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Old 12-29-2009, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,078 posts, read 8,857,938 times
Reputation: 3619

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So, I lived in my house for 7 years, the entire time I rented, there was never a lease between me and the landlord. The house is very old and very outdated, worn from years of renters and the landlord never doing anything to better the home between renters. The carpets were stained, torn, worn, etc... normal wear and tear, previous tenant lived there several years as well.

Now, fast forward, we moved, gave a month's notice and even called a few days before we were moving out completely to remind him that the oil was getting low and a reminder of the shut off date for the electric.

We've already moved. He never came by, nothing. Then today he sends me a text (yes, a text) telling me all the things wrong in the house and that he'd see us in court. I was like, are ya kidding me?

There was no lease so what rights does he really have??

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:11 PM
 
377 posts, read 1,076,675 times
Reputation: 188
You might want to consult with an attorney if he takes you to court, but it would probably help if you have any documentation or pictures of the property when you moved in. Did you ever give a security deposit and did you ever sign anything. I'm not sure about PA, but many states have laws regarding the return of security deposits and how and when the landlord provides the tenant with a list of any damages.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:52 PM
 
3,782 posts, read 4,686,140 times
Reputation: 1835
Quote:
Originally Posted by andreaspercheron View Post
So, I lived in my house for 7 years, the entire time I rented, there was never a lease between me and the landlord. The house is very old and very outdated, worn from years of renters and the landlord never doing anything to better the home between renters. The carpets were stained, torn, worn, etc... normal wear and tear, previous tenant lived there several years as well.

Now, fast forward, we moved, gave a month's notice and even called a few days before we were moving out completely to remind him that the oil was getting low and a reminder of the shut off date for the electric.

We've already moved. He never came by, nothing. Then today he sends me a text (yes, a text) telling me all the things wrong in the house and that he'd see us in court. I was like, are ya kidding me?

There was no lease so what rights does he really have??

Thanks!
If he can prove you lived there he has all the rights of a normal landlord. Verbal agreement for rentals is valid. What kind of things did he list for damages?
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,078 posts, read 8,857,938 times
Reputation: 3619
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdm2008 View Post
If he can prove you lived there he has all the rights of a normal landlord. Verbal agreement for rentals is valid. What kind of things did he list for damages?
The carpet was installed in the late 80's. It's still the same carpet, so as you can imagine over the past several years it's become quite stained (it was pink carpeting, yuk) and very worn. He's stating the carpet was torn in some areas, yes it was and was when I moved in.
The previous tenant who I moved in with as a roommate (he passed himself off as the owner) had the place disgusting, the place was infested with roaches, which I got rid of, he had a cat and no litterbox so the carpets really got stained (which I steam cleaned several times). I mean, the point is the house has had nothing done since the late 80's when he last lived there with his then wife (the landlord). He didn't even see the inside of the house until I moved in and said "hey, you may want to take a look at how your last tenant left the house" to which he finally saw it.
He has said several times he was going to gut the house once we moved out because it was in such dire need of repairs.
The roof leaks, the house is moldy, etc.. it's got some issues. It's over 200 years old and in poor condition. When we called him the beginning of December to tell him we were moving, he didn't say anything but, "ok, thanks" and never said he wanted to see the house, never said anything.
I left several high ticket appliances, the fridge, and washer and dryer in lieu of not being able to provide a full 30 days notice - out of courtesy of course. I gave him 20 days notice and gave him all of my appliances - and they were mine.

We never gave a deposit, no lease was ever written, he would take FOREVER to do the simplest repairs, which we ended up taking pictures of because he left a gaping hole in our bathroom for almost 6 months... this is very typical.

We were his best tenants and the highest paying ones so he's peeved that we moved out after living there for 7 years. Honestly, with no lease and him never making the effort to come see the house once we gave him notice, I don't know what rights he thinks he has.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,078 posts, read 8,857,938 times
Reputation: 3619
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
You might want to consult with an attorney if he takes you to court, but it would probably help if you have any documentation or pictures of the property when you moved in. Did you ever give a security deposit and did you ever sign anything. I'm not sure about PA, but many states have laws regarding the return of security deposits and how and when the landlord provides the tenant with a list of any damages.
There was no lease and no deposit. Nothing ever in writing or anything of the sort.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:59 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
6,751 posts, read 7,479,573 times
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He will probably take you to small claims court - no lawyer needed and having one actually works AGAINST you (think Judge Judy on TV). If you have any pictures over the years, you're probably in a good place. First remember that he has the burden of proof. As a defense to whatever he claims, you can state that you were there for 7 years without him replacing anything - not carpeting, not painting, etc. If it were me, I wouldn't be too worried - if he didn't do a thing over the last 7 years, what makes you think he'll actually get off his duff and take you to court?
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,078 posts, read 8,857,938 times
Reputation: 3619
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
He will probably take you to small claims court - no lawyer needed and having one actually works AGAINST you (think Judge Judy on TV). If you have any pictures over the years, you're probably in a good place. First remember that he has the burden of proof. As a defense to whatever he claims, you can state that you were there for 7 years without him replacing anything - not carpeting, not painting, etc. If it were me, I wouldn't be too worried - if he didn't do a thing over the last 7 years, what makes you think he'll actually get off his duff and take you to court?
Thanks for this, you basically said the same thing my mother in law said, she also said she'd be surprised if he does go through with it and if so, it's small claims and not to worry. He's a jerk, so I kind of had a feeling he'd pull something. Anyway, thank you again for this, it does help me feel better.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
5,565 posts, read 10,898,943 times
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Even if he does get around to taking you to court, I doubt the judge would award him anything, since you lived there for 7 years.

