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Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #1 
The contract does not say anything about the security alarm but would I as a landlord have to allow the tenants to use the alarm if they wanted to?
rkkeller

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Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #2 
No.
Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
Any reference to support that answer? Where is the line on this? Hypothetically, could i also block the cable and phone line and put concrete in the kitchen sink without saying, "by the way now that you have moved in you can't use this stuff."
rkkeller

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Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #4 
Its not on the lease as being included and as long as it wasn't listed in your rental ad, you can really choose to let them or not let them use it. I myself would not let them as it can be used if ever a problem to keep you out. If they do ask to use it just tell them it doesn't work.

There are rules and regulations places about allowing cable and phone so you can't stop that but you "can" say where it is allowed to be put and where and how you want it to enter the house.

You can do a lot of things if you wanted, take away the yard, use the garage for yourself even if they live there, store things in the basement/attic, tear out the alarm system, remove a basement sink, as long as they knew or saw them "before" they signed the lease.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #5 
If the lease does not list the alarm as included, you can simply tell them they did not rent a place with a working alarm system.  While one may appear to be there, it is not hooked up or working, it is not activated, wires may not be connected correctly, and false alarms could go off if it were to be connected because of the wiring issues.  (You have no guarantee that the system is still intact at all the window and door connections.)  You did not give them any written promise or warranty of an alarm system on the premises.

I have an alarm system in one of my houses that was installed by the prior owner.  I simply put in my leases that the alarm system is not connected and may not be found in working order should they try to activate it.  (I'm sure wires have been cut by contractors when we did the remodel.)  Should they wish to have the system activated, they need my written approval, my presence when the technician dos the install (to be sure he doesn't damage the 100 year old woodwork), that they need to provide me an access code in case of emergency, and that they are responsible for all bills associated with it.

Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #6 
Interesting comments folks. My own rental property does not have an alarm. I am actually asking this because I am renting a house with an alarm. I do not recall specifically if the ad mentioned the alarm and the management company removed the ad even before we signed a contract. However, we came to view the property twice and both times the alarm was activated and was disarmed by the agent. The agent has since gotten rid of the records. We actually know that the alarm works and currently has a monitoring contract on it which is the main reason the homeowner will not give us the code. She will if we pay her $40 more a month but i'm sure the alarm cost was built into the original rent to cover her expense so i'm not paying for it twice. We really are not interested in monitoring anyway, we just want to be able to arm it to make a bunch of noise when someone breaks in. I'll try to see if I can find the original ad but even if it was not mentioned I think having it armed during the showing would constitute advertisement as well ad demonstration. I am aware that landlords can restrict the use of attics, garages, sheds and such but the contract has to say that. The contract did not say which rooms I could use and whether or not I could use the gates to the back yard or shower or anything else. Why would it have to specifically state that I can use the alarm?
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #7 
Because the alarm is a service, an amenity.  It was not included in the lease contract, which means if there is one it is for the owner's use, not yours.  If you want this item for your own use, you need to pay for the service.  If you don't wish to pay for the service, you may not use the alarm.  This is no different than the phone outlet, cable jack, electric outlets, the water for the shower, etc..  You see it there, but that isn't included in the rent either.  It is a separate service that must be paid for to activate.  (The agent turned on the lights when you were there too, but the electric isn't included in your rent.)  The owner has told you she will allow you to take over her monitoring contract and use the alarm service if you want to pay for it.  Services are not included unless listed in the lease.
Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #8 
I see what you are saying but if if want to use the 'service' I have to go through her. That would be like having to pay for phone service or cable or electricity through her as well. But the alarm can be used without a service attached to it and that is what we want to do.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #9 
Without the service, the alarm contacts no one.  It is useless.  Without her paying for the alarm and the service, it wouldn't be there.  Either pay for the service, or don't use it.  You are not entitled to use someone else's cable.  Neither are you allowed to use someone else's alarm.  Her allowing you to use and pay for the service is similar to  subletting it to you.  If you arm the alarm without the service, and it goes off, the LL may end up being fined for false alarms.  (Many municipalities have this law on false alarms.)  You would be responsible for these fines.  You are not entitled to use this alarm if you don't pay for the service.  It is not included in your lease.
Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #10 
Just because the alarm contacts no one does not make it useless. It would quickly alert us that someone has entered or attempted to enter the house and hopefully scare them off. Even if the were alerted it wouldn't do much good. Takes way to long to respond which is why we have our own weapons. So the alarm serves a valid purpose still. Also, the alarm sounding without monitoring is not a false alarm it would be just as valid. I understand I'm not entitled to use someone else's cable etc. but I am entitled to the use of the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, showers, garage phone line, microwave, fireplace, wall outlets, and everything else in the house. Am I not? What if the homeowner had a contract on cable service that was still active but did not disclose this. Then managed to bar us from getting our own cable service. Can she do that? Same with phone service? I don't think so. Now maybe we could pay her for the cable service instead of Comcast as you say but what if we only want basic cable and not the outrageous package she has to offer? I don't think she can do that without disclosing up front that even though cable hookups are available we only have one option and that is through her. She should have to end her contract with the cable company. I know I would if I had a contract on my own rental property.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #11 
"I am entitled to the use of the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, showers, garage phone line, microwave, fireplace, wall outlets"  (Yes, those things are included in your lease under the property condition statement.)

