Can a landlord do this?

13 Replies

My mom and I have been living in a small 2 bedroom rental home for over 11 years now. Recently, on April 6, 2018, we had our yearly house inspection because we are in Section 8 housing. The inspector found that the carpet was a trip hazard, as it had frayed in the hallway from 11 years of living in the house and needed to be replaced. He told my mom who in turn notified our landlord. She had a professional come in and measure the house and it was planned that the project would happen on April 15th. He let us know that heavy stuff could be left alone but little personal stuff had to be moved. In turn, my mom and I made the preparations to start moving items out of our rooms and into uncarpeted areas of the house. These areas are the kitchen, washroom, and bathroom. The day came and the company she hired put down the carpet. That day, I had started a new 12 hr job early in the morning and was not present for the work being done when they arrived that afternoon. I did speak to my mom on the phone at different times in the day, before they arrived and after they had started. When I arrived home, the job was done did that but she came in after it was done and decided to have the inside of the house repainted as well. We take care of our walls, no bad damage except for pushpin marks in the walls from hanging things and grease stains that are/were easily cleaned off the kitchen walls. She also made it known, “As landlord, I’m only obligated to provide paint, not a painter.” She told us.

At the time, due to having to nearly move all that we owned to uncarpeted, laminated floors in the kitchen, washroom, and bathroom, it had left us with literally no space. We even had to fill our bathtub! The first painter she had come look at the house April 19, 2018. He made it known since he was doing the painting by himself, it would take him some time and he would be by in a week after he got off from his job, sometime after 4:30pm. We waited, leaving our stuff in the uncarpeted areas as we felt it would be unnecessary to move back if we were going to have to move it back if he was coming back to paint. There are 6 rooms: 2 bed with a closet in each, 1 bath, living room, kitchen and washroom(where washer, dryer and fridge are). The day the man was supposed to start, he never shows up. She calls and tells us he has canceled because he had too much on his plate but she was coming by with a new painter. Well, she provided the 2nd painter: a relative of hers. These areas walls were painted with a latex paint she provided. For this house, the job took nearly a month due to him getting sick, having family matters and working other jobs as well. We didn’t make a big deal about it because we understood he was a busy man doing his aunt a favor. But when he wasn’t here, I did some of the painting. I painted whole hallway, my closet in my bedroom (he added a second coat to that), my mom’s walls and closet (he did the ceiling because I’m short), and part of the bathroom he didn’t finish. When he finally finished, 2 days before the inspection, I helped him do the kitchen and the living room. On May 3,2018, we received a letter from her stating that the cost of the painting job “was $900 for 7 rooms and 4 closets” and we had “six months to pay, by November 1st, 2018”. She even sent a copy to Section 8 here in Dayton, OH. I had asked our painter how much the paint job was. He told me that usually he doesn’t get paid for his work. She does other things like make him food as payment. So, the price of the job wasn’t made known to us until we received the letter with no receipt, handwritten, official or otherwise. My mom and I find this unfair and wrong because the house only has 6 rooms and 2 closets were painted, and that was in the bedrooms. We and from the painter asking, we were only notified of the bedroom closets needing painting, and that was because we were present when she said it. And the the kitchen and washroom paint job is not the best and especially since I ended up doing some work myself because our house was still out of order for the time we waited on the painter. She’s even gone so far as to state on the letter she’ll be making visits because of how the house was when we were waiting for the house to be painted. It was a safety, fire hazard”. This we don’t disagree with but for the fact that she decided to have the house painted, we couldn’t put our stuff back right away. And when her first painter canceled, we were left on hold for a week! Why move things when they would have to be moved right back out in such a small house? My mom and I, in the time we were waiting, had decided to leave our rooms empty just in case paint got on any of our possessions. Can she even do this? Would it be a waste of time to fight with her in this to Section 8 and Housing Choice?

Originally posted by @Darrin Carey :

Call Ms Simpson down at GDPM. She can get you to the right person to answer the question from a section 8 perspective.

 Ill do so Monday Morning. Thanks so much for your advice! Is it alright if I add your advice to the info I’m planning on sending to her and Section 8?

It doesn't matter if the house required painting or not; that is a Landlord expense. Unless you agreed to pay for the painting - in writing - the Landlord can't make you pay it.

Based on the information you provided, I would write the Landlord a letter stating that you did not request for the home to be painted and you are not responsible for the cost. I would also point out how you were inconvenienced by the Landlord's decision to hire amateurs that took far to long to complete the job.

i love how the landlord decided the house needed painting, then stuck you with the bill. must be nice to have no conscience. in reality, there is no obligation on your end to pay for painting unless you requested the paint. you should tell the landlord, in kind words, that its his responsibility. i imagine your sec 8 rep can help you. if not, many locales have free or reduced legal aid for tenants. you can look into this too.
Originally posted by @Darrin Carey :

Call Ms Simpson down at GDPM. She can get you to the right person to answer the question from a section 8 perspective.

 It’s been a month now and I’ve gotten in contact with Ms. Simpson, who in turn told me to get in contact with the Inspection Supervisor. I have, repeatedly. The last time I ended up going in because he had/has yet to return any of my phone calls and I was just made to write a “letter”, pretty much a quick summary, to him explaining what happened. I still haven’t heard back from him.

So, you were there 11 years and the landlord didn't have to deal with any turnover expenses in all of that time - He should call himself lucky for only having the expense of new carpet and paint in 11 years - and since it doesn't sound as if you're ready to move out, this will be for even longer. 

Originally posted by @Michaela G. :

So, you were there 11 years and the landlord didn't have to deal with any turnover expenses in all of that time - He should call himself lucky for only having the expense of new carpet and paint in 11 years - and since it doesn't sound as if you're ready to move out, this will be for even longer. 

We pride ourselves in taking care of our home. After all, we live in it and Section 8 is anal, if you don’t mind my language, about things of this nature. They WILL put you OUT! And not to mention, my mom has been on this for 33 years! From Tennessee to Ohio.  

And actually, because of this, we’re ready to move. 11 years is long enough. We need more space and I’m tired of this neighborhood.

Originally posted by @Elaine Fawcett :

Wow! Sounds like you are the perfect tenant, why not buy?

 Thank you! House is too small. It’s a starter house And we live next to neighbors whose dogs jump the fence and have tried to attack me on numerous occasions. We’re ready to go

Nowhere I have lived or landlorded can they charge for painting unless there is a seperate agreement made. I would talk to section 8 but you can also refer to the landlord tenant laws in your area. Damage related painting might be chargable but once in 11 years probably would not hold up. Did I understand correctly you are on section 8 for 33 years?
Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
Nowhere I have lived or landlorded can they charge for painting unless there is a seperate agreement made. I would talk to section 8 but you can also refer to the landlord tenant laws in your area. Damage related painting might be chargable but once in 11 years probably would not hold up. Did I understand correctly you are on section 8 for 33 years?

 My mom has been yes! She signed up when my older brother was 2, 1985.