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casheroo's avatar

Is this something a landlord has to fix?

Asked by casheroo (18026 points ) April 17th, 2011

We live in a rental home, have been here since February (lease started mid January though)
We have some issues with the home, we knew moving in it was an older home that needs lots of work, I’m talking minumum 60k-80k. We actually redid the electrical (it wasn’t grounded at all, we didn’t feel that was safe even with renters insurance)

My complaints:
The oven smells like urine when it gets hot. I’m not even making this up. I’ve googled and apparently it can mean mice, but we have two cats and have never seen a mouse, but the cats practically live in the kitchen staring at the dang oven so I just know we either have them or had them and they will never see the light of day.
So I’ve complained twice, and both times they assume our oven is dirty with something…like I haven’t thought to clean it??
But I informed them about the cats being obsessed so they said they’d send someone over to pull the oven out to check behind it.
Never happened. (it’s a real estate company in charge for the owners…)

My biggest issue is the unfinished natural wood floors, I have a crawling baby who keeps getting splinters in his hands, my feet get them and my 3 year olds feet is filled with them (he won’t let me get them out)
I’m about to take the 3 year old to the doctor to get the dang splinters out and so I have it on record that this is a serious issue

Do they have to do something about the floors though or is this a just “grin and bear it” situation since we’re renting?? I’m just curious if we have any right to even complain about it.

(and no, moving is not an option. the rent we have is amazing for the area..best school district and extremely nice neighborhood.)

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19 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

Your rights as a renter will depend on what state you live in. You should be able to go online and search under your state’s renter’s rights and find out exactly what you’re entitled to. I would think the landlord is always reponsible for pest removal, but I am not so sure on the floor issue, especially if you knew moving in that the floor was in that condition…good luck!

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps in the issue of safety and your sanity, buy attractive throw rugs for your baby to crawl on. You can take them with you when you relocate.

However, I would keep pestering management company in reference to the range smell. If someone there committed to having it done, you have some ammunition. Just remember to keep your voice modulated, pleasant and firm. Take notes. Record time, date and dialog.

YARNLADY's avatar

If I was you, I would simply put a rug down on the floor, rather than wait for the landlord to do something.

As far as the oven, you need to get someone in to smell it, and then insist they replace it. In most places, the owner is required to provide appliances in safe and working condition.

If they will not replace it, store it and buy a second hand one for yourself, to sell or take with you when you move.

chyna's avatar

Go to a carpet place and get a remnant piece that covers most of of the floor in each room. They have these at reasonable prices. The mice issue is something my ex landlord told me I had to deal with, but I don’t know if that was the law or him just being a lazy butt.

casheroo's avatar

@yankeetooter Well, we of course saw the floor but had no clue it’d give us splinters all the time..it just looked like a worn out wood floor.

We should get some area rugs, it’d be more runners actually because it’s only in the living room and dining room we have two large area rugs already but its the walk next to the dining room table that gets us so I guess a runner (as ridiculous as it’d look) is what we’ll need to do :(

marinelife's avatar

I think the floors are a health issue, and it should be a mandatory repair. Contact the landlord-tenant agency in your area to help mediate the dispute.

john65pennington's avatar

Tell your landlord that the floors are a safety issue for your child. Telling him this, places direct liability on him/her, if your child is injured. What about a splinter of wood that could go into your childs eye from the floor? After advising your landlord, then who is to blame? Your landlord. Just be sure you document what is said and the date and time any statements are made, concerning your floor with your landlord.

I had a similar incident involving a two year old toddler choking on a Monopoly metal piece. I turned the toddler upside down and hit his back a couple of times. The toddler coughed and out came the metal cannon. He had picked up the metal cannon off he floor and swallowed it.

For the safety of your child, you have a right to complain and your landlord should take steps to make your floors safer.

faye's avatar

Is sanding the floor an option? It’s really easy if the landlord would pay for the machine. Or just rent a hand sander for the area that’s getting you?
I had a mouse brought in to my house by my crazy cat once. They get into places that are impossible and my stupid cat would also go sniffing on the floor by the oven or fridge. Pull your stove out and vinegar the walls and floors, then sprinkle baking soda and a few nuggets of charcoal. I also had a cat who peed down the furnace vent. The above is what I did, a couple of times.

mrrich724's avatar

If you can afford to do the electrical, take a few bucks from that rent savings you’re getting and throw down carpet if they won’t end up fixing the problem for you. At least then you can cover up the wood. Carpet is much cheaper than electrical work!

