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Eolith 05-03-2013 01:35 AM

Can my landlord do this?
 
My roommates and I have a lease that goes until the end of August. Our duplex has a garage. Our landlord has decided that he wants to convert the garage into additional living space for the renters next year. So he wants to have the remodel done while we are still living in the duplex.

This is a problem:
-- We use the garage for storage, including a chest freezer and several shelves... all of which would have to be moved out/around to accomodate the remodel.
-- While the work is being completed, we won't be able to park our cars in the garage or on the driveway. We'll have to park on the street.
-- Our washer and dryer are in the garage. We'll have to contend with the construction to do laundry
-- We sometimes use the garage for working out, completing crafts, etc

My question is, can our landlord legally force us to allow him to deprive us of the facilities that our lease gives us the use of? Can he force us to allow him to turn the lower half of our living area into a construction zone, and still expect us to pay full rent?

Any advice or help with locating legal information that might pertain to this would be much appreciated.

franknbeans 05-03-2013 03:45 AM

Depends on the wording of your lease. You might want legal advice.

Saddlebag 05-03-2013 07:11 AM

Call the city and see if he can legally convert a garage to an apartment. If the use of the garage is in your lease, then no, he can't just take it over. If in the lease and he starts moving it out and off property charge him with theft.

kitten_Val 05-03-2013 10:07 AM

What does your lease say? And I very much agree with Saddlebag in some states it IS required to have an approval from the local government to change something like garage into the apartment (or build an addition on property). I'd definitely give a call to the county office and check on that.

Eolith 05-03-2013 10:16 AM

Thanks for the tips. I've been exploring my options. I did some research and it looks like he does need a building permit from the city to do this, which I sort of doubt he actually has given that he spontaneously decided that this would be a great idea about a week or two ago.

I will also be looking over the local landlord/tenant laws in more detail. If he is going to try to make my life miserable, I'm going to try to make his life miserable right back. :twisted:

Darrin 05-03-2013 11:44 AM

By the laws in my state, he's in the wrong every which way you can think of as nothing he's trying to do would be legal. That said, hope you are prepared to move at the end of your lease.

franknbeans 05-03-2013 02:48 PM

If you call your jurisdiction (usually the town) and report him they can put a "stop work order" in place if he indeed starts building something that requires a permit without one. By the time he gets through that red tape-chances are your lease will be up.

I would suggest looking for a new place. Soon.

Faceman 05-03-2013 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by franknbeans (Post 2416394)
Depends on the wording of your lease. You might want legal advice.

Yeah, it appears rather simple to me...if the lease includes the garage, he can't do it. If it doesn't include the garage, he can do it, provided he obtains the necessary permits.

It is a duplex, though. I can't imagine a duplex where the garage isn't included in the lease. The legal description will the key, though. The only way I think a garage would not be included is if the legal description of the property being leased was a metes and bounds description that did not include the garage...

Saddlebag 05-03-2013 05:06 PM

Since it's a duplex, there are neighbors on either side. He won't get the permit because the zoning would have to be changed to commercial and that won't happen for that situation. Perhaps his plan was to not get the permits and do this on the sly. In one city the city has an inspector who checks garages. Serious fines if one looks like someone might be sleeping there. He has to have a building permit even if he makes improvements to the garage, based on how much it will be worth at the end of the year. Then his taxes will go up accordingly.

Darrin 05-03-2013 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Saddlebag (Post 2420618)
Since it's a duplex, there are neighbors on either side. He won't get the permit because the zoning would have to be changed to commercial and that won't happen for that situation. Perhaps his plan was to not get the permits and do this on the sly. In one city the city has an inspector who checks garages. Serious fines if one looks like someone might be sleeping there. He has to have a building permit even if he makes improvements to the garage, based on how much it will be worth at the end of the year. Then his taxes will go up accordingly.

Agencies/inspectors are generally complaint driven, if no one complains about that apartment garage it doesn't exist. Only people who are generally harassed are those who live on a regular route of said inspector. My parents have this problem, county tax inspector drives by their house everyday on the way to work. They can't lift a hammer without the guy checking the place out for improvements.


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