You deserve to live in a home that is actually habitable.
Being homeowners who rent our primary residence in TN to travel and explore the eastern coast of the USA, we know how important it is to find good tenants who will not destroy our property and be good landlords who go through every room and ensure everything is clean and in working order before it is listed for rent. We only hire licensed professionals to do work in our rental home. In 2017, we installed a brand new refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher from Lowe's. In 2018, we installed two new toilets, a new garbage disposal, and a new washing machine from Lowe's; in August of 2019, we bought and installed in a brand new dryer from Lowe's. We intend to return to our home, so it is never allowed to look rundown. We do inspections when we return to visit family and friends in TN to see what is really happening...and we have our neighbors be our "eyes and ears" when we are not present, noting the number of cars in the driveway and whether our renters are truly removing weeds or just weed wacking the beds and killing our roses, or are putting the garbage cans out of sight on the side of the house on non-collection days! Most rental homes, however, are not lived in by the owners; they are strictly treated as an "investment property" and these, all too frequently, are allowed to "go to pot"--getting used and abused--until they are finally sold "as is" in an auction to an "opportunity investor." Single family homes that operate as an AirBnB lose value the fastest, which is why most subdivisions and cities will not allow them.
The Landlord-Tenant Act came into being to protect renters from illegal behavior by landlords: repeated invasion of privacy with no actual work being done, refusing to make repairs within a reasonable time frame, trying to cover up safety issues, refusing to accept bids, increasing rent, increasing security deposit, "fining" a tenant for making repair requests, intimidating tenants by phone, text, email and letter, trying to evict to avoid making repairs, gross misrepresentation of the property, renting it with known health and safety hazards, removing services to retaliate, and using unlicensed people to do work in the home. Landlords are liable for dangers they SHOULD have known about, like faulty electrical wiring.
I think it's safe to say that if you have to repeatedly call the City Codes Department, the Public Health and Safety Department, go to court, or hire a lawyer to obtain a habitable living space, you are dealing with a "slumlord."
Without a doubt, a rental home should be made habitable PRIOR to it being put up for rent; that means every appliance, every system in the home from floodlights to HVAC and garage door openers is to be in working order BEFORE your renter is handed the keys. If you say you have a home with a "heated pool"...the heater needs to work. If you say you've never had water in the basement...it should not repeatedly flood. Being habitable means the home is free of black mold caused by water damage. A home is not to be put up for rent with known defects, forcing the renter to endure repair after repair, with numerous workmen in an out of the house, as things continually fall apart all around them.
We hope you will learn from our three rental mistakes in FL, SC and CT, for there are valuable lessons to be learned that will save YOU time and money:
Florida: North Forth Myers: Duplex Rental: November 15, 2015-October 20, 2016 Four Lessons Learned: 1. Use the City Codes Department as your advocate to get your landlord to do needed repairs. 2. Never rent a "fully furnished" home with the owner's property locked in cabinets and using up needed space in the garage or attic. Who knows what they may have locked up inside! 3. Bring your own furniture; then you know it will be free of bugs/fleas from the last tenant with a pet. It is a fact that fleas can live up to 90 days even without a host and if a landlord has "bug bombed" the premises, the bugs will return after the 90- day window stated in your lease to become YOUR problem. Our advice: avoid homes that have allowed pets in the past. 4. Lastly, don't trust the photos posted online to be current and report any gross misrepresentation to your state's real estate commission board and Zillow. Actual issues found upon move-in: Non-functioning heater in pool, ripped lanai screens, "fully furnished" meant the owners belongings used up every bit of garage storage space and the attic, sun damaged lounge chairs, no-see-um/sand flea infestation in all of the upholstered furniture, no separate mailbox for side B of duplex, torn plastic fence in backyard, broken privacy screen near whirlpool, moldy shutters in the bathroom, unbalanced fans in both bedrooms, tagged gas leak in fireplace logs, used grill with previous renter's food yet in it. It stopped being listed as a rental with Priceless Realty in 11/2016. Semantics matter; so, to clarify: this $365K duplex did not "back up to an old golf course." It backed up to a former golf course, abandoned in 2007, with nuisance coyotes.
