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Thread: Renters Rights

  1. #1
    Regular Member Flippercon's Avatar
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    Renters Rights

    I have a few questions on renters rights in VA. Today I went to my apartment complex office to pay rent and schedule for the maintenance technicians to do some work. I sat in the lobby section waiting in line to pay rent while OCing. I get called up to the desk and take a seat. The lady who called me in was on the phone, computer, and trying to help me at the same time. I get her full attention and and payed my rent and asked to schedule for the maintenance.
    Every time I need any kind of maintenance done to the apartment I tell them I do not want anyone entering my apartment unless I am there. I told the leasing office the same thing before I signed the lease about 2 years ago and when we resigned a year later. The management company has changed multiple times since my short stay here and I have maid this point to every Manager with each company. I Don't trust anyone in my personal area (home) when I am not home, Specially people I do not know.
    I told her the tub faucet is leaking but into the drain, and there was no water emergency. I just don't want to waste water, let alone pay for wasted water. I gave her my availability so we could schedule a time for the work. She quickly said I should just let them come in and do the work when I am not home. She said "What are they going to do?" in this Duh looking face.
    I told her there are many things someone could do in my apartment while I was not home like stealing, bringing in unwanted guests (gf/bf/friends), and going through my personal belongings. I brought up a scenario of a technician entering an apartment with armed tenants.
    This is where things got interesting. During the conversation another worker jumps in and starts asking questions about guns in particular.
    I never said a thing about gun during the whole conversation, and I assume she thought gun because of my pistol being in her line of sight. She said the Apartment Complex rents the apartment to me and has the right to enter my apartment. I was unsure about it and doubted what she said.
    I played out another scenario for her that involved an armed tenant getting out of the shower and shooting a person in fear that enters the dwelling that they were not expecting. She nodded her head in agreement and told me to be careful because of the laws.
    This is where I got really confused, I started to think about guns rights from a renters prospective. If the last scenario actually happened would the shooter be at fault?

  2. #2
    Regular Member Uber_Olafsun's Avatar
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    Do you have your lease agreement? Mine has a clause they they can come in unannounced for emergencies but for anything else they have to provide notice. Also of it is something for annual service etc we can schedule a time for them to come in when we are home. I think it was written that way because we have a very pet friendly place and a lot of people have dogs so if maint was just to come in they run a chance of getting bit.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I don't know how that scenario would play out in court Flipper. It would depend on the exact situation.

    I gotta say though, that sometimes it's better to just say, because that's the way I want it and that's that.

    Starting the ball rolling with talk of shooting employees for invading your space is a bad idea. Kinda like walking into a mountain bar at 11:00PM on Saturday night and saying:

    "I don't like being looking at. If someone looks at me at the wrong time, I'll whup their ass"

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    Regular Member Flippercon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I don't know how that scenario would play out in court Flipper. It would depend on the exact situation.

    I gotta say though, that sometimes it's better to just say, because that's the way I want it and that's that.

    Starting the ball rolling with talk of shooting employees for invading your space is a bad idea. Kinda like walking into a mountain bar at 11:00PM on Saturday night and saying:

    "I don't like being looking at. If someone looks at me at the wrong time, I'll whup their ass"
    I never started a conversation about guns, I said Armed and did not mention shooting,stabbing,slicing,hitting, of any nature. I simply said "armed" and the second employee jumped in with the guns and shooting talk. I understand where you are coming from peter nap, but I tried to choose my words wisely and did not mention a gun until one was brought up by them. My intentions were not to scare anyone just to inform them about the protocols they have in place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uber_Olafsun View Post
    Do you have your lease agreement? Mine has a clause they they can come in unannounced for emergencies but for anything else they have to provide notice. Also of it is something for annual service etc we can schedule a time for them to come in when we are home. I think it was written that way because we have a very pet friendly place and a lot of people have dogs so if maint was just to come in they run a chance of getting bit.
    I am going to read over it again with my girlfriend and see exactly what it says.
    Last edited by Flippercon; 04-05-2012 at 11:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Regular Member sparkman2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flippercon View Post
    I have a few questions on renters rights in VA. Today I went to my apartment complex office to pay rent and schedule for the maintenance technicians to do some work. I sat in the lobby section waiting in line to pay rent while OCing. I get called up to the desk and take a seat. The lady who called me in was on the phone, computer, and trying to help me at the same time. I get her full attention and and payed my rent and asked to schedule for the maintenance.
    Every time I need any kind of maintenance done to the apartment I tell them I do not want anyone entering my apartment unless I am there. I told the leasing office the same thing before I signed the lease about 2 years ago and when we resigned a year later. The management company has changed multiple times since my short stay here and I have maid this point to every Manager with each company. I Don't trust anyone in my personal area (home) when I am not home, Specially people I do not know.
    I told her the tub faucet is leaking but into the drain, and there was no water emergency. I just don't want to waste water, let alone pay for wasted water. I gave her my availability so we could schedule a time for the work. She quickly said I should just let them come in and do the work when I am not home. She said "What are they going to do?" in this Duh looking face.
    I told her there are many things someone could do in my apartment while I was not home like stealing, bringing in unwanted guests (gf/bf/friends), and going through my personal belongings. I brought up a scenario of a technician entering an apartment with armed tenants.
    This is where things got interesting. During the conversation another worker jumps in and starts asking questions about guns in particular.
    I never said a thing about gun during the whole conversation, and I assume she thought gun because of my pistol being in her line of sight. She said the Apartment Complex rents the apartment to me and has the right to enter my apartment. I was unsure about it and doubted what she said.
    I played out another scenario for her that involved an armed tenant getting out of the shower and shooting a person in fear that enters the dwelling that they were not expecting. She nodded her head in agreement and told me to be careful because of the laws.
    This is where I got really confused, I started to think about guns rights from a renters prospective. If the last scenario actually happened would the shooter be at fault?
    Attachment 8287

