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Articles filed under Griswold, Robert

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  • Rental forum: When pest eradication efforts fail, know your rights Jun 11, 2011 12:00 AM
    Q. I moved into a new apartment in Los Angeles less than three weeks ago. Immediately upon moving in I noticed cockroaches all over the apartment. I emailed the owner with my concerns along with photographs. Since then, the owner has sent a handyman by and I’ve had my apartment sprayed twice. The spraying seems to have helped, but the bugs still seem to be here. I have found them on my shower curtain, on my desk, and even in my refrigerator.

  • Rental forum: Surprise, your landlord just sold your rental May 29, 2011 12:00 AM
    Neither owners nor tenants are required to make any advance disclosures about their long-term plans when entering into a month-to-month rental agreement. The concept of “caveat emptor” applies to both landlords and tenants.

  • Rental forum: Commercial tenant may be on hook for maintenance, property taxes, insurance May 1, 2011 2:55 PM
    Q. I have rented an apartment for many years. I thought I understood the responsibilities of a tenant and a landlord. However, a few years ago I rented space for my business in a commercial office building, and I am now finding that my landlord doesn’t seem to have any responsibilities to perform what I consider to be routine maintenance. Under a commercial lease, who is usually responsible for painting, air conditioning units, or even plumbing backups in the sewage pipes? The lease is very long and complicated. Rental Forum column

  • Rental forum: How to ensure tenants stay on top of cleaning, repaires Apr 17, 2011 12:00 AM
    Q. What are the tenant’s responsibilities for cleaning after moving out? Is it acceptable for them to leave trash and unwanted household goods behind? As a landlord, what legal rights do I have to enforce the proper cleaning of my property?

  • Rental forum: Tips on filing nuisance lawsuit in small claims court Apr 3, 2011 12:00 AM
    Q. I own a condominium unit in a homeowners association (HOA). I have lived there peacefully and quietly for almost four years until a new family began renting next door. The mother and her six kids have placed a piano right against the common wall, which is between her unit and my master bedroom. It seems like they play the piano seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with virtually no breaks! The sound from the piano is so loud that I cannot sleep before 10 p.m., nor can I read a book or watch TV in the bedroom.

  • Home maintenance in a rental still a two-way street Mar 20, 2011 2:35 PM
    Q. I had a tenant that called me to let me know that I had water dripping from the ceiling and that my wood floors had “something wrong with them.” Please let me know who is liable.

  • Rental forum: Commercial tenant may be on hook for some costs Mar 4, 2011 2:41 PM
    :Q. I have rented an apartment for many years. I thought I understood the responsibilities of a tenant and a landlord. However, a few years ago I rented space for my business in a commercial office building, and I am now finding that my landlord doesn’t seem to have any responsibilities to perform what I consider to be routine maintenance. Under a commercial lease, who is usually responsible for painting, air conditioning units, or even plumbing backups in the sewage pipes? The lease is very long and complicated. Rental Forum column

  • Rental Forum: ‘One size fits all’ charge for wear and tear? Feb 19, 2011 11:07 AM
    Many rental property owners and management companies attempt to establish fixed guidelines about the expected lifespan of various components of their rental properties, like carpeting and blinds. This certainly has some appeal, as it simplifies the move-out process and accounting for the security deposit, says Rental Forum columnist Robert Griswold.

  • Robert Griswold/Rental forum: Small claims court can get landlord to act Feb 5, 2011 4:21 PM
    Canadian transplants unable to get landlord to return security deposit when they lose work visas and must break their lease. Advice from Rental Forum columnist Robert Griswold.

  • Landlord charges extra for late utility payments Jan 26, 2011 10:02 AM
    We have a reasonably good tenant in a single-family home. The utility companies prefer to keep the bills in the owner's name, so we are billing the tenant for reimbursement of the utilities. The rental agreement stipulates the tenant will reimburse us within 15 days of receiving the bill(s) from us.

  • How to weigh a new roof vs. patching leaks Jan 10, 2011 10:50 AM
    . I am a landlord and have some questions about my responsibilities for maintenance on a rental home that I partially own. My father passed away a few years ago and left the home to my mother and me. She is no longer able to live on her own so we are renting the property to generate some income. The home is about 70 years old and is a classic with cathedral open-beam ceilings.

  • Rent discount may fly out the door under new landlord Dec 25, 2010 9:05 AM
    Q. I’ve been a tenant at my apartment complex for 15 years. For 10 years I had a one-bedroom apartment and naturally I paid one-bedroom rent. My apartment unit was damaged as a result of negligent work by a roofing contractor that led to severe water damage to my unit. As a result, the landlord moved me to another apartment unit, but the only vacant unit at the time was a two-bedroom unit.

  • Lease-breakers fight re-rent fee Dec 10, 2010 12:06 PM
    My husband and I are breaking our lease because we finally bought a house. We sent a “notice to vacate” to our landlord and asked him to apply the same level of effort to re-rent our unit that he normally would if we had stayed until the end of our lease. He called and said he had received our notice and would start listing and showing the unit just as he does for all vacant units.

