Is this even legal?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by wimic, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. wimic macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    A good friend of mine (who lives next door to me) is having a little bit of a tiff with the landlord. Here's the story:

    He moved in just over 4 months ago - it's a one bedroom apartment with a storage room (that has a gas furnace/hot water boiler) in it. The landlord suggested that he could do whatever he likes with the storage room (ie. use it for storage / a computer room, etc.). My friend's sister moved in with him around 2 1/2 months ago and has been using the storage room as a bedroom (there's a window and adequate space to put a bed / shelf etc.) My friend also had one of his friends staying with him (temporarily, yet he's been there for 2 1/2 months). The landlord visited yesterday and said that he doesn't want my friend's sister staying in the storage room (after my friend purchased all new furniture for her room) and he doesn't want his friend staying there any longer either. He gave my friend until december 1st to get his friend out of the apartment, yet they're increasing the rent for the month of november to compensate for the increased "wear on the apartment". in my opinion, it's a crock! they're paying for utilities themselves and the landlord is just trying to take advantage of them and get his cut.

    legally - is the landlord allowed to dictate what you use your apartment for? (ie. letting your sister stay in the storage/bed room, letting your friend stay with you).

    as well - the landlord told him it was his responsibility to purchase CO detectors and pay to have the yearly maintenance done on the gas furnace.

    anyone have any idea what my friend's rights are in this instance?

    all comments are appreciated.
  2. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Nov 17, 2004
    The Msp
    It depends on the city/state/country, really. I remember when I lived in Miami, I knew a guy that had to hide the fact that he was living with some friends since the law dictated how many people could live in a house/apartment of a certain size. Your friend may be up against a similar restriction, as many places have laws regulating how many un-related people can share a space.

    The maintenance of CO detectors and the heater sounds like bullcrap to me, but again, it depends on where you are. I know my lease specifically spells out that it's my duty to test that it's working, and the landlords to make sure to replace or repair it if it isn't. Have your friend check his lease, all this stuff should be in there somewhere.
  3. meepm00pmeep macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2006
    i don't know about laws and regulations but the landlord is an ASS
  4. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    well you're in canada, so the laws may be different, but a few things come to mind regarding the situation.

    1. what type of lease does he have? is it a 1 year contract, or just a verbal thing, or what? the reason i ask is because the rent increase would most certainly not be legal with a written contract that spells out the monthly rent...

    2. is the guy's friend on the lease? if not, then yes, the landlord can dictate that she cannot live there, no matter what room she lives in. i believe my current lease says that no one person can stay over for more than 2 weeks consecutively, etc, and it's just a standard lease...

    3. there are usually housing code laws regarding bedrooms (you mention it has a window, etc, but there's often more than just that requirement). they should be able to have a local housing department code inspector determine whether it's a safe/legal bedroom. if it's got a furnace/heater in it, i'm going to guess it's not...

    4. if america jr. is anything like america sr, then there should be a landlord-tenant affairs office somewhere in the local gov't... talk to them, as they know the laws inside and out
  5. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Nov 17, 2004
    The Msp
    Oh, and a landlord can raise rates on you, but usually there's a period where they have to tell you ahead of time, and you have the option of breaking your lease.

    As someone who has gotten screwed over numerous times by landlords and leasing companies, I wish your friend the best of luck!
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The landlord would likely be able to kick the extra people out beyond 2, since the cities usually have an occupancy limit determined by the number of bedrooms in an apartment.

    As far as charging more, likely not unless he raised all the apartment rates -- but if the landlord requests all non-minor occupants be required to sign the lease and undergo a credit/background check, it is doubtful the city would land on him hard.
  7. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I believe its up to the Landlord to pay for all maintenance and CO detectors etc. If the place went unmaintained and someone got hurt or died from monoxide poisoning from leaky gas pipes or smoething he would be liable.

