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  1. #1

    Default Use of Our Space Part 2

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

    A month or two ago I posted about this. I will try to be short and to the point.

    Two adults, two young children in a two bedroom apartment. Since we co-sleep one of our rooms we use for storage. Property manager does a monthly pest control/inspection. She complained about the second bedroom being cluttered and unsafe because of toy storage. Got an official lease violation stating she would be back to re-inspect in 48 hours. I piled everything onto the bed and made a clear path from the door to the window. Second inspection never took place, even though we stayed at home all day for this.

    Some of the things, I had to move into the dining area which we do not use. Some things include my daughter's art easel, the baby's walker, an extra car seat. In that dining area we have both a desk and a table which we have placed things on top of, such as extra food that doesn't fit into cabinets, and at the time being some remaining Christmas lights that we need to take back to storage (yes we have a storage unit already).

    So we had an inspection yesterday and today we get another lease violation. This time regarding the clutter in the dining area. The notice reads "It has been noticed during inspection your unit has a large amount of clutter in the dining area. Per your community rules, Section 16, paragraph 3, Keep walls and woodwork free from dirty hand prints, ink, crayons, stickers and holes. Carpet, vinyl, tile and baseboards are to be kepth clean at all times. Vacuum carpet frequently. Beverage and food spots can be removed with cold water and a mild soap. Clean vinyl or tile thoroughly before waxing. Keep floors free from clutter, toys, clothes, etc."

    It is important to note that our house is clean...the floors are clean, the walls are clean, no crayon marks, kitchen, bathroom, livingroom, master bedroom we do use is spotless.

    At this point it is clear she is picking on us. The previous problem was that we were blocking the path from door to window in the other room which she deemed a safety hazard due to fire possibility. OK I can take that. But now she is picking on an area that has zero windows.

    Our lease is in the process of being renewed for the end of March. We have turned all paperwork in. We pay our rent on time, and rarely complain about anything aside from when our A/C stopped working or when the hot water heater broke. This is the cheapest place we have found to rent and aside from the harassment mentioned above there are no significant problems. I mean we did go out the other day to a huge trail of dog crap all over the breezeway and down the stairs. And there are never no less than 20 cigarette butts in the path between our vehicle, in the breezeway, up the stairs and directly in front of our door to our second floor apartment (talk about a fire hazard not to mention disgusting).

    We really cannot afford to move and need to know what we can do to get this woman to cease picking on us? Would a lawyer be able to send a letter that tells her to quit? And even if that is done, she will probably just find something else to pick at and retaliate. Just another incidence of a renter being victim, right? Yes, at this point I am frustrated.

    One last thing to note. I have read reviews of this place and others who were either evicted or did not have their lease renewed made similar complaints and said that when prospective new properties called (for reference) she would bring up all the frivolous lease violations and bad mouth the prospective tenants to the point they could not get approved for a new place.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,932

    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting JDIAC
    View Post
    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Tennessee

    A month or two ago I posted about this. I will try to be short and to the point.

    Two adults, two young children in a two bedroom apartment. Since we co-sleep one of our rooms we use for storage. Property manager does a monthly pest control/inspection. She complained about the second bedroom being cluttered and unsafe because of toy storage. Got an official lease violation stating she would be back to re-inspect in 48 hours. I piled everything onto the bed and made a clear path from the door to the window. Second inspection never took place, even though we stayed at home all day for this.

    Some of the things, I had to move into the dining area which we do not use. Some things include my daughter's art easel, the baby's walker, an extra car seat. In that dining area we have both a desk and a table which we have placed things on top of, such as extra food that doesn't fit into cabinets, and at the time being some remaining Christmas lights that we need to take back to storage (yes we have a storage unit already).

    So we had an inspection yesterday and today we get another lease violation. This time regarding the clutter in the dining area. The notice reads "It has been noticed during inspection your unit has a large amount of clutter in the dining area. Per your community rules, Section 16, paragraph 3, Keep walls and woodwork free from dirty hand prints, ink, crayons, stickers and holes. Carpet, vinyl, tile and baseboards are to be kepth clean at all times. Vacuum carpet frequently. Beverage and food spots can be removed with cold water and a mild soap. Clean vinyl or tile thoroughly before waxing. Keep floors free from clutter, toys, clothes, etc."

    It is important to note that our house is clean...the floors are clean, the walls are clean, no crayon marks, kitchen, bathroom, livingroom, master bedroom we do use is spotless.

    At this point it is clear she is picking on us. The previous problem was that we were blocking the path from door to window in the other room which she deemed a safety hazard due to fire possibility. OK I can take that. But now she is picking on an area that has zero windows.

    Our lease is in the process of being renewed for the end of March. We have turned all paperwork in. We pay our rent on time, and rarely complain about anything aside from when our A/C stopped working or when the hot water heater broke. This is the cheapest place we have found to rent and aside from the harassment mentioned above there are no significant problems. I mean we did go out the other day to a huge trail of dog crap all over the breezeway and down the stairs. And there are never no less than 20 cigarette butts in the path between our vehicle, in the breezeway, up the stairs and directly in front of our door to our second floor apartment (talk about a fire hazard not to mention disgusting).

    We really cannot afford to move and need to know what we can do to get this woman to cease picking on us? Would a lawyer be able to send a letter that tells her to quit? And even if that is done, she will probably just find something else to pick at and retaliate. Just another incidence of a renter being victim, right? Yes, at this point I am frustrated.

