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Old 04-15-2008, 06:51 AM
 
61 posts, read 246,562 times
Reputation: 36
Default Do you have the right to be messy?

Hi,

This is probably a weird question, but what are a renters rights about being messy? Where is the line drawn? I'm a renter and a College student. I live in an apartment that is too small for my belongings and I don't have adequate storage space within the apartment nor do I have bookcases and such to hold stuff. Basically I have piles of stuff all over. These piles do get knocked over by me and my cats all the time. I haven't been putting the energy into cleaning my place up because of feeling exhausted all the time because of health issues. I constantly worry that the landlord will say that I can't have it this way and evict me. I don't want to live this way, but I don't have the energy to move right now and frankly I don't want to buy all the storage stuff to make this more livable, since I plan to move out of state in two years.

Its my stuff, does it have to be all nice and neat or am I just being paranoid?
Its not like I'm doing anything illegal. I'm just messy right now. Once I get an apartment that fits me I'm sure, like all my apartments before, it will be nice again, but I have to wait a few months before I can make a small move. I also will have it clean and possibly professionally cleaned when I move out.

Anything landlords can do or would do? It stresses me out when they come for inspections and there are comments, so far nothing has been done, but I always worry. Getting ready right now for a possible inspection. My back is already hurting me and I'm not even close to it being presentable. I have five more hours until they could appear. I just can't live like this it is stressing me out and hurting me too.

Thanks for any information.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,082 posts, read 6,351,140 times
Reputation: 2807
Uh... "inspections"?

Not a chance, buddy. Tell him to go inspect himself when he shows up on your doorstep. Call the cops on him for tresspassing if he forces his way in.

Look up the Landlord/Tenant laws in your state. Here in CA, "inspections" is not considered a valid reason for the landlord to demand entry. (Emergency repairs without notice, showing the property with adequate notice, normal repairs with adequate notice, and by your request are the only valid reasons, if I recall correctly)

You are paying for the space, thus you can do with it as you will until you are no longer leasing it. You might have to pay for damages, exterminators, extra deposit for pets, etc. but you do not need to live up to somebody else's standards for cleanlieness. He's your landlord, not your mother.

Your landlord is overstepping the law. Call him on it.
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Lambs Book of Life
1,592 posts, read 3,026,453 times
Reputation: 620
The inspections that apartment complexes conduct are not to see how you're living. They can legally come into your apartment to check on the smoke detector, appliances, plumbing, windows and screens and check for wall and ceiling cracks and chipping paint that needs to be fixed. This is legal. I know a lot of apartments that do this once a year.

If, during that inspection, they see that the way you're living is especially unclean, or that you're doing damage to the apartment in any way, they can warn you to clean it up. It's in most leases that you agree to take care of the apartment and keep it clean. That doesn't mean spotless! You can have piles of things around the apartment. What you can't have is a floor that hasn't been washed and the carpet so dirty that you can tell it hasn't been vacuumed in months. You can't have piles of food drying on the stove, sink, countertops and the bathtub can't be black with dirt. (I've worked for apartment complexes and have seen them literally black.) Your apartment can't smell strongly from trash or dirty dishes. Speaking of which, you can't have trash strewn about the apartment or dirty dishes piled in the bathtub. (Seen all of this.)

The landlord has the right to expect tenants to take proper measures to keep the apartment relatively clean. Piles of books, clothes or possessions lying about doesn't come close to violating this expectation. If your apartment is really filthy, or damaged by you, then you should worry.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:04 PM
 
2,011 posts, read 3,186,774 times
Reputation: 1721
Quote:
Originally Posted by nillawafer View Post
Hi,

This is probably a weird question, but what are a renters rights about being messy? Where is the line drawn? I'm a renter and a College student. I live in an apartment that is too small for my belongings and I don't have adequate storage space within the apartment nor do I have bookcases and such to hold stuff. Basically I have piles of stuff all over. These piles do get knocked over by me and my cats all the time. I haven't been putting the energy into cleaning my place up because of feeling exhausted all the time because of health issues. I constantly worry that the landlord will say that I can't have it this way and evict me. I don't want to live this way, but I don't have the energy to move right now and frankly I don't want to buy all the storage stuff to make this more livable, since I plan to move out of state in two years.

Its my stuff, does it have to be all nice and neat or am I just being paranoid?
Its not like I'm doing anything illegal. I'm just messy right now. Once I get an apartment that fits me I'm sure, like all my apartments before, it will be nice again, but I have to wait a few months before I can make a small move. I also will have it clean and possibly professionally cleaned when I move out.

Anything landlords can do or would do? It stresses me out when they come for inspections and there are comments, so far nothing has been done, but I always worry. Getting ready right now for a possible inspection. My back is already hurting me and I'm not even close to it being presentable. I have five more hours until they could appear. I just can't live like this it is stressing me out and hurting me too.

