Ethics Question

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by fmoore200, Feb 17, 2013.


  1. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    So this is entirely hypothetical, and is only coming from a conversation that I had this morning, but I think it is a cool discussion.

    Let's say person A is in the market to rent a house. Person B is looking to rent a house. Part of the terms of the lease is that person A is responsible for all utilities, including landscaping on a fairly large property.

    The owner informs person A that all the contacts for the utilities are already in place and that upon moving in person A is fully responsible for payment.

    What the owner doesn't tell person A is that he owns the landscaping business (that person A will be paying). The contracts are also non negotiable.

    So the question is this: should the owner be obligated to tell the prospective tenant that he owns the landscaping company?

    Discuss..
  2. ColeTBG

    ColeTBG

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    I would say yes he should have to tell person A. They are making the person pay for the utility and not giving the option of going through another company that could be potentially cheaper or letting the person take care of it themselves rather than pay anyone. Also I'd say its pretty ****** that they have a rental and a landscaping company and they don't do it themselves as part of the rent anyway. From my experience in landscaping it wouldn't take much time out for their landscapers to do a home.
  3. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't think so. The service needs to be done on the property regardless when occupied by a tenant and he is still owner of the property, and I believe, has absolute right to decide how to maintain his property. Left up to the tenant, it may not be done, or if done, they may do it at the least possible cost on a sub par service. I don't see anything wrong with it, unless they are not actually doing it properly or gouging price wise.

    BTW, what does person B in your example have to do with anything? You mention them once, and I don't see why it was needed.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Morally-yes
    Legally-no

    I have intimate knowledge of such things. Legally he is not required to inform the tenant he owns the landscaping company. He IS required to inform the tenant of all costs involved. If the tenant is fully informed about the costs, and agrees to rent and pay all the fees discussed, then there is no "cheating" involved. However, if the contract only says "Tenant agrees to pay all landscaping costs" and there is no NUMBER assigned to that cost, THAT is where you get into grey areas of wrong doing. Because the landlord/landscaper could theoretically come along later and charge $500 a month for landscaping. But, again, as long as the exact amounts are discussed in detail, and the tenant agrees to all of the fees, then there is no legal wrong doing.

    Again, morally however, I would think that it is the right thing to do to be up front about owning both the house and landscaping companies.
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  6. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    But the owner wants to maximize every dollar and source of revenue. Is it not right to see them as two distinct business ventures?
  7. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Person B is the owner, sorry if it wasn't clear. :(

    He is the owner, yes, but that doesn't mean the tenant is without rights. Not saying this situation is one of them, but the lease can have a clause about the tenants responsibility, no?
  8. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Great point, but if found out, would that not cause a rift between tenant and owner? I wouldn't want to rent from a person I couldn't trust.
  9. Lonesomedave

    Lonesomedave Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Location:
    Nashville, Cats
    ^^^^^^

    i think this

    as far as utilities, in most places (maybe all) they are a monopoly and the tenant does not have any choice about which company to use. the owner should point out to the tenant WHAT utilities he will be expected to maintain, gas, electric etc.

    as far as whether he should tell him that he owns the company with whom the landscaping contract is entered...well, yes he should...and if the tenant suddenly finds out that the owner has used this lease as an excuse to completely re-landscape the property at the tenant's expense, well, i foresee legal difficulties for the landlord if he tries to enforce the contract.

    the wise landlord will spell out what services specifically the tenant is expected to pay for, and when they will be performed etc.

    then, if the tenant is in full possession of all the facts, costs etc...it doesn't really matter if the landlord owns the company or not.

    [​IMG]
  10. Chunk-O-Funk

    Chunk-O-Funk

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    East Providence, RI
    Two fingers has the right answer in my opinion.

    It's less an ethical mater that needs to be answered. You may have cheaper options then the landscaping business offered. Check your contract and your city ordnance.


