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Though my girlfriend and I are not married yet (we're planning for next spring, can't wait!), we've lived together a very long time, and effectively function as husband and wife. Last fall, we lost her mother after a years-long battle with cancer. My girlfriend's sister, who I'll refer to as April, lived with her mother in at apartment at a small complex at that time. The loss was especially hard on April, and she didn't want to live alone in the apartment that she originally shared with her mother, so we took her in to live with us. April's lease wasn't up until 5 months later, but she told the office at her apartment complex that she no longer wanted to live there because of what had happened. They told her they sympathized, but that she would have to write the main office in Columbus to break the lease.

So April wrote the letter, and after a month and a half of waiting and worrying she got her response from Columbus. It looked something like this:

"We will be unable to terminate your lease at this time.

-D. Bebop
Shredder Management, Inc."

More below the squiggly.

April was understandably very upset. Shredder Management was going to make her continue the lease that she and her mother agreed to, even though one of the parties on that lease had passed away. April would have to pay rent for 5 months for an apartment she wasn't staying in. I told her to fight this, to call the main office in Columbus and not let this go. But April was so emotionally drained from all this and had numerous other problems to deal with, so she let it go.

Winter came, along with a blanket of snow to cover the parking lot at that apartment complex. April started getting angry calls from the office at the complex because her mom's car was still there and did not legal plates, because the car's owner was now deceased. Every time it snowed and they plowed the lot, April got more calls threatening to tow the car, and had to make special trips up to her old apartment several times a week just to move the car and keep them off her back. All this, after everything this crooked landlord had put her through.

This really was starting to piss me off. One day, I decided to Google the main office and Columbus and called them. It went like this:

"Shredder Management, Rocksteady speaking."

Rocksteady had her volume turned up so loud I had to hold the phone away from my ear. I explained the situation, that Shredder Mgt. was forcing April to keep paying on that apartment until the lease ran out. Then I asked:

Me-"Is it standard practice at your company to make someone finish out her lease if the other person on the lease dies? Do you really intend to force April to keep living there after her mother passed away?"

Rocksteady-"I know nothing about that, sir. You'll have to talk to Mr. Bebop."

Me-"Ok, then connect me please."

Rocksteady-"Mr. Bebop is on vacation. He'll be back in 2 weeks. You can write him if you want. The address is..."

Me-"No, I told you we already tried that. I wish we could afford a vacation but we can't, because we have to pay for this apartment for an extra 5 months. Is it really you intention to continue to collect rent, to take advantage of this woman who just lost her mother?"

Rocksteady- "SIR! I TOLD YOU TO TALK TO MR. BEBOP! HE'S NOT HERE!"

Rocksteady was yelling now. I was in an outdoor public place with people occasionally walking by, and they looked because Rocksteady was shouting so loud that they could hear her. I stayed as calm as possible given the circumstances.

Me- "There has to be someone else I can talk to. I mean, isn't this bad for business? Won't this generate some negative publicity, some negative word of mouth? Wouldn't people not want to deal with you guys if you make money by taking advantage of those who have lost loved ones?"

While I was talking Rocksteady let out a sigh so loud and exaggerated it sounded like it came from a bear or a rhino rather than a human being.

Rocksteady- "HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!" -click!- .

And just like that, she hung up on me.
The next morning I called the Better Business Bureau in Columbus, and was very disappointed with the results. Even after I told the story, the woman I talked to was monotone and unsympathetic. She said that Shredder was in good standing with an A-minus rating. April could file a complaint and we might hear back in 30 days, but it didn't seem like anything would come of this. Apparently in the 21st century, the BBB works for business, not consumers.

I did some research on Shredder Mgt. and found that there were a lot of lawsuits against them for various wrongdoings all over Ohio, but that Shredder had won the vast majority of them, presumably with expensive lawyers. One of the worst was an apartment complex in Cincinnati that was sold out from under the tenants that lived there so that a shopping plaza could be built. Shredder lied to the tenants with a letter stating they had no intention of selling the complex. These guys know how to game the system. They know how to screw their tenants and still win lawsuits and get an A- rating from the BBB. Rocksteady on the phones at Shredder was well versed in the art of screaming at tenants who called in to complain.

