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Can A Tenant Refuse Entry to Landlord for Renovations?

templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey all,

With the down market, my wife and I finally decided to change from lifelong renters to first-time homebuyers. Our lease isn't up until April 1st, but we decided to look a bit early in case we wanted to take advantage of short sales / foreclosures. However, we found a great place way ahead of time.

The problem is that we don't want to (and can barely afford to) pay for both places at once for three months. I can't get out of the lease, because it demands that we pay our remaining months in full as soon as we give notice. What I'd like to do is leverage our early leaving as an asset, because the owners changed and the new ones want to remodel.

Can I refuse entry to the remodeling crew until the end of my lease in order to gain leverage? Or do they have the right to intrude on my home while I'm living in it?

PS: I realize this may vary by location, so this is specifically in regards to Minneapolis, MN, USA.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    This post is essentially asking for legal advice, which you shouldn't ask for over the Internet anonymously. So this shouldn't not be construed as legal advice.

    Having said that: dude. Adjust your tactics. You are not going to win that fight. The very act of starting this fight is going to poison the well on any good-faith negotiations you might want to participate in going forward.

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  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    Are you going to auctions or do you have a realtor?

    They can buy you 90 days before payment is due on a house purchase.

  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    SammyF wrote:
    Having said that: dude. Adjust your tactics. You are not going to win that fight. The very act of starting this fight is going to poison the well on any good-faith negotiations you might want to participate in going forward.

    What adjustments are you suggesting, exactly?

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    WildEEP wrote:
    Are you going to auctions or do you have a realtor?

    They can buy you 90 days before payment is due on a house purchase.

    Realtor. We ended up not going for anything in auction or foreclosure.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote:
    This post is essentially asking for legal advice, which you shouldn't ask for over the Internet anonymously. So this shouldn't not be construed as legal advice.

    Yeah, I have a meeting with a real estate attorney for some other stuff next week, and I can ask then. I just wanted to see what the hive mind consensus was in the meantime, since they're trying to press us to set a date for the remodeling crew to come in.

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  • MrMonroeMrMonroe Registered User regular
    You need to read your lease very carefully, and preferably show it to an attorney to determine whether you have any rights to refuse entry and under what circumstances.

    But really, lawyer up. That is an extreme dissolution clause, and I'm wondering if you're reading it wrong or it is actually illegal.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    It would seem weird if you were forced to habitate an apartment during a renovation. That is a major fuck of your life.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    The answer is going to vary widely by locality anyway.

    Generally speaking you can't prevent your landlord from reasonably (i.e. not at 2am without notice or something) entering the property to make vital repairs, especially if they impact the value of the property.

    On the other hand the landlord is required to keep the property livable while you are there. If they want to do a major remodel, that might be grounds to break the lease. But there's no way to know that without a lawyer reviewing your lease/local regs. The lawyer will also help you understand what your options actually are, as opposed to what your landlord tells you they are.

    Starting a fight over this might 'poison the well' in terms of negotiation, although your end of the deal can't really get worse than having to pay the remaining term of the lease in full. It's pretty common for landlords to read everybody the riot act as a matter of policy, then make concessions when the tenant is willing to fight and/or lawyer up.

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    It'd be helpful to know, going forward, what exactly you're dealing with when you say "renovations."

    Are they replacing a toilet (30 minutes) or are they replacing your kitchen (2 weeks)? If it's a lengthy renovation, you could very well be within your right to terminate the lease, as your unit will be "unlivable" during that time.

    I really doubt the landlord has the legal right to come in an renovate without your approval, especially if said renovations aren't necessary in order to keep the unit safe/livable/etc. Worst case scenario, you can tell the new owners that you're willing to move out at the end of the month if they want to renovate.

    And are you sure you're required to pay your lease in full as soon as you give notice? I don't think that's right.

    edit: And keep in mind that just because something is in the lease, doesn't mean it's binding. Bring your lease with you when you talk to your lawyer and ask about the notice thing. I'm pretty sure that's BS.

