Tuesday, July 18, 2006

So, our landlord is kind of shady. And it is driving me bonkers.

I mentioned earlier that Adam and I are moving at the end of August into another apartment within the complex we live in now. Up until last week our landlord was super supportive
and nice about our moving needs, giving us a whole week to move in, letting us be in there before September 1, etc. And if you are familiar with our dealings with this woman, you will understand why even though things were moving along swimmingly, I still had my doubts.

So, a few days ago she told us she was going to begin showing our apartment which Adam and I both found odd, since 1) there are two empty units in our building right now, and 2) every unit is exactly identical and I know this because when we were first looking at this place, we were not shown the actual apartment we live in now but the one directly above it, and our landlord told us that they were all identical. She had also told us last year that she tries not to show units that are occupied as a courtesy to the tennats, if there are empty units to show and there are TWO empty units, in my five unit building.

So when I asked since there were these empty units, why would she show ours, she informed us that "people like to see what an apartment looks like with furniture in it".That, to me, is a dubious assumption. If you, as a landlord, advertise a vacant apartment and show a tenant that apartment, how likely is it they would say "I really need to see this place with some furniture".

In any case, I guess prospective tenants are more important that current ones, who have been with you for going on three years.

However not to be total D-bags, Adam and I conferred and told her she could show our place as long as we were there while she was showing it. I have heard too many horror stories of valuables going missing because of prospective-tenant walk thrus, and furthermore at least half of the time that our landlord is in our apartment when we are not there (which is far more often than I would like) she leaves the back door unlocked and then denies doing so when Adam and I literally have never forgotten to lock the doors.

So instead of being normal and saying "Sure thing" or "That sounds fair", she says "I can't promise anything". We had to cut the coversation short because at the time Adam and I were at Barnes and Nobles when she had called us. So the next day Adam calls her back to reiterate our concerns. We don't have a problem with her showing our place but we would just like to be there when it happens. Again she was all "Well I will try but I am the landlord and I can show your apartment whenever". So Adam made a call to the local police to ask them about Rental Laws in Massachusetts and according to them, unless your lease says otherwise, a landlord can only enter your apartment with your permission. And if she only has permission to enter when you are present, then she can only enter when you are present.

Simple enough, right?

But according to her, the fact that our lease contains the language "Landlord is entitled to inspect the apartment at the end of the lease" means that she can come in whenever, with whomever she pleases. Even though it makes NO mention of coming in to show the place to prospective tenants when we are not there.


So yesterday afternoon she called to say that she was bringing 4 different sets of people to our apartment between 6PM and 8PM and so if we felt we had to be there, one of us better make plans to be home between those times.

So even though I had errands to run I sat home and waited. And waited.

And waited.

And I looked out into the driveway for my landlord's Escalade at 6PM, and at 6:30PM, and at 7PM and at 7:30PM and never caught a glimpse of it. Finally at almost 9PM, Adam calls me after his baseball game and tells me he just heard from her, and she apologized but she had a bunch of no shows so what can you do? "That's what happens when you need to be home for these kinds of things, you wait around for nothing", she said.

Now Adam, innocent soul that he is, thinks this is all a coincidence. But conspiracy theorist that I am, I think she is trying to break me. First of all if there were four no-shows, how come I never saw her car in the driveway? I know what car everyone in my building drives (since there are only 3 of us left) and at no time between 6-8PM was there an extra car back there. Don't you have to BE somewhere waiting for someone before you can say they didn't show?

And further more, Adam told me that she "thanked us for picking up the place". How does she know we picked up the place? I swear I think she told us she was bringing someone last night just so we would do the dishes and pick up the bathroom and now she will bring someone in TODAY while we are at work and we will be none the wiser.

I tell you I was half tempted to put tape over the front door and go out the back, so if the tape was broken when I came home I would know she was there.

Either that or throw a credit card, a rolled up dollar bill and some lines of confectioner sugar on the coffee table in the living room as a little "how do you do" to our prospective tenant.

Crazy? Probably. But I don't think it's any more crazy than her refusing to agree to only show our place when we are home.


MarisaJosephine said...

the right of a landlord to inspect a place upon the end of the lease means the landlord and the tenant do a walkthrough at the end of the lease for purposes of giving the security deposit back upon completion of inspection.

that thing she said is a crock of bullshit. pardon my french. but she has no right to take people around in your house without letting you know. that is an invasion of privacy and I would be pissed too

call a lawyer for a free consul. it will make you feel better.


