Need Advice About Tenant Issues And To Avoid A Rent Hike Due To Needing....

@pyewacket (43962)
United States
July 3, 2009 10:50pm CST
.....New appliances. I'm going to be busy for awhile doing some legal smeagal searching about how to avoid any kind of rent hike if one needs new appliances. My grandmother, mother and I moved here in this apartment in 1961--therefore my apartment is still considered rent controlled NOT stabilized. Some thirty years ago, we had a new sink, stove, and refrigerator installed and of course with each new "appliance" a sharp raise in rent was made. Then some thirteen years ago, got another new replacement refrigerator--again a rent hike. But back then, a raise in rent was no problem as my mother was still alive and working full time. It was around thirteen years ago, that I started my SSI benefits...so still no problem about any raise in rent. Well now I'm on my own, still get my SSI benefits and have a major hiccup here...I NEED new appliances...all of them...new sink (which looks like crap and practically falling apart), new stove, and yes, new refrigerator. I once asked my jerk of a super how much it would be for me to get new appliances and he said each appliance would be an additional $30.00 a month at LEAST in rent, meaning about near or more than $100.00 more in rent. On my SSI benefits there is no way I could handle such a raise in rent, so was wondering if there is a legal angle where someone like me on benefits could get new appliances WITHOUT a raise in rent...these aren't "luxury" items but needed items. Since I pay rather low rent to begin with my landlord would just LOVE any excuse to raise my rent I'm looking at different tenant rights and NYC housing sites to see if I can get answers but I thought I'd pick on fellow MyLotter brains here if they would know the answer or had the same experience.
8 people like this
16 responses
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Wow drawing a blank on the legal end of it - seems like if they've done it in the past though they could do it again. How about SSI do they assign caseworkers or something that could give you some guidence or even provide some legal help... Have another thought but going to pm you...
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Thanks for the PM idea...I'm going to make a listing of everyone I can possibly contact about all this..heck I might even contact that congressman again who helped me when I was having my SSI benefits issue...one never knows, right?
2 people like this
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
5 Jul 09
LOL - I remember when you were going through that, not laughing at the situation but at how impressed I was with your persistance, I wish I had half of what you do in that department. I always 'give up the fight' - if you don't get some help I certainly would say go for the congressman.
2 people like this
@savak03 (6688)
• United States
4 Jul 09
I guess I didn't fully understand what rent control meant. I was under the impression that they couldn't raise your rent no matter what. I don't think I've ever lived in a place where my rent was raised because some repairs had to be done. And I do believe that replacing worn out appliances falls under the category of repair.
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Mine is considered the only rent controlled apt since I've lived here so long...anyone moving in after around the 1970s was/is considered rent stabelized. Nope every time we did have new appliances installed the landlord raised the rent--and was perfectly legal for him to do that...uh, I think? For the usual repairs nope don't have to pay anything though my dumbazz super expects a "tip" if he changes a faucet, etc--sheesh
3 people like this
@Aurone (4758)
• United States
4 Jul 09
a tip? Are you serious? I have never had my rent raised either when needing repairs and if the apartment was supposed to come with those appliances I would think fixing them or replacing them would fall under normal repairs as well.
3 people like this
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Hi there Pye, The rules are different everywhere but this one seems really wrong somehow. Like ok...you get a new refrig...so he raises your rent 30.00 per month...and then when it is paid off...does your rent go down? Seriously, I've lived in a lot of places and if the lease states that appliances are included then it is up to the landlord to keep the appliances up to par.With your rent hikes for each appliance you've probably paid for many appliances that you'll never see! I think you've been to kind and abiding to this landlord. I would check with your local housing authorities to find out just what the laws are where you are and tell them your story. If it is not stated in writing that your rent will increase with each appliance that you need then I am almost positive that you can't be held responsible for paying for these appliances. It's called...normal wear & tear. I really think that anyone could get these appliances replaced without a raise in rent let alone someone on SSI. You are literally paying for appliances that are supposed to come with the apt. They are not your appliances. If you move tomorrow do you really think he'd allow you to take any of them with you? this is just wrong!
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Well as you said each state and even city has it's own "rules and regualtions" about tenant/landlord issues...I'm going to be doing a LOT of "fun" reading about all this over the weekend--but so far what I've read a landlord DOES have the right to raise rent when getting new appliances....and nope...in the past when we did get new appliances the rent did NOT go down after it was "paid" for I'll have to dig up the lease too to see if it says anything about rent hikes. I do remember our rents in the building going up when he had replacement storm windows installed some twenty years ago..and NONE of us tenants even asked for this "service"
2 people like this
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
4 Jul 09
That's odd. Here, where I am, appliances are included in the rent because I rented it with "appliances included"...the landlords responsibility to provide them. Now heat is included here as well and our rent can go up when the heating costs increase. Interesting topic, Pye. I'm curious to see the responses.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Naturally when my grandmother, mother and I moved into this apartment way back in 1961 yes, all the appliances were included with the rent--but over the years whenever we needed a new refrigerator, and then later on stove and sink, the landlord charged and tacked it onto the rent...I have a lot of reading to do, including trying to find the original lease and what it says....of course my landlord is a "smuck" and tends to makes his own rules and could very well be illegal
3 people like this
@reinydawn (11651)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Wow, I have absolutely no clue... I deal with leases sometimes, but not alot. It does strike me as odd that he can arbitrarily increase your rent because of something you have no control over. I mean, he's getting rent every month and that's for all the expenses... Including the upkeep and maintenance. I could understand if you wanted an UPGRADED fridge or something, but I was under the impression he has to provide working appliances... What does your lease say about it? That would be the first place to look...
