General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Casey S.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Kansas City, MO
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College Rental: Landlord-Tenant Dispute

Casey S.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Kansas City, MO
Posted Jul 29 2019, 08:28

Hi All, I have a landlord-renter dispute that I was wanting to run by you all to gather some input before I proceed further.

For some background, I bought a property in a small college town in July 18’ in which I inherited an existing lease. That lease ran through April 30th 2019 and I was able to secure tenants for a year-long lease starting May 1st. The shape of the property was “not great” when the new tenants walked through the property and subsequently signed the lease (3 tenants total each with their parent’s co-signature). Per our discussions during the “lease signing process” since they were college students, none of the tenants would be occupying the property during the summer and since this was the case, I relayed to them that I would take that time to make renovations (repair holes in walls, paint, renovate bathroom, etc.) to improve the state of the property and have it available by August 1st (they stated they wouldn’t even need the property available until Aug. 12th).

Here’s where the fun starts. At various times throughout the summer, the tenants and their parents have made trips to the property to drop off furniture, clothes, etc. and each time have called to voice their displeasure in the state of the property e.g. the bathroom is completely unusable (even though I have stated numerous times the renovations that I would be making and the date that it would be ready by). In the most recent instance of this occurring the mother of one of the tenants informed me that they would like out of the lease and would also like their security deposit plus the two month’s rent that I have collected thus far returned. She was adamant that I broke this section of the rental agreement:

POSSESSION. Landlord shall attempt to have Tenant's house ready on the date stipulated on this lease but cannot be held liable for failure to do so. In the event delivery is delayed, rent shall be abated on a daily basis until you are offered possession. If Landlord is not able to deliver Tenant's apartment within seven days of the date so stipulated, then, upon Tenant's request, Tenant's deposit and any prepaid rent will be refunded in full and this lease will become null and void.

From my perspective, the house was ready and in a “livable” standard on May 1st (the start date which was stipulated on the lease) or else they would not have signed the lease in the first place. Since it was communicated to me that the property would be unoccupied during the summer (early May-August 12th) I wanted to take that time to improve the property however whenever the tenants and their parents have visited the property periodically during the summer (never staying the night) they have stated that it is “unlivable” due to the bathroom being “gutted” and pieced together slowly but surely (finally finished the rehab of the bathroom today).

With all of that said, I have reached out to a lawyer to discuss some potential options but I wanted to see if any fellow landlords had any advice or have previous experiences that may help me out with this situation.

Thank you,

Casey

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