I called a Fair Housing advocate in Akron and told them the situation. The woman I talked to was actually sympathetic! Unlike Rocksteady and the BBB, she told us she was "sorry for our loss.", which meant something to me because of the hostile responses I had gotten so far. And, she said they might be able to help us, but they needed to talk to April. But by this time, April was already 2-3 months into that 5 months of the lease. It was late December now, and the first Christmas without her mother was very difficult for her. I bugged her repeatedly to call the Fair Housing people, but April never did. She was so emotionally drained after all she had been through that there was no fight left in her. Shredder got paid that 5 months of rent from April, every penny.

This is exactly what crooked landlords like Shredder count on: that their low-income tenants are so overcome with the problems in their daily lives that they just don't have the will to fight a big, powerful management company.

These management companies make big business of taking advantage of the working poor in the worst ways. They do so in relative anonymity, most renters don't know the name of the company until they sign on the dotted line on that contract, 'Till Death Do Us Part.

If you've made it this far in this long, depressing diary, you may have gotten the Ninja Turtle references. To cheer you up, Here's Raphael! He's not a ninja, but he is my pet painted turtle:


Things are a little better now. Now that her old lease is up and she is rid of Shredder, April was able to afford her own apartment in our building now instead of sleeping on our couch. People call this a Recession, but to me it feels more like a Depression. This story reminds me of stories my great-grandmother used to tell me about the 1930s'. The only way to survive is to stick together with a sense of close family loyalty. Fuck Bebop and all the rich Republicans who say liberals have no family values.

Originally posted to Broke And Unemployed on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  What little I know, the landlord (12+ / 0-)

      has to make an effort to rent the apartment to someone else.  It's called 'due diligence'.  It would be hard to prove that he hadn't.

      We're renting now.  Our landlord agreed to kinda a moving three month lease.  They have a lease, but we have to give two months notice.

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It sucks, but consider this scenario - (3+ / 0-)

      Your sister-in-law-to-be had wanted to stay in the apartment after her mom died, at least until the end of the lease.  That way she could kind of get her bearings and figure out what she wanted to do next.  However, the landlord decided that since one of the people who signed the lease had died, they didn't need to honor the contract anymore, and gave her 30 days notice (because they could raise the rent when she moved out and the next tenant moved in).

      We'd be raising holy hell about that, because they'd be breaking a contract just because one of the parties died.  How heartless!

      It sucks, but there's a contract, and with a contract there's an obligation on both sides - you're both obligated to stick with the terms for the duration of the contract.  If you don't want to be locked in to a situation, then you don't sign a lease.  That puts you at risk of being bounced on 30 days notice, and perhaps more frequent rent increase, but it also lets you walk when you need to.  

      If she (or you) had tried to find someone to take the place for the remaining months and they rejected it, you'd probably have more of a case on that basis.  Unfortunately, it also doesn't help her case that you left the car there despite repeated calls.

      Honestly, I really don't mean to sound like a cruel, corporate asshole (though I know I do).  The main thing is, if you're going to fight them, you have to accept the fact that there is a contract and there are issues with breaking it.  If you're going to prevail, you have to show that they weren't upholding their end.  If the lease says something to the effect of "if you need to leave early we will attempt to lease the unit, but you are on the hook until it's leased", then you might have something going.   Ask them to show you ads that were placed to say the unit was available, or some other proof that they made even a token attempt to lease it.

      Good luck.  I hope you can get something out of them.

      They only call it Class War when we fight back.

      by lineatus on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 07:48:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A good thing about living in NYC is that everyone (19+ / 0-)

    is accustomed to a busy rental market; tenants are used breaking leases, LLs are used to having them broken.  That said, I would've just given 30 day notice and told them to suck it.  The rule in most jurisdictions - dunno about OH specifically, of course - is that you're on the hook for one month, after which the LL should be able to fill that apartment.  ie, the LL has an affirmative duty to mitigate damages, which in this context means finding a tenant to replace the one that breaks the lease.  

    •  I would think it would be the tenant ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, hmi, Sparhawk, HiBob

      who had the affirmative duty to mitigate damages.  

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:47:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In some states you're on the hook for (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, worldlotus, HiBob, lineatus, MGross

      duration of the lease unless you can find landlord-approved subleaser. And no one prevents landlord from rejecting any subleasers even if you find them. I don't know about Ohio.

