• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Can my landlord keep a window shade that I bought but he installed?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

Amy Olsy

Member
Montana. There is a large skylight in my apartment that had no covering, and I endured two summers of 90° and over on hot days. I finally got my landlord to agree to put up a shade. I had one made at a canvas shop, paid for it, and bought a sail pole to open and close it once installed. He provided hooks and some wire, and installed it. I am moving and want to take it with me. He thinks it should stay, and has offered no compensation. It will take some effort to take it down, so I don't want to do it if I'm not legally entitled to.
 


RJR

Active Member
You can ask him why it should stay?

A good bet he is relying on the legal Principle of "Fixtures". Anything attached to real property is no longer personal property. I'm sure he's been through that before.

Not saying you do or do not have to leave it though?
 

quincy

Senior Member
Montana. There is a large skylight in my apartment that had no covering, and I endured two summers of 90° and over on hot days. I finally got my landlord to agree to put up a shade. I had one made at a canvas shop, paid for it, and bought a sail pole to open and close it once installed. He provided hooks and some wire, and installed it. I am moving and want to take it with me. He thinks it should stay, and has offered no compensation. It will take some effort to take it down, so I don't want to do it if I'm not legally entitled to.
Just curious: What do you intend to do with a canvas shade made to fit the specific skylight in that apartment, should the landlord agree you can take it with you?
 

Amy Olsy

Member
This probably doesn't matter, but it's only held up by two wires. One snip on each wire would let the thing fall to the ground. The effort part about that is getting a long enough ladder to be able to reach up there. The rest of the "fixture" are four screw eyes and a small screw hook. The shade cost me a couple hundred dollars. He bought the hardware for probably less than $5.00. I planned to live there for a good long while, but he increased rent substantially last spring to "keep up with the market", and I can't keep up. It's always been a struggle to get him to do anything maintenance related, and I've given time and money to several things that should have been his responsibility, so I'm not feeling amicable about the shade. What would I do with the shade should it come with me? I'm handy - make it into another shade, maybe a dog bed cover, maybe weather covers for my Adirondack chairs...
 

Gail in Georgia

Senior Member
The rule is, anything that is considered to "permanently" attached to the rental remains with it. Thus, if tenant brings an appliance (that can be easily unplugged), it remains theirs. If something that is attached with screws/nails (for example, kitchen cabinets) it remains with the property.

Take the shade and you're likely to find a significant "installment charge" taken out of your security deposit.
 

FarmerJ

Senior Member
So when this was installed you didn't design it in a way that it could be easily taken down for cleaning , sort of like how window shades are mounted into easy to remove the shade brackets ? ( think in expensive roll down shades or inexpensive curtain rods where when the shade or rod is taken down what remains are brackets )
 

adjusterjack

Senior Member
I sort of agree with the "fixture" concept. But there is another alternative. Your lease/rental agreement (or statute or common law) requires you to return the property to the owner in the same condition you received it, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear.

If you took down the shade, filled in any holes and painted the ceiling to restore it to it's original condition, took photos at completion, I don't think your LL could say boo about it.

If you leave holes and wires hanging, well, that's damage and you'll be charged for it.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
I sort of agree with the "fixture" concept. But there is another alternative. Your lease/rental agreement (or statute or common law) requires you to return the property to the owner in the same condition you received it, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear.

If you took down the shade, filled in any holes and painted the ceiling to restore it to it's original condition, took photos at completion, I don't think your LL could say boo about it.

If you leave holes and wires hanging, well, that's damage and you'll be charged for it.
Actually, if the op paints without permission she could find herself facing a considerable bill to undo her work. A tenant has no right to repair anything without permission from the landlord.


Additionally, if a court would see the shade as a fixture, op could find herself facing a bill to replace the shade. Luckily most police agencies aren’t real aggressive with issues like this but if it is considered a fixture, taking it would be theft.
 

quincy

Senior Member
I agree with adjusterjack. A rental should be returned to its original condition and here the original condition did not include a shade.

That said, the landlord invested time and money when installing the shade so Amy could find herself having to reimburse her landlord for his costs.

I doubt the "couple of hundred dollars" invested in the canvas is worth fighting over - for either Amy or the landlord - but Amy risks a security deposit deduction if the landlord wants to be ornery. I think it best to leave the shade in place.
 

Amy Olsy

Member
So when this was installed you didn't design it in a way that it could be easily taken down for cleaning , sort of like how window shades are mounted into easy to remove the shade brackets ? ( think in expensive roll down shades or inexpensive curtain rods where when the shade or rod is taken down what remains are brackets )
Yes, it can be somewhat easily taken down if one has access to a 15 ft ladder. I would only need to release the wires from the eye screws. The shade would then be allowed to slide off the wires. The canvas isn't fixed to anything. It hangs by way of grommets on two opposing sides that the wire goes through, also allowing it to slide up and down the wire. It's a really simple design, with the intent of being able to remove it without much headache. Easier to remove than a shower curtain, except for the ladder part. I fashioned a curtain rod out of wire strung across a window when I first moved in. The curtain I hung on that goes with me, without landlord's objection, I'm sure.
 
Last edited:

Amy Olsy

Member
I agree with adjusterjack. A rental should be returned to its original condition and here the original condition did not include a shade.

That said, the landlord invested time and money when installing the shade so Amy could find herself having to reimburse her landlord for his costs.

I doubt the "couple of hundred dollars" invested in the canvas is worth fighting over - for either Amy or the landlord - but Amy risks a security deposit deduction if the landlord wants to be ornery. I think it best to leave the shade in place.
 

Amy Olsy

Member
To be honest, it took him and his friend about half an hour to install. He got the $5 worth of hardware at the Home Depot, ten minutes away. So his investment is minimal. I researched all sorts of skylight coverings, had a blind guy come to ultimately tell me a blind wouldn't be possible, and then came up with the canvas and grommet idea. Took the idea to a canvas shop, the canvas lady tweaked the concept, I went back to the shop to approve, then went back again to pick up and pay when it was ready. The skylight is smack in the middle of the apartment, and measures about 6' x 7'. We were in the middle of a heat wave when I had the shade made and the apartment was in the mid to high 90's most days, and not much lower at night. The regular windows are not the kind you can install an A/C in. My dog and I spent several nights elsewhere, it was impossible to sleep. I was ready to have someone else install the shade because the landlord was having a summer of beer and corn hole, but he didn't want anyone else to do it. Almost two weeks after I bought it, he installed it. Had there been a smidge of urgency on his part, I'd not be considering taking the shade. It's a symbolic anti-gesture, the only tangible, portable thing from almost four years of "things". I do understand that the law is not a partner of spite...
 

Amy Olsy

Member
Actually, if the op paints without permission she could find herself facing a considerable bill to undo her work. A tenant has no right to repair anything without permission from the landlord.


Additionally, if a court would see the shade as a fixture, op could find herself facing a bill to replace the shade. Luckily most police agencies aren’t real aggressive with issues like this but if it is considered a fixture, taking it would be theft.
Those are great points, thank you.
 

Amy Olsy

Member
I sort of agree with the "fixture" concept. But there is another alternative. Your lease/rental agreement (or statute or common law) requires you to return the property to the owner in the same condition you received it, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear.

If you took down the shade, filled in any holes and painted the ceiling to restore it to it's original condition, took photos at completion, I don't think your LL could say boo about it.

If you leave holes and wires hanging, well, that's damage and you'll be charged for it.
All that needs to be done to remove the shade is to release the two wires, which can easily be accomplished with no screw removal. The landlord would just be left with two wires attached to two eye screws each, that he screwed in himself.
 
Sponsored Ad

Top