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Old 05-18-2018, 11:59 PM
 
5 posts, read 2,018 times
Reputation: 25

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I have been living in my rented apt since Sept. 2016 and was added to my roomate's lease, and she apparently took over the lease about four or five years ago from her friend and former roommate. We recently had an inspection from the new apt manager (the 5th one we've had since I moved in).
She said we failed inspection because of the damage to the linoleum (a two foot slice that is 7 or 8 years old) and the carpet cleaning (decade old carpet in a place with no breaks in tenancy for about as long) which was pretty well toast when I moved in.
"As per our lease" we have until the 31st to replace the kitchen flooring and have the entire carpeting professionally cleaned or we get a 30-day notice.
I have excellent tenant history, never been evicted, and have received full deposits back on every place I've ever rented except for one landlord who held us responsible for things the previous tenants did as well over a decade ago. I am also a felon (from the 90's) and have come a looong way from who and what I was back then - but it still makes finding a place very difficult. I am terrified - and livid - at the prospect of getting evicted because we can't pay several hundred dollars to update the unit for the property management - which frankly is exactly how it seems to me. To me it seems like they are saying "update our unit for us, or be homeless".
I live in Oregon and have been searching for relevant tenant law but nothing seems to discuss anything like this. I would gladly pay for damage I caused... but this damage to the kitchen floor predates my roommate living here by several years, and she had been here for 5 years before I moved in, with 3 or 4 others roommates in between. The carpet is old (8-10 years) and also stained up and damaged before I moved in. We have tried several times to clean it with rented steam cleaners or spot removers, but it's mostly just wear and tear.
I CAN pay for this with credit, but I don't feel it's my place or responsibility - regardless of what their lease says on it. This seems completely illegal. I'm also not going to make my roommate foot it alone. I intend to fight this tooth and nail. Any thoughts, comments, or experience would be welcome.

Sidenote: My parents have had a few rental properties off and on, and I have seen the damage that irresponsible tenants can do - and I sympathize with landlords who have to deal with their properties being abused or mistreated. I have far less sympathy for large property management companies - but also believe in responsible tenancy.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:22 AM
 
3,463 posts, read 3,449,937 times
Reputation: 4011
Call their bluff:

Ask them for the receipts on when the linoleum and the carpet were installed to prove the age of those items that they are trying to charge you for. There are definitely limits they can charge based on the age of items and everything gets prorated until it ages out or fully depreciates and can no longer be charged for.

Also, ask them for the list of items and security deposit deductions from the previous tenants.

I would send all above in a certified letter (return receipt requested) so you have it all documented.

If they purchased the building then the previous owner should have transferred all of that info over to them. If they can't provide it then they can not charge you for it because they have absolutely NO proof of anything. Make sure to take very good detailed photos (right now) of the condition of the carpet and flooring in case this goes to court. There is not a court in the land that will allow them to charge you without any proof nor are they allowed to charge you full replacement cost for either of those items being as old as they are.

Just stand your ground because they are only trying to bully you into remodeling their apt on your dime.

If you need legal help then try one of these resources:
https://ospirg.org/page/orp/resources-oregon-tenants

Last edited by Corn-fused; 05-19-2018 at 01:25 AM..
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:41 AM
 
5 posts, read 2,018 times
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Thank you for the input and the resource!!!!
The same property management company owns/runs the complex, this is the 5th on-site manager that has been here in about a year and a half. I think the high turnover of management, and the problems the previous managers have had with tenants mistreating public areas and facilities cuz they can't be bothered has her under the impression that she needs to "whip this place into shape". In doing so she's coming after two tenants that try to help out & contribute to our lil community: cleaning public spaces, shoveling snow when the landscaper didn't get to it, sorting other people's garbage/recycling (we have several stations around the complex that people completely abuse) because apparently the tragedy of the commons is real?? )sigh(
I am doing as much research as I can and trying to get a handle on this. This lady seems to be "By the book" and she has a lease that my roommate says holds us accountable for anything that has happened during the course of said lease that my roommate took over years ago and I signed onto... Sounds like a supremely illegal undertaking.
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:50 AM
 
3,463 posts, read 3,449,937 times
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Well, the PM is obviously not doing everything by the book because what she is asking of you is flat out wrong.

My post still stands on the things you need to have her provide to you as proof and don't back down. Tell her you are more than happy to pay for things that you rightfully owe and that are justified and proven based on the Oregon State Rental Laws.