      •  It wouldn't make sense any other way (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lineatus

        I mean, in what way do you havea lease if the law is de-facto 30 days notice?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:14:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have a lease (0+ / 0-)

          and if the renter breaks the lease the landlord is entitled to the monthly payments for the duration of the lease, depending on how the lease is worded.  HOWEVER, as was noted above, the landlord also has a duty to mitigate damages by trying to rent that apartment to someone else.  If someone else rents it, the landlord gets his money, and the old renter is off the hook.  You aren't entitled to collect rent from two renters at once.

          This is the general rule for all contracts - if one party breaks the contract, the other party is entitled to the benefits he'd have received under the contract.  But he can't just sit there - he has a duty to mitigate his damages.  For example, if you had promised to buy 100 widgets at wholesale and only bought 20, the seller has to try to sell the other 80 to someone else.

          •  However, as a landlord, there are expenses with (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, GoGoGoEverton

            renting out an apartment.  You have to bring it up to rentable condition, you have to spend your time and money to show it and get it rented.

            If you have accounted for doing that once a year, then all of a sudden you have to do it again in 6 months - that's a whole other story.

            You're also assuming in this market that in general (not this particular story) that the landlord has the cash to do so.

            I let a renter out early from her lease, because I'm a nice gal.  But it cost me.

  •  Sorry it can be a bummer (7+ / 0-)

    welcome to the world.  Keep speaking up.

    'Give away to the rich and punish the poor for the extravagance.....crazy' --LaFeminista

    by MsGrin on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:20:26 AM PDT

  •  Your need to take your turtle to the vet... (6+ / 0-)

    and have his claws clipped.  They are way to long for that turtle and he could hurt his eyes when he wipes them.

    Your story is a sad one...it is frustrating when we are abused by others.  My parents were abused by their neighbors for years, and I tried to help them, but they were so fearful...they never got help and it didn't stop until the neighbor died.

  •  Is there anything on the lease regarding this (5+ / 0-)

    issue? A couple of questions, is April on the lease as a tenant... or some states distinguish between tenants and occupants? What is the penalty for breaking the lease? The full months owed or something like a month's worth of rent?

    You can't really expect money grubbing property management companies to be sympathetic. I don't know why people rent with these corporate types places, private landlords are the way to go.

    "I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." — Kurt Vonnegut

    by HGM MA on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 10:59:09 AM PDT

    •  I've had some VERY corrupt private landlords (9+ / 0-)

      a guy died because of conditions in one of the places I lived, and the building remains unremediated.

      I moved out of that place and into one where the landlord would just let himself in whenever he felt like it (law says I get 24 hours' notice unless there's an emergency).  When I caught him letting himself in on a Friday afternoon (I was in the back of the apartment - by the time I got up to the front and down the flight of stairs, he had one lock undone and was turning the second), he told me it WAS an emergency - he was responding to the message about a ceiling leak I had left for him the previous weekend during a rainstorm.  I filed a police report on that, not to press charges but in case he tried that crap again I'd be able to show a pattern.

      My neighbor in the building told me she suspected he was in and out of her place all the time.  I believe she was correct about that.  He left me alone when I called him on it in writing.

      I was very ill at the time, and his behavior was very stressful for me.

      'Give away to the rich and punish the poor for the extravagance.....crazy' --LaFeminista

      by MsGrin on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:42:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In theory, they could sue for 5 months (5+ / 0-)

      rent if they were unable to find another tenant.  That's why when one considers breaking a least, the first step is negotiating.  "Hey, Mr. LL, I need to move out.  How can we do this so we both get what we want?"  

      Or one can sublet the apartment, find another tenant (which would make it hard for the LL to say they couldn't find a replacement tenant), or just walk away and hope for the best.  I've broken many a lease, and I've done each of those at different times.

    •  April and her mom were on the lease jointly (8+ / 0-)

      ...I really thought they would let her break the lease when she wrote, considering what happened. I didn't expect them to be so cruel and take a hard line just to collect their 30 pieces of silver from a grieving woman. But they did.

      She tried sub-letting, but it didn't work out, and was technically against the lease anyways. So she used the apartment as an overpriced storage unit until the lease was up.

    •  My building is owned by a nonprofit. (7+ / 0-)

      I'm very lucky, and glad April could get an apartment in my building so even though she lives alone, she's just a few steps away form us.

