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What do you wish you had known or asked before you bought your condo?

We are thinking of buying a condo. We would use it as a rental, so most likely we would never live there. Aside from college, many moons ago, we've always lived in single family homes, so not much experience with renting or apartment life. What are the right questions to ask, or the right things to consider, before making this leap?
posted by vignettist on Aug 27, 2014 - 16 answers

Bogus Damage Charges from a Corporate Landlord DC Edition

Several roommates and I moved out of an apartment in DC this summer that is owned by a large corporate company (coughAvalonBaycough). We’d been in the apartment for almost four years. Before we moved out, staff from the building signed off on paperwork stating that there was no visible damage. A month later we get an incredibly bogus set of damage charges from the building for nearly $1,000. We already got our security deposit back, but they’re threatening to send us to collections over these new charges. [more inside]
posted by forkisbetter on Aug 26, 2014 - 8 answers

my move out date is after my lease expires. how bad is it?

I rented a new apartment with a lease starting on September 1st. My current apartment's lease ends 8/31. I foolishly thought moving out on 9/1 was standard practice. My landlord assures me it is not. Now what? [more inside]
posted by garlic on Aug 25, 2014 - 51 answers

How to walk away from a House (Minneapolis Edition)?

After watching our house not sell for 3 months (with one offer that would require us to bring 40k to the table!), we think it might be time for more creative solutions. Tell me about Strategic Defaults in Minnesota. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Aug 23, 2014 - 9 answers

Telling landlord we're looking elsewhere, but holding onto our place?

I have rented my current place for over a year and according to our lease, am now month to month. I want to look elsewhere, and tell my (very chill) landlord in case I want to put him as a reference. But in the end I'm not sure if/when I'll move (only if a better place materializes) so I also don't want him to decide to find new tenants and give me 30 days notice. How would you deal with the landlord? [more inside]
posted by dahliachewswell on Aug 18, 2014 - 18 answers

Binding arbitration

I have an arbitration clause in my lease. Does this preclude me from using small claims court? [more inside]
posted by latkes on Aug 13, 2014 - 7 answers

Landlord staying at my place while I'm gone - should I ask for $$?

My landlords (a lovely 60-something couple who we like and who like us and with whom we have multiple acquaintances) are staying at their/our house for 1.5 weeks while we are on vacation. Can I ask them to knock a few bucks off that month's rent and not be an asshole? [more inside]
posted by tristeza on Aug 10, 2014 - 21 answers

Question about eviction and co-tenants versus sub-tenants.

I'm going through a breakup. My ex very suddenly served me a Notice To Quit today. I'm not sure what rights I have here. I'm also pretty destitute because of recent medical bills. Further details inside. [more inside]
posted by TheHappiestSadist on Jul 30, 2014 - 25 answers

Give me my money back

I moved out from a terrible landlord in North Carolina last June, and then because I was living in Chile with a postal strike/mail delays, the security deposit check had hit the 90 day void by the time it got to my bank. Now I'm back in the US and he won't give me my money back. [more inside]
posted by crayz on Jul 20, 2014 - 12 answers

Overleased

A friend thought his lease ended August 1st, but he just got a call from his landlord saying that it ended two days ago. They don't have anyone slated to move in for two weeks, but say that they need that time to have the apartment professionally cleaned. What are the best steps for him to take? What rights does he have legally? We are in North Carolina. [more inside]
posted by matkline on Jul 15, 2014 - 14 answers

Thieving, lying landlords

How do I get my belongings back from a thieving police officer and his lying, thieving wife? [more inside]
posted by Amalie-Suzette on Jul 13, 2014 - 14 answers

Move to another apartment in the same neighborhood to escape landlord?

I need to decide by tomorrow whether to move out of my apartment (in September). Dislike the landlord, who lives above me, but the place is nice and my daughter was born there. My old landlord, who I like a lot, has a place for rent. Details below: [more inside]
posted by betsbillabong on Jul 9, 2014 - 18 answers

Is New York City's Tar Beach still a thing?

The door to the roof of my new NYC apartment beckons to me with dreams of sunset glasses of wine and weekend lunch picnics, but am I inviting trouble? Does "unofficial rooftop access" exist? I know people in the city hang out on their roofs all the time, but exactly how kosher is this? And what is the limit? Do landlords on average just turn a blind eye? Details inside. [more inside]
posted by snappysnapper on Jul 8, 2014 - 28 answers

Old tenant is in a legal dispute with landlord-- should I take the apt?

