Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Rental Agreement Form

November 25, 2012

David asks…

Broker is unconcerned they are moving into an apartment that has a security hazard?

As approved applicants for an apartment rental they have signed the lease and paid the security deposit and the pro-rated rent for the current month. Their move-in date is in 9 business days. They’ve informed the management for the apartment that upon viewing the unit with a field agent they noticed a window is broken and is a potential security hazard. Today, they called to request for it to be fixed before their move-in date (again, 9 business days). More importantly, they already gave written notification that the window required a repair one week ago before the lease was signed. The management company seems to be unconcerned because instead of stating plainly that the window will be repaired all they could say is, “We’ll start the process for the repair.” Plus, they seemed to suggest that the repair won’t be made until it’s noted on the move-in condition form, even though the problem has been brought to their attention already, which would mean the tenants have to live there with the potential security hazard for an undisclosed number of days. The lease agreement says:

“Resident will give prompt WRITTEN notice to owner of all needed repairs and services…Resident shall not be entitled to terminate this Agreement or abate rent or claim for damages due to any Breach by owner of a duty to repair and maintain unless owner shall have failed to make such repairs within seven (7) days of written notice of the condition requiring repair.”

Now, given they have already provided 7 days written notice, shouldn’t the repair be made before the move in date?
the kid: You are absolutely wrong. It does not invalidate their awareness of the needed repair given they were informed by approved tenants before the move in date. You are adding rules to the words of the written agreement.
rtfm: But as soon as the lease was signed and the deposits made they are now bound by the lease agreement, yes? Shouldn’t that make the owner bound to the agreement as well? Nothing on the agreement says “These terms shall not be binding until the start of the lease term.”
rtfm: IN this case the broken window is NOT the same security hazard as a window intact because the broken window allows for easier access to the interior lock.

Administrator answers:

Ask your lawyer to draw up a notice of repudiation of the lease.

“Notice of repudiation and breach of lease by landlord: Having failed to receive the necessary assurances that the premises will be fit for habitation upon the agreed date, tenant hereby notifies landlord that tenant deems this a repudiation of the legal covenants of the executory lease for habitable premises. [time for cure, termination by landlord, restitution of all money to tenant, no further obligation by tenant, no limitation on any other remedy available at law to tenant...]

The AGREEMENT started the moment it was signed. The TENANCY doesn’t start until move-in date.

Sharon asks…

Is a “Standard Form Contract” that violates local statutes Legal? Tenant/Landlord Rental Contract?

I’ve been in my apartment going on a year, with a 2 year lease, and what we signed when we moved in was hand written but legally binding agreement.

At the start of this month, we were left a new lease that was written on it “Same as Last Lease” but it was just a standard contract purchased from Staples and in the details were many little details that I know to violate Illinois Tenant Laws such as “Tenant will allow access to landlord upon request” which violates the Illinois statute that says that unless it is an emergency, a landlord must provide tenant with 24 hours notice before coming in to a property.

These are little things, I know, but the guy upstairs has been with this landlord for 13 years and he pretends that HE owns the building and demands to come in to the apartment and schedule professionals to come in for no reason, he called one intrusion a “Pipe Inspection”, which, “The landlord and I like to do once or twice a year just to make sure everything is flowing.”

We called the landlord after he barged in to the apartment after we asked him to not follow the plumber in and looked our apartment from top to bottom and the Landlord said “No… It wasn’t a ‘biannual pipe inspection’, his bathtub was flowing slowly and he said yours was too so I figured I would have the plumber look at both your tubs at the same time.”

But the neighbor used the “Instant Access for Professionals Upon Request” to barge in to our apartment without asking.

Because he has keys, I keep the chain on the back door locked at all times and I replaced the front door chain with a chain that has a lock on it so I can lock it behind me when I leave. If he complains about it, I will know he tried to get in to the apartment while we are out and I can make an official complaint with the landlord.

So anyways, that is my story so far… Can a lease that contains illegal clauses be used to demand entry in to my apartment?

