Who does the improvements and fixtures on the rented property belong to?
12/30/2008 - Landlord Tenant - State: ALL #14880
For the past three years I have been renting a one bedroom duplex and recently my landlord lost the property due to continuous miss payment. Without me knowing any of this the bank who now owns the property hired an independent property management company. A rolled-up paper type flyer was left on my gate telling me to send my rent to the following address and if I had any questions to contact the person below. When I came to know of this I immediately attempted to contact this person to know more of the sittuation but my attempt failed. After several messages I finally recieved a phone call from a woman claiming to be the person in charge. Very little information was given to me and again I was told by her to send my rent to the given address. Later on that day I finally got ahold of my ex-landlord only to hear that he had lost the property and an appology. Up until today the current manager has been puting me off and telling me that she will soon take the contract for me to sing. On 11/1/2008 I encounterd a shocking and upsetting senario. Over my three years on the property I have made significant amounts of home improvments which included laying down 100 12'x12' bricks on the little piece of lawn that belongs to my back yard. I told and mutually agreed with my ex-landlord that at the time of my lease end I would take my bricks. He also gave me a foil shed which is not built on to the property. I used the shed to my convience and the property manager aggresivlly asked me move it back because she rented out the front house and told them that would be for thier use. She also said that along with the shed, my bricks and everything in the property was the banks property now.
The answer will depend on the terms of the lease. Generally, when a new landlord enters, they are bound by the terms of the lease already in existence. If you don't have a written lease for a specified period, you are generally considered a month-to-month tenant and the new owner may change the terms of the tenancy, such as by increasing rent, altering the amenities offered, etc.
When a tenant makes improvements to a leased property, the lease terms typically govern the ownership of the improvements. If the tenant makes improvements to the property which are permanent fixtures, meaning that they can't be removed without damaging the property, they typically become part of the property. Rather than argue at the termination of the lease whether additions made by a tenant are fixtures, the lease should clearly spell out the right of tenant to remove the items it has added to the premises. If the ownership of the improvements were made under an oral contract, the new owner typically assumes the terms of the previous contracts made, however, it may be difficult to prove the terms if they aren't in writing. It may be a matter of determination for the court, based on all the facts and circumstances involved, to prove the ownership of the items.
Improvements made with the landlord's knowledge and consent, but at the tenant's expense, cannot be grounds for increasing rent because the tenant owns the improvements. The consent must be definite and certain. Tenants may remove the improvements when the lease terminates, assuming it can be done without damaging the property. Improvements made without the landlord's knowledge and consent cannot be removed when the lease terminates.
Please see the information at the following links:
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/real-estate-laws/landlord-tenant-rights/ http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/real-estate-laws/leases-and-rental-agreements/ http://definitions.uslegal.com/f/fixture/ http://definitions.uslegal.com/r/real-estate-improvements/ http://definitions.uslegal.com/o/oral-contract/
12/30/2008 - Category: Landlord Tenant - State: ALL #14880
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