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Trembicky.com: Bad Landlord Tales
January 26, 2006 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Bad Landlords, across the US Recently, the tale of Gloria Trembicky, bad landlord extraordinaire made its way around blogs. The author got enough emails of other bad landlord stories, he's now collecting them at Trembicky.com. Send in your own stories of woe, to help out future renters in your area (and entertain those of us no longer renting).
posted by davebug (27 comments total)

 
Previously.
posted by ND¢ at 10:44 AM on January 26, 2006


But I suppose you already knew that.
posted by ND¢ at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2006


[just added the link into the post, seems like an okay update on the previous one]
posted by mathowie at 10:46 AM on January 26, 2006


No more drinking at lunch for me.
posted by ND¢ at 10:46 AM on January 26, 2006


"Not too long ago, our founder put this page up on his personal web-log, hoping to warn Brooklyn apartment hunters about his bad Park Slope landlord. The response was surprising. After the page got linked on Metafilter, a bunch of New York bloggers linked to it too, resulting in thousands of hits, emails from other disgruntled tenants, past and present — and a couple emails from renters who'd been burned by other landlords, asking where they could post similar warnings."
posted by ericb at 10:47 AM on January 26, 2006


It amazes me that something like this has not already been put together.

But I'm glad that it is coming together. I hope it goes national because bad landlords really can make your life a living hell.
posted by fenriq at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2006


Having been screwed by unscrupulous landlords in the past, part of me applauds this, but I can't help but think that this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Also, it's been my experience that tenant laws can vary widely from state to state, and generally speaking, few xtenants do very little to educate themselves about their rights and responsibilities within those laws. For example, while a tenant may complain about the fact that the landlord charged him or her an hourly rate to perform some maintenance or repair task, and took it out the security deposit, that might actually be a perfectly legitimate, if it's within reason. There are probably better examples than that, but I think you get my drift.
posted by psmealey at 11:17 AM on January 26, 2006


For example, while a tenant may complain about the fact that the landlord charged him or her an hourly rate to perform some maintenance or repair task, and took it out the security deposit, that might actually be a perfectly legitimate, if it's within reason.

When on earth would that be acceptable without gross negligence or vandalism on the part of the tenant?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:30 AM on January 26, 2006


Well, when it's due to gross negligence or vandalims on the part of the tenant.
posted by psmealey at 11:38 AM on January 26, 2006


Not something a tenant would be likely to report when writing on such a blog.
posted by psmealey at 11:38 AM on January 26, 2006


When on earth would that be acceptable without gross negligence or vandalism on the part of the tenant?

Don't you think ordinary negligence would suffice?
posted by Kwantsar at 11:40 AM on January 26, 2006


Probably not. One might call it negligence if, say, the walls got a little dirty because most people wouldn't let that happen to a home they actually owned, but it wouldn't be gross negligence.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:45 AM on January 26, 2006


At University, a friend of mine had the entire floor of his flat crack, and his living room collapsed into the liquor store beneath. His landlady said she would only pay for half the repairs because, quote, "his consistent usage of the floors in his building put weight on the load-bearing beams of the walls and floor and directly contributed to the flat's collapse."
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:58 AM on January 26, 2006


Probably not. One might call it negligence if, say, the walls got a little dirty because most people wouldn't let that happen to a home they actually owned, but it wouldn't be gross negligence.

I'm not trying to pick nits, but I think it's reasonable that the tenant not be responsible for ordinary wear and tear, and (promptly reported) broken fixtures. Anything past that, though, and there ought to be culpability.

Consider this: a tenant has a tub that drips. He doesn't pay the water bill, no big deal. Over the next few weeks, the drip intensifies, and eventually, while the tenant is away from the apartment, the seal gives way completely. There's just enough hair in the drain (the tenant does not use the provided drain filter-- again, ordinary negligence) to cause the tub to overflow, ruining the bathroom floor, and the ceiling below.