Thanks for any information.
To me, there is a difference between being "messy" and destroying a dwelling by punching in walls, doors, breaking things. Also, I would think that animals using the dwelling as their bathroom wouldn't be too good. Other than that, I don't see a HUGE problem with being "messy" if it's something that can be cleaned up with a broom, vacuum cleaner, and some hands, and everything else remains the same as it was when you moved in.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,082 posts, read 6,351,140 times
Reputation: 2807
Simple; you might be correct for your state. However, the OP implied that these "inspections" were along the lines of those in boot camp to see how high the quarter bounces off his bedsheets. That is clearly not allowed.

Live how you please, so long as you don't create a health issue for yours or other units or do any damage/changes to the apartment that cannot be undone when you move out.

Then again, the landlord can ASK to visit any time he pleases--just like anyone else. He can write you letters ASKING you to tidy up. I could do the same thing, even though I'm not your landlord. However, you don't have to comply.

Most states lay down pretty clear guidelines about when and why a landlord can enter their tenants' leased spaces. This is mainly due to overzealous landlords who do not comprehend the following: If you want complete control over the property you own and to freely come and go as you please, then don't rent it out.

Feel free to ignore or deny his requests within the letter of your state law. What he cannot do is use "messyness" as grounds to break or alter the lease the both of you agreed upon so long as you follow the law.

Of course, you could try to compromise. Maybe you could let him do "mess inspections" whenever he pleases, and in return, he can tidy up your apartment for you if he finds it doesn't suit his taste in terms of neatness. I'm sure that'll go over really well.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Southwest Austin
4,889 posts, read 9,424,201 times
Reputation: 3336
Quote:
nything landlords can do or would do?
As a landlord, I have a few comments:

I don't comment or complain about messy or sloppy housekeeping, but there are some things I do not allow, which would generate a demand letter to the tenant to cure or eliminate the problem.

1) If it's a multi-unit property and the uncleanliness is inviting roach or ant investation that will affect adjoining units, you'll hear from me.

2) If the stacking of items in the dwelling unit or garage is creating a fire hazard, it must be remedied.

3) If the stacking of items in the dwelling or garage restricts access or visual observation of common sources of leaks (water heater closet, A/C closet, under kitchen sink, etc., I would ask that the space around those areas be clear for safety reasons. We had a really bad water leak in a garage once that went unnoticed by a tenant for 6 months while his ceiling-high, garage-wide stack of boxed absorbed all the water before it reached a visible location. His stuff was ruined. He didn't notice the mold smell (which was pungent) and only called after his stack of boxed collapsed and he realized the bottom of the stack was soaked through.

4) If the condition is damaging the property in any way, or could reasonably be expected to cause damage, it would need to be corrected.

That's a sample. In short, if your housekeeping isn't damaging the property, inviting infestation, or preventing normal maintenance conditions from being noticed/remedied, it's not my worry.

Steve
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Old 04-15-2008, 03:42 PM
Status: "Lady-Bug got Spayed today! Now she is a sh-it LOL" (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: West Virginia
8,077 posts, read 16,235,750 times
Reputation: 4220
HUD will evit you in a heart beat!! It IS a Health issue!! And an Insurance issue!! So Dont buy a thing just get boxes then stack them neatly in a corner out of the way...then its NO ISSUE!!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there.
2,308 posts, read 3,935,854 times
Reputation: 1886
To the OP:

As a landlord, I don't care if my tenants are messy. It's their place as far as I'm concerned. As long as their messiness does not damage the unit (say, neglecting to clean up a spot on the floor that eventually becomes permanent, not cleaning the toilet/shower, etc.) Also, the previous post reminded me of something... if the messiness becomes a legitimate hazard (like serious hoarding to the point were it effects the other occupants of the building or could become dangerous then I'm obligated to do something about it).
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:59 PM
 
13,504 posts, read 24,628,462 times
Reputation: 7789
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie1 View Post
HUD will evit you in a heart beat!! It IS a Health issue!! And an Insurance issue!! So Dont buy a thing just get boxes then stack them neatly in a corner out of the way...then its NO ISSUE!!!
I have witnessed on more than one occasion where a Section 8 housing inspector has issued a 72 hour notice to remove clutter that was blocking exit paths or doors and windows.

Section 8 also put a resident on Notice for unsanitary conditions mostly related to trash accumulating inside the unit.

Fire Safety and Insurance Companies can and do make random inspections too.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:21 PM
 
Location: On our boat!
5,674 posts, read 10,045,998 times
Reputation: 3169
What is stated below is true!! I also completely believe what austin (the Landlord) says in his reply to the OP. One thing you always have to remember (like it or not), you do NOT own this apartment, you are only renting the apartment. If you were buying this apartment, like you would a house, the situation would be different. Good luck to you......you may very well need it. I think I would start going thru things and TOSSING as much as I could. If you have some serious health issues, the best thing to do is have someone come in and help you clean up and keep the place descently clean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
I have witnessed on more than one occasion where a Section 8 housing inspector has issued a 72 hour notice to remove clutter that was blocking exit paths or doors and windows.

Section 8 also put a resident on Notice for unsanitary conditions mostly related to trash accumulating inside the unit.

Fire Safety and Insurance Companies can and do make random inspections too.
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