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Old 05-28-2014, 07:22 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,962 times
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I regret this being a super long story..but, I feel it's necessary given the circumstances. Thanks for taking your time to read it and respond if you do. It's much appreciated!

I lived at an apartment for 8 months that I really enjoyed. Small community and great apartment manager who was very aware of what she was doing. At the end of my time there, she was fired for reasons I don't know.

Two months after moving out, the apartment I wanted there became available. I was on a waiting list to move into this specific apartment so I reached out to the NEW apartment manager and she told me she is already showing it to other people. She refused to show it to me before them even though I had agreed I will rent it right away. I called her boss (knew him from living there before) and he agreed they need to rent it to me because I was on the waiting list. (She hated the fact that I did this and it ruined our relationship from the beginning.. But it's only fair that I get the apartment since I was on the waiting list..She just wasn't aware of it)

I went down and signed a few documents. One being an application that included a "Move in date" which I filled in because the manager did not write anything on the document but I did ask her before I wrote in June 1st and she confirmed June 1st. The other document being security deposit and cleaning fee, and the last being my background check. I did not receive copies of these at this time and she did not mention this at all.

This was three weeks before the "move in date" which we verbally agreed to and I BELIEVE it's on the document we signed. I am not positive but I have asked for copies and will find out tomorrow. I do have a screenshot of the craigslist listing that does say available June 1st and that is the only date I ever saw and heard of during all of this.

Yesterday, I asked her via text if I can move in a few days early because she offered that to me before. She said no because they are finishing the wooden floors and that it won't be ready until June 4th. I told her I made arrangements to have my house rented out already and can't move in on June 4th and that I need move in June 1st. She then suggested skipping the floor work and letting me move in with a scratched up semi-nasty wooden floor.

I advised her that we agreed to June 1st and she disagreed. I told her to look at what we signed and it will say June 1st but she avoided the question. After a long text convo all day that was as confusing as could be, she basically said I can't move in June 4th if I want the floors finished. Instead, I can move in and skip the floors which she originally agreed to verbally that they would fix before I moved in. (Verbal agreements in WA are legal based on RCWs I read before I posted this)

So, I called her boss because she was not able to communicate clearly or effectively and he acknowledged there is an opportunity for training for her and asked what they can do to make me happy. I said that I would like to view the documents I signed (originals) and make copies of them and if the date on there says June 1st, I would like a refund of the deposit/cleaning fee, and application fee because they "breached" the contract. BAD MOVE now that I think about it because they can easily take the original and block out the June 1st date which I know is on there and then they can easily claim it was never on there.

He said that isn't breaching a contract because this is an application. I get the feeling he COULD be right but at the same time, I have given them about $500.00 and signed a document that has a MOVE IN date.
Technically, we agreed that I move in on June 1st and they have had my deposit and cleaning fee since early May on the basis that I move June 1st. If this changes, I need to be notified, right? How can they change the original agreement (application) without notification or me signing off on it?

This is the tricky part. Is an application with a move in date considered anything? Can I hold them accountable for that move in date? I planned EVERYTHING around this date because we agreed to it and now it's changed without notification. I only found out because I asked.

So what is my recourse? Anything? If you think about it... I could technically move in when I am comfortable because they are saying we never agreed to a date. So, on the basis that June 1st wasn't the date and there is nothing written on the rental application, I could just say "welllll, I won't be ready until July 1st." Right? If June 1st is not written on there and no date is, what can they even do? I can move in whenever? Or?

Thanks again for taking your time... And any responses are appreciated! I am a landlord myself and have rented to others so please consider that before you go off on me being some annoying tenant. I have rented in the past and had no issues. But, this issue is stemming from a new apartment manager who has no prior rental experience. This is what I have been told by her boss. She used to own a toy store. So there ya go. Thanks again
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,666 posts, read 25,847,979 times
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First, sorry if I offend you, but if you were a knowledgeable about real estate law or contract law, you wouldn't need to ask these questions. The only way to answer you, is to educate you. If you will find that offensive, don't read my response.

If you don't have a written lease, then all you have based on your verbal agreements is a month-to-month contract. You could establish a month-to-month contract based on the money you have already forked over.

