Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contractors?

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Latest post Tue, Aug 23 2016 11:26 AM by ca19lawyer2. 12 replies.
  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 9:42 AM

    • Txgeekmom
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    Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contractors?

    Our landlord hires "handymen" to come fix whatever needs to be fixed in the home.

    First of all, he sets the times up to be inconvienent for me. I run a home business but he thinks that means I am here to answer questions and supervise these guys. There have been so many issues in the last 2 years that I have been accommodating about but I just really don't have the patience or time anymore.

    Second, the guys he hires are not fluent in English and are not licensed or bonded, so it makes me nervous to be here alone when they come in.

    I know I am required to provide access, but can I stipulate that the owner/landlord has to come to the house and supervise these guys himself?

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 10:29 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contractors?

    You can ASK that the landlord come and supervise, but the landlord is free to decline your request.  In most cases, it would be pointless, and the only result would be to have someone standing around doing nothing.  I also don't really understand your comment that the lack of a license/bond (which are not required under Texas law) and the lack of fluency in English make you "nervous" to be present while the workers are there.  In any event, it seems like you might want to look into finding a new place to live that doesn't have "so many issues."

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 10:38 AM In reply to

    • Txgeekmom
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    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    So when these people come and are asking me in broken English what needs to be done, I have to take my time to make sure the job gets done?

    And since you are not a woman home alone, I suppose you don't understand the need for a background check to make sure that who is coming into your home does not have a criminal record, or anything else that would show up being licensed or bonded.

    Being snippy doesn't help, so if that's why lawyers are on this site to berate people asking simple questions maybe I should be asking elsewhere.

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 12:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Txgeekmom:
    So when these people come and are asking me in broken English what needs to be done, I have to take my time to make sure the job gets done?

    No, you don’t have to do that. But then the job might not get done right, you'd end up contacting the landlord about that, and then they'd be back again to attempt to do right, which means even more interruption for you. But that's up to you to do. You may, of course, discuss your concerns with your landlord, and I would encourage you to do just that. But there is no law that imposes a requirement that the landlord himself must be there or that permits you to impose such a requirement. Any such requirement would need to be in the lease. Absent such a lease provision the landlord may simply hire the contractor and send in the contractor in by himself to do the work that is needed to be done.

    Txgeekmom:
    And since you are not a woman home alone, I suppose you don't understand the need for a background check to make sure that who is coming into your home does not have a criminal record, or anything else that would show up being licensed or bonded.

    First, understand that in Texas persons doing general repair work (handymen/handywomen) are not licensed by the state to begin with. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) regulates many professions and occupations in Texas, including those that involve particular aspects of construction, like electricians. You can find the list of regulated professions here: TDLR regulated professions. The TDLR does not regulate certain very highly regulated professions that instead have their own separate licensing bodies, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and most other medical professionals; attorneys; architects; and certified public accountants. But there is no separate regulatory agency for home contractors. So, if there is no requirement for a person to be licensed for the particular type of work being done (and most general repair other than electricial work does not require a license in Texas) then those people naturally aren’t going to have a license because there simply isn't one to get.

    Second, most handymen are not going to be bonded, and bonding is no assurance that the person doing the work isn't going to be violent. No bonds are required by the state though some cities require what is known as a contractor's bond. Those bonds are protection against negligent work and fraud.  It does not protect against everything. So being bonded is not quite the assurance you seem to believe it to be. Bonded or not, the vast majority of people doing home repair/construction work are not violent and there is no way to tell ahead time which person might be one of the few who are.

    Finally, the statement you made was “Second, the guys he hires are not fluent in English and are not licensed or bonded, so it makes me nervous to be here alone when they come in.” Whether you intended it or not, it comes across as a bit racially biased, implying that somehow guys whose first language is something other than English are somehow less trustworthy and more violent than those who are native English speakers. The fact is that race, national origin, or language has little to do with whether a person is likely to be violent.

    I do not mean to suggest that your fears of being alone in your place when strangers are there doing work are completely unfounded. But as bonding and licensing are not required for most occupations/professions in Texas you cannot insist on that to get the comfort you are looking for. And insistence on a fluent English speaker is not only irrational in terms of safety, it also risks the landlord potentially violating federal and state laws against illegal discrimination.

    Your concerns about how much supervision and input from you that these guys need is legitimate. You should not have to be the one telling them what to do. That's not your job and would be aggravating to be sure. That's the discussion to have with your landlord: ask him to get contractors who can do the needed work without having to pester you with questions about what they should be doing.

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 2:44 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Txgeekmom:
    So when these people come and are asking me in broken English what needs to be done, I have to take my time to make sure the job gets done?

    Have to?  No.  You're free to ignore them or say, "no habla espanol" and see what happens.  I guess it all depends on how much you want the work done.

     

    Txgeekmom:
    And since you are not a woman home alone, I suppose you don't understand the need for a background check to make sure that who is coming into your home does not have a criminal record, or anything else that would show up being licensed or bonded.

    Please don't be silly.  First of all, you have no clue what my gender is (just as I did not know your gender when I responded previously) or when/whether I am "home alone."  Second, I doubt very much you have ever run a "background check" on people you have invited into your home.

     

    Txgeekmom:
    Being snippy doesn't help, so if that's why lawyers are on this site to berate people asking simple questions maybe I should be asking elsewhere.

    I guess you're one of those folks who only wants a particular response.  In your case, I assume that you only wanted a response along the lines of "Darn right you can stipulate that the owner/landlord has to come to the house and supervise these guys himself!  You go girl!"  Of course, that wouldn't be true, so I don't think such a response would have been particularly useful.

