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seekingwolf's avatar

Landlord wants me to "move stuff out" to show apartment, what do I do?

Asked by seekingwolf (10342 points ) June 16th, 2013

Okay so my boyfriend and I are moving when our lease is up at the end of August. We just gave our notice to our landlord.

We have been very good tenants. We’ve never made a late payment, had a noise complaint, etc. Our landlord said he’s sad to see us go but our place is a STUDIO and we need something bigger.

We are talking 300–350 sq feet.

My landlord told us he wants us to move out some of our stuff to make the place look bigger to prospective tenants. He will start showing in late July. We aren’t out til late August. I’m at a loss! There is no way to make this look bigger unless it’s empty. I admit, it looks very crowded now but that’s because we live in it and it’s always crowded.

It’s not like my boyfriend and I have storage that we can just put our stuff in before moving out just to make the place look better for his sake. Waste of our money.

It’s effort enough for me to have to get this place clean enough. I’m messy.

What should I do?

Btw my boyfriend and I are going to try to move out a month early if my credit qualifies us for a first month of free rent. But who knows??

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27 Answers

cookieman's avatar

Would your current landlord be willing to pay for movers and storage for a month?

If not, I’d simply explain that there is no physical way you can make that happen and work to keep the joint as clutter-free as possible until you depart.

Judi's avatar

Ask him where he would like you to move it?does he have storage on the property you could use?

johnpowell's avatar

This is a unreasonable request. If he wants to pay for moving and storage I would agree. If they can’t do that then it isn’t really your problem.

seekingwolf's avatar

I haven’t asked him about where to move it. It was a quick conversation. No, there is no available storage. My boyfriend and I currently live in the attic or a converted house that was made into Apts. The bottom floor tenants pay extra for access to to the backyard and basement I have access to neither.

I thought it was unreasonable too. Yes, I can clean up the place but no matter what, it will look crowded and even somewhat cluttered because it was obviously too small for us but it worked at the time.

Bellatrix's avatar

That’s all you can do. Tell him you will tidy up as much as you can but you don’t have access to any storage. If he will pay for some storage away from your flat, try to move some stuff out but really, if he won’t, you can’t do anything.

jca's avatar

He has some nerve. Unless he provides you with storage or pays for a storage facility, it’s unreasonable. Your place is yours to do with as you wish until end of lease. You rent it, you have your stuff in it.

seekingwolf's avatar

To be honest, I was surprised. He has been a great landlord to us. Helpful and not bothersome.

janbb's avatar

He sounds like a reasonable person. This just requires some further discussion.

Katniss's avatar

His prospective renters are just going to have to see through the clutter.
Unless, as the previous posters have said, he’d be willing to pay for a storage unit for you.
What a ridiculous request.

seekingwolf's avatar

I guess I will just have to ask.

I’m actually in my apartment right now. Looking around, there’s really nothing I could move.

What’s here (in terms of furniture, NOT stuff): 1 bed, 2 dressers, 2 small recliners, tiny, tiny coffee table, computer desk/chair, portable dishwasher (fits in space in kitchen), 1 small stand for cable modem/router, fridge (not mine, landlord’s).

That’s IT.

Katniss's avatar

@seekingwolf So basically, the things he wants you to remove are the things you need on a daily basis. He’s off his rocker.

glacial's avatar

He can’t ask you to do that.

marinelife's avatar

Ask your landlord to pay for a pod rental that you can use.

Cupcake's avatar

If he doesn’t have a clause in the lease agreement that you need to keep the studio “show ready”, I would not accommodate his request.

jca's avatar

You must have a conversation with it, instead of just ignoring his request. He has your security, and although you are not violating anything (at least as far as this goes), he still has something that he can hold over you which may involve court in order for you to get it back. It’s unfortunate, and why I am glad I always went with regular buildings where there was more consistency regarding management.