      I guess it's naive to think that a property management co. would be sympathetic. But I at least thought there was a minimum standard of human decency, that there was no way they would force her to stay there and keep paying after she lost her mother. I underestimated how greedy, heartless, and evil some people are capable of being.

  •  RE: 2nd pic- How did you get Sen. Mitch (7+ / 0-)

    McConnell (R-Jurassic) to pose in a terrarium?

    "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

    by Bluefin on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 11:57:35 AM PDT

  •  Here's what I don't understand... (4+ / 0-)

    In NYC you put down one month's rent as a deposit to protect the landlord from the risk of capricious vacancy on the part of the tenant. But if I had to move out of a lease early, the most I would be on the hook for was that one month's deposit.

    I think it was a mistake for her to continue payment of rent past the point of notifying that she was moving away. Now the onus is on her to sue for redress, rather than the landlord to try to bully her with the threat of legal action, which it is doubtful they would have undertaken.

    •  Not necessarily (6+ / 0-)

      "In NYC you put down one month's rent as a deposit to protect the landlord from the risk of capricious vacancy on the part of the tenant. But if I had to move out of a lease early, the most I would be on the hook for was that one month's deposit."

      In any NYC lease I've had, the lease specifically says that the security deposit can not be used to pay the last month's rent. And the leases also have all said that the tenant is responsible for the entire balance of the lease. A landlord may or may not choose go after a tenant who unilaterally breaks a lease, but there is nothing to stop him or her from having a summary judgment declared and reporting the outstanding rent to credit reporting agencies.

      •  Yes, the lease says that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Odysseus, mrblifil

        but people do it all the time. It costs more for the lawyer to take the past occupant to court that it's worth, so LL usually don't do anything about it.

        I had to move to a different city, and broke a lease in Denver, but I got them a new tenant thru Craig's List and left the place spotless, so I got my security deposit back.

        There are" three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover's quarrel with their country. . . ” -- William Sloane Coffin.

        by MillieNeon on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:43:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Depending on the state you live in, the system (0+ / 0-)

      usually protects renters, if you act in good faith.

      •  Depends on What You Mean By Protect. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        In Texas tenants have really good protections if they are willing to take the time and effort to stand up to abusive landlords.

        Texas small claims courts, especially in small counties make it easy to sue a landlord and if they get a judgement it is really easy to collect on it because if the Landlord doesn't pay up, you can file a lien agains the property.

        In "April's" case, if it was in Texas, the landlord could sue April, but I feel certain she would be "Judgement Proof" and the landlord would never collect.  Because of that, the landlord would only sue if April had made them so mad that they were suing for principle not money.

        Most Texas corporate landlords use credit ratings to select responsible tenants.  So if April were sued and lost, she might not be able to rent from a corporate landlord for quite some time.

        If April wasn't willing to put much effort into defending herself, she wouldn't be any better off in Texas.

        •  Texas is not one of the states that I would (0+ / 0-)

          consider consumer friendly(and for that reason I would never live there).  Most tenant friendly states give renters quite a few rights, they usually provide for a way to break a lease that is equitable to both sides.  You can't walk away but the landlord is obligated to make a good faith effort to find another renter.  

          •  neither is california... (0+ / 0-)

            not tenant friendly at all when it comes to corporate landlords.

            the "three day pay or quit" notice is routinely handed out at 5:01pm of the third day - god forbid you are out of town or your pay cycle doesn't fit that time frame.

            It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

            by edrie on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:27:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  That is just loathesome! (6+ / 0-)

    Charles Dickens must be doing 300 rpm's in the grave.  (I'm reading "Hard Times" right now.)

    When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Only Needs a Beat on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:13:56 PM PDT

    •  I (heart) Dickens (0+ / 0-)

      Picked up "Great Expectations" on a whim at the library last year and got hooked.  Such timeless, captivating writing -- and all done longhand, in ink, no less!

      A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality. ~ John Lennon

      by SteelerGrrl on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:57:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Property management companies (3+ / 0-)

    are bastards, for all the reasons you describe. Sorry your sister-in-law had this runaround.

    I have lived for 12 years in a building owned and managed by the very same gentleman, to whom I've faithfully payed rent on-time and in-full. I'd say my landlord is 60% businessman, and 40% saint. It's a combo that works for me.

