I hate moving
December 29, 2010 9:57 AM   Subscribe

What rights do I have as far as a landlord not letting me move in, at the last minute, on the scheduled day? I'm furious, inconvenienced, and am spending new year's trying not to trip over boxes.

I'm scheduled to move tomorrow morning 150 miles away from where I have lived for the last 5 years. The deposit on the new house was made on Dec 17th and cleared a few days later. I was assured the place will be ready for me to move into tomorrow.

I called today to make sure everything was done and after I got a call back I was informed they just got the paint in today and will paint and afterwards (tomorrow?) replace the carpets. Should be ready to move into January 3rd. 4 days late.

My current landlord is cool with letting me stay until Jan 3rd.
I rescheduled the moving company.
I still need to call the utility and cable companies (here and there).
All my pots and pans are packed.
I was planning on spending new years at the new place.
My mail forwarding was set to begin tomorrow.

I'm furious and can't believe I had to call them to find out that they are incompetent and was told "there's nothing we I can do. Sorry."

Is there really nothing she can do? Are they not on the hook at all to reimburse me for their own mess?
posted by ttyn to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your profile says Arkansas... is this correct? We really, really, really need to know which state (or country) you're in to know more about your legal rights.
posted by crapmatic at 10:02 AM on December 29, 2010

Yes, Arkansas. Should've mentioned that...
posted by ttyn at 10:04 AM on December 29, 2010

Have you paid rent already starting for Jan 1st? First thing I would do is ask for that part of the rent back and then a reasonable amount for 'damages'- like did the moving company charge you a fee to reschedule this late? If so, that should be included. Do this in writing, start documenting, and if they resist tell them you will be taking this to small claims if they don't reimburse immediately. You are absolutely not obligated to pay a dime for a unit you can not occupy, end of story.
If you haven't paid rent yet, different story. Make sure you have a written agreement to prorate starting from the 4th and not the 1st.
posted by slow graffiti at 10:22 AM on December 29, 2010

*make that the 3rd, not the 4th
posted by slow graffiti at 10:23 AM on December 29, 2010

"My mail forwarding was set to begin tomorrow. "

I'd let this one go. You're only talking two days worth of mail and it'll be sitting in your box when you get there. Heck if forwarding works anything like it does here where it's handled by the local carrier you might even beat your mail to the new place.
posted by Mitheral at 10:46 AM on December 29, 2010

If it were me I would swallow my pride and not say a word. Land lords can make your life a living hell if they want to and pissing one of right before you move in sounds like a bad idea to me. Keeping them on your good side and moving in a day later will not kill you.
posted by Felex at 10:51 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

If it were me I would swallow my pride and not say a word. Land lords can make your life a living hell if they want to and pissing one of right before you move in sounds like a bad idea to me. Keeping them on your good side and moving in a day later will not kill you.

Yeah, but make sure that they understand that you're going to be paying the rent each month based on the date you moved in.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:02 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

To me, the problem is that with appropriate notification, this would have been a non-issue.

-Do you have a lease? What does the lease say is the start date?

-Or have you paid, but where planning to sign the lease and exchange checks once you arrived in town?

If you have a signed lease to start X date, and house is not move-in ready, then this is a huge breach of contract and they owe you pro-rated rent, plus fees for movers penalties (if any) lus rent on your current unit (if you are being charged to stay extra.)

If everything was done by handshake and verbal agreement, then now you know these are the types of landlords who think all agreements come with wiggle room.

Document. If more of this in the future - move out.
posted by jbenben at 11:07 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

The lease was signed on December 17th and commences January 1st, although we were assured we could move in on the 30th (not really why I'm bitching though). I haven't been asked to pay January's rent yet, but I did pay the security deposit.

My issue is that I was the one who had to call less than 24 hours before move-in to find out it wasn't ready at all and then get "well, nothing I can do". I wouldn't have brought it up, even if I had to spend new year's eve and another 2 days eating taco bell in an empty house, had she not acted like she had no knowledge of this until the minute I called.

Will look into getting the rent prorated and the lease start on January 4th. Thanks for the advice!
posted by ttyn at 11:31 AM on December 29, 2010

This may be off topic but Im curious. If you had not called and just showed up, what then? It just seems weird they wouldn't notify you. But at least you're not stuck in that situation.
posted by sio42 at 11:36 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Errr, Jan 3rd.
posted by ttyn at 11:40 AM on December 29, 2010

sio42, I imagine she would've said "oops, nothing I can do" and then I would have to fight for reimbursements for hotel and storage.
posted by ttyn at 11:51 AM on December 29, 2010

Yeah, I think you've got to make sure the lease is dated with the date you can take occupancy, and release the rest as thoughtless/annoying/strange new landlord. It's not an auspicious start but it doesn't pay to stir it up this early on. Just don't pay for the days you can't get in.
posted by thinkpiece at 12:32 PM on December 29, 2010

Read your lease. It will outline the obligations of the landlord regarding date of possession.
posted by sinfony at 1:25 PM on December 29, 2010

ttyn, I, too, live in Arkansas and our renters' right's suck. I used to live in Conway and liked it and then moved to a place (in my profile) where the right's still suck. However, if you're moving to my area (and if you are, please let me know... we'll treat y'all right on New Year's), please MeMail me with your landlord's details and I'll try to find out a critique. Some of our local folks are somewhat careless but very, very kind. Depending on where you are moving, it can be a small town attitude in a decent "city." If it's one of the "corporate" businesses, I'll happily let you know about that, too.

At any rate, check all your paperwork, as previously suggested. Some of the non-corporate landlords where I live are kinda spacey but very understanding in the long run. This can be a feature rather than a bug, in spite of the scheduling mishap.

Sorry to hear you have hassles during the holidays. I really, really hate moving, too.
posted by lilywing13 at 2:27 AM on December 30, 2010

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