This is a long post, but I promise it's entertaining in a way, and I'd really like some advice in this matter.
I currently reside in PA with my two friends. The three of us signed a lease for a 1-bedroom apartment which is up at the end of May. I assume that since the landlady signed the three of us on together, that the three of us would each be occupying our own spaces, one in the bedroom, and then we converted the living room and the dining room into bedrooms too.
Since our lease ends soon, the landlady wishes to show the house which we find acceptable. She wants us to keep the house clean, which we also think is reasonable.
A couple months ago, she e-mailed asking to photograph the apartment so she could put it on the market. We cleaned the place up for her to what we thought was a very reasonable degree, and when she came over she got very upset. She said yes, the place is clean, but there's too much clutter. Can't we get rid of our toaster and our couch? She pretty much asked us to move all the furniture around in the rooms so she could take a picture. She looked in my bedroom with the bed neatly made and not a thing on my desk besides the computer, and said it was barely acceptable. She said that she clearly couldn't take any photos now so she'd give us another week before she'd come back and try taking pictures again. We felt that the "clutter" wasn't all that bad, so we took our own photos and sent them to her. Her response was as such:
"But the photos still don't sell well because of all of the stuff that is everywhere. ...I am really upset that I can't get nice clean photos that will show how nice the unit really is. ...The other problem is that "Anne" says that the stuff really won't be cleared out of the unit until after you guys leave (note from poster: we are leaving 10 days before our lease expires, which apparently isn't good enough for her). That creates a huge problem for me, because it is so cluttered that it does not "show" well, and I am at great risk that it won't be rented until after you guys leave and I have the unit empty and cleaned. I'm sure you understand that the unit doesn't even pay for itself each month with the mortgage, insurance, taxes and the $500 in utilities we pay every month to the condo association, so leaving it go for a month or so after you guys leave costs us a lot of money. So I have been trying to think of a way to make this work for all of us, and I can't figure out the best thing for everyone: If you guys take the photos, that would be great, but they have to be nice clean photos without the clutter. I understand that would require furniture and other stuff to be moved out of everyroom, and it will be a major pain in everybody's ass. The only other option I can think of is to leave everything as it is, and have you all pay for an extra month's rent since I really can't get in there before you leave to show and market the unit to another tenant. I am sure you don't want to do that, and actually, I don't want to do that either, ...Even in the event that we do move all the furniture and clutter out of the rooms for the photos, I am still faced with the problem that I can't bring anyone in to view the unit since it looks so crowded and dorm like. So, please work with me to help figure out a solution. Can you move your roommates bed into the back bedroom during the month of May and put the bookcases against the wall, put the byicycles downstairs inthe lockerroom."
We said we would not want to move all that furniture on our own because it's heavy, and if she wants it moved, she'd needed to bring help. We'd help too, but she had to bring help as well. She flatly refused. Later, she emailed me again saying a solution for the photos is that I draw up a floorplan for her (I'm studying architecture, so I have that particular expertise). I informed her that as a school rule, and as a general rule in life, one does not work for free and I told her what my hourly rate was. Her reply was that she was offended that I expected her to pay me for this. She said our options are this: 1) do the drawing, 2) rearrange our furniture to suit her, or 3) get evicted according to a clause in our lease that states:
LANDLORD may make reasonable rules and regulations to protect:
1. the PROPERTY of other tenants, neighbors, or other people; and,
2. the comfort, safety or rights of other tenants, neighbors, or other people.
TENANT will follow all rules made by LANDLORD which are now in effect and any new rules made by LANDLORD during this LEASE.
I assume she'd say that we were breaking her rules by "endangering" her property by arranging our furniture in an "unreasonable" fashion.
Under the threat of eviction, I drew up the floorplan for free. Now she's emailed us that she's bringing someone over to see the place. Fine. Yet again, she asked us to move my roommate "Kory's" furniture around so the living room looked like a living room. I told her that she had to make that request to him personally because when I do, he flatly refuses. She has completely ignored my request, and instead only contacted my other roommate and told him straight out :
In the event that my request is found to be unreasonable to you, and that you refuse to move the bookcases out of the living room, or when I arrive, I find that the place is still cluttered and unsuitable for viewing, I will have no alternative than to exercise one or more of the following actions: 1. terminating the lease & filing an immediate eviction action against all tenants in unit #204, 2. retaining the entire security deposit, since there is a refusal to follow the rules that are set out by Landlord (paragraph 26 of the lease).
We feel very harassed by this situation and I feel almost like she used extortion to get that floorplan from me. In fact, we already rearranged our furniture and sold some of it in fear of what she could do. What I'd like to know is if she can really evict us for this? Can she keep our entire security deposit simply because of the way our furniture is arranged? And, perhaps this is petty, but, is there anyway to let others know what this landlady is like so no one else has to go through this? Or make it so she just can't be a landlady?