This is why many landlords don't sign leases until move-in day - just in case something goes wrong. I only had month-to-month agreements, but my contract included a clause that said the unit may not be ready on time, and if it isn't, the tenant has the option to back out. This is in case something happens, like your situation. Sometimes you can't get the floor guys to show up and be done by move-in date.

I, as a manager in CA for 8 years, would have handled this situation just like the new manager did. I'm really sorry the unit won't be ready on time, but you have 2 options: 1) you can move into it as-is and agree to that in writing; or 2) you wait until it's ready.

So, now verbally, you have told them that they breached the (verbal) contract, so you want your money back. That's fair. But now, you know, you no longer have a deal with them to move in.

So, what is it you want to learn from this forum? Did they have the right to tell you you could either move into the place as-is or wait until their late contractor finishes? What else could they do?

Can you sue them for damages? Not in my opinion. You wouldn't have been out any money, if you went ahead and moved in on June 1st with scratched floors. You could have negotiated a lower rent for funky floors. The owner even asked you what can they do to make it right, and you said you wanted out of the contract. Sorry, but that makes you a very silly tenant.

And this is why your contract to rent our your house should have had a clause in it that got you off the hook if you couldn't produce your home on June 1st to the new renters, in case you couldn't move out in time.

And just as an aside, as a former apartment manager: Once you moved out of the building, I would have taken you off of any waiting list that gave you priority as a current tenant. Just sayin. The current manager had every right to tell you other people were ahead of you, as you were no longer a tenant with any kind of priority status. You're lucky the owner told her to give you preference. But if I was that manager, I probably would have bought champagne when you said you wanted your money back.

I'd say at this point, you have thoroughly burned your bridges there regarding any priority status or the ability to move back in. But, hey, stranger things have happened.
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:14 PM
 
10,882 posts, read 14,562,041 times
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What is the start date on your lease?

But here's wher I have a problem with what you are saying, how the heck could you be a former landlord if yuo don;t even realize how stupid you sound because there has been NO BREECH of some fictional verbal agreement since the date has not even arrived. Didn't anyone ever in all your landlrod expereince explain that you act on an action, not on a belief it may hapopen?

Last edited by Rabrrita; 05-28-2014 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 05-28-2014, 08:54 PM
 
988 posts, read 1,475,160 times
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Rabrrita and NoMoreSnow beat me to it: you can't claim a breach of a contract for an event that hasn't occurred yet. Aside from that, you don't have an executed lease yet, so you don't even have a contract you could claim has been breached. All you have is an application you've filled out and approval granted, but the LL could certainly rescind that if they so desire and then you'd really be SOL. As well, if you were successfully given back your application fee and deposit, then that means you're not getting the apartment; I'm not sure you really thought that demand through. Best advice: apologize to the boss for getting overly dramatic about things, say June 4th is fine with you for moving in although you hope it could be sooner, and find a cheap motel to shack up in for those 3 days.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:13 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
First, sorry if I offend you, but if you were a knowledgeable about real estate law or contract law, you wouldn't need to ask these questions. The only way to answer you, is to educate you. If you will find that offensive, don't read my response.

If you don't have a written lease, then all you have based on your verbal agreements is a month-to-month contract. You could establish a month-to-month contract based on the money you have already forked over.

This is why many landlords don't sign leases until move-in day - just in case something goes wrong. I only had month-to-month agreements, but my contract included a clause that said the unit may not be ready on time, and if it isn't, the tenant has the option to back out. This is in case something happens, like your situation. Sometimes you can't get the floor guys to show up and be done by move-in date.

I, as a manager in CA for 8 years, would have handled this situation just like the new manager did. I'm really sorry the unit won't be ready on time, but you have 2 options: 1) you can move into it as-is and agree to that in writing; or 2) you wait until it's ready.

So, now verbally, you have told them that they breached the (verbal) contract, so you want your money back. That's fair. But now, you know, you no longer have a deal with them to move in.

So, what is it you want to learn from this forum? Did they have the right to tell you you could either move into the place as-is or wait until their late contractor finishes? What else could they do?

