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landlord tenant law

 
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

good nite! :@)

i was wondering what the rules for landlord/tenants were? say i were to choose a place to move sight unseen (which i most likely won't do but who knows, it's worked out for me in the past ), move to the location, find out it's a dump, and move out. where technically i've signed a lease, i've been bamboozled, spekledorfed....hornswoggled even!

do the same rules from the US regarding landlord/tenant law apply in the STT/STX? even if they apply, are they generally enforced?

thanks

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Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2010 1:57 am
mydream
(@mydream)
Advanced Member

If you sign a lease, It is the same as in the states. You are obligated to live up to your part of the agreement, and If you sign a lease on an apartment sight unseen, your still obligated.

You should just come down rent short term, until you find the place that fits your needs.
It is better to be here and look, and there are a lot of rentals available right now, I don't think you will have any trouble finding a place.
It would be terrible to have to stick it out in a place for a year that you don't like, or in a bad neighborhood.

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Posted : January 24, 2010 2:29 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

The upshot is that this is a small community, so you can be sure that if you try to get out of a lease on the basis of misrepresentation, your case will come before folks who are friends with, or relatives of, friends or relatives of the landlord. Do yourself a favor and don't rent anything sight unseen, regardless of how well that may have worked for you elsewhere. Whatever laws may apply, they may or may not be enforced, and the enforcement decision will be based on a whim, and will likely fall in favor of whatever will result in the best outcome for the party who can trace their family history in the VI back the farthest.

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Posted : January 24, 2010 4:22 am
rks
 rks
(@rks)
Advanced Member

Overall, laws are VERY tenant-friendly.

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Posted : January 24, 2010 12:21 pm
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

makes sense. i was trying to find ways to cut moving costs but i'll save myself a year of misery by doing it the right way.

i've never had to break a lease but have moved into quite a few places sight unseen and oddly enough, they turned out to be some of the better places to live. but i won't tempt fate this time.

thanks

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Topic starter Posted : January 24, 2010 12:46 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

A good compromise, if you have to do it sight unseen, is to rent short term. Several opportunities to do that on either STT or STX. Then, if you hate it, you aren't stuck for a year. I have a small apt. complex, and we rent short term or long term. Our minimum is one month. Lots of people take 3 months, and then use that time to get to know the island, get jobs, figure out where they want to be. Some wind up staying here. A one month rental is going to cost more, but not anywhere near as much as a hotel, and not as much as trying to get out of a long term lease! Our website is http://www.virginislandsrentals.com. I'll be glad to answer any questions for you, but obviously I don't know what I will have available this far in advance. You did say 16 months before you move, right?

The downside is if you are planning on bringing furniture, etc. You won't want to deal with the big move and then another move so quickly. Most people advise not to bring much with you anyway. Leave most everything back home, in storage, and have someone ship it, or go back and take care of it yourself, once you decide this really is where you want to be.

Many apts. here are fully furnished, so you can just start out with your suitcase.

Enjoy the next year doing your research. You will find tons of info on this forum.

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Posted : January 24, 2010 2:30 pm
CAtoSTX
(@CAtoSTX)
Trusted Member

I agree with Juanita.
we rented for 3 weeks when we got here and used that time to find a permanent place. (We had 5 weeks notice to get here, no PMV)
We would look at multiple units in the same complex and the difference was night and day.
Rent short-term either through Juanita, VRBO, or however you want to do it first, but don't get yourself stuck in a lease without seeing the place first.

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Posted : January 24, 2010 11:06 pm
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

@juanita,

thank you and yes, about 16 months but one of my friends had the brilliant idea of getting my mba this fall at UVI. i technically don't need it and where the schools rank is 😛 it couldn't hurt to have a few more letters behind my name in case i have to look for employment while there. so it might be sooner...as in this fall.

furnished? i didn't consider that before. :S there are so many variables. finding the safest/smartest way to do this gets easier/more complicated by the day.

definitely something to think about. thanks

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Topic starter Posted : January 25, 2010 4:03 pm
NugBlazer
(@NugBlazer)
Advanced Member

say i were to choose a place to move sight unseen (which i most likely won't do but who knows, it's worked out for me in the past ), move to the location, find out it's a dump, and move out. where technically i've signed a lease, i've been bamboozled, spekledorfed....hornswoggled even!

As a landlord, I really find this kind of attitude irksome. If you sign a lease sight unseen, and then you turn out not to like the place, you have no one but yourself to blame. You have not been "bamboozled", you have simply made a stupid decision.

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Posted : January 28, 2010 2:45 pm
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

hey nugblazer,

that's true as long as the location was properly represented prior to signing the lease. as a landlord, what you post online for example should be an accurate representation of the dwelling and if not, your tenant should be able to back out. if your lease has specifications regarding pest control, the tenant expects just that. and if you are like me and ask, "does your complex have roaches or meeses?" and you're told no, then you expect none the critter.

rental living aren't as-is sales. neither the landlord or renter gets to play "gotcha." the landlord has the right to eviction/damages for lost rental income. on the mainland, as a renter, you put all payments in escrow with the proper govt agency/court, write a letter about why you refuse to pay directly and wait for your court date.

if the process isn't the same in the island then i guess there would be a lot of proper/improper defaults.