    Interestingly, I have thought that it would be easier for me to default on a mortgage, given a dramatic reversal of circumstances, than it would be to stiff the landlord on rent. This is because I'd be very aware I was letting down a flesh-and-blood person if I ducked the rent, while I'd be paying a mortgage to some damn, greedy bank. They'd be fine without my money. Interesting.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 01:47:05 PM PDT

  •  It was the thought of all of these cold hearted, (3+ / 0-)

    wealthy selfish bastards that prompted me to change my signature.  

    It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. - Mark 10:25

    by Susan Grigsby on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:08:57 PM PDT

  •  Pardon me for being old, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Broke And Unemployed, Ivan

    I missed the mutant ninja turtles reference. Is the company really called 'Shredder management'?

    Because the least you can do is mention them by name and make sure that their rotten conduct goes all over the net; think Angie's list or Landlords from hell

    You're welcome

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:20:17 PM PDT

    •  April just wants to put this behind her. (4+ / 0-)

      I would need her permission to mention them by name. She's done with the lease and with Shredder. I want to mention them and drag their name through the mud all over the Internet, but I have to respect her wishes. The loss of her mother has been and is still really difficult.

      The manager's name is close to "D. Bebop", and the company's name starts with the same two letters as "Shredder". The woman on the phones acts like a deranged rhino and works for the Shredder, so Rocksteady fits, and I just went with the Ninja Turtle thing.

      In TMNT Bebop and Rocksteady are a warthog and rhino who are thugs working for the main villain, The Shredder. April O'Neil is a reporter who always gets kidnapped by the badguys and saved by the Turtles.

  •  I was lucky to be renting from an individual. (5+ / 0-)

    I lost my fiancee to meningitis and my landlord was understanding enough to let me out of the lease.  He just asked for a month's notice when I was going to be ready to leave.  I'm sorry all of you had to deal with this.  It's always a painful experience and those managers just made it worse.

    There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? -Robert F. Kennedy

    by JSCram3254 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 03:23:48 PM PDT

  •  They all but force you into long leases.... (2+ / 0-)

    Every year, when we get our rental notice increase, we're offered a "special" deal on a one-year or two-year lease -- though the rent still goes up.   If we opt to stay, but DON'T sign at least a one-year lease renewal, that rent increase can be as much as 50% higher.  

    You can guess which choice most tenants make.

    I haven't looked at the lease terms recently, but I think we're only responsible for the rent (should we break the lease and move) until they find a new tenant.  (I would assume they would do so, as they could charge a NEW tenant more they they charge us.)

    At one point, the tenants in our building DID sue our landlord -- we couldn't get them for the exorbitant rent increases we were getting at the time, but we could sue because the notices they gave us lacked certain required information required by state/county ordinances (such as where to call if we thought our rent increase was unfairly high, or exactly what percentage the new increase would be).  It took ten years and an attorney who did a lot of work for us almost pro-bono -- we'd win at every level of authority, because the law was pretty explicit about those notices -- but then the apt. landlords would appeal it to the next level, hoping we'd run out of patience, or out of money to pay a lawyer.  By the time a settlement was finally reached, many of the original tenants in the suit had moved, and several had passed away -- but we did eventually win, and get some money out of it.   But yes, it is very very difficult to sue a landlord -- even if the case is very cut-and-dried and the landlord clearly in the wrong.  They can just overpower you with their stalling legal tactics, until you either give up or can't afford to keep fighting.  

    I'm glad your sister-in-law is out of there.  

    •  What do you think a mortgage is called? (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      Broke And Unemployed

      If I drop dead tonight, do you think my wife can just call the mortgage company and tell them she's done paying the bill?  Do you actually think reallity works that way?  In what dreamland?

      Oh and PS, most of your rent increases were going to property taxes to support public services.  If I have to pay double property taxes, you have to pay 50% more rent.

      Or are you a teabagger who thinks they are so special they don't have to pay?

      •  You're the teabagger. (0+ / 0-)

        At least you're philosophy is close to theirs. You have no sympathy for others and seem to think that the almighty dollar will solve everything. Fuck the poor, the market will take care of it.

        Get back to Redstate and stop trolling my diary. This was emotionally devastating for us, and it's sad you don't understand that/ If you don't have anything nice to say at least consider how your comments affect others.

        I'm still shaking. I can't believe how heartless you're acting.

