Old tenant is in a legal dispute with landlord-- should I take the apt?
July 2, 2014 9:09 PM Subscribe
The apartment is otherwise perfect in mostly every way. Is this kind of thing a reason not to take it?
posted by winterportage to Law & Government (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been apartment hunting in Montreal for the past two months (I'm moving August 1st). I realize this is a good position to be in because rent is so damn cheap in this city.
I visited a place today that seems like the one. This place is perfect in many ways, including being on a quiet, tree-lined street, having the 2 bedrooms far apart (front and back of apartment-- essential because I'm going to be living with my brother), having a balcony, being close to bus lines and to the school I'm going to, having lots of light.
The guy who showed me the place was very thorough and gave me a run-through of each room and any specific details about that room. He and his girlfriend (probably both mid-50s) gave off a good vibe... I didn't get any feeling of creepiness (and I am super sensitive to this).
But after his thorough tour he told me to sit down because what he was about to tell me was the "bad news" about the apartment. Basically he is in a legal dispute with the landlord because she tried to raise the rent higher than is legally allowed by the province (this is in Montreal-- tenants have very good rights in Quebec- better than any other province, probably). He said they are "suing each other". He offered to have me call the provincial board that deals with these disputes for confirmation that what she was doing was illegal and that he is most likely going to win the lawsuit. He wants his lease to be transferred to nice new tenants (ie: me and my brother) so that the landlord will not be able to raise the rent exorbitantly (if the landlord were to create a new lease, she would be able to do this, but not when you transfer an existing lease).
I was admittedly a little taken aback by the fact that there was a "sit down" portion of the visit in which the "bad news" would be administered, after I had received a great tour of the place. I'm not sure I fully understood the whole thing he was telling me.
He noticed my concern and was adamant that this would not affect me as a tenant and that I had nothing to worry about. He said he wanted to tell me the whole story thoroughly because he felt the duty to be fully honest but that perhaps the gravitas with which he had dealt with it made it seem like a bigger deal than it is. I expressed concern that I didn't want to have a crazy landlord, and he said that the landlord would have no reason to do anything unfair to me since she would already have been reported to the Régie.
For what it's worth (which I don't know is much), I felt like I could trust the guy. He seemed genuine and his girlfriend did too. But I've only known him for 3 hours.
Does this situation pose a very big risk to me as a new tenant?
Is the risk bad enough that I should consider not taking this perfect place (after not finding anything for 2 months)?