    This may help:
    55-248.18. Access; consent.
    Last edited by sparkman2; 04-05-2012 at 08:27 PM.
    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." Thomas Jefferson (quoting Cesare Beccaria)

  6. #6
    Regular Member Flippercon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkman2 View Post
    Attachment 8287

    This may help:
    55-248.18. Access; consent.
    Thanks that cleared up a lot. I will be printing this off and giving it to the office.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flippercon View Post
    I started to think about guns rights from a renters prospective.
    You've already been given the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act source:

    55-248.9. Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.

    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation
    Concerning your other question about landlord entry...

    55-248.18. Access; consent.

    A. The tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen or contractors. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency. The landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in case of emergency or if it is impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times. Unless impractical to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant at least 24 hours notice of routine maintenance to be performed that has not been requested by the tenant. If the tenant makes a request for maintenance, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant.
    I suppose it's going to come down to the meaning of "unreasonably withhold consent."

    Also, if you've requested apartment maintenance, it looks to me like the landlord or his maintenance representative isn't legally required to abide by your desire that no one enter the apartment without your presence.

    So I'm not sure that giving a copy to the office is going to particularly strengthen your case unless there's something in that document I missed with a quick keyword search.

  8. #8
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    55-248.9. Prohibited provisions in rental agreements.

    6. Agrees as a condition of tenancy in public housing to a prohibition or restriction of any lawful possession of a firearm within individual dwelling units unless required by federal law or regulation
    It's probably pretty important to point out the bold part of this one. For privately owned houses/apartments/rooms, I have never seen anything that restricts them from making and enforcing their own rules as any other private property owner can do. That means they can ban firearms if they want.

    TFred

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    It's probably pretty important to point out the bold part of this one. For privately owned houses/apartments/rooms, I have never seen anything that restricts them from making and enforcing their own rules as any other private property owner can do. That means they can ban firearms if they want.

    TFred
    I do not think that is the case TFred.

    Believe you'll find that the tenant's home/apt becomes his castle and unless he is violating a law or ordinance can do pretty much what he wants inside. Presuming that the property owner has 3 or more units, there are specific real estate laws that will apply. Somewhere there is a another thread on this - I think it was Mike Stollenwerk that clarified this question and pointed out the law.
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  10. #10
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    I do not think that is the case TFred.

    Believe you'll find that the tenant's home/apt becomes his castle and unless he is violating a law or ordinance can do pretty much what he wants inside. Presuming that the property owner has 3 or more units, there are specific real estate laws that will apply. Somewhere there is a another thread on this - I think it was Mike Stollenwerk that clarified this question and pointed out the law.
    We need to drag it up again, I'd like to see it. I'd guess that the very vast majority of landlords are single unit owners, especially in this particular time where one can make more money renting a house than selling it.

    My point was that the particular law cited applies only to public housing, and you are correct, I did not have anything other than a presumption for privately own rentals. If anyone can find it, please post!

    I'm tending to think landlords have the upper hand here, they can set other policies, like "no pets"... which would be a far more restrictive rule than "no firearms", to the general population at least.

    TFred

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    We need to drag it up again, I'd like to see it. I'd guess that the very vast majority of landlords are single unit owners, especially in this particular time where one can make more money renting a house than selling it.

    My point was that the particular law cited applies only to public housing, and you are correct, I did not have anything other than a presumption for privately own rentals. If anyone can find it, please post!

    I'm tending to think landlords have the upper hand here, they can set other policies, like "no pets"... which would be a far more restrictive rule than "no firearms", to the general population at least.

    TFred
    Found the law on public housing quickly enough.
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+55-248.9

    Haven't found the reference I sought.

    Don't know when I'll get back to this - just sent PM to Mike - perhaps he will chime in.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Found the law on public housing quickly enough.
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+55-248.9

    Haven't found the reference I sought.