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  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    I thought you said this was a new landlord. To me, that means you don't yet have a specifically bad relationship with that landlord. Talk it through with your lawyer, but afterwards (unless the lawyer insists that you shouldn't do that) why don't you just go up to the landlord, and tell him or her that you're planning on moving out and breaking the lease 3 months ahead of time, which is going to be advantageous to your landlord, as it will let him or her proceed with the renovations.

    If that doesn't work, can't you sub-lease to someone else for 3 months, after which that person or persons can sign with the landlord?

    OK, I'm from Canada, so things might be different, but in my experience, unless I have a particularly unreasonable landlord, I always try amicable solutions, before going for the more confrontational ones...

    Like, for my first apartment, I visited in February (I knew someone who knew the tenants, saved me a whole bunch of searching for a place) and then spoke with the landlord in May, which is when I signed the lease starting on July 1st. But the situation was, the landlord had to redo the bathroom, and the current tenants were moving out at the beginning of June. So we just made a deal: I paid June's rent to the current tenants, who moved out at the beginning of June, and I moved in in mid-june. The tenants left me some furniture as part of the deal, to compensate for the fact that I wasn't getting the full month, and the landlord made sure that the renovations were done by the time I was to complete the move.

    Actually, the renovators were in the apartment in the morning after my first night there, kinda woke me up and surprised me a little, but that was for the final touch-ups, after which the work was done, and all that was left for me was to unpack.

    I still use some of the furniture I got in the deal (and I've moved on to a bigger place, since then).

    So, my basic suggestion is, find someone to move in when you leave (or sometime after the renovations are done) and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble.

    If the landlord tries to screw you, lawyer up.

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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    templewulf wrote:
    Hey all,

    With the down market, my wife and I finally decided to change from lifelong renters to first-time homebuyers. Our lease isn't up until April 1st, but we decided to look a bit early in case we wanted to take advantage of short sales / foreclosures. However, we found a great place way ahead of time.

    The problem is that we don't want to (and can barely afford to) pay for both places at once for three months. I can't get out of the lease, because it demands that we pay our remaining months in full as soon as we give notice. What I'd like to do is leverage our early leaving as an asset, because the owners changed and the new ones want to remodel.

    Can I refuse entry to the remodeling crew until the end of my lease in order to gain leverage? Or do they have the right to intrude on my home while I'm living in it?

    PS: I realize this may vary by location, so this is specifically in regards to Minneapolis, MN, USA.

    It's not "your home". It's the landlord's. You're just renting it.

    Why don't you try talking to the landlord first before running to a lawyer or barring the door?

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  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    That lease sounds awfully illegal in many jurisdictions.

    Normally you'd have to continue paying the lease OR pay damages to the landlord based on breaking it, which would be the lost rent up until he finds a new tenant. However, if they renovate, then the lost rent is the landlords fault, and you would only pay damages prorates to when the landlord renovates.

    Check with your residency board or tenant association or a lawyer.

    Also ask your realtor, houses do not close and sell in a day. There's usually a week or two of legal rambling and then a month (or 3) until possession date.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    It's not "your home". It's the landlord's. You're just renting it.

    Why don't you try talking to the landlord first before running to a lawyer or barring the door?

    This.

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  • AiouaAioua Novus Ordo Seclorum Lord of the ForumRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    1. Fighting with your landlord never goes well. Even if you win, you lose. Make sure you're losing less badly than if you did nothing. Before going the legal threat route, you should try talking to them peaceably about leaving early so that can do their remodel uninterrupted. New owner may or may not care. Always try the nice route first. Also, from my reading of your laws, breaking the lease is never a legal remedy in MN (which is SHIT-TACULAR, btw), and the best you could hope for would be getting your rent waived for the duration of the remodel. Also it seems the legal default position for a broken lease is "fuck you pay out the entire lease". Anything with breaking your lease or subletting is gonna depend on your lease agreement. :(

    2. Learn your laws. You're in MN, right? A nice english-y summary of your tenant law: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/housing/lt/default.asp
    It's reference page: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer/housing/lt/LT5.asp#Freferences
    The actual laws {section 504B [504 and 504A are repealed]): https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?view=part&start=500&close=515B
    Landlords like to try and hammer you with the leases, because they written ridiculously in their favor. That why I always argue based on the state/local laws. They can't really respond to "Law X say you're in violation" with "but your lease says I can X!". Luckily almost all your tenant laws have a "THIS CANNOT BE WAIVED BY THE LANDLORD/TENANT" attached to them.
    Most landlords that try to pull things over on people will shut up if you send them a professional-sounding letter citing statutes and sections and subsections. Be sure to use the "§" symbol for added authority :P

