Friday, June 13, 2014

Can't hurt to ask


I've been watching our very limited, rental market here. Without getting into the background, let it suffice that I need to stay in this town for 2 more years. That said, there have been pluses and some minuses to this particular rental home, as with any rental situation. I've been reading the postings, few, if any, are in my budget.

My current lease expires Aug 14th. I just mailed in my second to last rent payment on my current lease. LL just emailed me, asking my intentions to renew or not. Per the lease, I am to get first crack at renewal before she can relist it.

I will get back to her this weekend. I need to confirm her terms (rent increase?) but also need to ask that some language be added to the lease ("snow removal" specified to driveway, front steps and walkway; tenant can break lease without penalty, with 30 days notice, if moving) and finally, I need to ask her intentions on several items:

-septic cleanout
-gutter cleanout
-repair and paint of deck
-repair of cement on front steps
-repair of cellar stairs
-cut bolt that sticks out of floor on newly installed toilet so that the caps can be properly fitted over them
-remove wallpaper from behind newly installed toilet, and paint that area (rest of room was done previously)
-re-install decorative tiles underneath vent hood (broken wallboard now exposed since this hood was newly installed)
-remove moldy wallpaper in mainbath water closet, de-mold wallboard as needed and paint a neutral color. Wallpaper is ugly, but main concern is the black mold underneath that existed prior to our tenancy. several of us are allergic to mold.
-request that the watercloset fan be looked at and determined if it can be replaced/repaired so as to better remove steam from this room (asked previously, response back was, "open a window."-not a plan come Winter nor a safe one, if we're not home)
-repair of center solid window of bedroom bay window that had a crack and now frosted over this winter (guess it was a low E window)
-paint exterior of home (note: mostly stone so not a ton)We've been told for 2 years in a row now, by the handyman, that it would be painted
-paint in interior areas: small bedroom and main bath radiators, living room library wall area on top near ceiling (peiling when we moved in), kitchen ceiling (turned greyish in spots??? and we have and use good ventilation)
-caulk of exterior windows and doors
-insulation under crawlspace where it is literally falling off onto ground
-insultation of attic (shot per energy report, and under R value, never done correctly either)
-placing wood chips/mulch in front and side planting beds
-repair of hole (YES, HOLE) in side of house (mice got in front here I suspect)

I strongly suspect that her "handyman" was paid to do a lot of the aforementioned and billed her for work he never did, or completed. From that state of some of the work that he was involved in, he's a hack at best. Sigh.

So, what would you do? I figure that it can't hurt to ask, the worst thing would be for the LL to refuse to do the requested repairs. 



Kearnygirl said...

Goodness! That is a long list of things to be fixed! Doesn't the landlord ever come by to see if the handyman actually fixed any of these things that she/he obviously paid him to do? I think if she doesn't agree to fixing some of those things (like the mold issue), I'd be trying to move on to some other rental. It's only my opinion but that's what I would do.

DW said...

Good luck! It's too bad you can't find another affordable rental ...

Frugal Queen said...

I've never rented, so can't advise. Your situation sounds challenging but you have great negotiating skills. Froogsxxx

CTMOM said...

I have been trying to find another affordable rental in this town. There aren't many rentals, and most would cost my entire monthly take home pay. : (
Welcome to Fairfield county.

LL lives in FL, hasn't been to CT in years. I don't know how she ever connected with her local handyman, what the agreement is.

I "know" this rental, the good and the bad. To move would be costly, as well, assuming that an affordable option opened up. I have to keep the master plan in mind as well-I've invested in a wood stove installation here (my stove would come with me when I do move),a snow plow contract (they are excellent compared to the jerk we had our first winter) as well as some cosmetic and comfort repairs to make this place more liveable for us. That list is now pretty much exhausted so I don't anticipate any more expenditures beyond, perhaps a new, mini microwave. One did come with the rental, but it's 10 years old, the paint on the inside is worn away from cleaning, etc. It works but for how long? and I don't really trust it. It's part f the list of things that the realtor told me to do with as I wished-use it, get rid of it. It breaks, LL won't replace it. I'd gift this oldie to DS #1 and his GF to make their lives easier, and buy myself a new one (and feel safer in the process). THey run about $55 at Walmart.

Marcia in rural WNY said...

I think I would start with something like "Yes, I would like to renew, however I feel there are health/safety issues which should be taken care of (list maybe 3-4 most important things, as she might consent to ONLY do those) plus there are these other issues as well (name the rest.) If you really suspect the handyman isn't doing all he is paid for, I would state that straight out: his work is quick and often incompeletly done, in my opinion, yada, yada.
With such a long list and no obviously affordable alternatives, I would be a little leary of not being able to compromise somewhat. I agree that the place should be liveable for the price paid. Is there anything that you would be willing to do if supplied with materials/allowed to purchase your own materials/maybe for a discount on the rent? Some kind of effort to meet her halfway on a few issues instead of relying on the incompetent handyman?
We rented for about a dozen years before buying a house, so I'm relying on some experience with landlords both good and bad with my suggestions. When we did buy, it was with the conclusion that there is no "perfect" house, and an expectation of changing what we didn't like. Which we've been doing for about 36 years now!! It's still not perfect, but it's a lot closer to it.

sqbdew said...

I would definitely up date that list. First off I have friends that rent out houses and I can guarantee that none of them would agree to breaking a lease without penalty. Also you have 18 requests and that is too over whelming and she may just say she will not renew your lease. With reasonable rentals few and far between she has a captive audience and can probably rent it no problem without all of those request as it is a temporary home and many would not want all of that done.

CTMOM said...

To be clear, the punch list of concerns wouldn't be all presented to the LL. I did email a reply today, simply asking for her terms. I await her reply. It's at that juncture (assuming that rent won't go up or if so, a lot), I will ask for clear language as pertains snow removal to be added and I will ask for a get out of lease with notice clause. I've already rented for 2 years with her, I am a good tenant (pay on time, no bounced checks, etc) She may dislike that I asked prior to moving in, and subsequently, for repairs to be done but frankly, this place was let go. I am certain that a major factor is her living so far away and not having a professional property manager-just whatever arrangement with this quasi handyman. I've tried to treat this rental as i would my own home: clean, good condition, making some small improvements on my own dime.She has not been on the property for years. Understand also that I have no intention of sending her a list of 18 requests. Rather, if the aforementioned terms are agreeable, I will ask for up to 4 items from the list, the most essential. Some, she is requireed by law to address. She can refuse all she wants, I go to housing court and can easily break my lease just because of the peeling paint issue both inside/outside the home, especially as children reside here and especially as one is disabled.

To be clear, the LL can't refuse to re-lease to me because I have maintenance requests. She MUST give me first right of refusal before re-listing, per the lease. The court would be on my side on that issue.

So, I await her answer. I'll ask for clear language on any re-lease, then I'll ask for 4 key items to be addressed. While I don't expect that she'd do everything that I would like (actions speak loud), some things are non negotiable and I do have the legal system behind me, if needed. My divorce attorney also happens to specialize in landlord-tenant law,which is a nice bonus.

Nancy said...

Does your town require an annual inspection by the city building department of rental properties? I know that here they do this (oldest DD just had hers) and the landlord is legally obligated to have all issues repaired within a certain time frame. The mold is a health issue that is pretty serious. I'd insist on having that dealt with because that in itself may be something the city would get involved in even if they don't do rental inspections.