is my landlord taking the piss?

(55 Posts)
Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:26:45

We rented a house with a storage room in the basement. We use it a bit but still plenty of room. Our landlord emailed and TOLD us that he will be coming to use the storage room. We were a bit hmm that he stated a fact and didn't ask but in the spirit of good relations we agreed, assuming he would be using it for his own personal items.

He turns up with a friend whose things he will be storing. He was basically showing her the space. Then he tells her that if her things don't fit in the storage room, she can put things in the garage. THey're planning to bring these things next week.

I'm not sure of the nature of the relationship with this friend but it sounded very business like. I'm also not happy about him offering the garage (and TELLING us he will do so) as we often put the car in when we're away, the kids are in and out with their bikes and scooters etc, the gardening stuff is in there.

AIBU not to be happy about this? I checked the lease, not a word about landlord having the right to use the house for storage.

If the landlord ASKED to store some personal items in the storage room, that'd be OK. But to let someone else use it and then offer them use of our garage, that's taking the piss, right?

I don't think IABU but my landlord seems to think he's entitled to all of this as it's his house!

YouTheCat Sat 22-Jun-13 14:28:25

Taking the piss. I presume your rent covers the garage plus the storage room? If so he has no right to store anything there really.

Bearandcub Sat 22-Jun-13 14:29:22

No he's being a knob. He should ask anyway, but if he wants to change the terms of your tenancy agreement which I presume doesn't mention his storage arrangements then he has to give 1 months notice.

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:30:36

Covers everything. We're paying enough money! It rankled a bit that he didn't even ask or act like we were doing a favor to begin with. But to start allowing friends to store items? I suspect he's renting out the storage space.

I just sent him an email asking what the nature of this relationship is and that we're not happy about use of the garage.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:31:05

Completely taking the piss.

Is the a proper tenancy or a casual arrangement?

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:31:29

We're renting in the US so not sure what the laws are. I think tenants have less rights than in UK - no tenant deposit scheme for a start!

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:31:53

I would be emphasising that you cannot be held responsible for anything stored there.

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:31:57

No, proper two year lease and everything. Certainly not casual!

YouTheCat Sat 22-Jun-13 14:32:08

Also, presumably the person who is storing their stuff might want access to your home? That's just wrong.

YouTheCat Sat 22-Jun-13 14:32:46

And what about contents insurance? Yours won't cover these items.

specialsubject Sat 22-Jun-13 14:33:13

sounds TTP, but as you aren't in the UK can't really advise.

in the UK the landlord cannot use any parts of the property unless they are specifically excluded from the let.

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:33:48

That's what I just asked him - insurance implications, access , etc.

But glad to know that I'm not being precious. We're renting out our house in London and couldn't imagine doing something like this to our tenants!

gobbynorthernbird Sat 22-Jun-13 14:34:40

I think you need proper legal advice, but my gut feeling is to say no. What happens if something gets damaged?

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sat 22-Jun-13 14:35:12

It will be interesting to see what he says. If I were you I'd have worded the email much more strongly.

He is completely in the wrong here - you are renting the entire place - including the storage area & garage. Either tell him to come and remove the stuff or tell him you will be paying xx less due to storing his/his friends stuff.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sat 22-Jun-13 14:36:12

Oh, you're in the US - you should have said. I have no idea what the laws are there.

YouTheCat Sat 22-Jun-13 14:37:02

What if the items were stolen? How would you prove you hadn't nicked them?

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:37:30

I want to keep good relations though so trying to handle this diplomatically. We really don't mind him putting some personal things in the storage room but he's acting like it's a right not a favor on our part.

He's not a bad landlord in other ways although always moans to us how much things cost - ignoring that we pay him $5500 a month!

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:38:26

I'm not sure what the laws are either but pretty sure the same principle of quiet enjoyment of the house apply! At least that's what the lease says. I need a US mumsnet equivalent.

YouTheCat Sat 22-Jun-13 14:38:35

That is a hell of a lot in rent!

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:40:22

I know!! Rents here are ridiculous. Which is another reason why this is sticking in our throats a bit....

missuswife Sat 22-Jun-13 14:44:56

You need to check the laws in your county as they can differ from area to area. Can you say what state or city you're in?