    3. Sadly your laws aren't the best ever, but better than some.
    504B.161 has the requirement that the premises be kept fit to live in, which you could argue full-scale remodel is not.
    504B.211 is your right to privacy, requiring "reasonable" notice before entering your apartment. Shamefully it doesn't lay out actual time frames. It also requires a "reasonable business purpose", which you could argue a full-scale remodel is not, but you're gonna wanna talk to a lawyer on that one.
    One of the oft-suggested actions is calling the building inspectors on them, and then the inspectors tell them to fix shit. This may or may not work depending on how they're planning on doing the remodel.

    4. Aside, fuck landlords. And fuck the fuckers who write these laws. I swear to god they're always written along the lines of "If the landlord is breaking this law, they must be given notification, and only then after giving them a chance to fix it may they be punished." Like they don't have a responsibility to know the law. Fuck that shit! Hell in WA Landlords aren't allowed to enter without three days' notice, and can be fined a (measly) $100 for each violation; but only after they've illegally entered once and you've given them a written warning. They're basically allowed to enter with impunity until someone cites a law at them! A law they should have the goddamn burden of knowing since they're the fuckers who decided to become landlords.

    Okay jeezus I'm putting away the whiskey and going to bed.

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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Aioua wrote:
    4. Aside, fuck landlords. And fuck the fuckers who write these laws. I swear to god they're always written along the lines of "If the landlord is breaking this law, they must be given notification, and only then after giving them a chance to fix it may they be punished." Like they don't have a responsibility to know the law. Fuck that shit! Hell in WA Landlords aren't allowed to enter without three days' notice, and can be fined a (measly) $100 for each violation; but only after they've illegally entered once and you've given them a written warning. They're basically allowed to enter with impunity until someone cites a law at them! A law they should have the goddamn burden of knowing since they're the fuckers who decided to become landlords.

    Okay jeezus I'm putting away the whiskey and going to bed.

    I'm pretty sure these things happen because, like customers in a business, tenants can and will be terrible, horrible, destructive, geese.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Talk to the landlord. Many states/leases dictate a homebuyer clause of some form where if you are purchasing a home, you obviously can't align it to your lease time-frame so they give you a way to opt out. Some ask for an extra month, some just want to see papers that you purchased a house, others may ask that you help them find new renters for a few months.

    If the apartments have high turn around they may not even care. Call your local tenants association, they'll be able to tell you if there's a law on the books. Make sure to highlight that this is perfect for renovation when you do talk to your landlord.

    Worst case if they dick you around and there is a law letting you get out on a purchase of a house, then you lawyer up.

  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Esh wrote:
    templewulf wrote:
    Hey all,

    With the down market, my wife and I finally decided to change from lifelong renters to first-time homebuyers. Our lease isn't up until April 1st, but we decided to look a bit early in case we wanted to take advantage of short sales / foreclosures. However, we found a great place way ahead of time.

    The problem is that we don't want to (and can barely afford to) pay for both places at once for three months. I can't get out of the lease, because it demands that we pay our remaining months in full as soon as we give notice. What I'd like to do is leverage our early leaving as an asset, because the owners changed and the new ones want to remodel.

    Can I refuse entry to the remodeling crew until the end of my lease in order to gain leverage? Or do they have the right to intrude on my home while I'm living in it?

    PS: I realize this may vary by location, so this is specifically in regards to Minneapolis, MN, USA.

    It's not "your home". It's the landlord's. You're just renting it.

    Why don't you try talking to the landlord first before running to a lawyer or barring the door?

    Because we already did?

    I'm not sure what you mean by "running to a lawyer". If you read more carefully, you'll see I made an appointment for a few other reasons which are not the subject of this thread.