    One last thing to note. I have read reviews of this place and others who were either evicted or did not have their lease renewed made similar complaints and said that when prospective new properties called (for reference) she would bring up all the frivolous lease violations and bad mouth the prospective tenants to the point they could not get approved for a new place.
    What she is basically saying is that you have to keep your home spotless at all times which is simply impossible to do when you have children with equipment and toys. I think that you need to make a formal complaint to the owners of the complex about this manager. I think that you need to tell them pretty much all of the information contained in the above post, and I think that you should tell them that her monthly inspections interfere with your quiet use and enjoyment of the apartment and therefore violates your lease.

    However, if you really want to stay there, then you might want to wait to do it until after the new lease is signed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Since none of us can see your apartment we cannot comment on its state and whether or not it's reasonable or not. One person's clean is another persons unacceptable mess.

    Leasing companies are pretty good at compliance and still having unreasonable terms. SO, what I'd recommend is pretty much what Ilworking said. Lodge a formal complaint with the agency that oversees this.

    Contacting an attorney will be fruitless unless you plan to file suit and it sounds ike you don't have the resources to do so and, by the time it went anywhere your current lease would likely be up and I cannot see it being renewed in the face of a pending lawsuit.

    But, also in accord with Ilworking, Why do you want to stay? If the terms of the lease are the same and the state chooses to intervene, perhaps because it's determines to be simply unreasonable and not illegal, you'll continue to be the subject of the LL's scrutiny. Hell, you'll likely stay the target in any event. It's not illegal to be a jerk...in virtually all cases.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  4. #4
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    Oct 2006
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    15,932

    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
    View Post
    Since none of us can see your apartment we cannot comment on its state and whether or not it's reasonable or not. One person's clean is another persons unacceptable mess.

    Leasing companies are pretty good at compliance and still having unreasonable terms. SO, what I'd recommend is pretty much what Ilworking said. Lodge a formal complaint with the agency that oversees this.

    Contacting an attorney will be fruitless unless you plan to file suit and it sounds ike you don't have the resources to do so and, by the time it went anywhere your current lease would likely be up and I cannot see it being renewed in the face of a pending lawsuit.

    But, also in accord with Ilworking, Why do you want to stay? If the terms of the lease are the same and the state chooses to intervene, perhaps because it's determines to be simply unreasonable and not illegal, you'll continue to be the subject of the LL's scrutiny. Hell, you'll likely stay the target in any event. It's not illegal to be a jerk...in virtually all cases.
    Just to clarify. I did not suggest that the OP lodge a complaint with any state agency. I suggested that the OP lodge a complaint with the actual owners of the property. In other words, the boss of the manager.

    Also, the OP made it very clear that their home was clean, but just cluttered.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    47.606 N 122.332 W in body, still at 90 S in my mind.
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    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Fair enough regarding contacting the owner but, since the owner hired a manager it's unlikely their going to intervene but, hey, you never know.

    As to the home being clean, one person's clean is another persons mess. We have no idea what the OP's home looks like and, having lived with lightweight hoarders and inveterate slobs that insisted that our home was clean I can attest to the disparity.

    At the end of the day the lease is going to prevail as are the judgments of the managers and owners absent violating any laws.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting Mark47n
    View Post
    Since none of us can see your apartment we cannot comment on its state and whether or not it's reasonable or not. One person's clean is another persons unacceptable mess.

    Leasing companies are pretty good at compliance and still having unreasonable terms. SO, what I'd recommend is pretty much what Ilworking said. Lodge a formal complaint with the agency that oversees this.

    Contacting an attorney will be fruitless unless you plan to file suit and it sounds ike you don't have the resources to do so and, by the time it went anywhere your current lease would likely be up and I cannot see it being renewed in the face of a pending lawsuit.

    But, also in accord with Ilworking, Why do you want to stay? If the terms of the lease are the same and the state chooses to intervene, perhaps because it's determines to be simply unreasonable and not illegal, you'll continue to be the subject of the LL's scrutiny. Hell, you'll likely stay the target in any event. It's not illegal to be a jerk...in virtually all cases.
    Monthly inspections are not reasonable, in my opinion. The owner might not be aware that its going on.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    146

    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Monthly inspections are not reasonable, in my opinion. The owner might not be aware that its going on.
    I have a question: If it was unreasonable, such as if the landlord wanted to inspect the neatness of a closet, and the tenant signed a lease agreeing to it, would it be legal grounds to evict someone if the their closet was not up to par?

    IMO, a signed contract that is unreasonable and is not inline with industry standards is unenforceable.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting CONNOR99
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    IMO, a signed contract that is unreasonable and is not inline with industry standards is unenforceable.
    Unreasonable does not automatically equate to legally unenforceable. The presumption is that you fully read your lease before you signed it, were aware of the conditions and still chose to sign. If you found something unreasonable, you have the option to try and negotiate or walk away.

  9. #9
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    3,557

    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting CONNOR99
    View Post
    IMO, a signed contract that is unreasonable and is not inline with industry standards is unenforceable.
    Industry standards in a residential lease mean nothing. It the particular point is in violation of the law then it would be unenforceable.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Use of Our Space Part 2

    Quote Quoting CONNOR99
    View Post
    I have a question: If it was unreasonable, such as if the landlord wanted to inspect the neatness of a closet, and the tenant signed a lease agreeing to it, would it be legal grounds to evict someone if the their closet was not up to par?

    IMO, a signed contract that is unreasonable and is not inline with industry standards is unenforceable.
    I suspect that the lease says something along the lines of "the tenant will obey the apartment complex rules" and then the manager sets the rules as whatever the manager wants. The fact that the manager even has time to do monthly inspections of every apartment is suspect in my mind. If she were my employee I would wonder what I was paying her for.

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