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Old 12-08-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
26,156 posts, read 17,414,122 times
Reputation: 31236

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On 11-18 I posted about a problem I was having in one of my duplexes with mold and mildew. The saga continues.

We had the professional air people out and she used some multi thousand dollar meter to check walls for moisture. Complaining tenant had very little meter reading but we could see the floor in bathroom was ruined. Previous repair people had actually put layers of new floors on top of old ones. sub floor is probably rotted.
My son's unit had a completely saturated wall in his bathroom. He returns from overseas in a few weeks and property manager has arranged to have his repairs done before son returns.

I want to fix the floor in the bathroom of the complaining tenant but she will not be leaving for Christmas as we had hoped (college student). Now she and her roomie are requesting a copy of the report. Do I have to give it to her?
At the time the tests were made, the lady who did them said there was not that much to worry about but apparently the written report says something else. I have asked my property manager to get this report to me but he has been out of town and I still haven't seen it.

How can I fix the mold and mildew problem if the fix means no bathroom use for a few days and she won't be gone? I have offered her my son's bathroom until he gets back in town but I haven't heard from her. and his mold and mildew problem is way worse than hers.

I really wouldn't mind letting her move so I can make those and other repairs but I don't want to buy out her lease.
What am I supposed to do?

You guys are terrific and we really do appreciate all the advice.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
6,854 posts, read 9,035,723 times
Reputation: 8906
I don't know about her "rights", but I wouldn't withhold it from her.

Tell her you need to fix her bathroom and that she'll have to use the other one while it's being repaired.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:25 AM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,700 posts, read 11,314,084 times
Reputation: 1890
I disagree. The tenant has no right to see the report. ...and for god sakes don't give her a copy. If you do not believe me, see your attorney. Well, see your attorney anyway as you could be in for a lawsuit from the tenant. Let the tenant know that you have identified a problem that needs repairs, then repair it. It may mean putting her up in a hotel for a few days while the place is repaired, but that is cheaper than a lawsuit and is part of owning rental property.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:51 AM
 
4,806 posts, read 11,938,819 times
Reputation: 4574
If you don't give her a copy, she can just go to court and the judge will likely demand that you turn it over to both the tenant and the court. Remember when that most campuses have a pro bono legal aid for students and their speciality is tenant-landlord disputes.

If urgent repairs are needed, as in this case, you can block use of the bathroom and put her up in a motel for a few days or give her access to another unit's mold-free bathroom. If she is the one complaining about the problem and demanding the repairs, her acceptance of the repair process is implicit.

I doubt merely letting her out of her lease will convince her to leave. It is a hassle for a student to move mid-year and likely there aren't many apartments available in the area at this time of year. With those factors, even offering to buy her out of her lease may not be enough incentive.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:04 PM
 
484 posts, read 694,825 times
Reputation: 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poltracker View Post
I disagree. The tenant has no right to see the report. ...and for god sakes don't give her a copy. If you do not believe me, see your attorney. Well, see your attorney anyway as you could be in for a lawsuit from the tenant. Let the tenant know that you have identified a problem that needs repairs, then repair it. It may mean putting her up in a hotel for a few days while the place is repaired, but that is cheaper than a lawsuit and is part of owning rental property.
Agreed. Don't show the report. You do, however, now have a duty to fix this; the report serves as your notice. Not repairing it goes against the implied warranty of habitability and the tenant, depending on where you live, can move, withhold portion of rent, or repair herself and withhold rent to recover her costs.

The more practical consequences you face is being placed on the school's list of landlords they don't like (if they have such a list) or being bad-mouthed to possible future tenants, neither of which is good in a college town.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:29 PM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,700 posts, read 11,314,084 times
Reputation: 1890
Quote:
Originally Posted by kodaka View Post
If you don't give her a copy, she can just go to court and the judge will likely demand that you turn it over to both the tenant and the court.
Then the LL should wait until a court requires it. You don't hand people the ammunition to shoot you with voluntarily. Now that the LL is on notice, the problem needs to be repaired end of story.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Clermont Fl
1,441 posts, read 1,980,452 times
Reputation: 914
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poltracker View Post
Then the LL should wait until a court requires it. You don't hand people the ammunition to shoot you with voluntarily. Now that the LL is on notice, the problem needs to be repaired end of story.
What he said
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:01 PM
 
14,078 posts, read 26,021,592 times
Reputation: 8228
Depends of where the unit is located...

The disclosures I must include with each new rental especially address this.

I must check a box if I have knowledge, no knowledge and if a report is available...

Don't ever lie or it will come back big time is all I can say.

If the unit becomes uninhabitable you have several options...

Mutually agree to terminate the lease.

Put the tenant up in comparable accommodations.

Mutually agree to some other acceptable solution.

What are the disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction?

Just getting the permit and required inspections makes this a week project if all goes well... I did one bathroom remodel in a tenant occupied unit... never again and my tenant cooperated... the reason I say never again because the job was easily twice as much work accommodating my very agreeable tenant... can you imagine the problems with a difficult tenant and no bathroom?
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:57 PM
 
4,806 posts, read 11,938,819 times
Reputation: 4574
Quote:
Then the LL should wait until a court requires it. You don't hand people the ammunition to shoot you with voluntarily. Now that the LL is on notice, the problem needs to be repaired end of story
Knowingly withholding information about the safety of the unit is not handing ammunition to the shooter. It is minimizing liability.

If you've got a unit with mold in it, you've got a big liability. Even if the cause isn't your fault, even you are planning on fixing it, it's a liability. Withholding information from the tenant about the safety of their unit adds willful disregard to the lack of safety.

I guess it depends on how much of a legal quagmire you want to create for yourself, but compounding one liability with another isn't the way I'd go.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:42 AM
 
Location: A little suburb of Houston
3,700 posts, read 11,314,084 times
Reputation: 1890
No one is saying that the LL keep the information from the tenant. The LL should certainly notify the tenant that there is a problem and the extent of the problem as well as what the LL plans to do about it. However, the tenant is not entitled to the report itself.
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