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Michigan-No gas or electric on move in
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Perpetual
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Joined: Fri Dec 14th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Dec 21st, 2007 05:04 pm
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I ran into a similar situation like this. The house we moved into had a lot of stuff that was not right. We made a list of the stuff and had a date for it to be done by and had him sign it...that alone saved out butts later on when he refused to make the repairs.

In the end the house ended up getting condemned when the city inspector came to the house (water issue). That really sucked for us, we were given 48 hours to vacate the house by the city because of the condemned status. But allowed us to take the LL to court for some of our paid rent (partial abatement), full security deposit, attorney fees and some moving costs.

If a LL can't make the property fit to live in BEFORE the tenant moves in or sees it, I wouldn't trust them to be a good landlord in the long run.

As for missing work to turn utilities back on, not the LL's fault or problem. Consumers Energy does allow all the documentation to be faxed instead of showing up in person. DTE (electricity), Comcast (cable) are also known for the million questions if there is a previous balance at that address before turning service back on...I have had the same problems with them myself.

As for the LL having to have utilities on when you move in....not true. Its in the best interest for the LL NOT to have utilities in his name when you move in. Reason being: that lets say you move in and do not switch utilities over, the LL can not turn them off because it could be viewed as a self help eviction. His only recourse is to send a Notice To Cure, this notice gives you notice that you are in a lease violation and gives you a little time to fix it (usually around 7 days)...but all of this depends on what exactly is in your lease. If you do not comply to the Notice To Cure, LL can take you to court and evict you.

If you try and take this to court, be prepared for the judge to ask you why you even moved in if the property was in that bad of condition.

mechman29
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Joined: Tue Dec 4th, 2007
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 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 10:53 pm
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OH landlord wrote: Why did it take 17 days to get heat on?  It should have taken no more than 2 or 3 days. 

The previous people that lived here had a huge bill and the gas company came out and took the meter. They didn't just turn off the gas, they took the meter. Many workers were on vacation do to the holidays and it took them some time to get here. The first appointment was totally missed by the gas company. I had to reschedule it a second time. When I did make the appointment, I had to go back to the gas company a second time. 

 

(I take it you did not do a final pre-move-in inspection before signing the lease and accepting the keys?)  He has no excuse for not having the electrical problems fixed prior to move in or giving you possession.

 No, we didn’t. When I was with him the first time, 3 weeks prior, we went through the house as best we could with no lights. He stated that he would have it all done when we moved in. Well, he didn’t. My bad.
 

Were you the person listed as responsible for the gas in your lease? 

 Yes

 

In OH, we routinely have the utilities shut off prior to or on the day a tenant takes occupancy.  It is the tenant's responsibility to obtain the utilities they are responsible for.  If the tenant needs to take a day off work to appear in person, pay a deposit, fax in their rental agreement or driver's license, or whatever the utility company requires, that is between the tenant and the utility company.  Those are their requirements, not mine.  (We have a similar wording in our law.  But courts have ruled that it means that I provide a house with the ability to have heat, gas, electric, water, etc. turned on to be habitable.)  The tenant must see that these utilities are turned on. 

 

That’s correct. When I move into a place, I can just call and have the gas and electric turned on. I couldn’t do that this time because they required me to have a signed, and notarized lease.  This goes back to the first reply. I had to get my lease notarized, and I couldn’t do that until the following Monday of the weekend I moved in.  Then, I had to go to the gas company. Etc.

 
Were you able to have the electric turned on with those exposed wires like that?  If not, the house was not habitable when you took possession.  You may be due a rebate of rent for the portion of the month when the house was not habitable. 

Yes! That’s the kicker. I AM POSITIVE that this landlord must not have a Cert of Occupancy. There cant be with the stuff that was wrong. I’m going to call the city tomorrow and see. I will let you know.

 

 

Thanks for the replies.


