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#453049 - 06/13/16 08:41 PM Landlord selling house "as is", will not make major repairs against building
santo80 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/13/16
Posts: 1
Loc: rhode island
Hey everyone! I'm in a bit of a jam and wondering if you could offer any advice.

We rent a single family home that we only just moved into late last year. A few months later the landlord advised he was selling the house (even though we advised at the showing we had no intention of going through the moving process again for at least 3 years.) Unfortunately, it seems necessary as they are behind on the mortgage, so it's an "as is" short sale. I get it -- but come to find out it's likely he knew he was underwater when I signed a lease. This made me pretty upset.


Regardless, having a ton of investors touring my home brought to light quite a few serious issues, among others I brought up previously to the landlord (it's a very old home built in the mid 1800's). Issues such as:


- The ceiling is crumbling. They put drop ceilings in many rooms to catch and mask this, but the drop ceiling also failed one day, with (plaster?) and debris falling on top of me and my $5,000 worth of electronics (my home office desk). My $1,000 professional photo printer hasn't worked since that day because of all the plaster in it. We've been living with this since March.


- Fire hazard electrical. There is working knob and tube through the house (not a code issue per se, but I'm getting there). Aside from the fact that the current system can't handle the kinds of loads today's society normally puts on a house (single 15amp breaker for each floor, I can't have anything aside from the kitchen light on if I want to run the microwave), there is apparently romex incorrectly spliced into the knob and tube. There are extension cords being used in a permanent fashion running from the basement and through the house to some other rooms to provide more electricity in those rooms, and there are mounted power strips to provide these extension cords with power. Apparently huge fire hazards and/or against code.


- Rodents & windows. There are quite a few openings for rodents to enter the premises, which is also against code. The basement windows won't stay in and there are no screens for them, so rodents can enter and we can't properly ventilate to discourage mold (which I'm highly allergic to). There's also cracks in the foundation they could get through (and yes, the basement floods as the foundation is stones and plaster. The slants in the house are pretty insane from the settling and load bearing walls all on outside of structure. For instance, I can't put a certain piece of furniture on a certain wall as it would need a long 4" wedge on one end to even it out).


These are the massive issues that are against code (that I know of.) To give you a complete picture, there's also many other minor issues such as: the refrigerator is freezing all of the food and the light is broken (not the bulb), the kitchen light is broken (but the fan works), the doorknob latch sticks a lot so I can't close my door (it swings open from the slant in the house if not latched). The front door's lock is also antique so it gets stuck a lot and impossible to open, so not a reliable form of egress in a fire. There's .75 acres of grass to mow. I originally told him to not worry about it, but I couldn't get the tractor fixed (it was broken), so a friend has been taking 4 hours to mow it with a push mower every other week. Point is, it's in the lease and I haven't even asked him to do it. I'm a reasonable tenant.


Here's my issue. I've followed my states guidelines/laws and asked for these repairs since March/April, in writing. Each time he ignores me. He'll ask about the rent and ignore anything about repairs. It seems he just wants to collect his money until the house sells. I know it doesn't matter legally, but I know for a fact he's not paying his mortgages (as he shouldn't if he's trying to get a short sale approved by both banks.) The point is the principle of the matter, as I'm having an ethical issue here, not so much a legal one. He's a good guy with a big family. I get why he doesn't want to make repairs if he's selling as is. But he can't expect me to live in a technically uninhabitable home, without repairs, for the same amount of rent. If I wanted to pay this much monthly for an uninhabitable home I would just buy a house myself -- and the mortgage would be much less than this rent. Technically speaking, it's my understanding that I can now legally withhold all rent in my state (Rhode Island) until repairs are made. I don't want to do this. I don't want to get minimum housing involved as it's my understanding they'll force him to make repairs. I just want to come to an agreement with him on what is fair for this home in this condition.


The rent is $1,500/month. Obviously it's not worth this amount (after living in it for a month I felt it wasn't worth this much even without the repair issues, so you can understand there are a lot of other issues I haven't noted here that make it an undesirable residence - friends and family kept asking me why the heck I was paying so much). As I said, it's a very old house in pretty awful condition (as an idea, it's going to sell for over $100,000 less than original purchase price 10 yrs ago. It's got lead paint. It's on a high traffic road and across the street from an expressway. Etc, etc.) Investors are advising it needs to be gutted, and many of them are really concerned about me living in the home with the electrical as is, crumbling ceiling, etc. It won't qualify for FHA financing because of the poor condition.


Question: after knowing all of this, what do you think is a fair resolution or rent for the home in this condition?


FYI -- in case someone was going to suggest "just move", trust me, I'm trying. It's tough to save up funds to move twice in a year. It's also difficult to find appropriate single family rentals in the surrounding areas. Just note, I've been looking, but this is the situation I'm at now and my rent is due. Just got the email asking where it is. Of course no mention of the repairs.


Really appreciate any advice anyone can offer me, and I'm happy to answer any questions if it helps. Thanks for your time everyone.

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#453050 - 06/13/16 11:58 PM Re: Landlord selling house "as is", will not make major repairs against building [Re: santo80]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2238
Loc: Outer Banks
Keep the rent and use it to move before you get an eviction notice from the foreclosure.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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