Monday, August 11, 2014

Just downright BUSY!


Wow! a week has flown by and no posting to the blog. Closing doors on one rental, opening doors on the new one . . toss in DD's surgery on Mon (kept us at the surgical center all day, but she's doing well, now off of RX pain meds). Been working daily on transporting "smalls" from the old house to the new, created a donation pile at the old one so as to just grab and go with it directly over to Goodwill and not bring it back here. My personal deadline is to get the old house cleaned out by tonight, go do a vacuum and  quick clean tomorrow, get the Realtor to come out and do a final walk through.

Speaking of Realtors-Realtors showing the rental home while I was there, were making claims that the wood stove is a feature of the home. Nope-had to correct them, sent an email to the listing realtor to update the listing about that as well as the washer/dryer (for sale BTW).  Realtor's assistant texted me the other night, telling me that they have a new tenant for the 15th (my lease expires the 14th so I am assuming no painting yet again!), oh, and will you be removing the stove pipe from the fireplace in the living room? I replied, "thanks for the update. The woodstove piping is a permenant modicication for which I had written pemission to have done. It will remain." Fast forward and the LL sends me a rather terse email. cc'd the Realtor: 

I spoke with M. earlier and there seems to be a problem regarding the wood stove. I expect all of the piping and anything else that is associated with the wood stove to be removed and the fireplace to be returned to its original condition. It was my understanding that it was to be a temporary fixture until such time that you were no longer my tenant and that it would be leaving when you did. Please make sure that all parts are removed by the 14th of August, the day your lease expires. There was never any mention of it being a permanent fixture, and I would never have okayed it if that was the case. Also please make sure there is a full tank of oil as you received one when you moved in. 

Thank you, 

Well, the lease is clear on this: I am required to get written permission for any permenant modifications to the rental (I actually had "tenant may have wood stove professionally installed" added to the lease). Any modifications to the structure (example given was tv satelite antenas) if not removed by tenant, become a permenant fixture to the rental and therefor the property of the LL. Fine. 

As luck would have it, my new LL had a chimney company out here the other day, installing a new flue pipe for the new furnace. I asked them if a wood stove in a fireplace is considered a permemant modification. An obvious yes. Can it be restored to original condition? No, the cut out fire box plate can not be resodered in place. Can the pipe be removed and the unit retrofitted with a new damper? Yes. It would cost about $1000. 

I feel the lease is protecting me on this one, and I don't have to (yet???) contact my divorce attorney who also specializes in landlord-tenant law. It is the responsiblity of the LL to make an informed decision when granting permission to a tenant, in a lease, to have a modification of the property and to do research, ask questions etc. as needed. She gave permission. There is no added language that the tenant will remove the pipe and revert the fireplace to a wood burner (BTW-per the contractor installing the wood stove, the fireplace is shot, wouldn't advise using as a fireplace). 

I filed a building permit in the LL's name, as required, paying the fee, the paperwork was mailed to her in FL, by the town building dept. I had a licensed contractor do the work, had two town building dept inspections of the work, had the unit (including the aforementioned pipe) professionally chimney swept/cleaned every year for the 2 years of my tenancy. I have more than met my obligation. Frankly, she should be thanking me for having it fitted for a wood stove and invest in a wood stove herself for the rental. @@ I spent over $5000/year on oil, keeping the house cold, hunkering down to the semi insulated part of the house when it was bad out. 

So, I will complete my move out, and then respond to the LL's email. I will be very careful, and matter of fact in my reply. For the record, when I learned that I was moving back on 7/15, I called the il company and made arrangements to have the oil tank topped up, on 8/8-per my instructions. I didn't need her reminder. Thanks anyway. 

So, WWYD? I am beyond over dealing with this LL, can't finish the move fast enough!


Anonymous said...

What a major pain! I would contact your attny and let them settle it. Although the fees would possibly eat your security deposit . Be thankful that you are done and can close that chapter when you clots that door

Lili said...

You know, Carol. I will be so glad for you when you don't have to deal with this ll any longer. As one of your readers, I feel I've gone through these difficulties along with you. I don't know what I'd do with the stove fittings, except maybe suggest to the landlord that she install a wood stove, as a "feature" to the rental, as the winters can be quite harsh.

Good luck with this!

HappyGrama said...

I would give all of this info to the lawyer and pay for him to send her a legal statement of your (non)obligations, just to get the former LL off my back once and for all. The peace of mind would be worth it! That way you can count on getting your deposit back, too. Otherwise she will be dinkering around trying to cheat you out of it. At least, it seems like she would. Enjoy your new home! Mary

Nancy said...

I hate to say it but I am not surprised by the old LL's attitude given their lack of attention to the property they've shown all along. If this was me I would turn the entire issue over to my lawyer and let him/her straighten it all out. Your paperwork is in order and it should be a simple matter of a letter and copies of the relevant paperwork. The lawyer can then advise the LL that you expect your deposit returned by a certain date. Getting the lawyer involved makes it all official and not a he said/she said type of situation.

Marcia in rural WNY said...

If, as I assume, you have copies of everything to document your side, I would send copies to her explaining that you did everything as required by the lease, highlighting the relevant parts in neon colored highlighter! I'd save the lawyer fee to see if she gives up when she sees you can prove your point. You can always pay the lawyer if necessary in the future. I don't know about CT, but in New York the landlord is required to keep the deposit in a separate account and pay interest on it before returning it to the tenant. Bet this ll doesn't do that either, if required in your state! Of course interest on a deposit for 2 years at current rates is next to nothing, but she's given you so much trouble, I would ask for it even if it was a single dollar. I'm a stickler that way if people cause me grief!

Rachel said...

I would definitely keep all documentation because I have a feeling that the landlord is going to try to keep your deposit due to the stove fittings not being taken out. I have a feeling you may have to get a lawyer involved. I hope you don't but sounds like it might have to go that route. Good luck.

CTMOM said...

I hesitate to contact the Landlord-tenant law attorney as the last time I did regarding the ice dam, it cost me $160 to be told, "it's a matter of intent." Great. Not so helpful.

I will contact the LL after I get signed off the house/realtor inspection. I will matter of factly report my side of the issue. Someone on another site suggested that I sell my old WS to the LL or the new tenant as a means to resolve the issue. I am open to that. It's not worth alot, I'd take $400 or BO. What do you think?

CTMOM said...

Yes, she is required to pay interest (very low amount) on security deposits.

CTMOM said...

see my reply to Bargain. A good solution would be for the LL or the new tenant to buy my old stove from me.

sqbdew said...

I personally would give them the stove as it may be cheaper for you than all of the legal fees to go after the LL