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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    3

    Default Inconvenient Renovations

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: New York

    Inconvenient renovations
    We rent an older home that our landlord intends to live in at some point. So they decided to renovate the walk-up attic while replacing the roof. The rub is that the house has very little living space and we stored one-third of our household goods in the attic. Our land lord asked us to move our belongings to the basement. On top of reducing our living space it was a hassle to move over 3,000 lbs of stuff down two stories. Now the Semi-finished basement is of no use since itís packed. Thatís problem number one.

    Problem number two is the contractor is an ass, threw my satellite dish on the ground, confiscated my trash barrels and worse yet, threw out our oak bookcase that was too tall and big for the basement. That was from lack of communication between the landlord and the contractor, no one asked me.

    Problem number three is that the landlord expected me to let the contractors have free access to the home while we left for vacation. I didnít find this acceptable so I replaced the deadbolt to the attic and one on a door to the outside. I understand that isnít right, but the landlords have a history of letting themselves in, once they even woke me up. I have a 22 yo daughter and this pissed me off when it happened, had she been coming out of the shower or something I may have laid the landlord out.

    Problem number four, the contractors were using my electricity to run their equipment. Being an older home they tripped breakers, once while I was taking an online exam for school.

    Problem number five, the noise was very difficult as they were throwing the wood around in the attic and I was trying to attend school online.

    My wife received a call on her cell phone and I guess my landlord is livid as they went to do the final walkthrough to check the contractors work and discovered that I had changed the deadbolt. I plan on replacing the original when I return home this weekend.

    We need to stay until next June because we plan on moving to Georgia and it would really stretch the budget another move now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Inconvenient Renovations

    If the property is ready for the final walkthrough, then the work is effectively done, right? So the interruption of your life is over, right?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    3

    Default Re: Inconvenient Renovations

    She is threatening me with eviction because I changed the locks(changed back today) and I'm demanding that she pay to replace my bookcase. She says that's between me and the contractor she hired. He says she said to throw out everything in the attic. We bought the bookcase two years ago just before moving in here for $459 plus shipping, but now can't replace it for the same because I know longer work for the shipping company where I received a 75% discount.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Inconvenient Renovations

    Unless you're a month-to-month tenant or your lease is about to end, I doubt that there's much to worry about with her threat to evict. You had no right to change the locks without her permission, but they've been changed back with little harm. I do expect that if you try to withhold rent over the bookcase she'll initiate the eviction process for nonpayment. I also expect she will end your tenancy at the earliest possibility if you sue her over the bookcase.

    How are we defining a "lack of communication" here? Were you supposed to have all of your belongings out of the attic by a certain date and, due to your not telling your landlord that you hadn't been able to put the bookcase into the basement, the landlord didn't know that it remained in the attic? Why would a contractor not recognize the bookcase as valuable? Where were you when it was removed and discarded?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Inconvenient Renovations

    The lack of communication as best I can tell happened when the contractor asked about a headboard left by a previous tenant, the landlord said throw it out. The two differ in their stories, the contractor says he asked about everything and the landlord says just the headboard was asked about. She knew about the bookcase but acknowledged she forgot about it during the conversation with the contractor. What muddied the water even more, the contractor wasn't on-site, but it was the framers who actually threw it out. The pisser is that I was home when they threw it out from the 2nd floor into the dumpster, no one considered asking me. I had no idea they had thrown it out until later in the day when I walked up just to look at the progress. I have no idea how they could not recognize the value of the bookcase, it was solid oak and relatively new. Then again, these guys threw my satellite dish on the ground from the second story.

    What would be her grounds to end my tenancy if I were to seek reimbursement for my bookcase? I'm just asking to be made whole and I don't believe I've done anything wrong. Changing the locks was my only reasonable way of keeping the contractors from accessing my home. I forgot to mention one of my reasons for not trusting these guys. I had a BB gun in the attic that I had forgotten to take downstairs. A few hours after they started work on the first day I ran upstairs and asked about the gun, they had "moved" it to the back of one of their trucks so it wouldn't get broken. It was a weak excuse since the end of the attic the gun was in wasn't to start work for a few days. I took them for their word on this, but as I look at the whole picture I doubt that was the intent. Either way, I am not comfortable with people I don't know having access to my home while I'm away on vacation. When I heard the contractor and the landlord talk that the windows were backordered and would not be put in until I was to go away, I spoke up and the contractor said I didn’t need to be there. I used to be more trusting, not anymore. Last landlord ran his son’s over my detached garage apartment’s electricity on my meter.

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