Now, I realize that there's an element of he-said/she-said to all of this, but (in my hypothetical) don't you think that the tenant is not grossly negligent, but should still be responsible for the damage his negligence caused?
posted by Kwantsar at 12:05 PM on January 26, 2006


I've used ApartmentRatings.com to both find a new place, and report all the bad experiences from my old one. Wish I'd known about this before. Of course you never know what random idiot is making the review, or whether the landlord is padding their reviews. But I see this trend as being extremly useful.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:15 PM on January 26, 2006


When on earth would that be acceptable without gross negligence or vandalism on the part of the tenant?

Actually, landlord-tenant law in most states provides that tenants can be held responsible for anything above ordinary wear and tear. As long as the per-hour charge is reasonable, that would probably be OK (charging for the time spent to open a bank account = not reasonable).
posted by fochsenhirt at 12:30 PM on January 26, 2006


Okay strike "gross" from my first post then. :)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:57 PM on January 26, 2006


My experience with landlords, when bad, has been that they never bothered to learn anything about their legal obligations as landlords, and that the law is frequently so toothless, slow, and unconcerned that they need never learn. I had a landlord lock me out of an apartment once and keep all my stuff -- in Minneapolis, where doing so is a misdemeanor -- and the police at first refused to show up, when they showed up at first refused to help, and, at my insistence, bullied the landlord into opening the door for me but refused to write up a report.

Sometimes, the only way to make a lardlord behave properly is to shame them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:01 PM on January 26, 2006


I had a landlord lock me out of an apartment once and keep all my stuff -- in Minneapolis, where doing so is a misdemeanor

IANAL, but a friend has something similar happen to him. That is something that's known in legal circles as conversion, it's worse than just a misdemeanor (depending on the value of what's being converted). As a business person, the landlord could get a rico statue slapped on his ass for doing that. The fact that the cops were not willing to help means that they were pretty much ignorant and you should complain about that.

Shame is fine, but if you can pull out the big guns, by using terms like "conversion", "felony" and "RICO" in front of both the cops and the landlord to prevent yourself from being wronged, you should.
posted by psmealey at 1:14 PM on January 26, 2006


Although the site does seem to expose a lot of bad landlords, it also exposes a lot of ignorance on the part of the tenants.

One guy mentioned that the landlord, "...wouldn't pay interest on my deposit, either...". Come on , get real.
posted by JJ86 at 1:24 PM on January 26, 2006


JJ86, in some states landlords are required to pay interest on the deposit. It's the case here in Minnesota, at least, where the legislature just passed a bill that lowered the minimum interest that must be paid and how it's calculated.

I love these stories, though.
posted by Coffeemate at 1:34 PM on January 26, 2006


Many cities/counties in California have the same laws. I believe Canada also requires landlords to pay interest on security deposits.
posted by annaramma at 1:44 PM on January 26, 2006


One guy mentioned that the landlord, "...wouldn't pay interest on my deposit, either...". Come on , get real.

Now that you know that it's the law in some states, do you want to tell us why landlords shouldn't be required to pay interest on deposits?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:45 PM on January 26, 2006


Well if there's a site like this about bad landlords, there should also be one for bad tenants. 'Cause believe me, there are some dillies out there.

annaramma: yes, in Ontario, you're required to pay 6% interest on deposits, which at the moment is 3.5% higher than you can get on a good savings account.
posted by Zinger at 5:56 PM on January 26, 2006


Optimus Chyme: Now that you know that it's the law in some states, do you want to tell us why landlords shouldn't be required to pay interest on deposits?

That is bizarre. I've rented in both Michigan and Wisconsin and know that isn't the case in both. It just seems like a lot of extra problems for the landlord. Interest rates fluctuate quite a bit. Do you agree on an interest rate at the time of signing a lease? Is there a standard rate that is required by law or does it change every quarter?

Wisconsin is one of the best places for tenants to live in because of the strong laws which protect their rights but that is a new one to me.
posted by JJ86 at 6:21 PM on January 26, 2006


You get interest back on your deposit in BC, too. Well, you do if you have an honest landlord.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:05 PM on January 26, 2006


Whenever I've rented here in Jersey, the Landlord has created a savings account in my name that the security deposit was placed into. I earned the interest and received a payout each year, along with a INT-1099.
posted by stew560 at 9:44 PM on January 26, 2006


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