Dear PoPville – Renter/Landlord Relations

by Prince Of Petworth June 8, 2011 at 10:30 am 37 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoPville,

Two roommates and I just signed a lease in a great new place that came partially furnished. We understood this to mean the living room furniture (a couch, ottoman, some side tables) and the dining room table. We originally saw the house, it looked great, and we saw that the bedrooms clearly would come unfurnished. When we moved in this weekend, we were surprised to see much more stuff in the house than we expected. Upon emailing the landlord, we found out that much of the miscellaneous (Ikea dresser, large storage boxes, side tables, desks, rugs) was his, and he wanted us to keep it in the house. It’s not a huge place, and we each have our own items we would like to store in the closets and rooms we are paying rent for. I feel as though our landlord is using our apartment as a personal storage unit, and charging us for space we cannot use. My roommates don’t want to address it with the landlord or the management company, as “the house is his so he can use it as he likes.” I disagree, but I wonder if anyone knows the legality of this situation, and what, if anything I can do about it.

Another problem is that the lease indicated that all utilities were included. Our landlord made it clear that if we had excessive electricity usage, that we would discuss the limits of that agreement, which is fine. However, one of our small trashcans was stolen (not sure if it was our unit’s or the upstairs units), and now we are expected to replace that on our own. Furthermore, we told him we needed 4 cable boxes (one for each bedroom one for downstairs), and the house only came with 3. He ordered us a new one, but we will be responsible for the extra $10 or so per month for that additional box. It’s not so much the costs as the feeling of being taken advantage of. Unfortunately I am the only one of the three roommates who feels this way, and the other two feel that we shouldn’t sour the relationship over a few dollars here or there. To me it is more the principle. I’m wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation, and what the best way to proceed is.”

A good lesson to make sure you have a clear/detailed lease signed before moving in. Personally, I see no harm if you wanted to talk to the landlord to see if there was any room to negotiate.

What do you guys think – should the reader speak with the landlord even though the roommates don’t want to rock the boat?


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