The apartment is otherwise perfect in mostly every way. Is this kind of thing a reason not to take it? [more inside]
posted by winterportage on Jul 2, 2014 - 18 answers

Is this actually a lease?

We signed a lease for a place and it's been a debacle and we haven't moved in yet. Is our lease legally binding if it wasn't countersigned and the owner hadn't closed on the place when we signed it? [more inside]
posted by Nimmie Amee on Jun 26, 2014 - 8 answers

How have you shared appliance purchases with landlords?

Do you have experience with conversations like "I'd really like to get a nice new stove, can we come to an agreement on the cost?" What have you done, what's worked, etc? [more inside]
posted by colin_l on Jun 24, 2014 - 30 answers

Rent question (grace period falls on holiday) Oregon

My friend rents an apartment. According to the lease he signed there is a 4 day grace period before his rent is considered late. (He sometimes pays on the 4th of the month because of when he is paid). This month the grace period involves the July 4 holiday. [more inside]
posted by naplesyellow on Jun 22, 2014 - 18 answers

How to de-stink our rental deck?

Because of Reasons, Mr. Blues and I rented an apartment sight-unseen. We moved in last week. It is generally quite nice, but the balcony/deck absolutely reeks of urine. Evidently a previous tenant seriously neglected her dogs (and potentially cats? it smells like cat pee to me) and they used the balcony as a bathroom. It absolutely reeks. How can we and or the management company fix this? [more inside]
posted by charmcityblues on Jun 17, 2014 - 18 answers

Should I tell a prospective landlord that I'm pregnant?

I'm pregnant, so my husband and I are looking for a larger place to live. We found a great house, where the landlord lives in a separate basement MIL unit in the house. Should I conceal that I'm pregnant (doable depending on what I wear) in case concerns about screaming babies might convince him not to rent to us? Or should I tell him up-front, since living in the same house as a landlord who doesn't want you there could be uncomfortable and stressful? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 14, 2014 - 27 answers

never thought how quickly bedbugs could become my problem.

Bedbugs in apartment we just moved into. What to do? Legally, practically, emotionally. [more inside]
posted by geegollygosh on Jun 3, 2014 - 18 answers

Apartment electrical fire. Can tennant expect compensation from landlord

My friend's apartment burnt along with most of his stuff. (He is 41.) Should he talk to a lawyer about getting a settlement from the landlord? More info below. [more inside]
posted by uncoolcentral on May 31, 2014 - 10 answers

Landlord dropped the ball, how can we get him to pick it back up?

We are scheduled to move into a significantly renovated unit in less than a week; not one renovation has actually been done. What can we do? [more inside]
posted by like_a_friend on May 25, 2014 - 25 answers

What should I do about this unauthorized entry in my apartment building?

An unknown person let themselves into my neighbors apartment, stole her pot, and then left, and my landlord isn't doing anything about it. I'm wondering what I should do now, if anything. Details at length inside. [more inside]
posted by apricot on May 13, 2014 - 16 answers

Is it legal for my landlord to do this?

My lease, like most, says that subleasing is not allowed without manager's consent. I came in on a sublease and later let the manager know I was planning on subleasing. She just declared she will not accept any subleasing any more. Does anyone know if this is legal for her to do this? It's breaking faith, but not breaking the literal contract. FYI, I live in Missouri.
posted by anonymous on May 12, 2014 - 10 answers

How to not get scammed when renting a house?

We're moving in a month or so and beginning to look at rental houses in Seattle. I'm a bit rusty, but what is the general procedure for establishing the person you're speaking with is the actual home owner and everything is on the up-and-up? [more inside]
posted by lattiboy on Apr 27, 2014 - 7 answers

Landlord Part Deux (NYC edition)

Our neighbors are complaining to our landlord about what seem really ridiculous matters, and he is sending letters threatening eviction. We pay our rent on time and try not to bother him. Please help me figure out what he might be thinking, how to deal with this, and what our rights are. [more inside]
posted by corb on Apr 25, 2014 - 17 answers

Landlordfilter: My tenants want to go day-to-day

My tenants, who have been reasonably good, rent-on-time tenants for 4 years, are looking for a larger house for their now-larger family. I let them go month-to-month to support that; now they want to know how much less than 30 days' notice is acceptable. [more inside]
posted by Dashy on Apr 25, 2014 - 36 answers

How to deal diplomatically with zealous environmentalist landlady?

