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Old 12-06-2007, 09:14 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by the_bird
I think I'd start with the AG's office.
He's needs to move out - not buy All Grain Equipment. And when did we become so offical that there is a need for an office? Is that why hop and grain prices are going up?

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Old 12-06-2007, 09:20 PM   #32
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..if the landlord/lady is in technical violation, doesn't that mean that our friend here may have to find suitable housing asap, as the appt. would then be deemed unfit..?

You are looking at the hole in the doughnut and not the doughnut itself.
You primates are so predictable.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:25 PM   #33
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I have had several rentals over the years and managed them myself(no prop mgmt company).

Not sure what the rental rights laws are in Maryland, but in Oregon the tenant could basically never pay and thing, wreck the house, kick my dog, etc. and get away scot free.

My only recourse was a) a lawsuit, and then b) report to their credit.

Both options were both more expensive than what the people owed me, who could not pay anyway since they didn't have the resources in the first place.

Just walk away and don't look back. I'd say odds are they'll just forget about it and move on.

There is too much hassle/expense in collecting money from faulty tenants.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:26 PM   #34
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Well it's more about threatening to bring that info to the attention of the authorities. There's no reason he can't ask to renegotiate the lease now since it's impossible to adhear to.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:32 PM   #35
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You may be able to make this a win-win.

Offer that you'll pay a little bit more in rent, but that he needs to amend the lease so that HE is responsible for paying the gas bill, since there's no way for it to be registered to you. If the bill's averaging $100 for your half a month, offer an extra $50 in rent. You don't call an attorney, the AG, or the IRS for his having an improper apartment. You get cheap heat, he stays out of trouble.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:33 PM   #36
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While I think that the lease was poorly worded and executed, it is fair to say that you "owe" some portion of the utilities. I use the word "owe" loosely.

Bobby has a point. If you can negotiate a way to pay some portion that is agreeable so that you can complete your lease AND DOCUMENT THE AGREEMENT. You may find that that is the least costly route both financially and psychologically,
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:40 PM   #37
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Okay, so we've contacted the zoning commission. That was no dice... The zoning in Frederick is designed very clearly to preserve downtown and let everything else be liberal. The lowest density area is a 4 family dwelling - single homes, duplexes and small apartment buildings fit this. So, no luck there. :P

Originally Posted by Donasay
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division has a Mediation Unit
I've called them. The automated system essentially says "File a complaint and in 6 weeks we'll have status here for you". Speaking to a human tells me that answering those questions is beyond the scope of their office.

Originally Posted by Beeriffic
I lived in an apartment for a summer and this is how it was done for the water. There was only one meter per 8 apartments. The complex would get the bill from the water people, divide it by 8, then they had a thrid party collector send out the bill with our nem specifically on the bill. But, this was explicitly explained in the lease. Luckily for us, non of the people in the building were jerks and use too much water.
Honestly, that sounds shady as hell to me. You, on one hand, were notified very clearly in the lease. We, on the other hand, were not. The MAINTAINANCE guy didn't even know we didn't have a thermostat in the apartment until we complained. I'm certain the landlord doesn't know that herself. I'd perhaps be willing to pay half of the bill, and continue to pay it if three conditions were met:
1.) Don't make us responcible for collecting the neighbor's half.
2.) Provide control for us - ie. install a thermostat or move it
3.) She agree to maintain the utility in the event the neighbor doesn't pay his half.

Originally Posted by Beeriffic
You might also contact the gas company, something like this has bound to have happened before. Also, some states have VERY strict rules about having gas turned off in the cold months
We called the gas company and asked to speak to their legal department (who handles disputes). I'm sure there's a CYA policy in place, and I don't blame them, but their answer was, officially, that can't happen. The gas company can only bill the account holder and how they collect debt is a private matter.

However, you did mention the rules about no heat, which triggered another line of thought - could lack of control constitute "defective" heating equipment, making her obligation to provide working heaters broken?

I called the city and they looked into it. Well, having taken that avenue the city did an "investigation" which constituted calling the landlord. When he called me back I got the "real" story.

The landlord is broke. This means even though she's WILLING to ensure the heat stays on, she can't foot half of it to have it re-activated today. She CERTAINLY can't afford to have a second thermometer installed.

The city planner basically said he can't do anything about this issue directly, since we're legally obligated to pay for the gas per the lease - it being off is "technically" our responcibility. He went on to note, however, that even though she's meeting the city's requirements, there may be a lease violation on her side - we're required to get the bills in our name but due to issues with the premises, it's not possible. His suggestion was to contact an attorney to figure out exactly what each of our obligations are there... Fine, but it does nothing for us today.

I am kind of at peace though... This whole thing has been stressful and I just want a resolution. My wife and I have decided we're going to move, and while we're at our new place, fight over the deposit that we're sure she'll try to withold.

Under Maryland law, we're entitled to three times "wrongfully withheld" deposit, plus 3% simple interest (calculated every 6 months) plus full legal fees. So.. Apartment hunting... Yay.

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