Join Tempest, newly licensed hero, as he delves deep into the reeking bowels of the dungeons of unemployment, crosses the scorching desert of menial labor and infiltrates the dreaded towers of bureaucracy. Updates Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Tiny Blue Dragon, 22 Oct 2014 09:45 am
I Love Those Clauses - You know, the "You're not allowed to fix your own problems" clause. They're super fun.
Advertisement, 25 Oct 2014 12:34 am
TriaElf9, 22 Oct 2014 11:47 am
Sounds like fun - Well, this guy is a super jerk, huh
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TheBookwormBakery (Guest), 22 Oct 2014 11:08 am
If Sarah's rich - She'd probably just be able to go "I'll just pay the fine you people are incompetent as hell"
DrunkenNordmann (Guest), 22 Oct 2014 11:19 am
- Wait - is there a country where this clause is even legal? oO
Razmoudah, 22 Oct 2014 11:36 am
In America - @DrunkenNordmann: Sadly, it is technically legal in the U.S.A. If you sign the contract you are technically bound by it. Only if you can prove a portion of the contract violates the intention or purpose of the contract can you actually get out of it. Why do you think all of those rich old men have their trophy wives sign a pre-nup? It doesn't matter then if she's always perfectly loyal to him and the divorce happens because he cheats on her, she's still screwed.
Now, back to the original 'problem' on this page. The "You're not allowed to fix your own problems" clauses can be worked around, namely in a situation like hers, so long as she can prove that she has been reporting a problem that is a notable health and/or safety issue to the management and they have not made notable efforts to fix it in a timely manner then yes an American court would rule in her favor that she had the right to call in a plumber to get it fixed. Do to the description of the problem, and the time-line of how long she's been telling them, what should happen is the plumber will turn around and tell the apartment's management that they'll get the bill for not promptly fixing a potentially hazardous problem in a timely manner (which, as the rental agreement implies they will, do to that annoying little clause, actually makes them responsible).
Guest, 22 Oct 2014 01:50 pm
- @DrunkenNordmann: who knows the kind of incompetent an unlucky or bargain hunting resident might hire(or attempt himself) who'd jerryrig something short term (potentially doing damage or causing some other problem in the longer term) or worse not even providing a short term fix and just make it worse and ditching. some "repairs" cost more to undo than the original job.
at least I'm pretty sure thats the basis for allowing this clause. building owner gets the right to vet any repairmen who'll be messing with his building(and since their guy is "free" as far as the tenant is concerned theres not much problem with sticking to just the one)
there are ways for her to deal with a landlord who won't actually fix it though.
Guest, 22 Oct 2014 02:41 pm
you don't *get* rich by just pissing money away all willy nilly
TheBookwormBakery (Guest), 22 Oct 2014 03:05 pm
- @Guest: If I remember correctly, Sarah's been shown to not be as careful wth money as her friends. I could be wrong, but that's the impression I got.
Razmoudah, 23 Oct 2014 11:33 am
- @Guest: Yeah, that is the official technical reason as to why such a clause is allowed to exist. In complexes where they do promptly take care of problems it's never an issue though. However, first she needs actual proof that she's asked them to do something about it or she's going to be in a lot of trouble.
Aslandus, 23 Oct 2014 12:13 pm
- @Razmoudah: I think having water stanging for long periods of time, potentially leading to mold and mildew which could cause health problems would be a legitimate enough reason to call in help.
Whether she thinks to do that or not is another question...
Razmoudah, 23 Oct 2014 02:18 pm
- @Aslandus: Did you read my first comment? My reply to DrunkenNordmann? I did say that in this situation she does have the right, if she can prove she's been reporting it and they haven't done anything in a timely manner. What I've been trying to get at is does she have anything documented anywhere, such as a written repair request, that specifically indicates that she reported the problem to management, and more importantly when she reported it, otherwise she will still legally owe the fine because she can't prove that they were negligent in fixing the problem. Maybe, and I do mean maybe, if she has commented on it to several other people, and at least a couple of weeks, preferably a month, before now she might be able to win the case on their testimony, but only if there is no doubt that she was reporting it to management while complaining about the problem to them.
See, that's the sneaky 'other side' to getting around problematic clauses like this one, you have to prove the other person failed to fulfill their obligations in order to win. If she doesn't have any proof that they've failed to fulfill their obligations then she's just plain screwed.
Sabreur (Guest), 24 Oct 2014 04:18 am
- Unfortunately, this sort of thing does happen.
Fortunately, if you document it, it's also grounds to legally break your lease. By failing to maintain the apartment, your landowner has effectively evicted you. In that situation, you are legally entitled to get back your security deposit and can leave freely without needing to give advance notice. At least, that's how it works in my state, other states might do it different.
Tiny Blue Dragon, 24 Oct 2014 05:35 am
- @Sabreur: Indeed, sadly this is why I've switched to using email (or Amail, in the LH universe). It's a nice paper/digital trail that protects both parties. Verbal contracts are basically worth nothing.
Razmoudah, 24 Oct 2014 11:27 am
- @Sabreur: Not every state is in agreement regarding the security deposit, unless you can prove that any and all problems that need fixed with the unit are the result of the ladlord's failure to maintain it as per the lease, but all states do agree that it is grounds for the lease to be considered terminated immediately without any further penalty to the renter. Also on the flip-side, the only money the landlord can ever go after you for in such a situation is the security deposit, unless they can prove that you caused drastic and significant damage to the unit, or other portions of the property.
Razmoudah, 24 Oct 2014 11:29 am
- @Tiny Blue Dragon: The value of verbal contracts depends greatly on the people involved. Strictly speaking they no longer have any legal value and meaning, (even if at one time the law did officially recognize them), but there are situations where they can still be of use and value. They do require a great deal of trust between both parties, and should only be used between those who are at least good friends any more do to the legal situation they've fallen into.
My apologies about a double post. I wanted to make sure both of them got the notification e-mail about the replies.
LilFluff (Guest), 24 Oct 2014 11:55 pm
Kinda-not Kinda-sorta - @DrunkenNordmann: It's not so much that under these exact circumstances it's legal as that you'd have to go to court and in most cases all you'll get out of that is the judge saying, "Fix it," and the landlord now irked at you over their lawyer's bill.
That said most places do have some sort of minimum maintenance & habitability rules. I know for instance that here in AZ there are rules regarding such things are air conditioning (hey, it's a desert, it gets hot here in the summer).
But if these people were in Arizona, she could send them a letter by certified mail detailing the problem, mentioning that by state law if it's not fixed within five days of receipt she could break the lease without penalty (and receiving a full return of security deposits).
The thing is, you have to be aware of your rights as a renter and you have to be prepared to go to court to have them enforced.