Nicky said...

What a bitch. You should totally get legal on her ass.

In Providence, our landlord would bust in at 8 a.m. on a Saturday with a load of people to show our apartment without even calling first. I kicked that woman out right away by screaming, "No one fucking called! We're sleeping!" from behind my bedroom door.

Honestly, you have more rights as a renter than she does as a landlord.

e$ said...

I love the "mysterious white powder" solution. Beautifully shady with a passive-agressive bend.

I'd be too scared to deal with that woman head-on!!

Sarah said...

the weirdest part is she is SO nice in person, then when you talk to her on the phone she morphs into crazy bitch mode.i know we could get all legal on her ass..i am waiting to see if she actually dares come in when we aren't there.

Anonymous said...

my old landlord tried to pull that shit ALL the time.
and the one time (that i know of) he got away with showing my apartment while i was at work. I had a necklace stolen, and he had to refund it.
Dont be fooled, its totally against the law. Check your lease.

such an invasion of privacy.
sorry you have to deal with such a dipshit of a landlord.


Anonymous said...

OH and i believe that she has to give you at LEAST 24 hours notice to enter your apartment with your consent.


Ezra said...

you need to set some sort of trap for her. Like a webcam hooked up to record the front door so you know if she comes in. Or a fake chopped up body covered in blood, that you put out whenever you aren't at home. That'll really get that apartment rented.

Sarah said...

LOL good idea. i dabbled with the idea of leaving all the TVs on some kind of pay per view porn while she is showing the would be worth the expense!

Jaime said...

correct me if i am worng, but was it you that was going to move to another building (i think of hers?) and she screwed you into staying where you are?

Sarah said...

YES. well, that was her mother. we deal with mostly the daughter now.

kim said...

i can't believe she thinks she can go into your apartment without a) you being there and b) you even knowing about it. here, the landlord doesn't even have a key. maybe the housekeeper does for emergencies but seriously, that's a break-in. nobody you don't know is supposed to be in your home if you don't want it. that's bulls*it. sue her for breaking in. seriously!

kim said...

i tend to say "seriously" a lot when i'm all riled up...

Sarah said...

seriously! :-) see, this is why i am glad i have a blog because i thought i maybe was overreacting but since you all seem to agree with me that she is clearly wrong. or else we are all nuts, which may be a distinct possibility :-P

Lori said...

You do have more rights but it is a touchy situation since you are moving within the same complex. At the very least you can require 24 hours notice and that she not take more than one perspective tenant at at time-slot so she is with them the entire time. When I lived in Quincy my landlord showed the place one night with no notice to me. I found out he apparently had placed a CL add for a certain date and time. I came home to a full ding-a-ling with 15 random people in my place while my landlord was downstairs in the basement showing the washer and dryer to a woman. I was lucky that nothing was taken. I required 24 hour notice and told him no more group showings that he couldn't be in full site of everyone. This way I could atleast put away items that could be stolen. Good Luck


Jackie said...

You are absolutely NOT overreacting. It's law (and common-knowledge) that the landlord cannot enter the place without your permission. PERIOD. You're perfectly sane and reasonable to want to be there when the suite is shown.

If you're not going to leave a fake blow-show or hardcore porn on, may I suggest hanging a pair of thongs or a bra on every door handle. Hey, a girls gotta air dry that stuff... not your fault if she can't enter a room because your underroos are in the way! :)

Anonymous said...

remember what happened when my landlord was showing the place? actually it was a real estate agent. anyway, we all had money stolen and bags and a bunch of other stuff. assholes. be careful! <3 danielle

Norwego said...

This shit is crazy! Don't let this woman get away with this. I say, go with the "sugar" on the table. Fight the good fight Sarah!

Sometimes I hate renting.

The Pink Kitty said...

I'd say confront her and get all legal because that is just nuts. You have a right to be there. I don't understand what kind of renter wants to see an appartment with other peoples' furniture in it. It's just insane..

I'd say that a chopped up body or some sugar on the table would be funny but it could end up reflecting poorly on you as a renter ;)

Sarah said...

danielle: your story was FRESH in my mind when i was having the conversation with my landlord. that was awful :(

Peg said...

I'd say get legal eagle on you have a trusted neighbor that would/could clal you at work if she went in while you weren't there? That way you could call the police and make her have some 'splainin to do when the cops came up...sorry officer, looked like a burglar to me, I wasn't home and strangers were in my place....