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
I'm going to have to dig up the lease and other papers to see what it says. You see the thing in the back of my mind though is that my rent is relatively low, lower than the other tenants since I've been here so long..so he would probably love any excuse to raise my rent
3 people like this
@reinydawn (11651)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Oh, I believe it! Anything to get more money outta ya. But he's got to stay within his limits...
2 people like this
• United States
4 Jul 09
Hi Pye. Is it possible to slowly replace these items yourself to keep your rent from rising? Place's like Habitat for Humanity have store's that sell donated home improvement items at a low price.Also check Craigslist( sometimes you an find a lot of good free stuff here).Also some local mom and pop appliance store's sell refurbished appliances that are a lot cheaper then buying them brand new.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
4 Jul 09
My SSI benefits are very low cassandralynn...buying even at low price would be out of the question....also even if I could buy...who would install? I would need say the gas company I think to take out the old and install a stove and even they might charge????
2 people like this
@baileycows (3669)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Well as a owner of several rental properties. He only has to replace them if they are not useable or broken or causing damage. If you just want it for pretties then no he can replace it with a charge. However the landlord has to keep the property up to par such as nothing can be dangerous about any of it or if it is not working correctly he can not fix it and charge you for it. This is our job. I am sorry that he is wanting to raise the rent like this. We try to keep our appliances new and fresh. I know he is wanting to make money but my goodness people want decent homes. When me and my husband got into the rental business the first thing I told him is that i didnt want to be a "Slumlord" as we call them.
2 people like this
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
4 Jul 09
i don't really know about the rule in your place about renting... but over here, if something is broken and we asked the landlord to fix or replace it, it is at the landlord's expense and the tenant doesn't have to pay for anything... about increasing the rent price, over here the landlord has the right to increase the price once the contract is over... so usually the price is fixed for one year... and then the landlord has the right to increase it if we choose to renew the contract for another year... good luck with your searching pye... i hope everything will went well for you... take care and have a nice day...
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Well I never get charged for any "repairs" such as having a faucet fixed, unclogging drains or stuff like that but I do remember years and years ago the landlord did slap us with a rent increase when we got new appliances long time ago
2 people like this
@jerzgirl (7805)
• Gloucester City, New Jersey
4 Jul 09
Although this is related to stabilized units rather than controlled, I suspect the rules are similar. And, it seems imminently unfair to hike the rent to replace mandatory equipment in a unit. But, it does appear that it's permissible. You might, however, be able to use the increase percentage limitation, if it applies to controlled units. You could probably call these people to see what differences there are between the two types of rentals. Good luck. http://www.sbls.org/index.php?id=85
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
You're right from what I'm reading from that link it does seem my landlord can increase the rent for new appliances...next week there are going to be a LOT of places I plan to contact..heck I might even contact my Congressman again like I did when I had my benefits problem in 2007--couldn't hurt...LOL
2 people like this
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
4 Jul 09
If you have never submitted a request to Modest Needs you should consider it. It takes a bit of time and paperwork, but could be well worth it for you. Here is an INFORMATION ONLY link for you to check them out http://www.modestneeds.org/help/grants/ If that doesn't work out, you'd be better off using a finance company to get the appliances you need. The payments would probably be lower, and at least they would stop once paid for, unlike your rent. Many appliance companies have what is called, 'Dent and Ding' specials with new appliances with slight damages. These damages wouldn't affect the use or expected lifetime of the items, they're usually small scratches or dents in the panels...and at substantial savings. You also might get away with a used stove. I wouldn't consider a used refrigerator if you can help it. They frequently come with free pests. Is there a United Way there? Call them. While they don't give grants to individuals, they would be able to refer you to whatever organization they fund that might be able to assist. Hope these ideas help.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Thanks catdla1---I'm making a listing of everyone's suggestions of whom to contact and keeping it a folder in my email..LOL I'll read up on the Modest Needs thing and give it a go. As far as a financing thing that's completely out--by the time I pay my bills from my SSI money I have about $20 left for the whole month which is why I supplement my income by writing articles--I'm stuck with a credit card debt due the fiasco my lovely electric company caused me last year...grrrr. from April to October they did these estimated bills and were WAY off what I should have been paying...it took months to settle that and only after contacting a judge from the Public Service Commission...the result I didn't have to pay an electric bill for about three months..that's how much they over-charged me...BUT the only way I was able to pay the friggin bills in the first place was by taking cash advances from my credit card...Lovely
2 people like this
@Aurone (4758)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Sorry, I can't help you out on this one. I don't know anything about Renter's rights. I just assumed we didn't have any.
