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Q & A with America’s Real Estate Professor: Who pays for tenant’s temporary relocation

Zillow • Oct 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Who Pays for Tenant’s Temporary Relocation

Q. We had a big water pipe burst under the house slab foundation and the landlord is having the plumbers crack and dig up part of the house to replace the pipe. It’s a mess. I’ve decided that I’m going to move out during the 3 day construction. Should the landlord reimburse me for rent, food and hotel costs while I am out of the property? I feel bad for the owner, but I really can’t afford these extra expenses. Tina L. Macon, Ga.

A. Yes, they should reimburse you if the construction is disturbing you more than a minor amount. When I say “should” this doesn’t mean that your owner believes they should. If the house is not habitable, then you should be able to recover pro-rated rent, plus costs like hotel and food. Be reasonable in what you ask for and try to minimize the costs for your owner, as I’m sure they have a big plumbing expense coming up. But they should be willing to cover your costs; remind them that you are a good tenant and plan to stay living there for a long time. Finally, always be diplomatic as that usually helps in every situation. Good luck.

HOA Documents for Condo in Small Community

Q. I am considering purchasing a condominium unit in a very small community – only 8 units. I’m trying to get the documents to review as I’ve got your Homeowners Association document list, but they hardly prepare any of the documents – no financials, no reserve study, no Board of Directors meeting minutes and notes. What should I do? Michel T., Gardena, Calif.

A. Yes, many small communities do not prepare a lot of the documents. This is primarily due to the cost of preparing them. But since you are in California, they are probably required to do so by law.

So what should you do? Well, there’s no easy answer here. As to the condition of the property for future repairs and maintenance costs you might have to share with other owners, you could have a home inspector do a full report for you and try to place costs to the big maintenance issues – roofs, exterior paint and any shared mechanical equipment. For the documents and BOD information, if you are financing the unit, your lender probably requires a condominium certification questionnaire to be filled out and signed off upon by the BOD. That will have lots of good information for you. Otherwise, you’ve got to figure out what you need to know – like insurance issues, rules and regulations and HOA fees. Ask the BOD in writing for a response.

If you don’t think you are receiving enough good information to make an informed decision, you might want to pass on buying a property in that community. Keep me posted on what you end up deciding.


Leonard Baron, MBA, is America’s Real Estate Professor®. His unbiased, neutral and inexpensive “Real Estate Ownership, Investment and Due Diligence 101” textbook teaches real estate owners how to make smart and safe purchase decisions. He is a San Diego State University lecturer, blogs at Zillow, and loves kicking the tires of a good piece of dirt! More at ProfessorBaron.com. Email your questions to: Leonard@ProfessorBaron.com

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