  • Incentives help cash-strapped landlord move tenant out early Nov 27, 2010 12:01 AM
    I am a landlord who just over two years ago signed a three-year lease with my current tenant to rent out our home on the East Coast since my husband’s job was relocated to the West Coast. The lease will expire early next year. We rented it at a loss, but that was fine at the time because my husband’s job paid extremely well.

  • Landlords are not required to provide laundry rooms Nov 13, 2010 12:01 AM
    I live at a small apartment building with 24 units. In addition to a swimming pool and spa, we have a central laundry room with two washing machines and two dryers. The equipment is fairly old but it still works. However, the plumbing drains are a problem and the washing machines routinely have backed up for years.

  • ‘Accident’ defense overshadowed by plumber’s discovery Oct 30, 2010 7:38 PM
    Recently the toilet in my apartment overflowed. The water poured out all over the bathroom and even into a couple of adjacent rooms. I contacted the manager and he sent out a plumber and a flood control company. T

  • Marketing a condo to investors versus current tenants Oct 15, 2010 11:45 AM
    Q. I have a rental condo that I want to sell due to some financial issues and I could really use the money. My tenants have had three, one-year leases and asked that I give them a new two-year lease because they say they love my rental condo. Because I was unsure of my finances, I let their current lease expire so that they now are on a month-to-month rental agreement. My understanding of our state law is that I am simply required to give them a minimum of 60 days' written notice to terminate their tenancy. Can I give them 60-day notice and then have the unit vacant for selling? A. Yes, you can give them the required notice to vacate. In some areas you may be required to give the tenants a reason for the termination of the tenancy. Even if not required, I think it would be a good idea, as the tenants deserve to know your reasoning. But besides just being a fair and reasonable landlord, there is another potential positive aspect of explaining your situation, as you might find that your current long-term tenant is interested in purchasing the condo from you. You might even consider offering them a limited first right of refusal or excluding them from the listing agreement with your real estate agent if they are qualified and interested. You could also offer them a net price, as you wouldn't have to pay real estate commissions. While you may not need help finding a buyer, I would strongly advise that you retain or consult with a real estate professional or an attorney to assist with the procedural aspects of the transaction. Remember that a real estate professional does a lot more than just market your property. Even if your current tenants are not willing or able to buy your condo, I would suggest you take the time to consider another option before giving your tenants notice. I know that many real estate agents have very strong opinions about the benefits of selling a property when it is vacant. I cannot disagree with that practice especially when the most likely buyer is planning to be an owner-occupant. But in today's market, I believe that there are many areas in the country where there are more investors than owner-occupant buyers. While much of the nation has experienced very high unemployment, there seems to be a tremendous amount of investment capital seeking good-quality real estate for the long-term investment opportunities and as a hedge against what some see are likely to be inflationary times with the record government spending projected for the next decade. While there are many opportunities for real estate investors to buy vacant and often foreclosed rental properties, you might actually be able to attract a better offer from a real estate investor if you can show that your tenant is paying a reasonable market rate rent and is seasoned. Many real estate investors are wary of some investment opportunities in the current economic climate, as it can take quite some time and a lot of expense to prepare a vacant unit for rent, market the property, screen the prospective tenants and still have zero cash coming in during this time. Wouldn't your rental condo be more attractive to a real estate investor who is looking to rent out the property if you can tell them that you have a long-term tenant that has been in your property for three years and wants to stay for at least another 24 months? Long-term quality tenants and low turnover are keys to success for rental property owners. So I would suggest you contact a local real estate broker who knows the local market and the type of likely buyers before you send out a notice to your great tenants. You could be disrupting their lives and actually hurting your chances to sell your rental condo for a great price in a short time. Remember that most investors will be looking to obtain financing, and a lender would certainly like to see an established tenant in possession. Property manager Robert Griswold is author of “Property Management for Dummies. E-mail rgriswold.inman@retodayradio.com.

  • Landlords may require renters to carry insurance Jan 31, 2011 5:50 PM
    Can I require my tenant who's on a month-to-month rental agreement to possess renter's insurance? She had a kitchen fire over a year ago and did not have insurance.

  • In most cases, landlord must replace broken refrigerator Sep 19, 2010 12:01 AM
    I rent an apartment and my refrigerator recently stopped working. I called my landlord who came by and confirmed that it doesn't work. The landlord told us that now we have to pay for the new one because it's our fault!

  • Tenants with verbal agreements can protect themselves Mar 3, 2011 5:01 PM
    I am having problems with my landlord and I am hoping you can offer some suggestions. I rented a house about three years ago. When I interviewed with the landlord, I explained that I was paid only twice a month and the days were always different and that I would sometimes be late on rent but never more than three or four days. The landlord said that was OK.

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