My husband and I rented a home starting in February 2008 from my cousin’s mother-in-law who was moving out of state. There was no written lease between us, just a verbal agreement that we’d pay $ 500 a month plus all utilities.
Because the house was very dirty and needed some TLC, she waived the first month and a half rent and no security deposit, so we took the time to clean the home from top to bottom, painted all of the rooms, and did some minor necessary repairs. The house is now completely liveable because of the things we took the time to do.
We knew at the time that her home was not established as a rental property, however her insurance company soon found out that she was renting, and raised her rates on her.
So now we have been in the house for over 7 months and yesterday we recieved a letter in the mail from our city’s building department. There were two tickets (in her name) with the letter. One for failure to register a rental property and the other was for the failure to pay rental inspection fees.
My husband called her about this matter and she said “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it”. My husband then asked her if she wanted to come and pick up the letter/tickets and she said no. (She has been back in town to take care of her sick mother). So by her not wanting to come and pick up the letter and tickets, that pretty much told us that she doesn’t care.
So yesterday evening I got ahold of my cousin (who is my landlord’s daughter-in-law) and spoke with her about it. I found out from her that this is not the first contact she’s had with the building department about the rental inspection. She was notified before and failed to comply. My cousin told me that our landlord said she wasn’t going to worry about it.
The house does have some flaws and things that need to be put up to code. I know the house would NOT pass a rental inspection and our landlord does NOT have the money to bring anything up to code. (I know because the house was so filthy when we moved in, and we also had a mold/smell issue that developed after two months that she couldn’t afford to have dealt with, so we payed to have it fixed with our rent money).
Yesterday I put a stop payment on our most recent rent check we sent to her, as I’m concerned that we may have to find another place to live. I haven’t notified our landlord that we’ve done this yet, but we’re positive that we want to move.
A part of me feels guilty for not giving her the rent check, but another part of me feels that she’s being dishonest about things and because of her actions, we will end up out on the street anyway.
What should we do???
Should I send her the rent payment and tell her that it’s the last rent money she is getting from us and that we will be moving out (of course we’ll have to stay at the house until we can save a little more money, which could take a few months).
Or should we just not give her this month’s rent and find another place to move to in the next month?
I know you’re all probably thinking, why would you move into a place like that with no lease to protect you… but we honestly thought that because it was my cousin’s mother-in-law, this would never happen. And the rent was so cheap and we needed a house to go to fast. Now I feel like an idiot for even getting into this agreement…
So… what would you do???
Thanks in advance for any replies! I greatly appreciate them!
By the way… I live in Michigan (if that might help with any laws, etc…)