He probably can't charge you for carpet, as it has to be prorated for remaining life, and if it was put in in the 80s, it has no remaining life.

He probably can't charge you for paint, same reason.

He can't charge you for anything that is faded or needs refreshing.

He can't charge you for a leaky roof, or any water damage that happened because of it.

He can't charge you for structural problems, unless it is obvious you did something to cause them.

Things you might have to deal with:

If you didn't have a lease, your state law would dictate rules. If your state says that notice is to be given in writing 30 days in advance, first question is did you give notice in writing? If not, it is your word against his that notice was even given. Second, you said you only gave 20 days, you could be liable for the last 10 days rent. If notice was not given properly, you could be liable for 30 days rent after you returned keys (did you ever return keys?)

Also, you could be charged for removal and disposal of the appliances if he wanted to make an issue of it. You weren't authorized to leave them, even though you look at it as helping the LL, the LL may not want the appliances, in which case they would have to move them and get rid of them. Hopefully not, but it is a possibility.

Utilities. You mentioned "the oil was getting low". In our few rentals that have oil or propane, the tenants move in with a full tank and are expected to leave the tank full at move out.

Cleaning. Your state law probably says that the unit has to be left in "as good or better condition than you received it", or something along those lines. However, unless you took photos at move in and move out to prove condition, you need to have left it "broom clean". You didn't mention it, so I'm not saying whether you did or not, but if you didn't, you could be charged for that.

You didn't say exactly what he was saying was wrong, so this is just a vague list, but you get the idea. If you have photos of the condition at move in, gave notice in writing (and have proof of delivery), got receipts (or have cancelled checks) for rent paid, and if the LL doesn't make an issue on the appliances, you are sitting pretty. If not, the judge will have to decide who they believe.

As for him having or not having rights, that depends on your state law. In my state, verbal leases of less than 1 year are valid. It actually doesn't mention verbal leases of more than 1 year, so I have no idea how they are handled. Verbal leases may or may not hold any water in your state. And, at least in my state, the LL doesn't have to do a walkthrough with you, certainly not before you move out. We never do a "I gave notice" walkthrough. We do periodic, scheduled walkthroughs during tenancy, and a walkthrough after the tenant vacates.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:08 PM
 
1,097 posts, read 2,491,446 times
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I don't know about your state, but in many an oral lease can be enforceable, and the landlord does have a right to recover damages from you if you damaged the property. As someone else pointed out, he has to prove there were damages beyond normal wear and tear, and I don't think he has a chance of doing that. Most small claims judges would rule that he would be responsible for repainting the place, probably replacing the carpet even if it were new when you moved in 7 years ago, and giving the place a good cleaning. And his damages, if any, would be offset by the appliances you gave him. Even if you were required to give him 30 days' notice, the most he could possibly recover for you giving him only 20 days is about ten days' rent. A good used fridge, washer, and dryer should be worth hundreds of dollars, which should offset any claim of damages he has. On the odd chance that the judge thinks he should get something for damages, I would come to court with receipts or other proof of the cost of these appliances. But I wouldn't worry much. He has the burden of proof and it doesn't sound like he has any way to prove you're liable.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:32 PM
 
751 posts, read 974,347 times
Reputation: 699
The absence of a lease does not absolve you of liability, however, everything depreciates and any residual value would have to be calculated accordingly for items that broken and/or not in working order, in this case after 7 years would not be too much. If the home was reasonably clean and left in the same condition from the date you originally moved in minus wear and tear, then he's grasping at straws. The burden is on the LL, but evidence can be easily manufactured as there are many draconian LL's out there. lol Video taping a final walk thru with the LL present is not always feasible but nonetheless crucial when vacating any rental property.
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