Summerville, SC: Single Family Home: November 13, 2017-June 29, 2018 Three Lessons Learned: 1. Do not trust photos posted online about a rental home to be an accurate representation of the property you will receive. There is no entity holding realtors [above] or homeowners [below] accountable for posting only date-stamped photos. 2. Write into your lease that licensed professionals, not the landlords, are to do all work in the home or you will get the "handiwork" shown in this slideshow. 3. Purchase a Canary home monitoring system that is linked to your phone and the nearest police station for security to prevent repeated acts of invasion of privacy with no actual work being accomplished by the landlord. 4. Keep a log of activity and report any use of fake names in correspondence; in this case "Sam," "Betty,""Kelvin Smith123" and "True Honesty" were all linked to her direct email, cell number, home address, and IP address. The home we rented for $1450/month was represented using 2 year old photos copied from the 2015 sale of the home to our landlords; photos owned were taken by Agent-owned and were also posted on MOVOTO to promote the rental unit. The Actual Issues proved the home was lived in previously by abusive tenants: cracked tile, cracked front door, unstretched carpet near doorways, sliced linoleum, no floodlights, DIY lights in the DR and laundry, crackling/arching switches, a kinked common garden hose used as a washer connection, absence of a garage door lock, non-functioning garage door sensors, an erratic HVAC thermostat, dog-chewed windowsills, chemical stains on the carpet, refrigerator baffle out of alignment, bowed fence, wrong locks on doors: keyed lock on MB and bedroom lock on an exterior door, "4th BR"/sunroom with a non-functioning heater, 13- yr-old garbage disposal missing one blade, washing machine that worked on one cycle only, dryer that squealed from a malfunctioning belt and pulley...and refrigerator with arms to hold condiments made from exterior vinyl siding. We entered the following photos into court March 26, 2018 and made certain they were deemed "pre-existing conditions." After we departed on June 29, 2018, our landlords continued to direct renters to "go to MOVOTO" and view old 2015 photos. It is not until 2019 that our 2017 recommendations were finally heeded and the buckling LR carpeting and DR linoleum were replaced with wood flooring, the lights that posed major electrical problems in the DR and foyer stairway leading up to the bedrooms for our entire tenancy were finally replaced, and the landlord's social media accounts--used solely for retaliation--were suspended. It took a full year to set the record straight, continually documenting the landlord's infractions, but we finally have closure in December 2019.
Seymour, CT: Single Family Home: July 2018-March 2019 Three Lessons Learned: 1. Much of Connecticut has radon levels over 4.0. Buy a Safety Siren online for $149 that you can plug into any outlet in any room and check the levels for yourself. There is actually no safe level of radon; it is linked to lung cancer. 2. When someone says they have "never had water in the basement," ask to see proof in the form of the disclosure form given to them when they purchased the home. There is also a mold disclosure form required of anyone selling a home in CT. If you landlords opted to purchase an older home "as is" and waived their right to a home inspection, they are not off the hook. A landlord cannot put a home up for rent until it is actually habitable. 3. Use the Health and Public Safety Department to address water seepage, black mold issues, radon problems and mice infestations, and insist they document everything accurately on paper, for you may need it to end your lease and obtain full return of your security deposit.
In sum, if you have to repeatedly call the City Codes Department, the Public Health and Safety Department, go to court, or hire a lawyer to obtain a habitable living space, you are dealing with a "slumlord." Be persistent; you deserve to live in a home that is habitable. There is no need for you to wait until your health is compromised, nor suffer in silence.
The Carpenter Craftsman, LLC: Quality Home Improvement
Apex, North Carolina The Carpenter Craftsman is a Highly-Rated, Veteran-led Business. Website created by the East Coast Marketing Lady