Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. HELP!

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Latest post 01-15-2013 8:16 AM by Drew. 7 replies.
  • 01-14-2013 6:34 PM

    • cmiles3
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    • Joined on 01-14-2013
    • NY
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    Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. HELP!

    So my bf and I have lived for 3 1/2 yrs on a month-to-month basis in the top floor apartment of a private house. The landlords are very elderly and used to live on the ground floor (this will be a key point). When we moved in, we had a cat. No problem with the cat; didn't mention anything about whether dogs were allowed, no biggie. We've been excellent tenants, having always paid rent on time, and despite several problems w/the apartment that the landlords took EONS to fix, we've never felt the need to report them to 311...they're just so OLD, we always feel bad :(

    Last April, the landlady fell and broke her hip. Her and her husband left to go live...somewhere...and never returned. We were told literally NOTHING; no forwarding number, no idea when they'd be back, nothing. They had a family friend in the neighborhood who stops by every couple weeks and sweeps, brings the mail in, and (I presume) picks up the rent check when we leave it. Last July (landlords M.I.A. for 3 months at this point) we adopted a dog. Considering we had NO IDEA WHERE OUR LANDLORDS WERE, we had no way to run it by them, and considering they never mentioned anything about dogs either way, we figured what the heck. 

    Flash forward to this morning, I'm walking the dog. The landlords' son was downstairs and corners me, going on a tirade about how there's a serious problem with us having a dog, that the landlords have left "several messages" for us (nope), and that we have to either get rid of the dog or they'll have to get rid of us (his words, not mine). When I began to bring up the fact that they've been gone for about 9 months and we had no way to contact them, he cut me off and told me that I had was getting an attitude. Not wanting to get in a fight with an old man, I held my tongue. He gave me his phone $, saying that "MAYBE" we could work something out by increasing the rent "to cover the dog ruining the floors," but he "just wasn't sure." He demanded that either me or my bf call him in the next 10 days or "actions would have to be taken."

    We're not getting rid of our dog. And if we can help it, we're not moving. Quite frankly, them kicking us out is incredibly stupid; they're getting a check every month for literally nothing...regardless, I was very upset and my bf is LIVID. 

    Considering the key factors (that we don't have a lease and that our landlords have been GONE for 9 months)...what are our rights? 

  • 01-14-2013 6:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. HELP!

    You could have pestered the neighbor, and don't mention doing so.  At any rate, you could have mailed a letter to them care of your address, no?

    At any rate, since you're a monthly tenant, landlords have always been in a position to terminate on a month's notice or increase your rent each and every month, so long as you get a month's notice.

    Naturally, you're free to ignore the landlord's son even if he shows you a power of attorney (the law doesn't obligate you to honor that).

    "Quite frankly, them kicking us out is incredibly stupid; they're getting a check every month for literally nothing..."

    Sorry, but I'm not clear what you mean here.  :)

    Your landlords living elsewhere is completely irrelevant to the topic of your rights ... except with regard to you being in a position to expect to know where they live and whom to contact about issues.

    Otherwise, your rights are like any other tenant at will.  I'd like to think you've googled the topic of New York landlord-tenant law.

    http://www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/housing-issues

    http://www.ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Tenant_Rights_2011.pdf

  • 01-14-2013 6:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. HELP!

    Jack and/or Drew no more about this than I do.

    However

    cmiles3:
    Quite frankly, them kicking us out is incredibly stupid; they're getting a check every month for literally nothing...regardless, I was very upset and my bf is LIVID. 

    I don't know if it is stupid to not renew your month to month or not.  But I wasn't seeing how they are getting a check for nothing?  You live there right?

    No clue if you live right next door to some really nice places that they could rerent your place tomorrow morning.

    However, I understand.

    I probably wouldn't like it either, were I treated as you were.

    But pets do seem to many times be a problem when you are renting.  

    Does your lease mention pets?

    I know pets generally will scratch or bite or whatever it is they do.  It tends to detroy things after a while.  We have cats, and they've tried their best to ruin our couch and rug.  It does happen.  So your landlord is concerned.

    I honestly don't know your legal rights.  But month to month, you maybe want to find a dog friendly place?

    The last place I did rent required a pet deposit.  They went over the rubs with a black light or something, and if there were issues, we were on the hook for them.

    Good luck!

     

     

     

  • 01-14-2013 7:09 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,406

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. HELP!

    I'd just give son a lot of distance and punt on any comments he makes.....you don't know what games he might be seeking to play..so why not stay clear?.



  • 01-14-2013 7:14 PM In reply to

    • cmiles3
      Consumer
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    • Joined on 01-14-2013
    • NY
    • Posts 3

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. H...

    Well, we don't have a lease or any written agreement; we just met with them when we moved in. We had a cat when we moved in and they were fine with it, but didn't mention anything either way about dogs. At the time, we didn't have a dog so we didn't ask. In my opinion, the whole thing could and should be negotiated, but it's very hard to do so when they're missing in action. The son (who I've met ONCE in the time we've lived here and was rather rude when I did meet him :/) trying to intervene just makes things super awkward...

  • 01-14-2013 7:38 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,406

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. H...

    You probably have a perfectly valid oral m.t.m lease under ny law ..and if there was no prohibition against dog in it



  • 01-14-2013 8:01 PM In reply to

    • cmiles3
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 01-14-2013
    • NY
    • Posts 3

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. H...

    Ok. We'll use every diplomatic capability in our power to negotiate SOMETHING...ugghhhh 

    Thanks guys :) 

  • 01-15-2013 8:16 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,406

    Re: Absentee landlords, month-to-month tenant...and a dog. H...

    There is nothing in any equation so far to negioate --why open a can of worms and invite a rent increase....



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