    I believe he has a say in how many live there. After all it is his place. You cant just invite someone to live with you if they are not paying any rent to the landlord. Just because you are paying $500 a week doesnt mean your mate can move in and you pay $250 each. The reason why they have put the rent up is because the 2 'lodgers' were technically living rent free in the eyes of the landlord.

    EDIT: It sounds like you are getting a 'good' deal because he could technically ask for whatever it is a month you pay from the two 'lodgers' too. whereas all he is doing is upping the rent for November.
  8. MultiM macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2006
    TO. I've moved!
    Your friend does not have to pay a rent increase for November. The landlord is required by law to give 90 days (3 months) notice for any increase. He can have a dozen people living there if he wants, provided his lease (he does have a lease, doesn't he?) does not restrict it.

    His sister staying in the furnace room is NOT a good idea on many levels. If it is not designated a bedroom, then she needs to go. Your friend was given permission to use the room for storage or a computer room, not as a bedroom. The landlord is correct on this one.

    Co detectors and furnace maintenance is the landlord's responsibility.

    Check out for more details. This is the Landlord and Tenant Act for Alberta. I have found it VERY useful in the past. Good luck.
  9. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    I believe bedrooms need a way of escape, usually a window - so that may be why the storage area is no good as a bedroom. Having said that though, we had a similar place in Vancouver and it was OK by the landlord.

    The furnace maintenance & CO should be the landlords responsibility - and he can simply cost it into the rent or maintenance charges.

    If you're paying month by month you could expect a reasonable rent increase at any time - not so if you're on a fixed contract period. It appears the landlord have given notice (December) as well.
  10. wimic thread starter macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2006
    calgary, alberta
    Thanks for the link MultiM - it was very helpful.

    He's into a yearly lease - (ie. locked in until March '07 and pays monthly).

    Here's another question for you all - I live in the same apartment building (next door) and purchased a washer/dryer unit about two weeks ago. it got delivered on october 12th. the washer and dryer are on the same plub (stackable unit). when i plugged it in, the washer worked but teh dryer didn't which lead me to believe it was one of two things:
    a) a problem with the dryer connection
    b) a breaker problem in the apartment.

    i called to schedule a service call with sears and they scheduled it for oct 21st and told me that if it was a problem with something other than the dryer then i'd have to pay a service fee. after scheduling this appointment, i immediatedly called my landlord to see if he could come in and check the breaker because that's what i thought the problem was. he told me that he'd get back to me within the next couple of days so we coudl arrange something - i didn't hear from him. I had my service visit from sears this past saturday, and the technician confirmed that it is, indeed, a breaker problem. therefore, i incurred a $95 service visit charge.

    my question is this - is my landlord responsible for reimbursing me for this fee? I think so - especially since i called him well in advance of this service visit and told him there was a potential problem with the breakers.

    any comments?
  11. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    He's not liable. You can certainly try and get him to pay it, but I wouldn't count on getting anything more than "the check is in the mail".
  12. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6

    There is no doubt on that one! :eek: :mad:
  13. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    Everyone knows that when you have more people than what the apt was meant for living with HIDE them !!
  14. MarkCollette macrumors 68000


    Mar 6, 2003
    Calgary, Canada
    In Alberta, rent increases require 3 months notice. So, if this just happenned recently, they can't increase the rent as soon as November. Depending on the lease agreement, they might not be able to increase it until the lease renewal time.

    It's probably totally against code to allow someone to sleep in a furnace room. Plus, I wouldn't do it myself even if you paid me. It's a given that the person will be exposed to CO and CO2 to varying levels, which can be fatal while sleeping. Not to mention the risks of leaked gas, or a boiler failure causing her to get severely burned. Hence the landlord saying that if your friend is going to do something as needlessly dangerous as this, that he's responsibly to as least get some detectors. Other than that, of course he's not responsible for maintenance costs himself.