Good luck : /

casheroo's avatar

@mrrich724 My father and husband did the electrical, it didn’t cost anything but new sockets which are not expensive at all.
@faye I have read about sanding it, I don’t know how they’d feel if we did it and if we could just do the small areas that are the trouble areas. I need someone who knows floors to take a look and tell me what I can do cheaply lol

gailcalled's avatar

@casheroo: Be forewarned. Sanding is a long and very dusty process, even in relatively small areas. Sawdust gets into everything (for what seems like forever). And even with water-based polyurethane, you need three coats and several hours of drying time on a crisp unhumid day.

Is there a time when you and your son will be away for a few days? That’s really the only way to do the work. Perhaps your father and husband can blitz the job.

casheroo's avatar

@gailcalled Shows how much I know of this sort of thing! Makes me sort of glad we aren’t home owners yet. My father and husband could definitely do it, and we could stay at my parents…just have to make sure it’s okay with the landlord (although I wish they would just do it themselves)

Thanks for all the suggestions and information, I had no clue so much went into hardwood floors!

faye's avatar

@gailcalled Seems I’m just bent on disagreeing with you today!! I’ve seen your pictures and your floors are beautiful.
I had a sanding machine that sucked up the sawdust as it sanded and I just mopped in a stained tung oil.

gailcalled's avatar

@faye: No disagreement. However…were you pregnant at the time and did you have a three-year old wandering around close to the floor? I thought not :-)

(Aside: My floors are wide-board pine and showing wear-and-tear in the heavily-trafficed areas, plus the damage caused by Milo’s undiscovered eructations. I am having a guy in to do some spot repairs. We need a dry fairly warm day so that I can keep Milo outside for four hours while the poly dries.)

casheroo's avatar

Minor update/question:
I got a coupon in the mail for a company that “cleaned, buffed & finished. sand free/dust free” for hardwood floors, it includes 1 coat of finish, only $99 (we’d do two rooms) I’m wondering if I should ask my landlords if we can do this and have it deducted from our rent?? Is that something a landlord right consider?
And we are also considering getting a new stove, they would have to install it, and we’d store the old one in the basement (if we can get it down the very narrow steps, the home is very old…) we have a scratch and dent appliance store not too far from here.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, you should ask him. As a landlord, I would consider it. Be sure to verify the owner won’t replace the stove, before you do it.

tcarrin58's avatar

You get the repairs and then tell them that if they don’t reimburse you that you will call the Landlord’s Association Bureau. They will reimburse you immediately as have them come down on them and assess them as slum lords and fine them.

SpatzieLover's avatar

IMO, you don’t have a leg to stand on regarding the flooring. You saw it prior to move in and by moving in accepted the conditions. The oven is another situation though. I’d ask the Landlord to come in to smell it in a letter with your next rent payment.

This sounds like you’re dealing with a “management” company on behalf of the Landlord. Put everything in writing. Basically, write up this question @casheroo and ask for all items to be repaired and made safe in a timely manner. State you expect a phone call within one week to schedule the repairs.

From there, I would keep all responses in writing and in all responses I would state that “I want this letter to be placed in my file” (obviously keep copies for yourself).

Sidenot: If the cats keep staring at the oven area, pull out the oven and see if the mice are coming in at the electrical outlet…this is another thing (rodent removal) that you can list for the Landlord if you see evidence of the mice (take photos of any droppings/chew marks/oil stains at a hole that you see).

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Check the small print on your tenancy agreement (I assume you get them the same as we do in the UK). In this country, if it’s a structural defect, it’s down to the landlord or landlady to get it fixed, not the tenant, and that includes things like incomplete flooring, and potential mouse issues.
Estate Agents can be the worst kind of scum in dealing with problem buildings, preferring to leave the tenant/s pulling their hair out, so as previously suggested, keep all records of any communication with them. If anything, I would insist on dealing with them in writing only. No phone calls, none of that, just letters. It makes sure that you have everything in words on paper and they cannot turn around and say later on that they never said such-and-such-a-thing, or did not promise to do this or that. Keep your hands tightly grasped around their short and curly’s and they’ll have no option but to stick to what they say.

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