"and everything else in the house".  (No.  Anything else is not included in your lease.  This is an amenity for the LL's use only and has been described to you as such.  No alarms system was advertised or rented to you.)

If the alarm goes off (monitored or not) and is reported to the police, it is listed as a false alarm if there is no burglar or sign of a break in there.  You can bet someone will call the police is the alarm goes off.  Fines can apply.

The LL cannot stop you from getting cable, internet, or satellite.  These are covered by FCC rules.  NO rules govern alarm systems.  Either pay for the service, or don't use something that you have no lease for.  If this is a paid monitoring service, the only way to have the alarm armed and not be reported to the service is for you to tamper with the system.  Most monitored systems detect being disconnected and report this as a break in.  If you do tamper with the system, you will be in violation of your lease and may risk being evicted.  (You are destroying LL property.)  This is not your system and you cannot use it unless you pay for it.  Either pay for the system, ask the LL to allow you to get your own contract for this service (then provide her a code), or don't use it.
rkkeller

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Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #12 
Picture this being one of your tenants. :>~
Mongoose

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #13 
"I am entitled to the use of the bedrooms, living room, kitchen, showers, garage phone line, microwave, fireplace, wall outlets" (Yes, those things are included in your lease under the property condition statement.)
- Actually, no. There is no statement at all like that. The lease says 'premises' but never goes into any detail.

"and everything else in the house". (No. Anything else is not included in your lease. This is an amenity for the LL's use only and has been described to you as such. No alarms system was advertised or rented to you.)
- Nothing describes the alarm as an amenity for the LL's use. How do I know what is for the LL's use and what is not?

If the alarm goes off (monitored or not) and is reported to the police, it is listed as a false alarm if there is no burglar or sign of a break in there. You can bet someone will call the police is the alarm goes off. Fines can apply.
- no joke if it is in fact a false alarm but who said anything about that anyway. I'm talking about a real break in.

The LL cannot stop you from getting cable, internet, or satellite. These are covered by FCC rules. NO rules govern alarm systems. Either pay for the service, or don't use something that you have no lease for. If this is a paid monitoring service, the only way to have the alarm armed and not be reported to the service is for you to tamper with the system. Most monitored systems detect being disconnected and report this as a break in. If you do tamper with the system, you will be in violation of your lease and may risk being evicted. (You are destroying LL property.) This is not your system and you cannot use it unless you pay for it. Either pay for the system, ask the LL to allow you to get your own contract for this service (then provide her a code), or don't use it.
- This is the first thing you have said that makes sense at all. However, I'm not and idiot and I'm not going to 'tamper' with the alarm. Also, were it not for an existing contract on the alarm monitoring I would not have to tamper with it to use it as I desire to. If there is no law that helps me out then I'm screwed and that's fine. I still think it is bogus to bar a tenant from using something attached to the house without any notice that it can not be used. I have a water treatment system on my own rental home and I wouldn't even think of baring my tenants from using it. I do ask that it be properly maintained but it is not specific in the contract either.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #14 
Mongoose, didn't you sign a condition inspection report?!!!!!  One that lists the condition of every item under your control in the unit?  If you didn't, at the end of your lease, how do you prove that the ___(fill in the blank) was in that condition when you moved in?!!!  You should always have a move in inspection form!  This form and the items it lists are those items you are responsible for and have access to in the premises.  If you didn't do one of these, you need to immediately document the condition of all those things in your unit.  (Although, since you have already been in the unit for some time, it won't be as good as protection as if it had been done at move in.  The LL can now say that you did that damage before you completed the condition form.)  Without one, you will be fighting with the LL for your security back at the end of the tenancy.  You should ALWAYS have these before and after the tenancy.