2 people like this
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
5 Jul 09
SOme place naturally have a raise in rent once a year. Never heard of being charge for replcement of thing in the apartment that need to be in place if you moved out and they wanted to rent again! It sounds illegale what he is doing to charge more for upkeep of teh apartments
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
6 Jul 09
What can I say? My landlord is a smuck...LOL
@Lakota12 (42794)
• United States
6 Jul 09
Sounds like it!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jul 09
Pye- This is what I came up with on a quick search. I hope you can find some answers in them, and get some help. It doesn't seem fair or right that they would charge you to replace old appliances. Though, that said, I can't get them to fix ours-they keep making excuses so that they don't have to replace them even though they constantly break down. I would definately write a letter of complaint to the States Attorney General, or even give them a phone call to ask them directly what your rights are, and if your landlord is within legal rights to do this. Being that working appliances are sort of standard issue with apartments. Namaste-Anora The following are not referral links, they are links to NYC housing tenant rights: http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/attygenguide.html http://nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/tenants/tenantsrights.shtml http://www.oag.state.ny.us/bureaus/real_estate_finance/pdfs/tenants_rights_guide.pdf http://www.tenant.net/nyc.html
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
Wow--thanks for all those links Anora...will take me awhile to read them all...lets just say I'm going to be busy for awhile...LOL. One person I was thinking of contacting was my local congressman in which a representative helped me when I had a major problem in 2007--couldn't hurt...
2 people like this
@Hatley (157732)
• Garden Grove, California
6 Aug 09
pye I should have thought of your local congressman or woman, we had a problem rental wise once and we contacted our congressman, and he did help us, so try that also and good luck hope something works. you need decent appliances and modern ones usually are energy friendly tell your mean super that too.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (157732)
• Garden Grove, California
6 Aug 09
pyewacket do you have a fair housing bureau in your city? Here in Southern california there are fair housing bureaus that you can go to protest things just like the situation you are in. this sounds so unfair and surely your jerk of a super must realize that on ssi, like you and me both,you dont have a lot of funds to work with. why should he hoist the rent as surely new appliances would be more energy friendly and ultimately cost your super or his managers less in electric bills.sureley NY C has fair housing bureaus, be sure to look into it. a long time back we had a problem with water coming down from the apt. above into our bathroom walls and since the landlord wouldnt help we called the fair housing people and they made the owner have the leak repaired. of course a few months later the landlord uped the rent so we just moved out but surely there are some places that could help you. good luck and hope you can get it straightened out. love hatley here.I am also on ssi
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
6 Aug 09
I only just got around contacting some of the Housing organizations in my area last night via email...and got some responses already--it seems it IS within the landlords right to raise rent when getting new appliances and charge/raise rent--I'm still pursuing it from other angles though--I even emailed my Congressman here to see if there are any loopholes when it comes to people on SSI but haven't heard from him or a representative yet My landlord would probably just LOVE to raise my rent in anyway possible as I pay very little in comparison since I've lived here for so long (48 years)
@TheCatLady (4696)
• Israel
5 Jul 09
It would be cheaper if you would just buy your own appliances. Buy them one at a time. You could have a new one each year and they would be yours for about what you would pay in increased rent for a few years. It would be cheaper in the long run.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
How can I buy my own appliances??? Being on SSI benefits doesn't allow things for this expense...by the time I pay my bills I have about $20 left for the whole month...one of the reasons I try to earn extra money via writing articles...if I also didn't get food stamps I'd be starving here...
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
4 Jul 09
Hey pye! I have the same problem where I live! My landlord wants to charge for every new appliance that they have to replace! And I just don't think that is fair! The apartment comes with the items and the apartment is over 60 years old! I have lived in it for 29 years and things wear out in that amount of time! When the refrigerator that came with the apartment broke and they wanted to charge me for a new one I bought my own! Now the one I bought is breaking and I can't afford to buy one so I told them I want them to give me and I'm not paying for it! They said the would give me one, but not a new one! If they give me a new one they will add it to my rent per month for as long as I live here! That makes no sense because what if I lived here longer than it takes to pay for the refrigerator? This doesn't seem fair! As you said, these are not luxury items, they are necessities! A stove, sink, oven comes with the apartment and if they need to be replaced shouldn't be charged to the tenant that is a renter!
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
LOL--we don't have the same landlord do we? I take it yours is a smuck too...heehee. My apartment was built around the 1930s, so a real old-timer..we moved in here in 1961, so I've been here 48 years..sheesh
1 person likes this
@BarBaraPrz (17306)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
4 Jul 09
Can you get any help from SSI? (I'm not sure how they work.) If there's a way, I know you will find it. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
5 Jul 09
I don't know so much about SSI but the thought came to me that maybe I should contact that congressman again who helped me in 2007--one never knows, do one?
2 people like this