Can you sue them for damages? Not in my opinion. You wouldn't have been out any money, if you went ahead and moved in on June 1st with scratched floors. You could have negotiated a lower rent for funky floors. The owner even asked you what can they do to make it right, and you said you wanted out of the contract. Sorry, but that makes you a very silly tenant.

And this is why your contract to rent our your house should have had a clause in it that got you off the hook if you couldn't produce your home on June 1st to the new renters, in case you couldn't move out in time.

And just as an aside, as a former apartment manager: Once you moved out of the building, I would have taken you off of any waiting list that gave you priority as a current tenant. Just sayin. The current manager had every right to tell you other people were ahead of you, as you were no longer a tenant with any kind of priority status. You're lucky the owner told her to give you preference. But if I was that manager, I probably would have bought champagne when you said you wanted your money back.

I'd say at this point, you have thoroughly burned your bridges there regarding any priority status or the ability to move back in. But, hey, stranger things have happened.
It's hard to respond to this because I guess I didn't provide all the details.

#1, we do have a written document. It's not an official contract, but it's an application to rent the apartment which includes a move in date, price per month, and the lease agreement which is 6 months. This is the document I/we signed that I agreed to. I gave them the security deposit etc under the assumption that I will move in on June 1st because that is what we agreed to. This wasn't only verbal. Why would I give all this money to someone without any documentation and base it just off a "verbal agreement". Nobody does that, hopefully.

#2 - Let's pretend this application with a move in date, price per month, and lease term on it doesn't mean anything and doesn't give me any recourse because it's not an official contract. Or let's just say that there really is no move in date on it and nobody really knows what the move in date is supposed to be. What stops them from me saying "I'm not ready to move in until July 1st?" Right? What can they possibly say? I was under the assumption I move on June 1st. They are saying June 4th now. Why can't I just say.. Well June 4th doesn't work for me because I work, June 28th does though? I'm not sure you can answer this because you would need to see the agreement I guess. But I do remember none of this was covered. It was a simple one page document with barely any legal language in it.

#3 "And just as an aside, as a former apartment manager: Once you moved out of the building, I would have taken you off of any waiting list that gave you priority as a current tenant." What the hell are you talking about? The owner created this list in order to give "good" tenants the priority to move back in before anyone else. I lived there, paid on time, cleaned the hell out of the place when I left, thus they put me on the list because they wanted me back.

#4. "The current manager had every right to tell you other people were ahead of you, as you were no longer a tenant with any kind of priority status. You're lucky the owner told her to give you preference."

If you worked at this place, you would have been fired for doing this. The owner knows me as an on time tenant, clean, no damages, and quiet friendly person. In fact, this entire time, you have been assuming I have been talking to the owner. I never said that. I was talking to the apartment managers boss, which is not the owner. The owner is a 80 year old dude who barely gets involved in anything. Anyways, that's beside the point. In the end, you provided me no real advice even though you thought you did. But I think part of that is because you aren't here to see the whole situation for what it is and I didn't explain it well enough for you to fully grasp. But, that's okay. You did a great job making assumptions


"So, what is it you want to learn from this forum? Did they have the right to tell you you could either move into the place as-is or wait until their late contractor finishes? What else could they do?"

I guess at this point, what I would love to know is... If you sign a rental agreement that has a move in date, lease term language, and price, but the landlord changes that date in order to make repairs to the place, do they have the right to REQUIRE you to move in on any specific date? Or do I have a right to pick any date I want to move in? Since they made adjustments to the date willy nilly, I have that right as well, right? And no, it's not in the agreement..none of this language is.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:22 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,962 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
What is the start date on your lease?

But here's wher I have a problem with what you are saying, how the heck could you be a former landlord if yuo don;t even realize how stupid you sound because there has been NO BREECH of some fictional verbal agreement since the date has not even arrived. Didn't anyone ever in all your landlrod expereince explain that you act on an action, not on a belief it may hapopen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by berniekosar19 View Post
Rabrrita and NoMoreSnow beat me to it: you can't claim a breach of a contract for an event that hasn't occurred yet. Aside from that, you don't have an executed lease yet, so you don't even have a contract you could claim has been breached. All you have is an application you've filled out and approval granted, but the LL could certainly rescind that if they so desire and then you'd really be SOL. As well, if you were successfully given back your application fee and deposit, then that means you're not getting the apartment; I'm not sure you really thought that demand through. Best advice: apologize to the boss for getting overly dramatic about things, say June 4th is fine with you for moving in although you hope it could be sooner, and find a cheap motel to shack up in for those 3 days.
Rabrrita - There was a written document that included the price, lease term, and move in date. I should have written the thread better. Meanwhile, please work on your spelling and grammar because it's difficult to read and understand.