    As for the washer and dryer issue. Why not just switch the plugs to isolate if there's a problem with the breaker? It sounds like you just told your landlord that there might be a problem with the breakers, and didn't say the whole story about the Sears service call. Did he agree, before hand to that cost? You can't just incur costs, of your own volition, and expect someone else to pay. I mean, if the landlord had neglected the breaker issue for at least a month, then maybe you could say he was negligent or something, but if it was just a matter of days, then I doubt small claims court would make him pay.
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    Well chances are good your friends sister or what ever staying there is against the contract. Most of the lease contrasts are quite clear about the fact that no one is allowed to live there except for the names on the contract. If anything changes you have to tell the land lord. Now people staying for a short time span is fine (a week 2 weeks but not living there) after about a month you are pushing the limits on visiting to you are living there.

    The landlord is well within his right to kick the other person out. heck he being nice by saying Dec 1. legally he may be able to kick everyone out of the apartment because the contract was broken by your friend due to the fact there are more people living there than what was on the contract.

    reason I know that this is case on laws is my landlord was very clear about that fact with my roommate and me about the fact that we are the only 2 people allowed to live in the house. People visiting is fine but no one else but the 2 of us are allowed to live there. (And staying 2.5 months is clearly living there not just visiting)

    as for raising the rent he may be legally with in his right to do that because your friend broke contract and he is adjusting for the extra wear and tear on the place
  16. knackroller macrumors regular


    Feb 28, 2006
    Check the lease, in some cases, landlord takes on responsibility for maintenance of the major installations (fridge, air-conditioning, lights etc).

    my question is this - is my landlord responsible for reimbursing me for this fee? I think so - especially since i called him well in advance of this service visit and told him there was a potential problem with the breakers.

    any comments?[/QUOTE]
  17. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    I think you're out of luck on the fee for the service requested it and you scheduled it, not him. Plus it was for your personal property and not something the owner of the apartment was furnishing as part of your rental.The owner might be a jerk who put you off about checking the breaker but that doesn't mean he's obligated to pay for service calls on your personal property
  18. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    The landlord is responsible to fix the breaker problems but not the service call.
  19. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    exactly my point
  20. mischief macrumors 68030


    Aug 1, 2001
    Santa Cruz Ca
    Code, Health and Safety, etc.

    The UBC which is in use in both the US and Canada states:

    That bedrooms must have an openable window large enough to get through in an emergency within a reasonable distance from the floor (about 18" to the sill).

    That plenums and other spaces occupied by gas appliances and/or hot water heaters must have direct venting to the outside, must have a 4 hour solid core door with an auto-closer between it and any adjacent occupancy space, may NOT share space with living areas. These rules are due to the accumulation of CO, CO2 and unspent fuel gasses around the appliances, all of which are highly toxic, 2 of which are detectable only by using detectors and one of which creates a monsterous fire hazard (pilot light goes out, room fills w/ propane....).

    Technically your landlord could get in serious trouble for renting you space that shared unvented air with that heater.

    See also: the heater and hot water heaters must also be on raised, stable platforms, wrapped in insulation and secured structurally such that strap ties and stud-mated bolts hold them in place as part of the building. The Hot water heater should also have a special catchtray under it in the event of boil-overs/leaks. The Heater should have regular filter-changeings and the HVAC ducts should be cleaned out every year to prevent flammable buildup of (dustbunnies).

    what else.... lemme think.... Ah yes, Detectors: All bedrooms, the kitchen and any hallways should have BOTH a smoke detector (gas detector versions work better than particle models) AND a CO detector which should be tested every 6 months.

    Basically: This guy slipped up by letting you use the space at all. Legally you're not supposed to store things in the same space as that stuff, it creates a nice fireload if anything goes wrong. So you actually scared the hell out of him. Offer to split the cost of venting the space and installing detectors in exchange for not reporting his ass to the local fire district. Ahhhh....... I'm all the way across the continent and I can hear your landlord's testicles constricting from here already.:D ;) :cool:

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