      •  norm - what the eff are you doing? (2+ / 0-)

        jesus christ - you've been here a long time.
        there is a real person on the other end of your comment.
        a real person who wrote  real diary about losing his mother in law - a person who he loved. his future wife loved. his future sister in law loved.
        and you're writing the most cruel shit. i know you kind of just write "screw that" comments.
        but please.
        just stop.
        just please please do not do this.

        "Oh no...you changed your hair color? It's just so dark. You like it? And with your skin tone?" My Mom ♥ 12.25.2007 ------- A true sportsman is a hunter lost in the woods and out of ammo. ~Robert Brault

        by Christin on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 09:06:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How often do property taxes typically double (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Broke And Unemployed

        from one year to the next? And what percentage of rent typically goes toward property taxes? If property taxes account for, say, 20% of the rent, why should doubling it cause rent to increase by 50%?

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:04:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am a small-time landlord (0+ / 0-)

      I own three 2-bedroom houses in Florida that I rent out.

      Do you know how much it costs out of pocket to rent just one of those units?  Probably not.

      If I had to rent any of them for less than a year, do you know how much the rent would have to go up to cover those costs.

      No, you probably never thought of that.

      •  As a small time landlord, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Broke And Unemployed

        do you every take into consideration the tragedies that befall your tenants?  The woman died.  She didn't just break a leg or something, she died as in she is breathing no more.  Her family is distraught, and on top of that they have to move because she can't contribute or pay the rent anymore because she is dead.  

        While demanding the remaining grieving people to uphold the lease, even if they can't afford it, is legal, it is immoral and unconscionable.  There are plenty of investment opportunities out there, but if you decide to gamble on people's very homes, then you have to accept that there will be times when you just have to suck it up.  Otherwise, sell the damn house and invest in Enron stock.

  •  Someone should start an Angie's List type thing (4+ / 0-)

    for landlords and property management companies.

    They ask people for references all the time.  Prospective renters should have references for the LL as well - ask them if you can speak to a couple of tenants privately, or ask them for phone numbers of previous tenants.  

    There's nothing more stressful than a terrible landlord, yet you know almost nothing about these people when you sign a lease.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:13:23 PM PDT

  •  I used to be a landlord... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Catesby, Nailbanger

    I used to be a landlord (as an individual, not as a big company or anything), and I had a similar clause in my own contracts.

    Thing is, in my state, when you sign a typical one-year  lease, it's not for say, $800 per month for twelve months -- it's actually for $9,600 per year, divided into twelve $800 payments (even if the lease doesn't explicitly say so). That's what I based my budget on. In good times, if someone wanted to leave early, I knew I'd have someone ready to move in quickly. The only thing I asked the tenant was he/she keep the place CLEAN, so that it was basically a turn-key move in. The only rent a tenant would be responsible for is that rent between their Notice of Vacation, and the date a new tenant made another lease effective. Most times, that amount was pretty close to zero.

    Nowadays, I bet that's not the case anymore. Read Your Lease.

  •  The death of one lessee (0+ / 0-)

    as a general rule does not terminate the obligation of the coo-lessee.  That said, most (decent) landlords would try to work with someone in this cirucmstance.  If your community has a consumer affairs reporter at the local newspaper or TV station who were to call Columbus, you might see their attitude improve.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 07:04:43 PM PDT

  •  It Could Feel Like Doomsday if You Let It! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Broke And Unemployed

    But don't.  I have the same issues but just on a more minor scale.  I live in an historic, very lovely building, but the rent is reasonable and the management...leaves a lot to be desired.  I put up with it.  Why?  So that I have the resources available in the event my daughter needs them for she and my grand-daughter.  Do I have any recourse?  Maybe, but then I'd have to expend my means of taking care of my family on legal fees if I wanted to push the issue.  All because in the fine print, somewhere in those 10 pages or so, reads something along the lines of the management isn't responsible for plumbing or electricity.  In the United States of America.  So, hang in there, and good on you for being there to assist at a time when we all need to help our friends and family.  And, strangers.  Unfortunately, the ones who will be the most at risk.  Those people who dont' have the friends or family to help out.  Just a very sad time in America.  Thanks for sharing and I'm glad you're keeping the faith.

    "For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it." - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Donise on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 04:06:59 AM PDT

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