Mrs. HeroZero and I just moved into a lovely new Chicago apartment about two months ago. However, our landlady (who lives on the third floor of this three-flat apartment building) has passionate environmentalist feelings. Though we share many aspects of her politics, it's made certain aspects of living here difficult. [more inside]
posted by HeroZero on Apr 20, 2014 - 18 answers

Plumbing issue in rented PA home. Landlord wants us to share in payment?

My landlord is requesting that my roommates and I help with the cost of a plumbing repair. I think he's in his rights to do this, but I just want to see what the green thinks. [more inside]
posted by dean_deen on Apr 13, 2014 - 30 answers

Does a tenant in California have a right to have his closet unlocked?

I rent an apartment with a strange closet situation. Right now the closet has locked. No key exists for the lock. Instead, the landlord urges me to keep it unlocked, even though it tends by its nature to lock, accidentally. The landlord will not make a key. Instead he charges me for stripping the door from its hinges each time it locks, grumbling "I told you there was no key!" Is this OK or is there some ideal under the law that I should be able to have access to my closet?
posted by johngoren on Apr 8, 2014 - 24 answers

How to explain rental history?

I am looking to rent a house, but my rental history is a bit spotty: I moved every six months for the last 1.5 years due to life circumstances, and one of my past landlords will probably not give me a good reference through no fault of my own. How do I deal with this? [more inside]
posted by sockermom on Mar 28, 2014 - 9 answers

Tenant (probably) stuck in Toronto prison and time keeps dragging on...

How can I find someone who is currently awaiting trial or in jail in Toronto? [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Mar 27, 2014 - 11 answers

Landlord wants to replace gas oven with electric. Help?

We have enjoyed 6+ years of our gas oven/stovetop, but now our NYC landlord is planning to replace all the ovens in our building with electric. This seems like it will make our (already high) electricity bill even higher. Is there anything we can do? [more inside]
posted by Zephyrial on Mar 22, 2014 - 15 answers

Tax Question: How best to split up rent/mortgage/repairs?

TaxFilter: Partner and I own multi-family home. How best to split up $$$ from rents, repair costs, mortgage, etc for taxes this year? [more inside]
posted by amicamentis on Mar 6, 2014 - 11 answers

Landlord changing building locks and I can't get the key

[NYCFilter] My landlord slipped a memo under the door last night that on Friday afternoon he was changing the front door locks to the building and all tenants had a small window to pick up new keys from him or had to make alternative arrangements. I cannot make the small window (night school), the number he listed is incorrect, and despite a couple voicemails on the other number I have for him he hasn't returned my calls. What are my options on Friday if I cannot get into the apartment? What are my rights? [more inside]
posted by teabag on Jan 30, 2014 - 19 answers

Looking for advice on taking a tenant to Small Claims Court in Ontario

I may need to take my tenant to Small Claims Court, and I would like some advice. [more inside]
posted by orange swan on Jan 29, 2014 - 7 answers

To Sue, or Not to Pursue? That is the (complex) question.

My room has bedbugs. My landlord refuses to cover the costs of extermination, on the grounds that they've never had this problem before. Do I push it, or let it go? Complication: my landlord is not actually my landlord. [more inside]
posted by Ashen on Jan 15, 2014 - 24 answers

Can I sublease my NY apartment while I'm gone for 1-2 years?

Our apartment in New York is rent stabilized and we love the neighborhood it's in. I was very, very lucky to find this place back back when I was single. But in April we are moving to London temporarily (maybe for two years?) because of a job my wife has taken. The dream scenario is that we could leave our furniture, find someone we trust to sublease to, and have the option to come back in two years. Or if things go terribly in London we could come back earlier. But there's a complicating factor and I don't even know if the rules would allow us to sublease for very long. Details below. [more inside]
posted by theory on Jan 14, 2014 - 8 answers

Although she cleans up well, once you check under the surface...