Last edited on Thu Dec 6th, 2007 10:55 pm by mechman29

OH landlord
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Joined: Wed Sep 12th, 2007
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 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 02:18 am
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Why did it take 17 days to get heat on?  It should have taken no more than 2 or 3 days.  There is no reason to have exposed wires in the unit when you moved in.  The LL should have had those things fixed well before you moved in.  (I take it you did not do a final pre-move-in inspection before signing the lease and accepting the keys?)  He has no excuse for not having the electrical problems fixed prior to move in or giving you possession.

Were you the person listed as responsible for the gas in your lease?  In OH, we routinely have the utilities shut off prior to or on the day a tenant takes occupancy.  It is the tenant's responsibility to obtain the utilities they are responsible for.  If the tenant needs to take a day off work to appear in person, pay a deposit, fax in their rental agreement or driver's license, or whatever the utility company requires, that is between the tenant and the utility company.  Those are their requirements, not mine.  (We have a similar wording in our law.  But courts have ruled that it means that I provide a house with the ability to have heat, gas, electric, water, etc. turned on to be habitable.)  The tenant must see that these utilities are turned on.  If we were to leave the utilities on when a tenant moved in, a tenant could delay or fail to have the utilities switched to their name.  We would not find out until the next month when we recieved a bill (at which time it would be too late to have them shut off legally).  Here, many LLs require the tenant to have the utilities turned on in their names prior to taking occupancy to prevent this type of problem.

Were you able to have the electric turned on with those exposed wires like that?  If not, the house was not habitable when you took possession.  You may be due a rebate of rent for the portion of the month when the house was not habitable. 

LandlordLaura
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Joined: Mon Aug 21st, 2006
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 Posted: Wed Dec 5th, 2007 04:34 am
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There is a website that has a Michigan Tenant and Landlord Practical Guide (rev. 3/2006) at:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/Publications/tenantlandlord.pdf

There is more Michigan Tenant information at the following website:

http://www.michigantenants.org/resourcelib

Hopefully some of this information will help you in doing some research.  Another idea would be to contact a local experienced Landlord Tenant Attorney for direct advice in your situaiton.

Let us know what you find out and how you decide to proceed....
 

mechman29
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Joined: Tue Dec 4th, 2007
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 Posted: Wed Dec 5th, 2007 01:33 am
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Hello, I’m new here and I hope someone can help. I’ll start from the beginning.

I moved into a rental house on November 16th. 3 weeks before moving in, I went to the house with my girl friend and met the landlord. The house had no electricity, no gas (no heat or hot water. Basically, no utilities except water), and was in need of repairs. The gas meter was not on the house. The gas company had come and removed it do to the previous tenants (I assume previous tenants) not paying their bill. I mentioned all the things that we could see at the time with no lights, and the fact that the gas meter was missing. The landlord said, “I have 3 weeks before you move in. I will have everything taken care of.”

When my family and I moved in, NONE of the problems were fixed at all. The gas meter wasn’t on the house, the electricity was still off, wall sockets were still bare (exposed wires), and garage is STILL full of someone else’s stuff to this day.  

I talked to my LL about it all. He had someone come and fix a few of the things. What is bothering me is that I just got my heat turned on Monday, December 3rd. It took me 17 days to get my heat on. I had to take off work, go to the utility company, and show them a notarized lease agreement showing that I was a new tenant and that I wasn’t “name jumping” as they put it.

I live in Michigan in the Detroit area. From my understanding in Michigan, when a tenant moves into a rental home, the rental home is supposed to have the heat, water and electric ON so all the tenant has to do is have it switched over in name. The wording is something like “the premises remain in safe, healthful and fit condition for occupancy.” Or to that effect.

My question is this. If it took me 17 days to get my heat (taking 2 days off of work no less at a loss of over 400 dollars to myself), am I responsible for the rent, partial or full, for the time I have been here? What steps do I have to take? Who do I contact?

I have TRIED to talk to my LL about this, but he keeps telling me “it’s not his problem that the heat wasn’t on”, etc.

Also, I have LOOKED all over for the laws for Michigan and I can’t find the ones that pertain to my situation. Does anyone know who, or where I can go? Michigan.gov is a very hard to navigate site.


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