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Thread: Landlord/Tenant question

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    daydream believer oneTVslave's Avatar
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    Landlord/Tenant question

    Hello FORT friends, I need your advice.

    My family has a rental house, and lately we have had a little trouble with our tenants (2 adults - 1 man, 1 woman). They pay on time, so that is not the issue.

    Some time ago (at least 6 weeks ago), the man called my mother to complain about a problem with an electrical outlet. We have a handyman whom we have used for a long time who is very honest and trustworthy. He has performed repairs at the home before and the tenants have met him. Upon hearing about the problem, we told them to call our handyman and arrange a time when he could come take care of the problem. The tenant put off calling the handyman until we questioned him about it. They then played phone-tag with the tenant refusing to return our handyman's calls. At one point, they made an appointment and when our handyman arrived there was no one home. He took the opportunity to look around the outside of the house and noticed that there was some damage to the roof because the tenants had failed to clean the gutters, as is their responsibility according to the lease. He felt as though there was probably water in the house/walls and this may be contributing to the electrical problem (and God knows what other problems this has caused).

    When pressed, the tenants tried to blow it off, like the electrical problem was just a non-functioning outlet, and posed no danger to the house. Long story short - they can't commit to an appointment and/or don't want anyone to come in the house. They have always been very adamant that we not show up there and we have been respectable of their privacy, probably to a fault. At this point, we have issued an ultimatum - either they arrange an appt with our handyman by tomorrow, or I will come over with him and enter the house to have the repairs made. They reacted strongly to this, saying they would not allow it, and hastily made an appt with him for tomorrow. We'll see if they are home when he shows up.

    My question is - I feel that it is my right as a landlord to enter the property, and that they have been given adequate notice. But do I need to give them some sort of notice in writing? I've sent an email. Do I need to send something by registered mail, and if so, what if they aren't home or refuse to sign for it? Does anyone have any experience with this?

    I appreciate any and all suggestions! Thanks.
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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    oTs, my husband & I were landlords for a while, and all I can tell you is that landlord and tenant rights vary depending on where you live. Common sense tells me that since you own and insure the building itself, then you should have the right to perform necessary maintenance on the structure and the tenant must make themselves available within a reasonable timeframe so the work can be completed. However, I would contact your local Landlords & Tenants Association and run the situation by them, which is what we did when there was an issue and we were unsure how to handle it. Good luck.
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    Mullet/Summer Enthusiast AshleyPSU's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    I've lived in my current apartment for 4 years. I only had a lease for the first year that I lived here. I think my landlord just wanted to make sure I was going to be a good tenant, etc. Anyway for the past 3 years I have been just going month to month in the same apartment. As soon as I moved in, since it wasn't stated in the lease, my landlord and I had a verbal agreement that he would give me 24 hour notice if he needed to enter my apartment for any reason. The only time he ever came in was when my fridge wasn't working properly.

    When I was in college and lived in an apartment, the complex would leave a note under our door on a Monday and stated in writing that they'd be entering our apartment on a Wednesday between certain times. It was just a dinky little note, nothing "official".

    So I guess there isn't a set rule, it just depends where you live. I wouldn't think a registered letter is necessary considering you are the owner of the property. You said you already sent an email... did you ask for a read receipt? I would think a 24 or 48 hour verbal warning would be considered more than enough. You actually probably have a right to enter at anytime, but I don't know that for a fact.
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    Premium Member Yeti Long Shot: Porpoheus Champion
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    You definitely need to read your lease very carefully. I'm not a lawyer (just a mere paralegal) and therefore not allowed to give legal advice, but I do know most leases are very clear about these things. Not that this will go to court or anything this serious, be aware that most judges and mediators clearly lean toward the lessor. Be careful! I've seen tenants get away with all kinds of crap.

    Good luck!

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    daydream believer oneTVslave's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    Thanks, guys.

    The lease states:
    In addition to the rights provided by the laws applicable to the State of Georgia, the Landlords shall have the right to enter the House at all reasonable times for the purpose of inspecting the and/or showing the same to prospective tenants or purchasers, and to make such reasonable repairs and alterations as may be deemed necessary by the Landlords for the preservation of the House or the building and to remove any alterations, additions, fixtures, and any other objects which may be affixed or erected in violation of the terms of this Agreement. The Landlords shall give reasonable notice of intent to enter House except in the case of an emergency.

    I think that is pretty clear, my only question is what constitutes "reasonable notice". I can certainly leave a note at their house. I am hoping it won't come to that.
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    Premium Member Yeti Long Shot: Porpoheus Champion
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    Quote Originally Posted by oneTVslave;3385980;
    Thanks, guys.

    The lease states:
    In addition to the rights provided by the laws applicable to the State of Georgia, the Landlords shall have the right to enter the House at all reasonable times for the purpose of inspecting the and/or showing the same to prospective tenants or purchasers, and to make such reasonable repairs and alterations as may be deemed necessary by the Landlords for the preservation of the House or the building and to remove any alterations, additions, fixtures, and any other objects which may be affixed or erected in violation of the terms of this Agreement. The Landlords shall give reasonable notice of intent to enter House except in the case of an emergency.

    I think that is pretty clear, my only question is what constitutes "reasonable notice". I can certainly leave a note at their house. I am hoping it won't come to that.

    My first reaction to your post was what is the meaning of "reasonable" (before I read the rest of the post). The question is does this constitute an "emergency". In Utah, reasonable notice is usually 24 hours, unless, of course, it is a true emergency.

    This is a tough one - the best of luck to you!

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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    In both Florida and SC, reasonable notice is 24 hours.
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    Got wings 9/19/2012 buglover's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    Here in California it's 24 hour notice as well. Our landlord does inspections every 5 years. She will send out a notice 2 weeks in advance and then go into every apartment to look at the overall structure of the place. She never stays in the apartments for more than 3 minutes, she just walks in, looks at the corners of the walls, etc. and leaves. We once had a tenant who was incredibly messy. There was a smell coming from their apartment and several tenants had complained. Luckily, there was a leak in the wall in the apartment and they had notified the manager. When the plumbers came, they nearly threw up because of the stench from cat droppings, food, spilled milk and other things. Since they had to go in to fix the leak in the wall, everything was seen by the manager and at that point, the landlord gave them 1 week to clean the place up. She came in after that and it was cleaned to her satisfaction. She did notify them that she would have the manager inspect the apartment once a month from that point on at an agreed upon time. They ended up moving 3 months later.
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    Wait, what? ArchieComic Fan's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    What I read into this is a major red flag alert. The fact that they are so adamant about not wanting anyone in the apartment, even with the advance notice, would be reason enough for me to do an inspection as soon as was legally allowed. Their behavior seems to be above and beyond just wanting their privacy respected. If by chance they are doing something illegal (for ex. drugs) the home could be seized by the government. Even if it's just that they are messy, the home could wind up needing a ton of repairs. I would start instituting regular inspections. It's your investment and your right to protect it.
    Last edited by ArchieComic Fan; 03-18-2009 at 01:41 PM.
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    FORT Fogey Lil Bit's Avatar
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    Re: Landlord/Tenant question

    I agree with Archiecomicfan. I wonder what they are doing in there that they don't want anyone to see? It seems to me that if it was just messy and they really wanted the repairs done, they would be able to straighten the place up in a few days and let someone in. I certainly don't know the laws so if it was me, I think I'd make an appointment with a lawyer, let him go over the lease and find out exactly what is legal for you to do. But whatever you do, I think you have to get in there and see for yourself what is going on.
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