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Topic starter Posted : January 28, 2010 3:39 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Landlord and Tenant relations are covered by Virgin Island Code, Title Twenty Eight (Property), Chapter 31. Although there is "no" specific Landlord tenant laws, there are provisions contained in previous court decisions that protect tenants. Nevertheless, it is the "signed" contract (lease) that largely govern the relationship between the landlord and tenant, which is admissible in a court of law (which would be Superior Court of the Virgin Islands). If there is no provision about your bugs and mice in your lease (you're stuck), also the court does not accept Rent Escrow Payments for false advertising or any other complaint regarding the occupancy of the unit.8-)

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Posted : January 28, 2010 4:19 pm
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

stateside, most courts are surprisingly lax on this issue and tend to favor tenants. if you're putting money in escrow, it means you're not trying to skirt responsibility and judges will work with you to avoid having an eviction on your record as long as you're not clearly a deadbeat.

i've had to help many friends out in the past couple years on these matters and whether their complaints were legit or not, all they had to do was be sure to document every grievance. go into the lease knowing that they have to notify the landlord of every grievance.

when you get fed up, go down to your local "wherever," fill out a form (sometimes there's no form!) and if you wanted to attach an explanation, all it takes is a piece of loose leaf paper and a pencil.

but that's the mainland. if the govt down there is corrupt, i wouldn't even feel comfortable going through the process so i guess lizard is right, you're *ss out. 😛 get a short-term lease and suck it up.

even though i've done it, i definitely do NOT recommend renting a place sight unseen (although seriously, two of the best places i've lived were in areas/complexes i'd never seen). but if you have to go that route, this is what helps me and i know, it may not be relevant to USVI.

- look for units that are currently occupied but will be available on or around your move. as long as you arrive on the first date of availability, a reasonable landlord/leasing agent won't harp too much about your backing out.

- after setting your date, be in regular communication. email/call at least once before you go down to confirm and be sure to arrive on the first availability date to inspect.

- be prepared to sign and fork over some cash. chances are, if it's a large complex, they won't even be done cleaning up the place. this makes it easier for you to back out if you need to. even if it's ready, it's harder to claim loss of rental income when the place became move-in ready 30 min ago.

- if you have to make a deposit to hold the apartment, make sure it's refundable and be there on the first availability date. you can't expect to get your money back if the landlord lost a week's worth of rental due to your mucking around.

- when speaking with the leasing agent, talk a whole lot about your fears. your fears of bugs, surly looking people, being hot. throw in some info here and there to let them know that you're an experienced renter who knows his/her rights. at the end of the day, you might meet with someone who's more concerned about their commission but for the most part unless your agent/potential landlord likes a challenge, they won't overly exaggerate.

- email first. if you can't, document phone conversations with an email. sending a, "thank you so much for agreeing to... during our conversation yesterday," email can go a long way.

- finally, you get what you pay for. this isn't a steadfast rule but for the most part, if it's too good to be true, it's too good to be true.

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Topic starter Posted : January 28, 2010 6:11 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Just for the record I gave you the VI Code and what it entails. I made no representation as to a corrupt Govt or anyone being put out.:-X

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Posted : January 28, 2010 6:24 pm
tubbyscubby
(@tubbyscubby)
Advanced Member

lizard, why are you so combative? do you need to get laid? OMG! you must be a fixed/fire sign because you clearly like to argue.

i wasn't making a judgment on/about you. i read previously ON THIS FORUM about property tax issues. so i figure, a government that has trouble documenting the money it's due, probably shouldn't be responsible for holding in escrow money that it has nothing to do with.

relax!

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Topic starter Posted : January 28, 2010 6:30 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

Tubby,

We are a bit less formal here. That doesn't mean we don't have to abide by the laws, but for the most part, apartments are in someone else's house. You are sharing a roof/cistern/driveway, etc., etc. with your landlord. They are your closest neighbor. Even though we have an apartment complex on STX, it's only 12 units, and we live here. (BTW, most complexes of any size are low income housing.) When I go out to my car during the day, I'm usually waving at at least one tenant. If I need to borrow a cup of sugar, I'm knocking on a tenant's door, and vice versa. Their dogs visit my dogs. See what I'm getting at? It's not impersonal here. You won't be renting from a big corporation to whom you are just a number and a rent check.

I wouldn't give this another thought, if I were you. Just rent short term and feel you way around once you're on island.

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Posted : January 28, 2010 6:53 pm
cordeliagilbert
(@cordeliagilbert)
New Member

Hello good afternoon:

I have a one year lease and the lease does not state that I give my landlord 30 days notice prior to vacating the premises.  I gave him a letter informing him that I will not be renewing my lease and he stated that he will not return my security deposit because the Virgin Islands laws states that I have to give 30 days notice whether or not the lease states it.

My question is am I not bound ONLY by the lease?

 

Any response(s) would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted : January 24, 2019 6:35 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Posted by: cordeliagilbert

Hello good afternoon:

I have a one year lease and the lease does not state that I give my landlord 30 days notice prior to vacating the premises.  I gave him a letter informing him that I will not be renewing my lease and he stated that he will not return my security deposit because the Virgin Islands laws states that I have to give 30 days notice whether or not the lease states it.

My question is am I not bound ONLY by the lease?

 

Any response(s) would be greatly appreciated.

Sounds like the landlord is just being a dick.

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Posted : January 25, 2019 1:42 pm
hollyfoulke
(@hollyfoulke)
New Member

Juanita,

 

I tried to open the website you suggested, virginislandrentals.com and nothing came up.  Is the site up and running?

 

Thank you,

Holly

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Posted : January 30, 2019 1:36 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

Juanita's post was from 2010. LOL

VI code says that you owe your landlord 30 days notice is you pay your rent on a monthly basis. If you pay on a quarterly basis, you owe your landlord 90 days notice. 

It's based on how you'd like to be treated if you were the landlord running a small business.

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Posted : January 30, 2019 2:30 pm
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