Administrator answers:

Any clause in a lease–or any other contract–that violates state or local law is, by nature, unenforceable.

However, contrary to your claim, the State of Illinois does NOT require that a landlord provide 24 hours notice prior to entry. Illinois law is, in fact, entirely silent on the issue of advance notice. (A measure to impose a statewide requirement of 24 hours notice failed in the legislature last year.)

Therefore, unless you happen to live in one of the 5 cities in Illinois with a local ordinance stipulating how much notice you must be given (48 hours in Chicago & Evanston, 24 hours in Urbana & Mt. Prospect, and 1 hour in DeKalb), what is in your lease would govern. If your lease states the landlord can enter at any time, then the landlord can enter at any time.

Chris asks…

As a master tenant, is there a form I can have sub-tenants sign when they move in?

I have been living in my current apartment for 3 years. I originally moved in with 2 other friends, and we all signed a 1 year lease together, which then went to a month to month rental.
The other 2 roommates have since moved out, and my landlord informed me that I am now the master tenant. I have had 3 different sub-tenants since then, and none of them have signed any additional agreement upon moving in. However, one of the current ones has become late in paying me his rent, utilities, etc. He now has plans to move out, but I would like to have a more formal agreement with new sub-tenants that move in.
Is there a standard form/agreement I can have people sign in order to protect my rights as a master tenant?

Administrator answers:

Your sub-lease document can be a simple one-page agreement outlining the rent, length of term, the rights and responsibilities of the sub-tenant, and what happens if they breach the terms of the sub-lease. You can also use a standard real estate lease form available on the web or at office supply stores.

Another common sub-lease approach is to use the language of your lease with the landlord, except substitute your name as sub-landlord, and their name as sub-tenant. It’s easier than making your own lease, and it helps ensure that your sub-tenants are playing by the same rules you are as master tenant.

Are you still on a month to month basis with your landlord? This could cause a problem because legally you can’t grant a sub-lease right for a longer period of time than you have master lease rights. If there’s a reason you want to stay on month/month, then that’s all the longer your subleases can be.

It appears that your landlord has somewhat agreed to your current master tenant / sub-landlord status, but to be absolutely safe it would be good to have in writing (preferably in your lease) that the landlord agrees to allow you to sub-lease. State laws vary: in some states a tenant has the right to sub-let unless the lease says otherwise, and in others they don’t unless the lease says they do. Better to have it be clear.

BTW, you should also think about whether you want your sub-tenants to have the right to further sub-lease. That can really complicate things . . . .

Mark asks…

Has anyone else gotten this rental scam?

Have you gotten this scam? I wasn’t sure if it was a scam or not, but I think so… anyone know? I got this email from Craigslist- It’s pretty scketchy:

Thanks very much for contacting me, the apartment is situated in Downtown Washington DC, 672 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 and luckily it`ll be available for your dates 01/04/2009 to 09/04/2009, 8nights and the rent for your stay is $1600 (@$200 per night). You`ll need to Book down the Apartment for your dates cos someone else is asking for a Close date.. To secure the Apartment 50% of the rent will be required ($800) plus a refundable security deposit of $700, so all you need pay to book down the Apartment for your dates is $1500.

I’d also like to know where exactly you’ll be coming from? and for how soon you`ll like to Book down the Apartment?. I have also attached more pictures of the place with this message, hope you like them.
Apartment is approximately 1200sq. ft. and Bedding arrangements are : 2 bedrooms, sleeps maximum of 6 people, Bedroom 1 – 1 King, Bedroom 2 – 1 Queen, 1 Sleep Sofa /Futon… Large California King in Master Bedroom. Comfy queen in the guest room as well as large L-shaped sofa in living area that can accommodate two more! Amenities are also as follows : Fireplace, elevator, T.V., digital home cinema, hi-fi system, VCR, DVD player, phone, fax, computer, cable/satellite, internet access, wardrobe, cupboard, Hanging wardrobe, safe deposit box, radio alarm clock, hair dryer, mosquito nets, fully air-conditioned, central heating, intruder alarm, fire alarm and more…Linen, Towels and Toiletries also available, including a Telephone (free local, 800 calls), TVs w/ multi-channel premium Cable TV and VCR/DVD. Main Kitchen (w/new appliances)microwave, Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Stove Oven, Blender, Dishwasher and more. The apartment sleeps 1-6 people.

