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Old 09-29-2008, 10:08 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,905 times
Reputation: 11

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Myself and a few other young professionals just moved into Boston and decided to rent a house. We found a place on Craigslist, met with a realtor and checked out the house in Davis Square. The place was a bit run down and needed some basic maintenance (the tenants had lived there for 3 years and not a whole lot was done to keep the place clean).

We were weary, but were assured by our rental broker that the place would be cleaned, painted and fixed up to code when we would move in on the first of the month. When our move in day came, the place was an absolute mess. The previous tenants left the place a dump. Holes in the walls, trash everywhere, mold, huge paint chips missing, no smoke detectors, broken doors, etc, just to name a few things.

I immediately called our real estate broker who told us that we were being too picky and we needed to "be flexible" about the decision. The agent told us that we had to deal with the landlord, not her, despite her lies when we signed the lease that the place would be in livable condition.

After a few weeks of dealing with the landlord, our place was cleaned and we moved in. We repeatedly tried to contact our realtor throughout the days after we signed the lease, up until the day we picked up our keys. All calls, emails and voicemails were ignored and not returned.

We feel that her "fee" was not earned because she lied to us when we signed our lease and would not represent us in any fashion. We have not paid our half-fee due to this reasoning and are being threatened to pay.

Do you think we have a case against this realtor for not paying her fee? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Boston
230 posts, read 1,092,795 times
Reputation: 116
Hmmmm. . . it is a crummy situation, but from what I've been through, a realtor is like a car sales man. Once you drive it off the lot (sign the paperwork) it's someone else's problem. Now, i had an awesome realtor this time. She was an absolute gem. But, a realtors job is finding the place and the fee that you pay the realtor is to find the place, not make it livable. That's an issue to be taken up with your landlord. A lot of the times, the realty place will have contractors come by and paint and clean for the landlord, but they are at the mercy of the landlord too. It's not their property, so they can only go in when the landlord tells them that it's ok.

So, in your case, the realtor found you a place. It sucked upon move-in but the beast is that, unless it was in writing that s/he promised a place that was move-in ready, then you might have to pay the "apartment finder" fee. Read the paperwork carefully and see what it says and then let us know.

But, that's my gut instinct (coming from a legal background).

You do, however, have a definite case against the landlord. Especially if there really was mold.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:30 PM
 
45 posts, read 133,036 times
Reputation: 17
I think that 99% of real estate agents are nothing but con artists. They will smile at you and tell you what ever they need to so that they can get their fee. It is really just ashame. I am sorry that happened to you. Let it be a learning experience for down the road since I am sure you will have to deal with real estate agents in the future...just trust NOTHING they say or do.

Just my two cents and my experience with real estate agents...PLEASE all agents on this site don't get your panties in a bunch....just try not to scam people.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:05 PM
 
Location: North Adams, MA
746 posts, read 3,355,166 times
Reputation: 814
Just proves you need to get it in writing, and have it signed as part of the lease agreement. Don't take anyone's word on it. At least with it in writing as part of the lease you have a legal case you can make, and you can break the lease if the place is not as agreed.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
4,478 posts, read 5,819,066 times
Reputation: 5478
I don't know how effective it would be, but you can file a complaint with the national association of realtors (http://www.aaronline.com/documents/eth_comp_proc.aspx). It seems they have violated some aspects of Article 2 of the "Code of Ethics" (http://www.aaronline.com/documents/2008CodeEnglish.pdf (broken link)). It's a realtor supported trade organization, so I don't know how willing they are side with a non-member against a member and I doubt you'll get much out of it, but some organizations are extremely diligant about protecting their reputation.

Another option would be to file a complaint with the massachusetts board of real estate brokers (Real Estate Brokers and Salespeople Consumer Fact Sheet (http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=ocaterminal&L=5&L0=Home&L1=Government&L2=O ur+Agencies+and+Divisions&L3=Division+of+Professio nal+Licensure&L4=Consumer+Fact+Sheets&sid=Eoca&b=t erminalcontent&f=dpl_consumer_factsheet_re&csid=Eo ca#9 - broken link)). Even they warn that most complaints aren't ground for disciplinary action, so I don't know how far that will get you.

I think the only satisifaction you will get from the experience is to negatively review this agent so that the next person knows better than to deal with him or her. Unfortunately, there isn't a mechanism that I know of to do such a thing other than telling your friends that this person is bad news.

You really should focus your efforts on remediation from your landlord first. I think you'll have much more luck with that.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:53 PM
 
24 posts, read 102,548 times
Reputation: 13
Did you sign a fee dislcosure with the agent?
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
4,636 posts, read 13,122,810 times
Reputation: 4519
nf85, I'm sorry to hear that you're going through these issues. I do want to ask though, I'm confused.

You said that you found a place on craigs list, then met the agent. It sounds as though this agent was working for the property owner, not for you. (You probably weren't aware that you can have an agent working on your behalf. Sometimes this will incur a fee, and other times not-depends on whether the listing agent is sharing her fee with the "co-broke"). If this is the case, the Property Owner had an agent, and you did not. She was not your agent, but this should have been disclosed to you IN WRITING and signed by you (that she works for the Property Owner). If not, you may very well have a case, I would recommend bringing it before the state, and not the NAR. I also ask, did you or she or the landlord put any of the complaints/promises of action in writing, agreed on prior to paying for the place? The more you have "on paper" the better for you.

You use the term "realtor" when in fact, she may or may not be a member of the National Association of Realtors. Many Realtors take the Code of Ethics very seriously, and practice "The Golden Rule" daily. Unfortunately everyone has a story or two about a sleazebag agent (who is sometimes a Realtor, sometimes not...)

Might I suggest that you contact the state about this issue, and you may consider a visit to the Managing Broker of the office she works for. As agents, everything we do is in the name of our Broker, and THEY can be hit with serious fines. The fact that you're considering logging a complaint may be enough for them to back off.

Please post again to let us know how it turns out!!!
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Old 10-04-2008, 01:21 AM
 
Location: Punta Gorda, Florida
171 posts, read 593,274 times
Reputation: 73
Smile File a complaint with the Real Estate Commission...

just for the hell of it.

It can't hurt you, but the realtor will not be happy.
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