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Landlord selling house we rent - rights when it comes to showing?

Kenmore, WA |

Our landlord let us know 3 days prior to putting house on market that he was selling it - in lease it specifies the realtor can show house with 24 hours notice. Our concern is timing - my husband works for the Police at night and sleeps during the days and our daughter has to have a very structured routine in the evening for medical reasons - there is only a good time to show the house on my husbands days off that rotate every week. What are our rights as tenants to this effect? Can we say no - and provide them with alternative times and day? Also - does the landlord have the right to tell us to clean up or move things in the house when we are paying for our use of it because he wants to sell it faster?

Our lease does not expire until the end of March 2012. Does the landlord have the right to come in with the realtor any time and utilize that as an inspection of our house constantly? We cannot afford financially to move again. Even if he were to let us out of the lease - would this mean we would not be able to get our last months rent or deposits back? Our landlord has not been the best and has been rude from the beginning so we are really frustrated. Can they show the house when we are there? Nothing in the lease says we have to leave the property when showing the house. My husband and I work 60 hour a week jobs at times the dishes and laundry does not get done right away and our daughters toys and books don't get picked up right away it is our home, it is lived in, it is swept, dusted, trash taken out but sometimes we don't get to things (does that also go along with he does not have the authority to tell us to move things or clean up?)

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

The RLTA also provides that a landlord need only provide 24 hour's notice of intent to enter and show rental property to prospective purchasers or renters. You say you have a lease - but you don't say when it expires. If it is going to be in effect for several months, having your landlord or his realtor drop in constantly is going to dampen your enthusiasm for this property, even though by statute and contract they can do this.

You could certainly write to your landlord and explain, as you stated here, when it would be convenient for him to arrange showings and when it would not be convenient. Perhaps he would agree to let you out of your lease early so he can market the place more effectively, and that way you could find a new landlord with better regard for your privacy.

The landlord does not have the right to tell you to clean or move things so long as how you have things arranged is not a genuine public health hazard.

You are dealing with a situation that is a constant source of tension between landlords and tenants. My best recommendation is that you remain polite, as you have done here, and be sure your communications are in writing and that you always keep a copy for your records.

Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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Asker

Posted

Our lease does not expire until the end of March 2012. Does the landlord have the right to come in with the realtor any time and utilize that as an inspection of our house constantly? We cannot afford financially to move again. Even if he were to let us out of the lease - would this mean we would not be able to get our last months rent or deposits back? Our landlord has not been the best and has been rude from the beginning so we are really frustrated. Can they show the house when we are there? Nothing in the lease says we have to leave the property when showing the house. My husband and I work 60 hour a week jobs at times the dishes and laundry does not get done right away and our daughters toys and books don't get picked up right away it is our home, it is lived in, it is swept, dusted, trash taken out but sometimes we don't get to things (does that also go along with he does not have the authority to tell us to move things or clean up?)

Asker

Posted

Also - are there really no rights for us at all when my husband has to sleep during the day for his job at night? No sleep could cause him to make serious errors that are life and death - no job is no livelihood. Landlord's do not negotiate well. I fear we will have to find a lawyer - are there any that do probono work?

Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Elizabeth Rankin Powell

Posted

I agree with you that this is a messy problem without a simple solution. You have a right of quiet enjoyment, your landlord has a right to come show the place. No one can criticize you for not picking up clothes or dishes. If he wants to compensate you for "staging" the place, maybe that would help. I agree with you that protecting your husband's right to sleep is important. There are LOTS of lawyers who do pro bono work. There are also lawyers who can negotiate on your behalf. You might also want to look into, for example, the UW's mediation clinic. If the landlord breaches the lease you can determine how you want to respond. Perhaps it is an option to declare the lease period over and find a new place. Whether or not you'd get your deposit back would turn on the terms of your rental agreement and what you promised to do to get it back. But don't take your landlord's word for it - he is proposing invading your quiet enjoyment. This is not your breach. I hope this helps you. Elizabeth Powell

Asker

Posted

Thank you so much - I appreciate your understanding and advice.

Posted

Perhaps you and the landlord can work together so that you each get some of what you each want. Perhaps you can suggest the landlord to limit showing the house during the times that is convenient for your family and in return you would keep the house clean and attractive to potential buyers.

If your lease has not expired by the time the sale occurs, the buyers and new landlords would have to abide the contract between you and the old landlord.

Unless you have animal waste or rotting foods sitting around, the landlord has no authority to tell you to clean up. Unless the things are hazardous (such as gas cans in front of a heater vent), the landlord has no authority to tell you how you arrange things in your home.