I just moved into a furnished apartment (in Ontario, Canada) that I knew would have some of the owner's knick-knacks and belongings... but I didn't realize just how much stuff would be here. This is for a (relatively) short-term stay. How can I politely (and does it need to be polite?) request that I need some of her stuff cleared out? [more inside]
posted by vernondalhart on Jan 3, 2014 - 16 answers

Is e-mail legally binding in any way?

We're up to renew our lease and want the new lease modified so that we can keep our dog in the apartment. Our landlord refuses to modify the lease at all and suggested instead an e-mail stating that we are allowed to have the dog. Is this meaningful in any real way? [more inside]
posted by shotgunbooty on Dec 30, 2013 - 18 answers

It's Not You, It's Me: Landlord Edition

What are some best practices for dealing with landlords? Alternately, please tell me I'm over-reacting. Snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by mrfuga0 on Dec 7, 2013 - 25 answers

Neighbor's toilet water is leaking into my home. Landlord doesn't care.

Brown water from the apartment upstairs occasionally leaks into my apartment and its light fixtures. The landlord and super won't fix the plumbing until that tenant moves out. What can I do about this? Withhold rent? Break my lease? Something else? I understand that YANML, but some help with NYC tenants rights would be good right now. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 3, 2013 - 23 answers

Sleazy ex-landlord managing to elude any attempt to recoup security.

Two years ago I moved out of an apartment, with everything in good condition and good standing. My landlord ignored my requests for my security deposit, so I sued in small claims and won. Landlord has since ignored any attempt to recoup this debt, which is now - with damages and court fees - nearly $1,500. I've exhausted any resources I have to get this money back, and I'm hoping MeFites might have ideas or encouragement to help settle this in my favor. [more inside]
posted by AthenaPolias on Nov 6, 2013 - 16 answers

You want to change your newly signed 12 month lease to 6 months?

How much more should I charge my tenant to change from a 12 month to a 6 month lease at her request after just signing the agreement 2 months ago? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! on Oct 29, 2013 - 22 answers

Is this creepy?

I'm on a very painful apartment hunt in the Bay Area, and having no luck finding anything (I've applied four times now). It's a terrible market for a renter and there's a lot of competition. Early this week, I finally found a place I liked and that the landlord seemed willing to rent to me-- but then he sent a series of text messages that made me question his sanity. He lives on the property, so I want to feel comfortable around the guy. I told him I wasn't interested anymore, but now I'm second-guessing myself. How strange do you think these messages are, and should I be worried? [more inside]
posted by three_red_balloons on Oct 25, 2013 - 52 answers

Device to tell whether someone's entered my apartment?

I live in a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco, and have been enduring some landlord harassment of various types. (I'm paying a fortune, but rents are so high right now that even what I pay is well below market.) For my peace of mind, I'd like to install some sort of reasonably priced device to ensure that no one's entering my apartment when I'm not there. A huge bonus would be collecting evidence if it does happen. [more inside]
posted by roxie110 on Oct 25, 2013 - 17 answers

Burgled!

I was burgled again this week. Sigh. I need help asking my landlord for specific safety interventions. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Oct 20, 2013 - 17 answers

Tell Me More About Good Fences Making Good Neighbors

The fence between my neighbor's house and my house has been damaged by a tree on their side of the fence growing larger and starting to push the fence down. The fence is further weakened by the fact that my neighbor's dog (a very large German Shepherd) often jumps on it when she barks at things in my yard. For the safety of my family I want to get the fence replaced. I would like the owner of the next door property to pay for half. The problem is the property is a rental and the tenants wont give me the landlord's contact info. How can I find out who owns the property? [more inside]
posted by WalkerWestridge on Oct 6, 2013 - 16 answers

Should I ask my landlord for money off rent?

My landlord and I have a previously discussed arrangement where if I am able to save him a call to a handyman by dealing with an issue myself, I can ask for "whatever's fair" off of rent. Yesterday, a visit by the utility company took up a large part of my day. Not sure if I should ask for money and if so, how much, and how to phrase. [more inside]
posted by SpiffyRob on Oct 2, 2013 - 13 answers

Is that Jackson Pollock? Nope! It's mold!

Is it possible my moldy unit pushing my already run-down self over the edge? How much mold is too much? For how long? [more inside]
posted by jrobin276 on Sep 23, 2013 - 15 answers

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