    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    templewulf wrote:
    SammyF wrote:
    Having said that: dude. Adjust your tactics. You are not going to win that fight. The very act of starting this fight is going to poison the well on any good-faith negotiations you might want to participate in going forward.

    What adjustments are you suggesting, exactly?

    Since it's a new party to the negotiations, try establishing a collaborative relationship up front. Tell him/her/them that you're thinking about breaking the lease to move into your own property immediately but that you're not sufficiently capitalized to pay both the down payment on your new property as well as the penalty for breaking your lease all at once, and then ask if you can work out a deal that's good for both of you. There are a variety of reasons why good faith negotiations would be beneficial to both parties:

    1. Renovations will go faster without a current tenant in the property because the landlord won't have to coordinate every stage of the project with you, and the builders won't have to be constantly working around your things.

    2. The sooner you're out, the sooner the landlord can raise the rate and start generating revenue off all these renovations he has planned. He can't raise the rate until your current lease expires unless it's prematurely terminated -- and he therefore has an interest in doing so.

    3. Since the financial penalty for breaking your lease is more severe than making your regular monthly payments, you're currently inclined just to make the monthly payments, but if you could negotiate a way to break the contract three months early which saves you some money, you'd be happy to do that. You'd save money that you wouldn't be paying out in rent, and he'd be both saving money in the short run by paying for fewer man-hours to renovate the property as well as generating more money in the near future by renting a renovated property for a higher monthly rate. Otherwise, you're both stuck with the status quo.

    Don't let on that it's a struggle to pay both the mortgage and your rent for three months because you don't want this to sound like it's a bigger problem for you than it is for him -- you're just making this suggestion because you're looking for a way where you can both save a little money. If he doesn't feel like working with you, then you can look for ways to not work with him. But being a dick and starting off with punitive measures right out the gate isn't going to make him want to help you out. It only encourages him to be a dick right back to you.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    You're looking for negative leverage right out of the gate, which isn't really a great negotiating tactic (particularly since your landlord ought to have an easier time waiting you out for three lousy months). It's like threatening to complain about your waitress to the manager before she's even taken your order in the hopes that maybe she'll comp you a free appetizer to shut you up -- she's just going to spit in your food.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    templewulf wrote:
    Hey all,

    With the down market, my wife and I finally decided to change from lifelong renters to first-time homebuyers. Our lease isn't up until April 1st, but we decided to look a bit early in case we wanted to take advantage of short sales / foreclosures. However, we found a great place way ahead of time.

    The problem is that we don't want to (and can barely afford to) pay for both places at once for three months. I can't get out of the lease, because it demands that we pay our remaining months in full as soon as we give notice. What I'd like to do is leverage our early leaving as an asset, because the owners changed and the new ones want to remodel.

    Can I refuse entry to the remodeling crew until the end of my lease in order to gain leverage? Or do they have the right to intrude on my home while I'm living in it?

    PS: I realize this may vary by location, so this is specifically in regards to Minneapolis, MN, USA.

    You found a great place; have you set a closing date yet? If you haven't, it'll take at least a month before you close, putting you very close to February. If you give yourself some padding, you can close on Feb 15th.

    Once you close, you can begin moving gradually. While it sucks to pay for two places, the stress relief you get from not packing everything up for "one big day" is pretty nice. When I bought a house a few years ago, I kept on the apartment lease for a couple months and used it to fix up some things and then move, so it wasn't a significant rush. The extra cost was shitty but the ability to do just what I did was really great.

    That being said, let's say worst case you have a close date set for Dec. 31st, you're moving Jan 7th all-in, and you're stuck with a lease for 3+ months. You can't refuse the landlord to make renovations, but the landlord has an obligation to keep the place livable. What are the scope of the renovations? If it's "gut the bathroom," you can't be without a bathroom. If it's "replace the kitchen counter one afternoon," that's not anything you can stop. If the renovations are major, then you should consider negotiating with the landlord that you expedite your moving process. Otherwise, do NOT tell your landlord "we bought a house and are moving everything out in early January, so this rental will be completely empty." Tell your landlord you will be living there in some capacity until the end of your lease.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote:
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    You're looking for negative leverage right out of the gate, which isn't really a great negotiating tactic (particularly since your landlord ought to have an easier time waiting you out for three lousy months). It's like threatening to complain about your waitress to the manager before she's even taken your order in the hopes that maybe she'll comp you a free appetizer to shut you up -- she's just going to spit in your food.