Everything is Professionally Cleaned and prepared, there’s a 24 hours doorman and there’s a reserved parking space for a car, if you are driving.. Apartment is located in good locality, that’s a walking distance to the White House, the Metro,Convention Center, Smithsonian Museums,The Washington Monument, Dupont Circle, fine and casual dining, theaters, and the World Bank and other memorials as well as a 24hr CVS and Whole Food Grocery, Shops and Restaurants.

Kindly get back to me if you can meet up with my conditions so I can send you a Booking Agreement form and advise you on to make a Secure Payment so as to be able to get the place secured on time, and Complimentary airport pick up and drop off in Lexus LS 460L. That is if you aren’t coming with you car…..

Looking forward to reading back from you asap…

Vince. J. Wharton
+ 1 206-984-4076

NOTICE..: I have past tenants from all over the world, I`ll allow you to contact some of them if you`d love to……

Mrs Mandy Groove and children from UK..
mgroove40@googlemail.com
+447024080616

Dr. Jason Lewis from Eugene, Oregon.
jclewis48@gmail.com

Administrator answers:

The ooze scale is up pretty high on this one–it really oozes scam traits.

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One clue:

Are your dates actually Jan 4, 2009 through September 4, 2009 for an 8-night stay? See clip below:

for your dates 01/04/2009 to 09/04/2009, 8nights and the rent for your stay is $1600 (@$200 per night).

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One more clue:
They used the word “cos” in an official mail about a rental? See clip.

Your dates cos someone else is asking for a Close date

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One more clue:
Inconsistencies are common in scam offers.

It says that there are 2 bedrooms but describes 4…..those being Bedroom 1, Bedroom 2, The Master Bedroom, and the Guest Room.

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Need another clue? Here you go:
Careless proofreading is also common in scams. See clip below for “coming with YOU car.”

hat is if you aren’t coming with you car…..
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These clues are too easy to pick out. Here’s a link to info on the given phone number:

http://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-206-984-4076

This number has been used in many apartment scams in several cities. For more proof, just Google 206-984-4076.
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What the hey……..one more clue:
The reference email address has been used in scams for apartment rentals. See clip. The link is now dead, but the info still shows in a search.

Avoid being scammed. Fake vacation rental owners technics …
Feb 18, 2009 … Roy: royapartments@googlemail.com … Mandy Groove: mgroove40@googlemail.com … Jeff Krause: dougholms@googlemail.com …
Www.holiday-velvet.com/blog/2009/02/fake-rental-owners-technics/ – 26k -
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Such scams are common and easy to avoid. Just check with reliable, known sources. Check with known reliable rental agents if you are considering renting there or anywhere else. One last thought: why would they need to know where you are coming from? Sometimes they add these little features to enhance their scams by making it feel more personal or attentive.

Okay……….I shall go now………..good luck…..hope it helped or was at least interesting.

Linda asks…

Does this sound like a rental scam?

My boyfriend and I are looking for a place to live. we found a great apartment on-line, it is in a perfect location, under budget, decorated well and large. It seemed perfect. I emailed the owner to organize a viewing. The reply seemed strange. I will give the gist of it below. Please tell me what you think? does it seem like a scam? Is it a normal request?

“Hello,
Thank you for your prompt response,it’s my pleasure. I previously live in the flat before i was transferred to London,United Kingdom due to my job but there’s no problem in inviting you for the viewing so I will need to take 2 days off from work in other to come for the viewing. I have had lots of bad experience from potential tenants who will asked me to travel to Dublin for the viewing but they will fail to show up, …. potential tenants should be able to prove in the following way in order to determine who is financially buoyant and that he or she can stick to appointment when scheduled and able to pay his/her rent when due.