It doesn't matter how long anyone has been there or who took over the lease, etc when it comes to items aging out to the point of not being worth a dime.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:06 AM
 
12,018 posts, read 9,573,932 times
Reputation: 13420
Ask for them to show you proof that there was no damage when you move in. That's what they would have to prove. If they try to evict you I would tell the judge what is going on and have it thrown out, this is harassment. I would also look into suing for false eviction. I would look for another place to live regardless of how hard it may be to find another place. You can't live in a place run by crooks. Also in the future when you move into a place take pictures of the condition. If you are subletting or replacing a tenant you may be on the hook for damage they caused after they moved in.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:16 AM
 
Location: North Central Florida
784 posts, read 458,549 times
Reputation: 1031
10 year old carpet is beyond its serviceable life. There should not be any charges.

The vinyl flooring should have been noted when the tenants changed. Or pictures taken. Maybe you can explain it away, and the LL not change IF the place is otherwise in great shape.

You can ask the LL for a move-in picture. A form will not work in Court.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:51 AM
 
453 posts, read 236,390 times
Reputation: 480
I wouldn’t pay a dime. Asking you to replace these things or be evicted is wrong, and at worst, could be considered harassment.

If the carpet is 10 years old, it needs to be replaced, not cleaned. The lifespan of a carpet is generally seen as ~10 years. You are not on the hook for cleaning or replacement

As far as the floor goes, did your friend take pictures when she moved in or was this noted by either the LL or your friend? Either way, the LL is going to have to show receipts for the floor and prove that you damaged it.

To me, this sounds like a classic case of a LL trying to get some upgrades and repairs out of tenants, in this case holding eviction over them.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ area
3,337 posts, read 3,813,959 times
Reputation: 4107
Flooring is always the major contention with rentals. They think they aren't being too unreasonable with their requests but they might be. Evicting for excessive damage is an option so don't just blow them off. When you took over the lease you also took over for the damage the previous lease holders did and you let them out of any responsibility, kind of it depends on how it was done but most likely you did.

Carpet cleaning is whole separate thing from useful life, for court proof the move in checklist from however long ago is sufficient to document the lack of stains. As for the vinyl, if it is vinyl and not laminate, should have a 20-50 year useful life; IRS depreciation schedule is 27.5 years because it is permanently affixed to the premises with glue. If it is new enough then a patch can be done with a matching piece and a repair doesn't have a useful life consideration, like cleaning. Should they be doing it, probably not. Do they have legal ground to stand on, maybe.

If I were you I'd go get a free consultation from a local, EXPERIENCED tenant lawyer, these cases aren't all too common so find one that has actual experience.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:46 AM
 
5 posts, read 2,018 times
Reputation: 25
I am pleased to hear that my thinking on this was in line with all your responses, and thank you very much for all your input!! The complex has over 300 units and the management always seemed like the single person in the office struggled to keep up with enforcement, documentation, and service. There's simply too many units and issues for one on-site manager to keep up with it seems.

My roommate told me the flooring was an old issue, known by management, and seemingly not important or worth worrying about. The damage sits almost completely under a doormat so it was never impacting habitability - just kinda looks bad.

Part of this seems to stem from there being no change in full tenancy for around 10 years - with this unit never being vacant and having tenants cycle out, so no updates, remodels or major repairs seem to have been done in that time.

We were on very good terms with the last manager, who saw my roommate and I doing random helpful things around the complex and just got along with us. If she had performed the inspection she may have offered to have maintenance repair it, but only if it bothered us. It's weird to go from a mutual respectful relationship with the manager to a new, semi-hostile and cold relationship with the next because they don't know us. This new manager also was going to refuse my rent because it didn't show up in the same envelope as my roommate rent, saying that they couldn't accept partial payments and was going to mail me back my check. . . the on-site manager was going to mail me back my rent check. . . when her office is about 150 yds from my apartment door, because the checks weren't in the same envelope. We had previously turned in rent separately, or together depending on our coordination, but nothing was ever said about that being an undue hassle on the management. This new manager just seems... rigid?
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Old 05-19-2018, 11:30 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
25,931 posts, read 34,275,062 times
Reputation: 54121
Sorry, OP, but you just assumed the lease, so you assumed responsibility for the lease back to the day it was first signed.

If you had the manager write a new lease, charge for all previous damage, and take new security deposits at the time you moved in, you wouldn't be in this situation. You took the easy short cut (because you are a felon and didn't want to be screened?) And now the payment for not doing things the right way comes due.

The requirement to have the carpet professionally cleaned is reasonable.

Your prior manager who accepted different checks at different times for the rent was lax. Maybe that's why she lost her job. Most landlords want all the rent in one check, not separate checks coming in whenever; that makes it too hard to keep track of what rent is paid.
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