Apartment showings going a little too far?
February 22, 2007 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Landlord showing my apartment. What is reasonable?

I am living in Calgary, AB, moving this month to a new apartment. I'm defending my thesis early March and am home most of the day. I have been very accommodating with the landlord (also the owner of the building) as far as showing the place goes, including cleaning up for showings (~10-12 so far this month). He's asking a very high price for the place, having raised the rent twice in the last 6 months to take advantage (ahem) of the hot market here. Despite this, however, he hasn't rented it yet and has passed the property management duties onto another person as he is 'away' for the rest of the month.

The problem: The new property management guy is less considerate than the owner. He phoned this morning and asked me if I would be around (asking me to basically lay my day's schedule out) and show it myself without him or his 'assistant' (whom I don't know and have never met) being there. Furthermore, he's showing it considerably later than previously (there's one at 7pm).

I told him that I'm not willing to do his work for him. I told him that I can show it whenever he likes, just as long as someone else is there to show it. I'm not willing to show it without his being there for a variety of reasons, including our personal safety and familiarity with the apartment - it has several issues which are not up to building code, for instance. I'm not willing to answer questions about leases and rent payments and facilities and such. He got upset at this, stating that this wasn't what we had agreed upon the previous day when my landlord introduced him to me. I told him then that he could show it whenever he wanted as long as he phoned ahead. He took this to mean that I would show it whenever he sent people my way.

Am I being reasonable? I could peruse the residential tenancy act for Alberta, I suppose, if I were interested in getting technical, but there's less than a week left in the month so it's probably not worth getting overly pissy about it.
posted by jimmythefish to Home & Garden (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not only is showing off your apartment completely not your job, but he is even legally required to give you 24 hours notice.

You are not being unreasonable, or even rude. His request is ridiculous. Just keep politely telling him no, while quietly muttering 'one more week.'

Try to have the 'crazy eyes' going when you mutter. I mean, it can't hurt.
posted by Simon! at 10:29 AM on February 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

He took this to mean that I would show it whenever he sent people my way.

That's hysterical. This guy sounds like the sort of smarmy prat who tries to get other people to do his job.
posted by grouse at 10:35 AM on February 22, 2007

I'd tell him that if you let me show the place I am going to point out every fault.
posted by magikker at 10:40 AM on February 22, 2007

I'm not Canadian, but you all must have some sort of phone line for something like a Public Advocate...It would be worthwhile just to look around for legal resources on tenant's rights. Your answer is somewhere in an FAQ, I'm sure. We have lots of such quick resources, like the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

You are certainly being reasonably and very likely well within your rights. I think you should find out the basic shape of the law governing this process, though, so that next time he calls you can say "according to provincial law, blah blah blah." He'll be a lot less likely to push you when you start talking that way.
posted by Miko at 10:41 AM on February 22, 2007

"I'd love to help you out, Steve, but what if they ask why I'm moving? Do I point out the code violations, or should I tell them about the rent increases?"
posted by Methylviolet at 10:44 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes it is reasonable; I would have been very tempted to do what magikker suggested and just tell everyone the place blows and point out every flaw. (Actually, this is one reason I love to find occupied units when looking for an apartment: I can ask the current tenants about flaws.) You have no obligation to show the place, or even to allow it to be shown with less than 24 hours notice.
posted by raf at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2007

Best answer: Wow, finding this on Google was even easier than posting an AskMe!

It says:

blockquote>Permitting Landlord Entry to the Premises (Times and Reasons)

Landlords are not required to give any notice in the cases of emergency or abandonment or if a tenant consents to entry. Otherwise, 24-hour written notice is required to make repairs, inspect repairs or show the property to prospective buyers or renters.posted by Miko at 10:50 AM on February 22, 2007

Best answer: I love Methylviolet's approach, but find out the relevant local laws before speaking to him again. Googling "tenants rights alberta" got me to this useful-looking page, and there were other promising links.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:51 AM on February 22, 2007

Wow, finding this on Google was even easier than posting an AskMe!