    Don't know when I'll get back to this - just sent PM to Mike - perhaps he will chime in.
    Heard back from Mike. Apparently you are correct, a private owner could conceivably include such in their lease. The lessors remedy would be to obtain a judgement and then to evict. Was improbable in his opinion.

    I could see something like that in the Rules and Regulations and periodic changes to those if I imagined hard enough. The lessor would be excluding a rather sizable portion of the population which would include hunters, target shooters and even those with great grandpa's gun. Don't think there will be many that will do this considering the market conditions and the possible negative public exposure.

    I do not think they could exclude those that carry for self-protection solely on that basis and still allow other gun owners to remain - that would make for some interesting legal issues/proceedings.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member ncwabbit's Avatar
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    from personal experience... when the landlord gets cranky, for whatever reason and your state and local rental statutes notwithstanding, when the landlord starts to push a paperchase towards eviction, most renters do not have the financial resources to hire an attorney to defend themselves and those 'community service rent advice do-gooders' who profess to assist renters against those landlords are worthless.

    my attorney, "well it will cost you an additional $300 to continue against the landlord's claim you owe the property management company $575." He was advised no, i would pass, and i immediately refused to pay rent for 2 the last two months of my contract. while they sent me dunning letters attempting to 'evicted' me, I moved out before eviction. the property management company sent me a bill and are trying to collect $7,576.36 for an initial $575, and two months rent of $450. yet every one i talk to on the community organizations flatly state..."oh property management is wrong, you should sue them!! " With what for goodness sakes?

    this started over the property account clerk telling me one thing about being hospitalized for the month and the property manager stating what i was told was incorrect 45 days after the fact and when she poffered a bill for $575 (rent plus late fees)...and the property clerk is long gone!!

    bottom line, landlords are getting away w/financial rape because they have no oversight what's so ever and the abuses continue!!

    caveat emptor

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Heard back from Mike. Apparently you are correct, a private owner could conceivably include such in their lease. The lessors remedy would be to obtain a judgement and then to evict. Was improbable in his opinion.
    I didn't know Mike had any Real Estate experience.
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    This raises an interesting and similar question. What about single family homes in a development which has an HOA with very restrictive covenants? I think it is obvious that such an HOA could not restrict a homeowner from having firearms in their home and carrying them on their property (yes, I know that HOA's can dictate property appearances and maintenance). But what about an HOA that is very restrictive, and I have seen some that are beyond belief, that wanted to restrict folks from carrying when taking walks on sidewalks within the development? If that was the case, I would say, walk on the street if the street is a county street.

    Has anyone ever heard of an HOA going this far?
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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    This raises an interesting and similar question. What about single family homes in a development which has an HOA with very restrictive covenants? I think it is obvious that such an HOA could not restrict a homeowner from having firearms in their home and carrying them on their property (yes, I know that HOA's can dictate property appearances and maintenance). But what about an HOA that is very restrictive, and I have seen some that are beyond belief, that wanted to restrict folks from carrying when taking walks on sidewalks within the development? If that was the case, I would say, walk on the street if the street is a county street.

    Has anyone ever heard of an HOA going this far?
    While I don't have a cite, Dan Hawes (user) has talked about even privately owned sidewalks being public right-of-ways - this was in reference to a hospital owning the land to the curb with a sidewalk paralleling the street at the curb line. This situation would seen very similar - don't think they can dictate how you dress, express your 1st & 2nd Amend. rights.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

  17. #17
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    While I don't have a cite, Dan Hawes (user) has talked about even privately owned sidewalks being public right-of-ways - this was in reference to a hospital owning the land to the curb with a sidewalk paralleling the street at the curb line. This situation would seen very similar - don't think they can dictate how you dress, express your 1st & 2nd Amend. rights.
    Just be careful to be sure that what you say/do is protected First Amendment "speech". We have seen some cases where the HOA could enforce restrictive covenants against, for example, flower gardens that spelled out "Support the Troops" and merely cave in to public pressure regarding the erection of a flagpole in the front yard so the homeowner could fly the flag (as opposed to complying with the permitted attaching of a pole of specified dimensions to the front facing of the house).

    HOAs can also control what/how/where you carry your firearms - except for the incidental taking out and in to the house to place them in a vehicle to take them somewhere offsite like to the range, the gunsmith, etc. HOAs and condo associations control by covenant/own the property outside the four walls of your dwelling unit. Like any other private property owner they can impose almost any rule they want to.

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  18. #18
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    I have heard of some HOA's with covenants so restrictive, they border on the absurd. Years ago when I was in the electrical wholesale business I ran across some of them in developments for which we supplied lighting fixtures and other electrical supplies and gear. Some were really ridiculous.

    The development I live in is relatively mild in comparison to others I've seen in the surrounding areas. Hard to imagine how an HOA could dictate how someone carries on public throughways. But you never know what the heck these Nazis might be thinking.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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