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:47:54


WeAreEternal Sat 22-Jun-13 14:49:30

I would drag every unused piece of furniture into the store room and fill it with my own stuff, I would then keep the car in the garage at all times I was not driving it.
And I would contact the LL to say that you are sorry but you've being loaned some new furniture by a friend so need use the store room for your own items.

I am a LL and would never consider this.

You pay to rent the house, in the US that means the house is yours to do with as you please, your LL has no right to dictate use of your home.

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 14:55:41

Thanks everyone! So glad to know that we're not being difficult tenants. Strengthening me for a showdown with landlord if he insists.

missuswife Sat 22-Jun-13 14:59:15

Owner Entry

In New York City, owners may enter a tenant's apartment for three general reasons: emergency repairs, non-emergency repairs or improvements, and apartment inspections. Emergency repair requires no advance notice to the tenant. However, access for non-emergency repairs and improvements requires a minimum of one week's advance written notice, and access for inspection requires a minimum of 24 hours advance written notice.

If you decide you want legal advice, my sister might know someone in your area.

Kungfutea Sat 22-Jun-13 15:01:29

Thank you missuswife! I just remembered that the father of one of my dd's friends is a lawyer so we may give him a call to ask him.

DoJo Sat 22-Jun-13 16:06:19

Failing that, Judge Judy!!

Needtostopbuyingcrap Sat 22-Jun-13 17:03:22

Shocking behaviour from your landlord. My mother has the same thing except we're in the UK.
She made a fuss about him using the garage, turning up when ever he felt like and my mum came downstairs after a nightshift to find the landlords sister making herself a brew!

Kungfutea Sun 23-Jun-13 01:15:34

Well, just had an email from landlord. He says woman is a family friend, that he isn't getting any payment and that she'll just come to pick up the things once she moves into her new apartment. He also said he'll write an email saying we are not responsible for any damage.

I can't say I'm happy about all of this, especially because he doesn't seem to recognise how much of a favour this is. He seems to think its his right. But I don't want to create a bad atmosphere so may just go along with it.

gobbynorthernbird Sun 23-Jun-13 01:30:49

This is your home. Don't set the precedent of allowing the LL to put upon you like this or you may find that this is only the beginning.

Kungfutea Sun 23-Jun-13 01:34:42

Good point. I think we'll need to also say that this is a one-off. To be fair, we've been here a year now and this is the first time he's done this. But certainly don't want it happening again. If we kick up a fuss, I think it'll make things quite strained - partly because he seems oblivious to the fact that this is something he needs to ASK us, not TELL us. Even in the last email, there was no suggestion that we are doing something beyond what is reasonably expected.

MidniteScribbler Sun 23-Jun-13 01:54:18

I would respond and say that you will need to be given an exact date for the items to be removed, or it could go on for months/years. Also that you will need to be given a legally drafted document indemnifying you against loss or damage. Also that you will need seven days written notice prior to any access. And you'll need a certified copy of their certificate of insurance covering their belongings. And don't forget the rent reduction for the period that the items are being stored az you are not able to utilise the whole property.

Make it too much hassle for him!

firawla Sun 23-Jun-13 02:03:30

not sure about the US law but we did have similar in the UK and was speaking to Shelter about a different problem with our landlady and they said its not allowed for landlords to do this and they cant categorise it as assured tenancy because by giving themself access to somewhere within the building ie in the basement,its no longer a self contained property. so they are breaching and invalidating their contract... or something along those lines.