    I answered your question clearly and directly:  "You can ASK that the landlord come and supervise, but the landlord is free to decline your request."  Sorry if that's not the response you were hoping for, but it's true and correct.

    My second comment (that it would be pointless for the landlord to supervise) seemed rather germane since you seemed concerned about being disrupted while you were working at home, and the disruption level is naturally going to increase with the number of persons present, particularly if one of them is basically just standing around doing nothing.

    My third comment was an expression of genuine uncertaintly.  YOU certainly didn't explain why having unbonded/unlicensed/non-English speaking persons made you "nervous."  Should I have guessed?  Should I have assumed that you're racist and think non-English speaking persons are more likely to be criminals than those who are fluent?  You have no suggested that a "background check" is important to you, but why do you think a contractor who is licensed or bonded will have had a "background check" run on him/her?

    My fourth/final comment seemed like a perfectly reasonable suggestion.  You seem unhappy with your landlord, and being able to move when that happens is one of the benefits of renting instead of owning.

    You're welcome.

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 5:24 PM In reply to

    • Txgeekmom
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    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Taxagent-Thank you for taking the time to answer my question in a professional way. I appreciate it. I didn't realize that Tx only regulates certain professions. Good to know. I had been using that as a barometer for trustworthy contractors and figured if someone worked for a large company, that they had background checks.

    Everyone seems to go right to being racist when you mention something negative about a particular group. Maybe I should have clarifiied. Being someone not licensed or not having a background check PLUS not being able to communicate with this guy at all (not just me, my husband was home today and had NO idea what the guy was here for)makes me uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable around people that I cannot converse with. People can take what they want from that I suppose.

    However, him being sent here on several occasions and NOT knowing what he was here to do at all, and my having to try to communicate with him to get anything accomplished is frustrating. The owner is able to speak with him, I am not. So if he were fluent in English, no matter what the race or nationality, work would get done. I personally don't care where the contractor is from, I just want the job accomplished without my having to supervise the guy every step of the way. That is why I asked if the owner could be made to handle the contractors. My time is limited and just because I work from home, does not mean I am available.

    And that is what my question was about initially. So I cannot insist the owner handle these guys, even though I can't communicate with them?

    Thank you for your time and professionalism.

  • Thu, Aug 18 2016 6:10 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,417

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    The handyman could speak fluent English and have a college degree from a high cost private college ...and still not have a clue as to the repairs required because LL gave lousy instructions  .....adapt and coach the worker get the repairs done ....the other options seem to be anti getting the work done ... You often get better results with sugar than with salt .....



  • Fri, Aug 19 2016 8:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Taxagent:
    bonding is no assurance that the person doing the work isn't going to be violent.

    Exactly.  While companies that issue bonds run credit checks on persons seeking to be bonded, they do not do any other form of "background check" (unless the person is seeking some sort of unusual bond for which such a check would be relevant, which certainly isn't the case for contractors' bonds).

  • Fri, Aug 19 2016 8:43 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Txgeekmom:
    Everyone seems to go right to being racist when you mention something negative about a particular group. Maybe I should have clarifiied. Being someone not licensed or not having a background check PLUS not being able to communicate with this guy at all (not just me, my husband was home today and had NO idea what the guy was here for)makes me uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable around people that I cannot converse with. People can take what they want from that I suppose.

    The reason it came across as being racist is because you equated the lack of English language ability as being relevant to the propensity for violent crime.  There's nothing unusual or racist about being around people with whom you can't communicate well, but there's no reason to think criminal activity is any more likely in such a situation.

     

    Txgeekmom:
    I cannot insist the owner handle these guys, even though I can't communicate with them?

    Obviously, if it is necessary for you to communcate with the person and such communication is impossible, then the work isn't going to get done.  You can't force that to change, and, if your landlord refuses to do anything different, then it seems to me that moving would be the smart thing to do.

  • Fri, Aug 19 2016 8:43 AM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    Txgeekmom:
    Everyone seems to go right to being racist when you mention something negative about a particular group. Maybe I should have clarifiied. Being someone not licensed or not having a background check PLUS not being able to communicate with this guy at all (not just me, my husband was home today and had NO idea what the guy was here for)makes me uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable around people that I cannot converse with. People can take what they want from that I suppose.

    The reason it came across as being racist is because you equated the lack of English language ability as being relevant to the propensity for violent crime.  There's nothing unusual or racist about being around people with whom you can't communicate well, but there's no reason to think criminal activity is any more likely in such a situation.

     

    Txgeekmom:
    I cannot insist the owner handle these guys, even though I can't communicate with them?

    Obviously, if it is necessary for you to communcate with the person and such communication is impossible, then the work isn't going to get done.  You can't force that to change, and, if your landlord refuses to do anything different, then it seems to me that moving would be the smart thing to do.

  • Sun, Aug 21 2016 7:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    In some cases the landlord needs to be there to look at the progress of the work. Legally idk of he is required to be there but why would he not? You should contact a Lawyers NY just to be sure.

  • Sun, Aug 21 2016 8:33 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Sat, Dec 9 2000
    • NV
    • Posts 5,468

    Re: Can I stipulate the landlord has to manage his contracto...

    That unsolicited referral to NY is useless, since the poster is clearly not in New York, but Texas where the laws are vastly different.  Besides, solicitation is against the rules of this site.

  • Tue, Aug 23 2016 11:26 AM In reply to

    Idiot spammer

    Don't you think it would be more than pointless for the OP, who has identified herself as being in Texas, to contact a law firm in New York/New Jersey -- especially when that law firm doesn't list landlord-tenant matters on its web site as one of its areas of practice?  It would be pretty stupid in my opinion.  I wonder what these attorneys would think if they were aware of your effort to schill their practice in this way.

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