Repairing a rental

alisandeMay 24, 2005

I've had no experience with renting, so I'm turning to you for advice. My nephew just signed a one-year lease on a house. After he and his girlfriend moved in, they found things that had looked good were actually falling apart...doorknobs coming off doors, etc. The latest discovery is that the floor under the new carpeting is rotting, and part of it actually broke through when they stepped on it. He's talking about fixing it himself, but shouldn't the landlord take care of it? He's not sure the landlord will do what he's supposed to do, but then that's a lease-breaker, yes? Of course, they don't have another place to move into right away, and that complicates things. Do you have any advice for these new renters?

Thanks!

Susan

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lazy_gardens

What state? He needs to IMMEDIATELY get a copy of that state's "Residential Landlord Tenant Act" and read it. Follow it EXACTLY!

It is the landlord's LEGAL responsibility. And landlord can be sued for huge damages if anyone gets hurt falling through a rotting floor! Rotten floor under NEW carpeting is proof that landlord KNEW the floor was bad and deliberately chose to hide it.

Check the state's laws: in almost every state they can notify landlord of the flaws, and issue a "you fix this within x days or we will hire a contractor and take the cost off the rent" OR (if they have a place to go) notify landlord "fix this in XX days or we're out of here and we get our deposits back".

Tell him to take pictures, LOTS of pictures, of the busted stuff, then report landlord to the agency in charge of rentals (often it's the health department)

Landlord can NOT retaliate ... well, yes they can but they can also get hit with a triple damages to the tenant clause.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 10:09AM
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talley_sue_nyc

actually, the landlord also has the RIGHT to be the one who fixes it. Bcs maybe the tenant isn't qualified, or he hires the cheapest guy who does a bad job.

Let's say the landlord doesn't know--maybe he hired someone to manage the property, or hired someone to put in new carpeting, and the guy saw the floor and either didn't recognize what the problem was or just never mentioned it to the landlord.

Your nephew should call, and if the landlord doesn't move in a day, he should write.

And maybe when he calls to notify the nice landlord of the disaster that happened to the nice landlord's property, because of course the nice landlord would want to take care of it right away, he should offer to get it taken care of, and send the receipt in as part of his next month's rent, bcs wouldn't that be so much easier for the nice landlord? (and it would get it DONE, which would be his biggest goal in doing this).

Then, based on the "nice landlord"'s response, he can decide whether to take pictures, write registered letters, and contact the local housing office, building inspector, etc.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2005 at 6:17PM
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alisande

Thanks very much for the advice. I passed it along immediately.

Susan

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 8:16AM
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