Kosar19 - That's the tricky part. Is a rental agreement with price, lease term, and move in date a form of a contract? If it is, then they have "breached" it. This is where an attorney would be nice. Also, this part is irrelevant but even if I don't get the apartment, it really doesn't matter because I have other arrangements. But, they did text me an hour ago saying they want to show it to me tomorrow and they hope I move in. But, anyways, thanks for your post.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,666 posts, read 25,847,979 times
Reputation: 37427
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaStateHiker10 View Post
It's hard to respond to this because I guess I didn't provide all the details.

#1, we do have a written document. It's not an official contract, but it's an application to rent the apartment which includes a move in date, price per month, and the lease agreement which is 6 months. This is the document I/we signed that I agreed to. I gave them the security deposit etc under the assumption that I will move in on June 1st because that is what we agreed to. This wasn't only verbal. Why would I give all this money to someone without any documentation and base it just off a "verbal agreement". Nobody does that, hopefully.

#2 - Let's pretend this application with a move in date, price per month, and lease term on it doesn't mean anything and doesn't give me any recourse because it's not an official contract. Or let's just say that there really is no move in date on it and nobody really knows what the move in date is supposed to be. What stops them from me saying "I'm not ready to move in until July 1st?" Right? What can they possibly say? I was under the assumption I move on June 1st. They are saying June 4th now. Why can't I just say.. Well June 4th doesn't work for me because I work, June 28th does though? I'm not sure you can answer this because you would need to see the agreement I guess. But I do remember none of this was covered. It was a simple one page document with barely any legal language in it.

#3 "And just as an aside, as a former apartment manager: Once you moved out of the building, I would have taken you off of any waiting list that gave you priority as a current tenant." What the hell are you talking about? The owner created this list in order to give "good" tenants the priority to move back in before anyone else. I lived there, paid on time, cleaned the hell out of the place when I left, thus they put me on the list because they wanted me back.

#4. "The current manager had every right to tell you other people were ahead of you, as you were no longer a tenant with any kind of priority status. You're lucky the owner told her to give you preference."

If you worked at this place, you would have been fired for doing this. The owner knows me as an on time tenant, clean, no damages, and quiet friendly person. In fact, this entire time, you have been assuming I have been talking to the owner. I never said that. I was talking to the apartment managers boss, which is not the owner. The owner is a 80 year old dude who barely gets involved in anything. Anyways, that's beside the point. In the end, you provided me no real advice even though you thought you did. But I think part of that is because you aren't here to see the whole situation for what it is and I didn't explain it well enough for you to fully grasp. But, that's okay. You did a great job making assumptions


"So, what is it you want to learn from this forum? Did they have the right to tell you you could either move into the place as-is or wait until their late contractor finishes? What else could they do?"

I guess at this point, what I would love to know is... If you sign a rental agreement that has a move in date, lease term language, and price, but the landlord changes that date in order to make repairs to the place, do they have the right to REQUIRE you to move in on any specific date? Or do I have a right to pick any date I want to move in? Since they made adjustments to the date willy nilly, I have that right as well, right? And no, it's not in the agreement..none of this language is.
Sure, show up in August to move in and see how it goes.

And if you read your post above, please note how often you refer to the "owner."

Can your application with the above information be considered an enforceable contract? Well, go look up the requirements for a contract, and see if it meets the definition. Hint: Did the landlord sign it, too? Does something titled "application" mean contract? Then, picture yourself arguing that this is a contract before a judge. You might convince him, you might not. I mentioned this as a possibility, but, it would have to be argued. This is not a slam dunk lease agreement, obviously.