MidniteScribbler Sun 23-Jun-13 02:13:29

Oh, and also ask for his public liability insurance in case someone accessing the property injures themsleves.

differentnameforthis Sun 23-Jun-13 02:28:44

If this goes ahead you need to stipulate

a] that you/your children/your dp/dh are not liable for any damage (be it natural - flood etc. or caused by normal use of those areas, i.e parking your car) to items or missing items. There will be NO remuneration for damaged/missing/lost items from you.
b] that you want x amount of days/weeks notice for access to get the stuff
c] the friend is not to have their own key to access your home & the LL is not permitted to give her his without adhering to b]
d] your insurance does not cover friends items (as far as you are concerned they won't exist, so you won't even be mentioning them to your insurers)
e] you are not liable for any injury/accident sustained by LL/friend when storing/collecting items/coming onto property to check items etc
f] if she needs access to your home it will be at YOUR convenience & you will be present.
g] access to you home, for her, is restricted to the storage room & garage
h] you will not be helping to move in or out, any items & you will not be responsible for making sure they are safe 9i.e if there is a burst pipe, you will be moving her items to ensure they are safe from damage)
i] you are deducting $x from your rent as you are now prevented from using all the space in your home & the amount you pay needs to reflect that & the inconvenienced caused by storing this stuff

I would want this in writing, signed by all parties. I would considering having a lawyer draw it up. I would also be there when she moves in it making sure I do a full inventory of what has been stored & get that signed by her, so she can't claim that you have taken/sold/lost/hidden xyz when it never existed!

differentnameforthis Sun 23-Jun-13 02:30:40

(i.e if there is a burst pipe, you will NOT be moving her items to ensure they are safe from damage)

differentnameforthis Sun 23-Jun-13 02:32:11

and pretty much what MidniteScribbler said!

Check the laws on renting for your state, as it varies from state to state.
I'd want a firm date in writing for when the stuff will be gone, and I'd also want something with everyone's contact info on, and stating that you, your children and Dh are not responsible for any damage or loss of property.
I'd also make sure he knows you are not happy about it and that you won't do it ever again. If she is moving in a few days or even a couple of weeks then renting a storage facility isn't worth it to her so I can see why they would do this, I think most places want minimum of a few months rental.
$5500 a month? you must be New Jersey or New York or Silicone valley. Horrendous prices.

I was going to say, "Judge Judy".

Generally, regardless of country and state, what is true is that paper is king. What does your tenancy say? If you let him use the space and don't complain I bet their estoppel laws are similar. Basically, if you let him use the space and don't complain, that becomes the 'normal' so you will need to do something. There must be landlord tenant court in NYC... Here you go.

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 00:43:22

Thanks for all your responses!
Here's what I ended up writing to him:

About the storage, can you please provide us a letter saying that

a) we are not responsible or liable for any damage or theft of or to the goods that are stored, whether as a result of our actions or not

b) we are not responsible or liable for any damage or injury that may occur to you or your friend when putting or removing goods from storage, whether due to our negligence or not

c) if it happens that we should need to use all the storage space (unlikely but possible) then your friend will retrieve the goods within 7 days

d) that this is not a precedent - that you won't be offering storage space in the house or garage to any more of your friends or family and that this is a one-off.

e) the date that your friend intends to retrieve the goods and that this will only be one time (ie she won't be coming by to access the storage other than to place the goods once and retrieve the goods once) and that your friend has no right to access the property without our presence and agreement.

Offering storage space in a house that you're receiving rent for to friends and family is not usually acceptable and certainly the permission and agreement of the tenants should be sought in advance prior to offering any such space.

We hope you appreciate that we're not happy with this arrangement, and the inconvenience involved, and that there is nothing in the lease which obliges us to agree to this, but that we are willing to make a one time exception in the spirit of good relations, bearing in mind the clauses above.

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 00:43:45

Hope we don't end up on Judge Judy smile

quoteunquote Mon 24-Jun-13 01:05:47

I would check your insurance allows you to store other people stuff, there may be something that is a fire risk, how would you know,

and hope they are not making you host anything illegal.

No is the answer, and start looking for somewhere new.

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 01:14:53

It's a bed, mattress and some other small items of furniture so nothing illegal.

We've agreed now so will go along with it, albeit reluctantly

Mimishimi Mon 24-Jun-13 01:24:11

YANBU, New York actually has some pretty strict laws protecting tenant's rights and quiet enjoyment of the property is definitely one of them. However, if he's otherwise a good landlord and it really is going to be for a very short time, I would personally let them use the space but if he gave them a key, I'd be fuming. A simple google search for tenant's right in NYC shows up important sites you can refer to. Good luck.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 24-Jun-13 01:40:55

Hi Kungfu, we are in a similar position - rent in DC but let our place in London. Prices here are high too!

