General Question

wildpotato's avatar

Does the landlord or the tenant bear responsibility for the time it takes to repaint before move-in?

Asked by wildpotato (15104points) July 26th, 2009

I’m moving to an apartment in Jersey next week. I will be paying for the place starting August 1, but am not actually moving in until the 3rd or so because my landlord will be repainting and fixing up the place on Aug. 1 and possibly also the next day. Should I ask for a credit for that day or two, or is this time “on me”?

I have tried googling this to no avail – if you can find any links that look promising, but have tiny print and lots of words so you don’t want to read it all, please send ‘em my way!

Edited to add: I’m also in my current place for another month, so I don’t have to pay for a hotel or anything.

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15 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Legally they could allow you to move in and paint while you are in this place. But it is only two days. Pissing them off could bite you in the ass later. Making the landlord mad is a bad thing.

edit :: and how much are we talking (1500/30)X2=$100

Not worth it.

ragingloli's avatar

- removed due to unrelatedness -

Darwin's avatar

I suspect you need to take that up with the landlord. However, you could be nickle-and-diming your friendly relationship with the landlord to death. You are losing 1 or 2 days out of 30–31 that you have due to you. How much is 1/15th of the rent? Is it worth it at this point?

After all, he may not have to repaint the place at all and could wait to fix stuff until after you have moved in and thus inconvenience you even more. If this is a particularly desirable apartment he could possibly rent it to someone else if you don’t want to go along.

In California, if the landlord is making repairs that are necessary to bring the unit up to housing or fire code, you would be entitled to a relocation payment certainly if the place was uninhabitable during that time. However, I can’t find anything specific to New Jersey.

Zendo's avatar

Tenancy law from state to state differs. You should go to the library and look up the tenancy law in question and go from there.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I would be understanding about it. I would think the law probably states that it falls on the landlord and not you, but since you still have your old apt, I wouldn’t bother with it. The old tenant probably just moved out, so there was no time in between to paint and fix it up.

wildpotato's avatar

@johnpowell, @Darwin, @jamielynn2328 We are talking about ~$100 here, but you guys are probably right about it not being worth it even so. I like this guy – but I dislike being taken advantage of, especially by landlords. When money is involved, you never can tell who’s being nice just to make it easier to put one over on you.

He has been struggling to rent the place – I passed over the ad for about a month before I went to see it. I do love it (800 sq.ft. private backyard, 20 min to Greenwich Village? Hell yeah!), but I wouldn’t be terribly saddened to lose it. It’s a renter’s market right now (I guess since no one can sell – but I am not an econ person), and I have lots of time and plenty of options. The landlord knows this.

The old tenant moved out July 10ish, and got a subletter in there for the meantime. I offered to start the lease on Aug. 8 if the subletter wanted to stay on, but apparently she didn’t. He knows I have some squish time.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I get the hundred dollar thing. Maybe if you just told him flat out without making it a question or an issue. Just tell him that you did the math and that the two days equal a $100 credit in your favor. Tell him that you’ll apply it to next month’s rent if you have already paid for August.

If he’s a nice guy, and hasn’t been able to rent the apartment then he will probably be just fine with it.

I have had some experiences with bad landlords in the past, and I sometimes don’t fight some of the battles that I probably should.

Likeradar's avatar

I’ve never heard of a tenant paying for a place when it’s not ready to be moved into. Did you ask the landlord to do the painting and repairs, or is it just standard between-tenants maintainence.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

If you’re paying for an entire month but he’s not letting you move in for the entire month, definitely ask for the credit, or demand one. I have never lived in an apartment that didn’t pro-rate that sort of situation.

Judi's avatar

We usually ask for the first months rent and pro-rate the second month. Your rent shouldn’t start applying until you get keys. Make sure that the move in date on your rental agreent actually reflects the date you take posession of the dwelling.

wildpotato's avatar

@Likeradar No, I didn’t ask him, or bring it up at all – I thought the condition of the apartment was pretty good, but he fell all over himself promising me he’d get the place repainted and the walls redone a bit when he showed it to me.

@jamielynn2328 I like that approach. Maybe if I listen to some Biggie Smalls or something, I’ll get up the balls to actually try it.

@BBSDTfamily Have you been in a situation like this? I just have very little feel for what I can reasonably demand from the situation… If I say something, and this is looked upon as an unusual request when he’s doing me the favor of getting the place spruced up, then that sets a bad tone for my residency there, but if I don’t say anything, then he might think he can walk all over me, and that’s really not a position I want to be in with a landlord. God, I feel like a character in a Woody Allen movie.

@Judi Aha, I knew there was a land-person on here somewhere! Thanks for your input, this is a very helpful answer. The date I take possession of the apartment (when I will get the keys) does not, at present time, reflect the date listed on the rental agreement. I think I’ll ask him about the whole issue by bringing this bit up, and seeing where the conversation goes from there.

DrBill's avatar

In Illinois, the law states it is the landlords responsibility, an there is no rent charged until the unit is move in ready; unless it is being painted at the tenants request.

If you asked for it to be painted, or you choose the colors, you pay rent while it is being done.

dynamicduo's avatar

If I were in your situation, I would let it go, because it won’t cause you any inconvenience and thus I don’t believe you are ethically entitled to any compensation. At the same time, I do believe that the landlord must provide the apartment complete and ready by the agreed upon starting date.

I do not believe that your inaction here will give your landlord the impression that you can be walked over, and if they try to walk on you again, then by all means assert your rights and rebuff it. But honestly, I don’t think this is the battle you should be picking to fight. I do believe that taking action here to gain compensation when you haven’t even really been affected will do more damage to your relationship with your landlord than if you simply let it go.

Judi's avatar

I wish I had more residents like you guys!!! Why in the world would the landlord ever expect someone to start paying before the take posesdion of the apartment? You are the customer! It’s a business negotiation!

galileogirl's avatar

Painting is a point that needs to be negotiated before the lease is signed. The landlord is not required to paint unless there a heath issue. If the last tenant left the place purple and black or with finger marks around the light switches, you have the right to not sign the rental agreement, If he is being a good landlord and giving you clean walls, you could ask the rental agreement be dated the third day but then you couldn’t move in until the third day

Since he isn’t required to paint and you couldn;t be bothered to bring it up at the time of the contract signing, it may look like you are nickel and diming the guy-not the best way to start a business relationship.

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