    You always want to have that in your back pocket. You don't start out threatening things. But if they insist on renovating while we're living here, that's when I'd like to be able to say "No, that's not how this works." What makes you think this is going to be my opening bid?

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    EggyToast wrote:
    You found a great place; have you set a closing date yet? If you haven't, it'll take at least a month before you close, putting you very close to February. If you give yourself some padding, you can close on Feb 15th.

    Once you close, you can begin moving gradually. While it sucks to pay for two places, the stress relief you get from not packing everything up for "one big day" is pretty nice. When I bought a house a few years ago, I kept on the apartment lease for a couple months and used it to fix up some things and then move, so it wasn't a significant rush. The extra cost was shitty but the ability to do just what I did was really great.

    That being said, let's say worst case you have a close date set for Dec. 31st, you're moving Jan 7th all-in, and you're stuck with a lease for 3+ months. You can't refuse the landlord to make renovations, but the landlord has an obligation to keep the place livable. What are the scope of the renovations? If it's "gut the bathroom," you can't be without a bathroom. If it's "replace the kitchen counter one afternoon," that's not anything you can stop. If the renovations are major, then you should consider negotiating with the landlord that you expedite your moving process. Otherwise, do NOT tell your landlord "we bought a house and are moving everything out in early January, so this rental will be completely empty." Tell your landlord you will be living there in some capacity until the end of your lease.

    Actually, you're pretty close to the mark. Our close date is Dec. 28th, and we'd like to be out by the 10th.

    Your strategy is my current fallback position. I'd rather keep that money saved up in case the new house requires catastrophic repairs, but I'd rather keep the apartment the entire time than pay all the same money to not get anything.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    templewulf wrote:
    SammyF wrote:
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    You're looking for negative leverage right out of the gate, which isn't really a great negotiating tactic (particularly since your landlord ought to have an easier time waiting you out for three lousy months). It's like threatening to complain about your waitress to the manager before she's even taken your order in the hopes that maybe she'll comp you a free appetizer to shut you up -- she's just going to spit in your food.

    You always want to have that in your back pocket. You don't start out threatening things. But if they insist on renovating while we're living here, that's when I'd like to be able to say "No, that's not how this works." What makes you think this is going to be my opening bid?

    Well that's part of why I mentioned you aren't going to win the fight -- it's not just that it's negative leverage, it's also insufficient negative leverage because you only have three months or so to work with. Less assuming you try to negotiate for 2 weeks before you resort to negative leverage. If I was your landlord, and I knew that I had to put up with the worst tenant in the world for about 75 days and then be rid of him, I'd think the best possible revenge would be taking his money from him in rent rather than letting him out of the lease.

    And then I'd spend it all over again in filing fees at small claims court trying to make you pay for any wear or tear on the property just to ruin your day.

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  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    What are you paying for at this place? Heat/hotwater/etc? You might at least be able to negotiate with the landlord to lower the cost for the final months given you won't be using any utilities/plowing/shoveling/trash removal/etc.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Keep in mind you'll probably be spending 10% of your home's purchase price the first year.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    Because as far as I can read, you're checking your legal right to be as difficult as possible in order to make your landlord decide that letting you off your contractual obligation is less hassle than dealing with you.

    I'm sorry but I find it hard to have sympathy here. You knew what you were signing up for when you took the lease. If you can't buy the perfect house now, then tough titties really. In the grand scheme of life, three months is nothing. Be patient.

    My main piece of advice is that another perfect house will turn up and life is made much nicer for all involved if you avoid unnecessary conflict.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    Because as far as I can read, you're checking your legal right to be as difficult as possible in order to make your landlord decide that letting you off your contractual obligation is less hassle than dealing with you.

    I'm sorry but I find it hard to have sympathy here. You knew what you were signing up for when you took the lease. If you can't buy the perfect house now, then tough titties really. In the grand scheme of life, three months is nothing. Be patient.

