Renters Rights?

By Michelle

It’s a long story.

Winter of 2007 a “friend” of my boyfriend needed a place to stay while she looked for a new apartment.  We cleared this with our landlord who said “hey man, the more people the easier to pay your bills” however we didn’t get it in writing because we were naive.  When our new roommate showed up she came with CATS! Something she hadn’t told us and so therefore we hadn’t told our landlord.  She swore she would find a home for them within a few days. We made her keep them in the bedroom she was using and they weren’t allowed into the rest of the house for any reason.  After a few weeks went by and she still had the cats we did inform our landlord about it.  He just told us to make sure they had a good litterbox so it wouldn’t soak into the carpet and then “if you don’t want them there I’ll tell her that since she isn’t on the lease agreement she has to get rid of them or leave.”  We said we would appreciate it very much- but then he never confronted her at all.  It actually took us a whole year (and two litters of kittens) to remove her from the apartment and the landlord refused to step in at all.  All the while saying “just give me the word and I’ll have her out for you.”

Anyways after she was finally gone, we stepped into what had been her bedroom and gagged.  It smelled unbelievably bad.  We shampooed and powdered and repeated so many times.  We used every online remedy we could find, but nothing would get the smell out of the carpet.  We asked our landlord how much it would cost to replace the carpet and he just said “I don’t know man, carpet is expensive and I put the best stuff on the market in your place.”  He then tried to say it would cost almost $1000 just for carpet in the one bedroom (9ftx11ft). Not counting installation.  This was in December.  We asked him again in January and he just told us again that we should try to clean it more, because carpet was too expensive.  At the end of January we found out I was pregnant. We NEEDED that second bedroom. We asked him again- assured him we would pay for it.  I even kept $800 out of my tax returns as an initial deposit.  He continued to shine us on.  We brought it up again in March and once again he just reminded us that it would be “VERY EXPENSIVE” but made no move to discuss when or if he was going to install new carpet.  In April we went to a business that said we could pick the carpet and install it for about $500.  We asked our landlord AGAIN about installing the carpet and he once again repeated himself.

So in May we paid an outside business to replace the carpet. Cost about $600 total and we purchased the best padding we could and tried to match the carpet up as close as possible.

Mid July our landlord FINALLY knocked on our door and had carpet samples.  We informed him that we had already had the carpet replaced, because he was taking so long, but that it was okay because we didn’t expect him to help us with the cost at all- since it was our fault it had gotten so bad.  He was very angry and said we had no right to make changes to the apartment without informing him.  Told us if we were anyone else he would have us evicted immediately.

Did I really make that big of a mistake?  It was obvious to me at the time that he was not motivated to help us at all and I was worried that he would continue to shine us on until after the baby was born (September) and my Dr had already told me that the room was not safe for an infant.  Since I was paying for the carpet regardless I don’t understand why he would be so angry? Especially since he wanted nearly 8 months before doing ANYTHING about it.

Anyhow since this we have obviously fallen in his favor- he badmouths us to his other tenants and has confronted me AT MY WORK about the carpet issue.  Also he has started inspecting our house more and he removed our bathroom window claiming it was causing mold, came over and sprayed poison around our yard without informing us.  The neighbor is the one who told us to keep my boyfriend’s 4 year old daughter in the house because the landlord had sprayed roundup while we were at work. When our plumbing backed up he had it routed and is trying to charge us the $60 even though it was all flushable materials. Then when our cooler stopped working the other day he YELLED at us that it was HIS DAY OFF and that maybe we really needed to take a look at our lease agreement. So we searched around for it and couldn’t find it.  My boyfriend called his ex wife (since the lease was signed under his name, but while they lived together), she found it and what do you know- the lease expired in 2006.

This has me worried because I don’t know what it means.  Obviously we need a new lease drawn up, but we’ve already been living in the apartment for 3 years without a lease… no protection whatsoever.

I’m scared. This is the first apartment I’ve ever lived in- until now I’ve always just paid my parents to stay in a studio they owned.  What rights do I have, if any?

Edited on: Friday, November 29th, 2013 4:26 am

2 Responses to “Renters Rights?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


August 27th, 2009 3:44 pm

Actually you do have rights. You mentioned that you don’t have any rights because your lease agreement expired. That’s not true! You have the same rights and protection that the original agreement had. In fact the terms within the lease are still all valid, unless the landlord provided an addendum that changed them.
Your lease is still valid– its just that now you can move by providing a 30 day notice. Look at it as a goal… you reached the goal to stay in the rental for a year– anything after that is just extra time on the original lease. Basically you have met your obligation.


October 7th, 2010 3:14 am

I see that all the time on this forum. A lot of renters don’t really understand how lease agreements work. Leases don’t just end when the lease expiration date is reached, the remain intact until you terminate the lease OR until you sign a new lease.

Think about it, it wouldn’t make sense for suddenly to have all the terms in the lease end. How would you know how much rent to pay? What about late fees, pets, guests, etc. ALL of the original terms are still there just like they were when you first signed your lease. You are now on a month to month contract which means the lease automatically renews for 30 days unless a termination notice is given. This is a basic law covered by all States.

Renters rights

By Chris

Immediately upon moving into our apartment we notice a 10 degree difference in room temperature from onside of the unit to the other. We complained due to the fact we both work from home, I use the den space, my husband uses the spare bedroom. To heat the one side, makes it unbearable on the other. The landlord must know this is a common problem because they came and shut heat vents on one side of the apartment to force air to push over to the other side. That did not work so they had a heat and air condition person come and they recommended another fan   That did not help either. I use a space heater to work. My concern is that the summer months will be unbearable to work in the den. I now use a space heater. We proposed 90 notice leaving June 1st and paying 6 month rate to leave 6 months early. They said no due to heightened inventory but were willing to give us a new lease beginning march 1 through sept 30 at the 6 month rate. I expressed this was not acceptable,as they are not addressing the summer heat conditions I am concerned with. Do I have any rights? The poor condition was noted immediately upon moving into the apartmen. 

Edited on: Monday, November 25th, 2013 3:57 pm

One Response to “Renters rights”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 18th, 2013 8:08 pm

Of course you have rights. You can terminate the lease early and you’re actually doing it right with a 90-day notice. The landlord has been informed of the problem several times before but they just opted not to do anything about it – that has lasting effects. You cannot be forced to renew a lease agreement, either, even if it means a no rent increase. For problems like these, you have two options: sue your landlord (this is costly), or file a formal complaint against them through a mediator company like the RPA.


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