. It goes away and comes right back in hours.

Went up to the office after taking digital pics and putting them to a cd-r for him. I told him I needed my carpeting to be cleaned because it's stinks.

He says "I just had a water line break and I don't have time for small things like this....." and went on to treat me like I was putting HIM out.

I love the apartment itself, the trees, the beautiful landscaping, and the neighbors ALL have kids so that part is good, but the rest is ridiculous.

I'm resolved to believe that nearly all landlords are slum lords. They don't care once they get you in their apartment. I'm simply disgusted.

I can't withold any rent out for a carpet cleaning because then he can serve me with a 3 day to pay or quit. I phoned and asked about this from a housing information number.

Looks like I'm stuck with this carpet. I seriously do not know what to put on it to make it stop smelling.

Don't even get me started on how my last landlady had the nerve to come up and tell me to "move quieter" because I was disturbing the downstairs neighbor as we were leaving the other place. Just.....unreal. ::shaking head::

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 6:55AM
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Have you read the "California Tenante" guide (State Law) that I gave you a link to above in a previous post to this message? Have you called the "Health Department"? I know for a fact they will come out. And have you called the "California Consumer Affairs" number? This is exactly what there for.

I'm not trying to sound pushy on this... but if you want the "smelling mildewy and musty" (your words) carpet replaced/cleaned or whatever, you need to take the time to call these people. Also, how much have you spent in Lysol to spray your carpet? I'd save those receipts...

Bottom line, this is your apartment where you live... If this was your house, would you let some stranger you don't even know come in and pour water on your carpet and just leave with out cleaning it up? Don't get pushed around by your landlord. Its not your fault that "water line" broke; and its not your fault that your carpet is "smelling mildewy and musty"... its his and he needs to fix it thats why he's the landlord.

Also, in California the Owners contact information, name, address and/or phone number are required to be posted; normally its posted in the landlords office. Upon request he is "required" to provide that information to you. You could also try contacting the owner through "registered mail".

Just my thoughts, I know if I had the same situation going on, I'd be fighting every second I could... lunch break or whatever I'd be calling people.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:16PM
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Yep, I have read the California Tenant Guide through and through when having problems with my other situation. I phoned the Health Dept. They told me to call the California Consumer Affairs dept. When I phoned them, they told me they can't do anything about a carpet problem. Are they that backed up?

I talked to a neighbor of mine today who said that complainers get kicked out around here. Apparently, her next door neighbor did nothing but complain about her downstairs neighbor. Whent that woman's lease was up, they gave her a 30 day.

I seriously cannot risk being told I have to vacate another place. The money involved in this move was astronomical.

I'm going to just clean the carpet myself and move on. I know many people would fight and fight to the death on this, but I just GOT DONE fighting with my other landlord over my other situation from end of January 2006 to the day I moved out the other day. I can't keep going, because seriously I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. My husband is just detaching because not only is he exausted from working nights, the situation is angering him as well.

I just cannot wrap my mind around it. How one human being doesn't care about the way another lives - but it happens.
This is where I have to take care of it myself, or live with it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:40PM
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Just curious, what county do you live in here in California?

Thats all thanks.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 10:51AM
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Every state has different laws but in MN you could pay your rent into a court escrow. It would not look late and a judge would decide if the money goes to the LL, new carpet, or carpet cleaners. This may anger your LL and at the end of your lease you could be asked to move.
It may be cheaper to pay or clean the carpet yourself. Moving is expensive and the courts systems are messed up. Whats right and whats the law are two different things and many small claims are decided strictly on the judges preference. If anyone ever has a day to kill watching a small claims court room is good entertainment. I can't believe the rulings or disputes.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 12:04AM
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I'm w/ you, czarinax17--I'd just figure on cleaning the carpet myself eventually.

I might even paint a fresh coat of white paint myself, if I thought the landlord wouldn't see me bringing the paint in, and yell about it.

But I'd take pictures of what it looks like now, w/ the patchy spots. And pics of the carpet & any stains, etc., so you can prove you made it better (or at least not worse)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 11:22AM
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And another note -

When you eventually MOVE OUT - document EVERYTHING! Sounds like he would take your whole deposit, too!

Be very, very careful....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 5:23PM
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Gregg, I'm in San Mateo County.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 8:17PM
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In Pennsylvania you could actually own a property cheaper than your rent. Never, ever move into a place that needs repair. It's just asking for trouble. It seems like you're committed to living with this lousy landlord so you might as well try and make a deal with him. Ask him for 1 free month of rent and you'll clean the carpets, paint the place and fix the hinge. Explain it that he gets upgraded and it just costs him a months credit. That way he doesn't see any money leaving his pocket directly. Just credit for a month. Some people go for this type of deal.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:42AM
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I'm very happy to say that we held a meeting with the owner yesterday morning regarding all of the problems listed in my initial post.

I presented them with a list of all of the problems and the out of pocket costs for us to take care of them. We came to a written agreement:

We will have our carpeting cleaned again, professionally which is going to cost us $125.00

We are going to purchase and re-paint the walls ourselves.

They signed the agreement that they would refund us our out of pocket costs for this work, provided that we show them a copy of the receipt for our purchases.

They did offer to have their maintainance man come and take care of these problems, but I would rather do this myself, so it will be done my way, and most likely end up nicer.

I was also given an apology, and they actually admitted that their maintainance man for the complex did a shoddy job.

I'm very very pleased at this outcome.

They also put in a new motion sensor light for me in the late afternoon, since I felt our patio light wasn't bright enough. My groundfloor patio is in a darker area of the complex shaded by many trees.

I feel relieved. Thank you all for your advice!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 6:24AM
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First, you should have been given a move in inventory form that needs to be returned to the office in 7 days after move in. Fill it out and keep a copy for yourself.

Starting from the day you moved in, submit work orders IN WRITING...WITH COPIES... IN PERSON... and individually for each maintenance issue. In Texas we have 72 hours to respond. Give them a week. No results? Call City Code Enforcement and watch asses start to move. "City Code Enforcement" they are our friends! The real funny thing here is, once CCE has had to visit your property a couple times, theyll make them post a sign right by the office door as to the CCE phone number to contact them for future complaints on "Unresolved Maintenance Issues."

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 5:15PM
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I'm glad you got some resolution, and some cooperation! I hope it continues.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 4:00PM
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If you (this website) would have said from the beginning that I had to have an account to post I would have registered before trying to comment on this page. I'm not going to repeat.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 7:04PM
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