What do you need us for, anyway? We're obviously all wrong.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:31 PM
 
7 posts, read 12,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Sure, show up in August to move in and see how it goes.

And if you read your post above, please note how often you refer to the "owner."

Can your application with the above information be considered an enforceable contract? Well, go look up the requirements for a contract, and see if it meets the definition. Hint: Did the landlord sign it, too? Does something titled "application" mean contract? Then, picture yourself arguing that this is a contract before a judge. You might convince him, you might not. I mentioned this as a possibility, but, it would have to be argued. This is not a slam dunk lease agreement, obviously.

What do you need us for? We're obviously all wrong.
Ah, if I said owner, my mistake. I didn't think I did.


Your second point is helpful. I appreciate the post.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:36 PM
 
988 posts, read 1,475,160 times
Reputation: 1078
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaStateHiker10 View Post
It's hard to respond to this because I guess I didn't provide all the details.

#1, we do have a written document. It's not an official contract, but it's an application to rent the apartment which includes a move in date, price per month, and the lease agreement which is 6 months. This is the document I/we signed that I agreed to. I gave them the security deposit etc under the assumption that I will move in on June 1st because that is what we agreed to. This wasn't only verbal. Why would I give all this money to someone without any documentation and base it just off a "verbal agreement". Nobody does that, hopefully.

You have an application that has been approved; unfortunately, until you have a lease that has been signed by both parties, your approved application means absolute bubkus. The LL could turn around tomorrow and say, sorry, I've changed my mind, and so long as they give you your deposit back, you're SOL. Applications mean nothing; executed leases are what gives you the right to what you're trying to claim in your situation.

#2 - Let's pretend this application with a move in date, price per month, and lease term on it doesn't mean anything and doesn't give me any recourse because it's not an official contract. Or let's just say that there really is no move in date on it and nobody really knows what the move in date is supposed to be. What stops them from me saying "I'm not ready to move in until July 1st?" Right? What can they possibly say? I was under the assumption I move on June 1st. They are saying June 4th now. Why can't I just say.. Well June 4th doesn't work for me because I work, June 28th does though? I'm not sure you can answer this because you would need to see the agreement I guess. But I do remember none of this was covered. It was a simple one page document with barely any legal language in it.

As has been stated previously, virtually all leases will have a clause that states something to the effect of "A situation could arise which might prevent Owner from letting You move into the Apartment on the beginning date set in this Lease. If this happens for reasons beyond Owner's reasonable control, Owner will not be responsible for Your expenses, and this Lease will remain in effect." In your example, the flooring sub-contractors probably can not finish up your unit prior to your desired move-in date, hence the apt manager wanting you to either skip the floor work so you can move in June 1st or just deal with the unavoidable delay.

I guess at this point, what I would love to know is... If you sign a rental agreement that has a move in date, lease term language, and price, but the landlord changes that date in order to make repairs to the place, do they have the right to REQUIRE you to move in on any specific date? Or do I have a right to pick any date I want to move in? Since they made adjustments to the date willy nilly, I have that right as well, right? And no, it's not in the agreement..none of this language is.
Yes, the LL has the right to tell you that date has been pushed back due to necessary repairs, and if you want original move-in date, then you have to accept certain repairs not being done, or at least, not in a timely fashion.
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Old 05-28-2014, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,666 posts, read 25,847,979 times
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Things go wrong with agreements. So, what can you sue for, if you can prove a breach of contract? Reasonable out of pocket expenses. In this situation, reasonable out of pocket would be what it cost you to have to move in 4 days later.

Would it be reasonable for you to hold the landlord hostage until you felt like moving in? No.

The landlord is not REQUIRING you to move in at all. IF you can prove you have a contract, and that there is a cemented move-in date of June 1st, then the landlord breaches by not having it ready on time. You can simply get out of the contract, and/or sue for any cost out of pocket this breach actually cost you.

Not having it ready on June 1st does not give you the right to then move into this unit whenever the hell you feel like it. (Using the word hell, simply because you used it when referring to me - tit for tat). This would result in unreasonable costs for the landlord, and the law is all about what's "reasonable."

And why the hell, would you think that made sense?
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