Bang bang, it's
May 28, 2007 3:11 PM   Subscribe

My landlord is renovating the apartment next to mine. It is very noisy from 9 to 6 every week day (even today). Constant hammering, squeaking, sawing, etc. The walls are shaking and I found paint dust along the walls of my apartment.. It's driving me crazy.

I would like to move out now.

However, I'm on a month to month lease that requires me to cancel 30 days in advance.. Is the contract binding under these new conditions?

I moved in 6 weeks ago and my landlord never mentioned this..

Any tips on how to approach the landlord about this?

I would bite the bullet if I was planning on staying for a while, but I am only in town for the summer and this is really putting a damper on my stay here.

posted by mrunderhill to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Where are you?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2007

Response by poster: I'm in San Francisco
posted by mrunderhill at 3:15 PM on May 28, 2007

I don't know how much stuff you have, or what your budget is for the move, but given that you're only in town for the summer, maybe you should just tough it out?

Further, if they are working every day its likely they will be finished soon. The landlord obviously wants the work completed as quickly as possible so a new tenant can move in. Thus, you probably only have a few more days to put up with this.

You should talk to you landlord, maybe point out that he should have warned you about the noise. You could mention that you're thinking of moving, but make it clear to the landlord that you'll stay if he'll compensate you in some way (free month? discount?) To drive the point home bring him in and show him the dust.

If you're dead set on moving you could probably wiggle out of your lease. But expect to have to make a big deal about it.
posted by wfrgms at 3:27 PM on May 28, 2007

San Francisco Tenants' Union has a drop-in center for tenants' rights questions. Looking at this it looks like he can do repairs as he wants, so long as it doesn't make your unit "uninhabitable" as defined on that page.

One thought: does he have a security deposit from you? If it's one month's rent, you could probably leave now if you were willing to lose the deposit.

If they're working 9-6, could you find somewhere else to be during the day?
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:33 PM on May 28, 2007

You have a right to "quiet enjoyment" of your apartment. (Google for more -it's a standard term that should be familiar to your landlord). What if you worked nights, or had a small child that needed naps?

I would say that it's reasonable that he lets you out of your lease at this point. Then he can renovate your apartment too!

But, I would educate yourself on the meaning of quiet enjoyment and approach him from that angle.
posted by Ostara at 4:28 PM on May 28, 2007

Call him, see how long it'll be going on, and go explore SF. If you're only here for the summer, you may as well go do stuff outside in the beautiful weather. It can't be for many more days, so, slow down and call the landlord to see before you file a lawsuit and spend your life savings moving out - the laborers will be gone before you are.
posted by kcm at 4:31 PM on May 28, 2007

"Quiet enjoyment" is a legal term that refers to rights like right to possession, not actual quiet as we use the term in everyday English. IANYAL, but I would guess that this situation -- however very annoying -- wouldn't constitute constructive eviction (i.e. the noise has made your apartment objectively uninhabitable).

I second the suggestion to talk to your landlord, show him or her the dust and noise, and politely remind him or her that you had not been told of this beforehad. Find out how long this is expected to continue, and see if you can reach an agreement: knock a few bucks off your rent? Let you give less than 30 days' notice to move out? Have the workers put down more drop cloths? Be reasonable, and remember that there's only so much the landlord can do, too: renovations need to happen to keep the property nice and/or up to code, and renovations are necessarily noisy.

With any luck, though, this will be done in a couple of days and you can have the rest of your summer to enjoy.
posted by AV at 4:46 PM on May 28, 2007

(beforehad = beforehand, doh!)
posted by AV at 4:47 PM on May 28, 2007

When my San Francisco apartment was retrofitted there was 3 months of jack hammering from about 9 to about 6, daily.

We only got reimbursed for the days they were actually in our units working. And trust me, me and all 54 other tenants in the building tried everything we could. Even the ones who worked the graveyard shift and slept during the day.

We got nothing.

Find somewhere else to be during the day. It's San Francisco, it's made for vagrants.
posted by Ookseer at 9:18 PM on May 28, 2007

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