Your LL is definitely taking the piss! I think you're making a nice gesture letting him use the space but he should not be doing it again. I'd also knock off $500/month rent for the duration of the time the goods are there - after all, you won't be able to store your car in there any more, will you? And you presumably chose to rent a place with a garage so that you could use it!

Out of interest, did you rent through an agent? DC has pretty strict rental laws and I imagine NYC will too. I'd check those out if he gets funny about things.

Good luck!

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 02:41:59

I don't want to charge for it as its really not about the money.

I think more than anything it's been his attitude of entitlement - that he's been telling us what will happen, not asking. We're pretty laid back and he's been ok as a landlord but a bit of gratitude and recognition would go a long way!

Yes, we rented through an agent and were horrified that we had to pay - and they wanted 15% of the annual rent! In London we are paying our agent. I don't see it makes a difference though - seems like it was just a finders fee more than anything.

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 02:45:32

As an aside, we asked his permission to sublet for a few weeks when we went back to uk over x-mas. He insisted on a letter saying we would be responsible for any damage etc AND he wanted 1/3 of the sublet rental fee. We negotiated down a bit but still handed over a substantial sum of money to him for essentially doing nothing. Of course he didn't have to agree as lease doesn't allow sublets but he got a tidy amount of money for it.

Kungfutea Mon 24-Jun-13 04:00:27

Here's his reply. This is starting to annoy me. We've let him keep personal items here but a) there was no clear agreement (not in the lease) and b) still no recognition at all that what he is asking is above and beyond what is usually expected.

We're making this complicated!!!

I will review the clauses you sent and get back to you by Tuesday. You are making this complicated. We had clearly agreed that I could use the storage. I have a problem with (c) because my friend won't be in nyc to retrieve it within 7 days and my friend does not have a firm retrieval date.

MidniteScribbler Mon 24-Jun-13 04:58:00

Then I'd just refer him back to the lease and state that he has no access to use the storage, and that without a firm removal date, you can not agree. Sounds like the friend is buggering off overseas or to college. The stuff could be there for years!

This guy has absolutely no right to the storage. Email back with the contact details of storage companies in your area for his friends use.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 24-Jun-13 12:27:27

Gosh, he does sound entitled!

I asked re the agent as wondered if they could act as an intermediary in some way, but that doesn't sound likely based on what you've said.

With regard to the rent reduction, IME, cold hard cash is often the only thing that makes people think here - much more so than the UK. If he saw that he wouldn't be able to have his cake and eat it, could that persuade him to change his mind?

From a LL perspective, I'd be happy that I had you on a two year lease with guaranteed income for the next year at least and wouldn't want to upset you! What an odd situation. Both here and in the UK, once you give up your home for rental, it's not 'yours' whilst someone else lives there, is it? I do wonder why he still seems to believe he has a right to access. Presumably he lives elsewhere - why doesn't he use his current home as a warehouse instead?

RenterNomad Mon 24-Jun-13 13:03:19

You've already got a precedent from the subletting, so why not suggest reinst
ating that arrangement? You will get the income for your inconvenience and he will get "his" cut.

Lawyer up, though. It is very clear that he feels he's getting your money, yet hasn't given up any rights to the property. His irritation also indicates he's not keen to lose face after making a "generous" gesture that, actually, he csn"t afford to fulfil himself , so he'llnsteal it from you.

RenterNomad Mon 24-Jun-13 13:04:21

Sorry about all those typos. Feeding-typing is extremely un-ergonomic!

CSIJanner Mon 24-Jun-13 13:28:02

What did the lawyer parent suggest?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 24-Jun-13 13:32:04

Is he going to reduce the rent to take into consideration the fact that part of the property that you pay rent for is now no longer available to you?

JustinBsMum Mon 24-Jun-13 13:40:29

Has anyone mentioned the risk of injury to a visitor to the house eg her stuff falls on a visiting child or small child falls against her stuff. She would have to agree to be liable and have some sort of insurance in place ( I would guess it being the US).

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