    My main piece of advice is that another perfect house will turn up and life is made much nicer for all involved if you avoid unnecessary conflict.

    You're positing that one can find a house on the turn of a dime and line it up with lease termination dates?

    That's silly. It's so silly that most areas have clauses in their lease specifically for people who are buying houses.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    No, but I'm saying that 'the perfect house came up' is not justifcation for trying to wiggle out of your financial obligations. I've been there myself and know how fixated you can get on that one perfect home and that life will be over if you let it get away, when in reality there are plenty more fish in the sea.

    No, these dates will never line up perfectly, but maybe you can get a more affordable overlap, or find an interim housing solution.

    Buying your first house is often the most stressful thing adult life offers you. Adding previous landlord conflict into the mix helps nobody.

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    templewulf wrote:
    Edit:
    And I'm not sure why some of you are framing this as a fight. "Leverage" is typical verbiage for a negotiation, isn't it?

    Because as far as I can read, you're checking your legal right to be as difficult as possible in order to make your landlord decide that letting you off your contractual obligation is less hassle than dealing with you.

    I'm sorry but I find it hard to have sympathy here. You knew what you were signing up for when you took the lease. If you can't buy the perfect house now, then tough titties really. In the grand scheme of life, three months is nothing. Be patient.

    My main piece of advice is that another perfect house will turn up and life is made much nicer for all involved if you avoid unnecessary conflict.

    You're positing that one can find a house on the turn of a dime and line it up with lease termination dates?

    That's silly. It's so silly that most areas have clauses in their lease specifically for people who are buying houses.

    Yeah, especially right now, if you can get a mortgage with a bank and find a property you like which passes an inspection and isn't currently underwater and therefore unsellable, sign the damn paperwork. I'm not saying that the OP shouldn't negotiate his way out of his current lease in a collaborative way which hopefully saves him a little money, I'm just saying that by virtue of owning the property, the landlord has more options at his disposal, and that the OP ought therefore not bring a knife to a gunfight.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    IANAL but they can only require to come in to do repairs, as far as i know. That's pretty ballsy on the landlord's part to expect you to live there during any cosmetic type work. I had to open up a wall on half of my house while my tenants lived there (for repair, not for fun), and let it dry for a few days. I was very worried i'd have to put my tenants up in a hotel or something.

    Like Eggy was saying, the process up to closing takes a while (inspections and all that), also typically your first month's payment is included in the closing costs. So if you move in on March 1, your first payment isn't due until April 1. I think i closed in mid may when i bought my place, and didn't make a mortgage payment until July.

  • VanguardVanguard The system was breaking down. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    You can't ever refuse entry to a landlord. You can require that your landlord give you proper notice before doing a walkthrough, scheduling repairs etc. Usually, this is something like 24 hours.

    Major renovations that involve hazardous material and will interfere with your ability to live there cannot be done while you're still a tenant. Things like paint fumes, polyurethane fumes, etc certainly do this. As does installing new floors etc.

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    bowen wrote:
    Keep in mind you'll probably be spending 10% of your home's purchase price the first year.

    Only if you're buying all new appliances and furniture or are otherwise unlucky as fuck. 6 years in and I haven't put in 10% of purchase price (not underwater either), though I do most repairs/labor myself.

  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    I still haven't seen what kind of "remodeling" is being done. If its purely cosmetic, and not part of general upkeep - you'd probably have some wiggle room there.

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  • exmelloexmello Registered User regular
    I had to deal with the exact same problem a few years ago before I decided to buy my own place. My old landlord sold the place when I said I was going to move out in a few months. The new landlord immediately started terrible DIY renovations with help from his family to turn the place into student housing. The worst part was that the entrance to the crawlspace where he kept all the tools and paint etc was in MY BEDROOM. The last month, he turned of the water in my kitchen and said "you can do dishes in the bathroom sink".

    I ended up just living with it and telling myself it would be all over in a month and that I would never see him again. I think I dropped some fish in a hole in the wall when I left, but I wouldn't recommend you do that.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    When my landlord did reno's, we basically got free rent. Initially it was going to be $500 or something really low (full was $1400), but he ended up not partioning off his workspace and got plaster dust all over everything, so we got a free month.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    I was in a place where the landlord did renovations, and he asked if we'd be OK moving to the unit next door permanently since it was going to take more than a week. He also offered to give us a discount on rent to make up for the inconvenience.

