My apartment is being renovated, how does that impact moving out?
May 16, 2014 11:06 AM   Subscribe

My apartment building was sold in the past 6 months. The new owners have been completely gutting and renovating units as people have moved out; the work is going on for months. I'm planning to move out at the end of the month and wondering how much I need to worry about cleaning or repairing any minor damage if they're just going to do the same thing to my unit. Additionally, if they do charge me for any damages do I have any recourse to argue that they shouldn't have because they weren't preserving whatever it was any way? Obviously not expecting any binding legal advice on this, more curious if anyone has had similar experiences or any pointers to share.
posted by chriswarren to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Have you tried asking your landlords what their expectations are?

(If they want anything less than the usual move out conditions, get it in writing!)
posted by Jacqueline at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2014 [6 favorites]

Homeline is a Minnesota non-profit that offers free legal advice to tenants through a statewide toll-free number. You can also e-mail your question to one of their lawyers.
posted by Area Man at 11:10 AM on May 16, 2014

I'd ask. Get it all in writing. I'd do it in an email.

Dear Landlords,

I will be moving out at the end of the month, per my previous communication. I know that renovations are taking place and I'd like to do as little work as possible, while still insuring that I receive the entirety of my security deposit back.

If you painted, ask them if you should re-paint, or if they're going to address that in the renovation.

I've painted the back bedroom Ecru the previous landlord's permission. Do you need me to repaint it to Navajo White, or will it be okay for me to leave it as-is?

Please let me know exactly what your expectations are, and when you would like to schedule a walk-through prior to DATE.

That should do it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:43 AM on May 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Do you live in my complex?

The management office told me that they were gutting the places, but asked me not to trash the place on my way out. They also said lots of pet hair might make it harder for allergic workers to remove carpet (which was surprising to me but whatever) so to be sure not to leave, and I quote, "gobs of cat hair everywhere." They also said that as long as I was a clean and reasonable tenant during my rental period that it was very unlikely that I'd lose any of my deposit.

So, ask, but my impression from my interactions with my management - I'm in your exact situation - was that as long as I haven't destroyed the place it will be fine and I'll get my whole deposit back.
posted by sockermom at 11:45 AM on May 16, 2014

Your best bet is to ask the landlord what's expected, and get it in writing. Ruthless Bunny's letter works well.
posted by tckma at 12:02 PM on May 16, 2014

You may not need to do things like painting or carpet cleaning, but you should do a good job of vacuuming and basic cleaning. They're still going to want it clean, as the renovators won't want to be janitors, and unless they're actually tearing out walls, they're almost certainly going to expect things like wallboards in good condition. Don't give them an excuse to not give you your deposit back. Ask, but still take pictures.
posted by sageleaf at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Based on what I've seen of the currently vacated apartments they're tearing everything out, taking down walls, and more. Bathrooms and kitchens are down to the studs, closets have been torn out and moved, and more. Some of the sheetrock is still up in places, and the wood floors have remained, but everything else looks like it's being changed.
posted by chriswarren at 12:37 PM on May 16, 2014

i've gotten completely fucked over on this exact situation. they say i didn't fix stuff, i say we already had an agreement because they were renovating, then they say they had to rip out the walls and stuff because of damage i did.

ruthless bunny has the right idea, but be prepared to take this to small claims anyways. this has happened to me twice, and it happened to my parents once too. You come to an agreement, they come and look and say everything is fine, and then make up some bs later because they want to keep your money.
posted by emptythought at 6:39 PM on May 16, 2014

I was screwed over in a similar situation. Landlord told me he'd be replacing all the flooring when I left so I didn't get the carpets cleaned when I moved out. Sneaky asshole took $200 off my deposit for carpet cleaning. And this is someone I got along very well with up until that point.

If they say don't bother, you should still get it in writing.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

futureisunwritten: " If they say don't bother, you should still get it in writing."

posted by Lexica at 6:02 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Certainly leave it clean. Take pictures.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:54 PM on May 17, 2014

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