We have never rented before and my husband and I are renting a guest house on a woman's property here in California. She has never rented out rooms before (illegal in San Diego county without permits plus she has a mobile home on the property without permits). She is coming from a place of desperation with a pending divorce after 18 years of marriage and I understand she is trying to do what it takes to keep her home.
My 60 year old husband and I met the landlord in March and she told us how in the 8 years she has lived there she has only used the AC once in 8 years because there is a constant breeze. We agreed to give her $200 a month for utilities, the people in the mobile home give her $150, the other two tenants she moved into two small bedrooms in her house give her $100 each equals = $550. The electricity the past two months has been $485 and $523 which is less than what she collects and this is without her paying a penny and one of the people renting is an electrician and said that her outdated appliances, well pump, hot water heater, pool pump are running at $250 a month just by themselves. When the last bill came in she said how she couldn't pay the bill meaning she hadn't put aside the designated rent from our rent checks.....well not really checks because she demands cash to keep it off the books so her soon to be ex husband won't know she is collecting ex amount of dollars. She has also divided the cable bill between us and one other renter and she pays nothing towards it because she said she rarely watches TV.
My point is we asked her over and over for the key to open the central air conditioning in our unit which we used all of three times before she said she had decided to disconnect it because she couldn't afford the bill. Temps were climbing into the 100's and she said if we had to have AC we could go out and buy our own window unit which we did but she will not allow the other two tenants in the house to have a window unit. The specs on our unit says $74 a year to run and on the one the other tenants would need $42 a year to run. Her son who is 18 was at the house yesterday and it was 102 already at 10 a.m. and he was so hot plus one of the renters is a lung cancer survivor and he has recently started coughing blood from being so hot. I told the landlord this and she never commented so I am having this 63 year old stranger come sit in our unit where we have the window unit/ I told her son while she was at work to just turn on the central AC for thirty minutes to cool things down and he showed me the padlock on the controls.
She doesn't want anyone using the dryer which was part of the rental agreement and my husband built all of us renters a clothesline outside of our room with her permission. When we went out of town she wanted to leave our room that attaches to the house unlocked so she could go in and out. We said no and she wanted the key so she could go in and out which we gave her but we asked why she had to enter at all if we are making sure everything is turned off before our five day vacation. Her 18 year old son just walks in without knocking when we are there and we do not want to leave the place unsecured.
We had some larger things to get rid of and I told her I was putting an ad on Craigslist and she said she would refuse to let us do that because of the danger but that is how she advertises for more renters and she is also advertising on CL to rent her property to hold RVs and trucks for $75 a month which is an eyesore. If any of us have an over night guest which rarely happens she wants $15 extra per day unless we include her in the meals or activities with our guests.
AFTER the fact of moving in she gossips about the other tenants behind their backs deeming them lazy if they don't help out around what she calls a "working ranch". I told her one of the renters who works hard, pays his rent should not have to come home to shovel horse poop from the corral. I told her to hire someone once a week to do the weedeating and clean up and she said we tenants should be helping so my husband cleared 8-1/2 acres of brush over the past 5 months of us living there.
We paid the electricity up front the day we moved in and this month when we gave her the check (I refused to do cash) and included $200 electricity in it and I gave her a written 30 days notice she wanted to know who would pay the electric bill when it comes in. She is not getting that we paid this in advance. We gave her $800 deposit and I am sure she will try to get out of giving it back somehow and has been crying literally day and night about us leaving. We will leave the place cleaner than we found it because it was dirty when we moved in. She said she knew she should replace the carpets and would in a few months but she didn't and we have scrubbed them but the oil stains keep surfacing. She promised to put a small kitchenette in once she saw we were there a few months but of course that never happened.
The cancer survivor also gave notice. He can no longer stand the smell of the horse manure, the heat, the flies, no AC. He takes a shower every other day because she worries about the well going too low which has never happened. She complains about the tenants that do shower daily. I guess my main question is...what right do we have towards having AC in 100+ temperatures and we are all paying the whole bill. When I pointed that out to her she snapped..."Well, I have to pay taxes and you don't."
The guy in the mobile home is a paraplegic and it is like having a tin can in the sun. he has been sick way too much lately and his fiance thinks it is the heat exhaustion. The place is overrun with mice in the mobile home and the owner had a fit when they brought in a cat that has nothing to do with her house.
She gets up at 5 a.m. daily, lets her 5 dogs out of the barn and gets them excited and barking outside of our place waking us up daily at 5 a.m. We cannot use the pool because the dogs jump in and there is dog hair everywhere.
I said what is going to happen in the Winter when it is snowing and people need to use an electric heater. She yelled..."NO ONE is allowed to use an electric heater here! They can use the wood stove". Yes, we have a wood stove in our place but i do not want to use wood and have the smell in my clothes and furniture. I am glad this is a month to month. What a nightmare. leaving soon. I would like to know my rights towards using the AC is any. If the bill goes past $550 I even said I would pay more.