    We had to allow him in to check everything out, of course, but when work begins, the residence must remain livable. Technically it doesn't matter whether you live there or not -- if your contract states that you are renting a space that is livable as a primary residence, there are legal protections in place that ensure certain criteria are met (heat available, running water, safe living environment). Whether you are actually living there is not an issue because the contract stipulates that for the term of the contract, blah blah blah.

    I don't suggest simply breaking your lease, or threatening to do so, because then the landlord can sue you in small claims court for the difference, and at that point it'll be relatively clear that you were simply looking to break the contract for no reason. Since you're looking to move by Mid-January, I'd suggest talking again to your landlord. If they are anxious to begin renovations, get the scope of the renovations and figure out what's cosmetic and what would make the place unsuitable for habitation. If there are significant changes, state that they can't make them while your lease is in place, unless they're willing to adjust the rent for the inconvenience. If they come back with "but you're not living there," you can simply come back with "I agree, and would prefer not to have to pay any rent at all while you're doing this work, but since you won't end the lease, we're negotiating my rent discount for your renovations rendering the unit uninhabitable during my lease."

    If they gut the place during the term of your contract, see about talking to a lawyer. You can always sue them in small claims court if they remain douches.

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  • XArchangelXXArchangelX Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Yeah, not legal advice, but some opinions from renting for long time. Also, state laws vary, and I'm in IL so your results may vary.

    It would be spectacularly hard to bar entry to the owner, because he owns the property. If the specific renovations cause a serious, demonstrable harm to living in the property, and you have a good lawyer, you could maybe have them stopped.

    I would really, really recommend you make an appointment to just sit down with the new landlord, drink some coffee, be real friendly and explain your situation. Being adversarial with your landlord is not a good idea. I've always made it a point to be friends with the guy who owned my living space.

    Breaking your lease can be pretty expensive, and if you have a good realtor, they should be able to get a 90(Maybe more) day pause on actually signing at the new place. It's just a signed, legally binding document that you swear to buy the house with some sort of $$ penalty for you if you end up not signing for whatever reason as compensation for the owners taking it off the market for that amount of time.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    Okay, let me straighten something out, since there appears to be a good deal of misunderstanding of my intentions. I'm not looking to "bar the door", so to speak. I'm trying to figure out if I have the right to say "that's not going to work for us" in the case where the owner tries to assert a right to remodel. The assumption of an adversarial stance is bewildering.

    I did manage to find a tenants' association; I couldn't at first since the statewide ones apparently don't do anything for Minneapolis. The advocate said much of the same stuff as in this thread. The owner cannot be barred from entry if due notice is given, but they cannot engage in activity which makes the space unlivable. She specifically cited MN STAT 504B.161 Covenant of Habitability, which allows us to specifically request release from lease in cases where it becomes inhabitable.

    I'm not entirely sure what the renovations will entail, but it is at least replacement of kitchen countertops, cabinets, sinks, bathroom vanity, and I think carpets. I'm not sure how that last one would work, but all the renovated units I've seen have new carpets.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Well good, now you know that. @templewulf my next advice is to sit your landlord down, or invite them over, and ask if it'd be possible to break the lease due to getting a house. (did you ask the tenants associates about if there was an applicable law that lets you get out of a lease with a purchase offer for a house?)

    If there isn't a law, just ask the new landlord if it'd be possible to drop the lease and let them remodel and get new clients in that much faster to get more money a month. Seems like it'd be a huge deal and benefit to them.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    Even if you can't get out of the lease in full, you may be able to work out the last month, or something to that effect.

    On the downside, that work CAN happen relatively quickly; if you were living there, you could leave in the morning and home home to new countertops and sinks and vanity. The carpets would take more work but only because most people have things on top of the carpets. I think it's still worthwhile seeing if you can negotiate something, though, since not having a tenant even though there's a lease makes that type of work tons easier. You're providing a benefit by not occupying the space, in other words.

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