Therefore, my conversation with him would go like this: “Hey, you asked me to try to move some stuff out so you could show the apartment. I have nowhere to put my stuff until we move but if you have a storage facility or can pay for one, then maybe we can try to store some stuff for a month or two. Let me know. Otherwise, feel free to show it as it is now.”

whitenoise's avatar

I am with @Cupcake. Check your lease documents.

gorillapaws's avatar

Rooms look bigger with stuff in them, not empty. Most people have it backwards. Just ask a realtor (it’s part of the motivation behind house stageing) as long as the furniture is normal size and there’s not an excessive amount of it.

seekingwolf's avatar

My lease says absolutely nothing about being show ready at any time.

Any amount of furniture is too much for this place. I’m actually a little resentful because he advertised it as a 1 bedroom when there’s only a partial half wall between the living room and bedroom, and no door. I think if he continues to mislabel it he’s going to get declines.

glacial's avatar

Rules about having the place be “show ready” will not appear in your lease. Check the website for whatever rental board controls rental agreements in your region. They will tell you how much notice your landlord must give before entry, and whether you need to keep the place clean to meet any sort of standard.

I’ve been through this situation once before; I was strongly motivated to keep the place neat and tidy, not for the benefit of the owner or the realtors or those looking to buy – but for my own desire for privacy, and to be certain that I would recognize if anything were missing after one of the showings. Not all of the people who came to see the property were legitimately interested in buying, and some of them were obviously a little nuts. And the realtors did not keep an eye on them while they were in my apartment. Consequently, I made sure things were tidy, and tried as much as possible to schedule visits for while I would be home, so that I could supervise them.

But the owners had no right to tell me what I could or could not have in my own home as long as I had a lease. While I was renting, it was my home. You need to stress that point as often as it takes for your landlord to understand that. People who own instead of rent tend to forget it.

susanc's avatar

Take the lease to the landlord and have him show you the part that allows him to ask for this. He won’t be able to. He knows perfectly well that he can’t require you to move a single spoon. He may hope that because you’re young, you’re naive. No such luck. You have a team here.
He can’t legally show the place until midnight of the day your lease is up. If you want to be nice, let him show the place when most of your stuff is out, like on moving day. After all, you can’t get into your new place till that very day.
What a butt.

jca's avatar

Please post an update as to how things go with the conversation you will inevitably have, at some point or other.

Thanks and good luck with it all and with moving!

JCA
The Update Lady

Judi's avatar

@susanc, in CA they CAN show the unit with 24 hour notice but they can’t require her to redecorate.

Cupcake's avatar

@Judi Same in NY.

@glacial I had a “show ready” clause in my last lease (I’m the landlord), because we were planning on putting the house on the market.

Judi's avatar

@Cupcake , the question is, would that clause have been enforceable. There are a lot of rights (especially here in CA ) that you can’t waive by a lease provision. An extreme example would be if there was a clause that said you would not have overnight guests of the opposite sex. In court, you wouldn’t be able to enforce that clause because it would be discriminatory. (Except under some rare instances like non profits and rooms for rent etc.)
Just because its in the lease it doesn’t mean it’s enforceable.

seekingwolf's avatar

I’m in NY.

Yeah it’s definitely not in the lease. This was our first place and we did it by the book. My boyfriend and I signed it together. I didn’t sneak him in later against the lease. I also told the landlord when I got a cat and have written consent for me to have a cat.

My boyfriend and I have been talking and if we get the place we want, the landlady is going to let us move in early as long as we prorated rent. Our current street has gotten so bad, we want out ASAP and can afford prorated rent for a week and a half to get our stuff out and have movers come for our furniture.

Honestly he is going to need to lower his price. We are paying too much.

seekingwolf's avatar

Just wanted to update.

We cleaned up a lot but moved no stuff out. Landlord can shove it. He has been showing prospective tenants and has just been rushing them through the place. They all think it’s way too small, you can tell on their the faces.

Ah well, not my problem anymore.

jca's avatar

@seekingwolf: Thank you for remembering the update!

JCA
The Update Lady

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