    Trow out the rift idea and treat everyone the way they treat you.
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    A more typical situation (at least where I live) is that the rent is a bit higher and landscaping/plowing are included. Then the tenant can budget for the fixed cost each month.
  12. Astreaux

    Astreaux

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    Krutonia
    +1
  13. two fingers

    two fingers Loud Mouth Know It All Blowhard Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2005
    You ever own rental property? I do. Most renters are a joke (here anyway). If I were to leave landscaping up to them it would....
    a) never EVER get done.
    b) barely get done and not up to any reasonable standards
    c) only get done well right after the sheriff leaves the house having served the renter with paperwork telling them to get it done or be in court next Tuesday at 9:00am.

    Full disclosure: I don't own a landscaping company. But I do include enough in the rent costs to pay for landscaping done by the company of my choice as frequently as I want it done.

    As far as it being ******* that is isn't done as part of the rent anyway, you do understand that owning rental property is a business, right? And businesses are supposed to be PROFITABLE. So just throwing in landscaping and other services can't be done if turning a profit is the goal (and that is always the goal, as it should be). Why don't you open a business where the goal is to be nice to everyone regardless of how much/little you make? Just throw in everything you can because it's the "right thing to do" or not in any way "******". You wouldn't last a week.
  14. Astreaux

    Astreaux

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    Krutonia
    +1 Also a landlord and rent is higher to cover "other expenses" Also have in the lease they tenant is responsible for all repairs. Had them initial each line of the lease plus sign it. First time I got a call about the heater won't start, I referred them to the lease and indicated that they agreed to be responsible to take care of the repairs. They ended up buying a whole home insurance policy to cover all appliances for $29 a month. Best investment they made. Nothing is free and if they are using it and it breaks, they pay to have it fixed. Quarterly inspections of the property and a 30 day written cancellation policy on the lease by EITHER party. They have been there for over 5 years now... Works out just fine. They also pay a few hundred less than the going rate, to help compensate for their paying for the repairs. So they make out as well.
  15. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    Location:
    Lacey, WA
    It would be good to tell the renter if the person owns the landscape business he plans to use to maintain the property. The renter is going to find out anyway, so it just seems like the right thing to do in my opinion. Surprises later can strain the relationship.

    I own a home that is rented. We suggested the renters use a specific contractor to handle repairs or other work. I also told them this contractor is a lifelong friend of mine. I don't think I "had" to reveal that bit of info, but I wanted to be upfront with the renters. They live in my house, so I want to have a good relationship with them.

    -Mike
  16. skychief

    skychief Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    West Coast
    Yes. Ethically, it should be stipulated in the lease agreement that Person A must use the landscaper which is owned by Person B.

    Legally/? ... not sure, really.
  17. Mushroo

    Mushroo

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    From the landlord's perspective, if the tenant is deadbeat, it is easier to collect the agreed-upon monthly rent stipulated in the lease/rental agreement (when the rent includes landscaping) then it is to have the landscaping as a separate expense and say, "hey guy, you owe me an extra $200 for landscaping."
  18. ColeTBG

    ColeTBG

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    I'm looking at from the renters perspective. I doubt this landlord would ever have to worry about turning a profit considering his schisty planning on getting the renter to use both of his companies.
  19. scorpionldr

    scorpionldr

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    Dec 10, 2002
    Location:
    Dirty Jersey, USA
    What business of it is yours? If anything the fact that he pawned off renting from him to you means he knows how the landlord likes the land being kept, and he's doing you a favor in knowing the lawn better than you do so he can continue conveying that image, making you look like a good tenant as well.
  20. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Well I think if the tenant is required to pay for landscaping *in addition to the rent* he should be entitled to find a price that suits him.

    That may very well be with the owners landscaping company, but why can't the tenant decide *with* the landlord?
  21. fmoore200

    fmoore200

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    I think you got the best idea Mike. A healthy tenant/landlord relationship benefits both parties ime..

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