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Author Topic: Renting from a Private Owner  (Read 543 times)

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Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Renting from a Private Owner
« on: August 28, 2015, 10:00:45 PM »
Hi all!

My husband and I are slated to be moving into a home beside of my best friend in the coming. . .month or so. We're pretty desperate to move, as where we are at with my parents right now is definitely not the world's greatest situation. At all. We're talking caving floors, mold, rodents. . . It's a bad place, so we need out.

The home beside of my friend was just recently purchased by her father, and he wants us to live in it. Offering us a very moderate rent cost that we can definitely afford, home is in town, great access to everything. Yay, good!

However: he wants the deposit on the 1st. I have never seen the interior of this home, except through images taken by my friend (and they weren't particularly favourable ones). He's been communicating through his daughter (the best friend) mostly, has not answered me about who is doing repair work, if the home will be painted and repaired before I move in and if the carpeting is going to be replaced prior to moving as well. The current occupant has not yet moved out either, though if the presence of a huge dumpster outside the home is anything to go by that is in the works to change. At least I got him to go seek legal paperwork as my landlord for my husband and I to agree to.

Top this all off, the landlord purchased this place specifically so we could leave our shitty situation and live by my friend, so I'd feel like an ass if I backed out and feel, honestly, pressured to occupy this home.

What I'm asking about this situation is:
  • Should I withhold the deposit until I see the interior of the home for myself?
  • Should any repair work, carpet replacements, painting, etc. be completed before I move in?
  • Does this all sound more than a little uncomfortable to anyone else?
  • Are private owners who are renting places in situations like the above outlined one subject to the same landlord/tenant laws that others are?

Thank you for your assistance. I'm not used to renting facilities and, really, I've never lived in an "above-low-standard" situation, so I don't really know what is normal and what is dubious.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2015, 10:13:48 PM »
I would check with a housing office or legal aid office about this.  I don't think what he is asking for is legal.  He may be unaware of the proper procedures if this is his first rental property or he may feel that as friends he doesn't have to follow the rules.  Either way it's a touchy situation for you and could be a potential problem. 

Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2015, 10:17:26 PM »
I would check with a housing office or legal aid office about this.  I don't think what he is asking for is legal.  He may be unaware of the proper procedures if this is his first rental property or he may feel that as friends he doesn't have to follow the rules.  Either way it's a touchy situation for you and could be a potential problem.

I definitely feel this way myself. This is his first time, and he desperately wants us moved in beside of his daughter because he wants her taken care of and safe. I understand that, but I don't feel like the rest of this situation is. . .right, exactly.  :-\

Offline Elysian Radiance

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Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2015, 10:46:43 PM »
I have rented from a private owner for almost 6 years. Granted, it's my person's parents, but they don't treat us much different than their regular tenants (they have 7 rental properties). First and foremost, I would find the laws on renting in your state and read them over. There's probably a booklet or PDF that you can get and read over about all the laws for renting.

Should I withhold the deposit until I see the interior of the home for myself?
I can't really answer for this as I've never been in this situation. We've either seen the rental or traded out working on the house in exchange for it.

Should any repair work, carpet replacements, painting, etc. be completed before I move in?
Major repairs that are going to inhibit you from living without interruption or complication, yes. Little things that are annoying or in the way but not putting you in danger or affecting basic functions, I would say that you could wait, especially since it's a friend. At our last house, we did all the cleaning and painting of it in exchange for two months of rent. They fixed the serious water issue before we moved in and worked on a few other things over time after we had moved in. We just moved into another of their places (we were downgrading); they had it all cleaned for us and had our hot water heat replaced (there was a glitch with that, but it was only a 5 day wait). They had patched the roof where there had been a leak, but they weren't sure if it was fixed. So we waited for rain and it wasn't, so they're arranging to get it repaired again.

Does this all sound more than a little uncomfortable to anyone else?
It doesn't to me, but that's because this is essentially what's been done with my person and I for the last 6 years. We've lived in 4 of their 7 rentals over the years and 3 of them had work that needed to be done. We either worked it out to do it ourselves in exchange for rent compensation, or had them do it at their leisure. You have to understand that they might not have the income to tend to ALL problems all at one time.

Are private owners who are renting places in situations like the above outlined one subject to the same landlord/tenant laws that others are?
I am fairly sure that they are, due to some situations that have went on with some of the other tenant's for my folk's places.

Offline Cycle

Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2015, 12:43:29 AM »
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

Do not hand over money until you see what you are renting.  Do not hand over money without a rental agreement.  Do not hand over money until you know that the unit can be occupied.  Do not hand over money if it does not look habitable. 

Do not hand over money if your instincts are screaming.

There are many ways to manipulate people.  Guilt is one of them, and it is incredibly powerful, in the wrong hands, used on a susceptible target.  Watch out for this.

Friendship is one thing.  Money is another.  If that unit is habitable and safe, then no reasonable landlord would have an issue showing it to you.  If they won't, the odds are good there is something off.


Offline Lord Mayerling

Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2015, 05:15:09 AM »
Cycle pretty much summed it up pretty well.

This seems like a friendish/familyish business deal that you're getting into. That almost always leads to complications further on down the road. Still, if you still want to go through with it, you need to treat it like a business transaction first.

Never, ever put a deposit down on a property unseen. A few days' delay isn't going to kill anyone. If you want repairs/painting/carpets you need to tell the landlord before you sign any lease. Then, whatever you agree to needs to make it into the lease, including when any work shall be completed, and when you'll move in. Prorate the rent if you're not moving in on the first of the month.

In the United States, landlord/tenant laws apply universally to all rentals of housing. However, some states have slightly different laws for rentals of single-family homes versus rentals of multiple unit dwellings. These laws are usually pretty easy to get a hold of since rentals lead to a lot of lawsuits in many states. Some states (like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) have a renter's bill-of-rights that neatly sums up your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Usually, the landlord is required to provide heat and hot water, and that's about it.   

Don't rush into this. If there's a family already living there, and they are being evicted so you can move in, there's already going to be a lot of tension both in the transaction and in the actual act of them moving out and you moving in. Avoid it. Let the landlord fully conclude his business with the current tenants before you start dealing with him.

Nothing good comes from rushing through a business deal. Think about it: housing is probably the single largest expense for your family every month. Therefore, it should receive the most attention and prudence as well. Be cautious. You will literally have to live with your decision.

Offline FaustusTopic starter

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Re: Renting from a Private Owner
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2015, 08:57:26 AM »
Thank you very much, everyone, for your wise words of advice and assistance.

While I deeply want to move out of my current situation - more than I can possibly express - you all have pointed out the exact concerns that I have experienced. . . especially the part about having not seen the interior of the home. Pictures do not do anything justice, so I have no method (as of right now) to determine the inside-situation except by word of mouth.

I'm not rushing, myself. I'm willing to wait for the current occupant to leave (an older man who was a chronic hoarder) and the building to be thoroughly inspected before I waltz in and apply money to it, but he is the one demanding it on the first of the month, and my best friend is trying to assure me to trust him, that it's fine and everything  is okay. Even though they both keep using the buzzwords "shoestring budget," which is translating in my head to "I-have-no-money-after-purchasing-this-place-and-hope-you'll-pay-for-a-lot-of-it."

I did look into the landlord/tenant laws for our area and it includes nice things such as all repair work must be completed before a tenant moves in, so. Guess that certainly answers some of my questions right there.

Anyway, I need to thank you all again for your assistance. You've brought up things for me and linked me to things I didn't even know existed.