So before I can come to Dublin to show you the flat,…. I will not ask you to email me your bank statement or payment slip ….. what you are going to do is this; you will make the transfer of one month rent plus security deposit(€1,200) via western union money transfer by using your own name as the sender while the name of your friend or relative as the receiver…… you will be given a payment slip to fill, below is what you are going to fill on it;

Sender’s name: Your own name
Receiver’s name: Either your friend or relative as the receiver
Sender’s address: Your own address
Receiver’s address: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Amount to transfer: €1,200

Once you fill it, you will give the form to the agent with the €1,200 cash and he/she will give you a payment receipt, you will scan the payment receipt and email to me for confirmation and i will call western union customer care here in London to confirm…. I will buy my ferry ticket to Dublin immediately, email it to you so that you can know the day and time I shall be arriving for the viewing.

if you are ok with the flat, you will sign all the contract agreement forms and your friend will collect the money out from western union and pay me in cash. the flat keys and all the flat documents will be handed over to you immediately.

I hope to read back from you as soon as possible.”

My boyfriend is highly sceptable and won’t pursue the property any more.
just to add the renter doesn’t want any money yet just a copy of a slip that money has been transferred from my account to my boyfriend…

Administrator answers:

Well, you learned something. Your boyfriend is wise. Listen to him, he is right on this one.

Lisa asks…

Question on apartment for senior week?

Me and a few friends have been looking for places to stay for senior week. we found a vacation rental on craigslist so i emailed the person. They emailed me back but i am a little confused… i have never done this before but i was just wondering if this is how its done…. (the sentence below is what they emailed me)

But I want you to know that, this property is one the best that you will get the value for your money.It can accommodate you and the rest comfortably.The form of payment is through Bank to Bank Payment or money gram.If you are ready to book with us then I will send you our Booking and Agreement form to confirm the days you chose to stay in the property.

What is a Bank to Bank payment?

Administrator answers:

NO NO NO

First… Find out the company name..and investigate.
Call directory assistance and get the phone number for the company…make sure it is real.

It is really fishy that they want cash (money transfer or money gram). There are just so many scams like this going on. If they claim to be an owner doing a private rental…then investigate this. Get the address and find out from their town hall the name of the owner. Call…do not call the phone numbers they provide, do the look up your self and call.

Nearly every legit place will take credit card for the deposit….especially this far in advance.

Be careful, do due diligence. Far too many stories out there of families arriving for their week vacation at the beach only to learn that the house was never for rent, and the owner lives there knowing nothing about someone else renting it out. Beware.

Laura asks…

Legal Course take home test question: Leases vs. oral agreement?

Rod signed an apartment rental contract with Felicia, and during their negotiations Rod said he wanted that apartment so that he could use the rooftop for a party during the city’s Mardi Gras festivities and Felicia agreed to that. But the standard lease form that Rod and Felicia signed said nothing about use of the rooftop. When the party time approached, another long-time tenant wanted to use that rooftop during Mardi Gras, and Felicia said he could. Rod threatened to enforce his right to use the rooftop.

a. What argument could Felicia make in defense, based on the lease form?

b. What argument can Rod make in reply?

Administrator answers:

A. Felicia can simply state that use of the rooftop, as the owner, is at her discretion and it is not included for exclusive purposes for Rob, as it is not part of the lease agreement. Rob has no right to the rooftop at all because there is a written lease that he signed, and that was his oportunity to have it included into the contract IF he thought he had a right to it…if he didn’t. That’s Rob’s fault.

B. Rob can claim that he was told this verbally by Felicia, but since Rob did not pay for the use of the rooftop, and Felicia had originally agreed to it as a favor, Rob has no legal standing. Felicia can even admit this in court, state she simply “changed her mind” and she has that right. It’s her property. Rob also cannot prove damages, as he suffered none. “Hurt feelings” or “that’s not right” doesn’t equal money in court.

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