"Nothing describes the alarm as an amenity for the LL's use. How do I know what is for the LL's use and what is not?"  The LL already told you this.  In your own words, "We actually know that the alarm works and currently has a monitoring contract on it which is the main reason the homeowner will not give us the code. She will if we pay her $40 more a month"  She has told you this is not part of your rental unless you want to pay for the service.  Services are not included in any rental unless they are listed in your lease.

"However, I'm not and idiot and I'm not going to 'tamper' with the alarm. Also, were it not for an existing contract on the alarm monitoring I would not have to tamper with it to use it as I desire to"  If there were no contract, the alarm wouldn't work at all!  It would be deactiveated, turned off, unplugged, or removed from the rental if it were not for the existing contract, WHICH BELONGS TO THE LL, not you.  There would be no need to tamper with it to use it because the alarm system would not be there if the LL had not paid for the service!

This was not listed in an ad is not promised to you within the lease.  You've already been told by your LL that it is not yours to use, unless you want to pay for the contract that she signed to activate it.  She's not looking to gouge you for extra money.  Just offering to allow you to use this amenity if you pay the contract costs.  (Here, this monitoring is $39.95 a month, so she isn't charging you extra.)  It's very simple.  If you want to use this alarm and the service connected to it, pay the extra money.  Otherwise, leave the item alone.

And if you want that water treatment system in your rental property to still be there when you return and be in working condition, I strongly suggest you include it in the lease AND word it to require the tenant to maintain it properly.  Otherwise you may return to find the tenant had it disconnected, taken out, has failed to maintain it, or that it is now your responsibility to do so.  (You did not list it as the tenant's responsibility in the contract, so they will assume it is your responsibility to do any needed maintenance as part of the plumbing/water system.)

Mongoose

Registered:
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #15 
We did have a move in inspection where the maintenance manager came out and documented and photographed the condition of the house. During this inspection the lack of an alarm code was noted and we were told they would get that for us. It wasn't until the 3rd attempt by the management company to obtain the code did the owner reveal the reason for her reluctance. We never new it was already under contract until a few months into our stay here.

Alarms still work even without monitoring. I have lived in 3 previous houses where I used an alarm without monitoring. Please don't tell me it won't work. I know the owner is not looking to gouge me for extra money but what I still don't see is the boundary between what is for us to use and what is not. I rented several houses while in college and looked at MANY contracts when preparing to rent out my own home. I have not seen one that lists every little item with a house or on the property. What I have seen is some contracts do limit the use of certain space and that is specifically mentioned in the contract. Our contract has no such limitations. I also know that when you buy a house anything attached goes with it. If she wanted to sell this house but take the alarm with her should have have to remove it first of make sure any perspective buyers knew the alarm was not staying. Imagine buying a house and when you took possession you found toilet seats or towel racks missing. I have a knife rack that is mounted under cabinets in the kitchen and that has to be taken down before showing the house or it has to stay with it in the sale. I would expect that the law is exactly the same for rentals and i'm looking something that can actually point me one way or another. This is know different than taking the doors off all the hinges. They were not in the contract either. Forget about the service that is attached to the alarm. I know I am not entitled to that but I would expect she should have to cancel the service the same way she canceled cable service (if she had it). The fee to get out of the contract might actually be less than remaining monthly payments. So, what law says the owner can not remove the doors to all the bedrooms? Maybe that is the angle I should start with. Most people agree that this is a valid argument. You seem pretty hostile about my opinion.
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