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  #1  
Old 01-31-2011, 06:47 AM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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What responsibility does a tenant have to allow "open houses" to facilitate a sale?

If a landlord decides he'd like to sell a condominium that is currently being rented out, to what degree can that impose on the tenant? Is the reasonable/fair, for the landlord to have a realtor hold open houses? For that matter, is it reasonable that he have realtors take people through the house while it is occupied at all? On the one hand, it seems reasonable, in that people have to see the place before it can be sold. On the other hand, it can be an imposition on the tenant, having to always have the apartment in a condition to be shown, and to be out when there is an open house. And why should the tenant be inconvenienced at all?

Also, if there is an open house and something is stolen, is the landlord responsible? The realtor?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2011, 07:42 AM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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It would depend on where the condo is located. Tenant law in the US varies from state to state and can vary by city. That said, the lease contract may have a clause or two that address this.

For what it's worth, I've had landlords show my former apartments while I was away, and there was one time that I got a polite not asking if I would be willing to clean up the place, which I thought was a fair request (Ok, it was a mess.)

If I was a landlord, I'd think twice about holding an open house since I would be depending on so many variables that are out of my control: the condo might be a mess; the tenant might be home and possibly cooking entertaining friends or taking a shower, and there's the risk of thefts that you mentioned, to name just a few.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:49 AM
psychonaut psychonaut is offline
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It depends not just on the law but on the tenancy agreement, which may impose additional conditions on the tenant or landlord (where such conditions don't conflict with the law).

For example, in my jurisdiction landlords are not permitted to enter the tenanted property at all, including to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers, without prior consent of the tenant. My tenancy agreement includes some clauses automatically granting the landlord such consent; I don't remember the exact terms, but I seem to remember it's something like "The tenant shall permit the landlord to show the property to prospective tenants in the last month of tenancy on 24 hours' notice."
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:52 AM
magellan01 magellan01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornflakes View Post
It would depend on where the condo is located. Tenant law in the US varies from state to state and can vary by city. That said, the lease contract may have a clause or two that address this.

For what it's worth, I've had landlords show my former apartments while I was away, and there was one time that I got a polite not asking if I would be willing to clean up the place, which I thought was a fair request (Ok, it was a mess.)

If I was a landlord, I'd think twice about holding an open house since I would be depending on so many variables that are out of my control: the condo might be a mess; the tenant might be home and possibly cooking entertaining friends or taking a shower, and there's the risk of thefts that you mentioned, to name just a few.
Do you know if the law is citywide or statewide. For instance, I'm in San Francisco, so is it a SF law I'm looking for or a CA one?
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:42 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Probably CA (state) but I'd start by checking the lease agreement - I've never seen one that didn't address this issue in advance. (Mine have always had the 24-hour notice that psychonaut mentioned.)
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:07 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychonaut View Post
It depends not just on the law but on the tenancy agreement, which may impose additional conditions on the tenant or landlord (where such conditions don't conflict with the law).

For example, in my jurisdiction landlords are not permitted to enter the tenanted property at all, including to show the property to prospective tenants or buyers, without prior consent of the tenant. My tenancy agreement includes some clauses automatically granting the landlord such consent; I don't remember the exact terms, but I seem to remember it's something like "The tenant shall permit the landlord to show the property to prospective tenants in the last month of tenancy on 24 hours' notice."
Last time it happened to me, I luckily refused to leave the flat while it was shown. At the time I had a decent art and artifact collection. I had to stop a viewer from stubbing out a cigarette in an anasazi bowl that was on a decorative shelf near the front door. [I had one of those cute little signs thank you for not smoking thumbtacked to my front door, I had just gotten over a bad round of pneumonia and was oversensitive to smoke at the time. There was one of those sand ashtrays in the hallway by the elevator]

You would think something that did not resemble an ashtray in any way shape or form, with a collection of other pieces of art and antiquities might *not* be for use as an ashtray?

I had words with the rental person about that. They stopped showing the place, and I got out a week early. Luckily I gave myself 2 weeks to pack and move. They hadn't realized that I actually had something other than new garbage in my apartment and didn't want to have the liability issue of people wandering through a place filled with antiques and theftables.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:26 PM
Roderick Femm Roderick Femm is offline
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When we were looking to buy a house in San Francisco several years ago, we went to a number of open houses where there were renters. In almost all cases, the renters were in the house at the time. They apparently knew in advance there was going to be an open house, and generally nothing was especially cleaned up or, og-forbid, "staged" to look good. Many of these tenants appeared to be attempting to sabotage the sale - they might be cooking something very odorous, or something like that. Anyway, it was always very awkward going through a house while the people living in it were still there.

This was in the boom times, so sellers assumed that us folks looking at these houses would be willing to look beyond these issues and imagine what we could do with the place if it was only ours.

Tenants' legal rights are so strong here that we stopped looking at rented places; apparently if we bought the house we might not even be able to evict the tenants even if we wanted to live there ourselves. At the least it would take months to get them out, if they didn't want to leave.


Roddy
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2011, 04:13 PM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan01 View Post
Do you know if the law is citywide or statewide. For instance, I'm in San Francisco, so is it a SF law I'm looking for or a CA one?
I have no idea about San Francisco. I do know that New York City has laws that go beyond New York state law, and San Francisco may do this as well.

You might want to contact the San Francisco Tenants Union. There might be other organizations as well, or you may want to ask someone with the city (Does anyone know how these things are handled in San Francisco?)
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:41 PM
UncleFred UncleFred is offline
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Rental agreements I have seen here in MA give the owner 'reasonable' access to the property for purposes of showing to prospective renters, maintenance, inspection (to make sure the property is not being abused), and several other things. I don't know how much of that is by state law or just private contract.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:22 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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In WA, a landlord has the right to show a property, provided that the times and frequency are "reasonable." (In essence, that the landlord isn't harassing tenants by showing it at 3 am or 10 times a day.)

If the tenant is not present or does not give consent, 24 hours' notice must be given in writing.

When I was an apartment manager, I would prefer showing an empty unit whenever possible. Even if all the empties were 1 bedroom and the prospective tenant wanted 2 bedrooms, I'd start by showing them the 1 bed. I wanted to make sure they knew the apartments would be clean and in good repair when they got it.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:42 AM
Parenchyma Parenchyma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleFred View Post
Rental agreements I have seen here in MA give the owner 'reasonable' access to the property for purposes of showing to prospective renters, maintenance, inspection (to make sure the property is not being abused), and several other things. I don't know how much of that is by state law or just private contract.
I've been the tenant in properties on the market and learned the hard way that even the nicest real estate agents here believe that reasonable access means "anytime". They were supposed to call before visiting and get a response from us that it was okay before bringing someone in. But that didn't matter if the prospective buyer said "Right now is the time I need to view this property." I have been walked in on in my bedroom while asleep (in the nude) by a broker with a couple of prospects; she felt she had to come right over without a phone call. They just can't bear the thought of losing a sale by wasting a minute to make a phone call.

I also have had stuff stolen by prospects. You really need to put everything away, especially small pocketable stuff. People are left unsupervised (the agent is often in another room or downstairs on the phone) and they can't resist. I didn't care that much about having my place spotless for buyers, but I did have anxiety when I was not at home, wondering if I had remembered to hide away things like my camera, CDs, jewelry, trinkets-- really any crap that they could walk away with.

Last edited by Parenchyma; 02-01-2011 at 08:44 AM..
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