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Old 08-09-2011, 06:36 PM
 
6 posts, read 13,460 times
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I signed a 1-year rental agreement and provided a security deposit for a house about 2 weeks ago. The scheduled move-in date is not until mid August.

I have just learned that the owner decided to make some cosmetic improvements to the home- replacing the kitchen and bathroom countertops. He did not mention this at the time of the tour or at the time that we signed the rental agreement.

If I don't like the change, enough that I no longer want to live there, am I on the hook for the security deposit?

It seems that I agreed to the rental agreement, based on what I saw at time of tour. If the look of the property is changed after the fact, do I have grounds to back out of the agreement without losing all or part of my security deposit?

Thanks, for any insight you have or reference to California tenant law that may address this!
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:43 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 43,294,317 times
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Just to be clear, the LL replacing the kitchen and bathroom counter tops would make you not want to live in the house anymore?
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Maine
2,272 posts, read 6,245,729 times
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What were the materials before that would make you leave if they were changed? I really can't imagine wanting to leave unless he got rid of recycled glass counter tops and put in laminate.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,186 posts, read 7,455,190 times
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No you can not break the agreement. Most agreements do not have clauses in them for such things. There are few things that constitute breach of agreement and none of the ones that I know of (unless drafted by the renter) do not allow for a breach based on cosmetic improvements/adjustments.

To be honest, it is their home and they are justified to do whatever they wish to it as long as it doesn't infringe on your safety or well-being. Although the countertop may be hideous, it isn't the end of the world and thus it sounds like you are digging to find something to grasp on so that you can get out of this lease. It sounds like you are either going to be in breach of contract or you will be living in the property for a year.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,114 posts, read 7,877,313 times
Reputation: 3708
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alley01 View Post
Although the countertop may be hideous, it isn't the end of the world and thus it sounds like you are digging to find something to grasp on so that you can get out of this lease.
Just to add a different perspective here, for those of us who are aesthetically minded, something like changing the counters in a house could definitely make the difference between whether we want to rent it or not.

If the original poster says it's ruined the house for him or her, I believe it.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:52 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,489 posts, read 18,745,153 times
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The improvement is the property of the LL. You as a renter do not have a say on material improvements. The LL is making improvements not changes to the property. If the physical layout or physical characteristics are changed, that may be a problem. Counters were there and counters will be there when you move in. The color or material does not make a change in the physical characteristics of the counters. It's an appearance change. That is as long as the counters that were there are replaced. If the kitchen were changed in number of cabinets or layout or downgrades in cabinets or appliances provided, then that is a change in the physical. Changing the countertops for new, no matter the material, is not a phyisical change to the property.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:09 PM
 
4,399 posts, read 9,952,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvo01 View Post
I signed a 1-year rental agreement and provided a security deposit for a house about 2 weeks ago. The scheduled move-in date is not until mid August.

I have just learned that the owner decided to make some cosmetic improvements to the home- replacing the kitchen and bathroom countertops. He did not mention this at the time of the tour or at the time that we signed the rental agreement.

If I don't like the change, enough that I no longer want to live there, am I on the hook for the security deposit?

It seems that I agreed to the rental agreement, based on what I saw at time of tour. If the look of the property is changed after the fact, do I have grounds to back out of the agreement without losing all or part of my security deposit?

Thanks, for any insight you have or reference to California tenant law that may address this!
This one is iffy. I'd say it depends on the judge. The judge might think you are using a technicality to get out of the lease. The change is probably not "material" to the agreement, so that means you probably can not break it.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:18 PM
 
4,399 posts, read 9,952,062 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneSA View Post
The improvement is the property of the LL. You as a renter do not have a say on material improvements. The LL is making improvements not changes to the property. If the physical layout or physical characteristics are changed, that may be a problem. Counters were there and counters will be there when you move in. The color or material does not make a change in the physical characteristics of the counters. It's an appearance change. That is as long as the counters that were there are replaced. If the kitchen were changed in number of cabinets or layout or downgrades in cabinets or appliances provided, then that is a change in the physical. Changing the countertops for new, no matter the material, is not a phyisical change to the property.
An improvement to the property is by definition a change. The opposite statement is an oxymoron.
If the countertops are changed then there is a physical change, there is no other change to be made since the counter is simply wood and stone(or whatever the top is made of) connected together. The counters were modified mechanically, so they were physically changed.
What will happen in court the OP will have to find out. But common sense would dictate the OP is not getting what they signed up for in the lease so they should not be forced to accept something different than they agreed too.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,561,098 times
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Have you even seen the new countertops? If not, then how do you know now, that you're going to be so upset that you want to get out of your lease? <sigh> Sounds a little over the top to me.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:31 AM
 
Location: Maine
2,272 posts, read 6,245,729 times
Reputation: 2541
The OP's question, "If I don't like the change, enough that I no longer want to live there, am I on the hook for the security deposit?" is ambiguous. I took it that he/she had not seen the changes yet. In which case, I think this is jumping the gun just a tad and wonder if "renter's remorse" might be more of the issue here.
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