Yeah, but it doesn't fully answer the question—what is reasonable rather than just legal.
posted by grouse at 10:59 AM on February 22, 2007

To answer your question, "Am I being reasonable?" Yes. More than reasonable. Don't lose a moments sleep over it nor waste any of your thoughts upon it. If asked by landlord at a later date about it, tell him the truth. The guy he hired was a bum.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:02 AM on February 22, 2007

Well, can he force you to show it? No. Are you leaving in a month? Yes. Is it your problem if it's empty when you leave? Nope. Just keep saying no.
posted by jon_kill at 11:09 AM on February 22, 2007

When my landlord showed our apartment, I made an effort to clean up a bit and to not be around when he showed it. Asking you to show the apartment for them is completely unreasonable and you shouldn't do it. Call him up, say no and that'll be that. It won't matter in a month anyway.
posted by Diskeater at 11:14 AM on February 22, 2007

I don't see why there's any sort of problem here. None of this is your responsibility; EVERYTHING YOU DO IS A COURTESY. Just say no. What are they going to do, try and evict you on your last month?

having raised the rent twice in the last 6 months

I'm curious about this- are you renting month-to-month? Don't you have a lease?
posted by mkultra at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2007

The law is reasonable. That’s what it’s there for, to state what is expected of all parties so that nobody has to get their panties in a knot wondering if they are being nice enough.
posted by kika at 11:17 AM on February 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Miko, yes, your link was helpful and I could have just *^*#^$* Googled it but I was looking for a more subjective answer as I actually like the landlord and want to help him out. mkultra, yes I'm now month-to-month. My 2-year lease ran out in September and he's been within his rights to raise the rent every three months thereafter.

I wrote this email just now to the property manager, and CC'd the landlord:

I’m going to clarify my position on the apartment showings, as there seems to be some confusion as to what I agreed upon. I have been accommodating and pleasant to deal with, I think, in attempting to get the apartment rented. Like I said on the phone to Rob today, though, I’m not willing to let prospective tenants into the place and show them around without Rob’s or Roland’s presence. The reasons surrounding this should be rather obvious. This is not my job, nor is it in the best interests of anyone in this process. As requested showing times of 7pm are somewhat inconvenient (as per today’s request) a line needs to be drawn for my sake and I will now simply defer to the Residential Tenancies Act, which requires 24 hours notice before showing the apartment. The salient details are listed here if they need to be referred to:


While it technically requires 24-hours written notice, I will accept a phone call or an email. As I have been treated well and respectfully by John throughout my stay here, I will continue to make sure that the place is as clean as possible for all showings.

posted by jimmythefish at 11:23 AM on February 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

The thing about 24-hour notice, though, is that the landlord can just slip a new, dated and signed photocopy of a 24-hour notice under your door every single morning, to be good on the next day.

That said, it isn't your job to show the place. Fuck that.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2007

Response by poster: PS - as per above the names have been changed to protect the...um...innocent?
posted by jimmythefish at 11:34 AM on February 22, 2007

If you've got a mean streak and don't mind burning the time. Tell him you'll show and point out every flaw and talk badly about the company that owns the building. Just make damn sure no one you show the place will ever rent it.
posted by wmeredith at 1:30 PM on February 22, 2007

jimmythefish - love it. It makes it clear that the problem is that you’re being bullied by the property manager, that you don’t have an issue with John.

If John has a problem with how things are working out, he clearly needs to have a talk with the property manager. Perfect.
posted by kika at 2:12 PM on February 22, 2007

It's not like as if vacancy rates in the City of Cows (hi from Edmonton!) are particularly high these days (0.5%, according to this recent article). Your landlord will have no trouble renting the place out. Sure, some consideration for the next potential renters is due (maybe they're desperate for a decent place too), but don't bend over backwards for the property management guy.
posted by hangashore at 3:19 PM on February 22, 2007

Response by poster: hangashore - that's just it, though. If they were being at all reasonable with the rent it would have been filled some time ago. I don't think it's worth what they're asking, which is causing the problem. There needs to be some middle ground between being reasonable with the rent and reasonable as far as I'm concerned - incoveniencing me by showing it to every desperate person in the city before one caves at the last minute out of fear of homelessness. At some point $100 extra a month isn't really worth the additional time it takes to show it.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:46 PM on February 22, 2007

Yeesh. Sounds like they're the architects of their own misfortunes. Stick to your guns.
posted by hangashore at 4:36 PM on February 22, 2007

Sorry, I definitely sounded snarky in my comment, because lack of search effort is one of my AskMe pet peeves. But you're certainly all correct that jimmythefish was looking for more of a social-relations check than a legal check. I was thrown off by the line:

I could peruse the residential tenancy act for Alberta

But now I see the heart of the question was whether he was being too legalistic. Still, I say no. There's no reason for landlords or their designees to behave this way, and you're within reason to say no to these requests.
posted by Miko at 9:52 PM on February 22, 2007

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