Hey guys, my friends and I could really use some advice, especially if anyone is a lawyer and/or works in real estate. I'll try to explain this clearly, but I apologize if it's confusing- I'm confused about it all a little myself.
We are renting a house for the upcoming school year; we shopped around a little bit last school year before we found a landlord that we really liked (I'll call him Chris). When we happened to meet Chris, it seemed perfect. He had a really nice house for us, and right off the bat he sounded very accommodating; he promised to put in new carpeting (the old tenants ripped up what was there before), have the house cleaned professionally before we moved in, and promised to add in an additional bedroom so that all six of us could have our own rooms. And then when one of our group members had to drop out, he told us he would still give us the house for the price of six people, even though we were now a group of five.
Up until we all went home for the summer, we got along wonderfully with Chris. He said he always looked forward to meeting with us because we always had a lot of questions for him, to make sure everything was done right by not only us, but by him as well. He seemed to recognize that and had been very accommodating of us-in our lease, he promised to split the master bedroom (there are five bedrooms already, but he didn't want any of us to have to have a walkthrough bedroom), to add a second bathroom in the basement (because it would be beneficial to him for renting to future tenants), to have it professionally cleaned before we move in, to have a second fridge installed, and that it would all be done by August 15th.
Now, Chris is a bit older. He's having health problems, which has been an issue for him this summer. But he also seems to be prone to freak outs, and he's taken to yelling and cursing at one of my roommates whenever she calls him. He told her, Sarah (she's kind of been in charge of everything), to call once a week for regular updates, and so that's what she's been doing all summer. Every Saturday she calls him to see how things are going with the house. About a month ago the first freak out happened. Sarah called and left a message to make sure he got our first rent check (we all share a joint account for rent purposes), and also to tell him that she had a few other questions. He called her back and blew up at her about how rude it was to leave a voicemail about that kind of topic, that she was insulting him with her questions, that he was the best g*d damn landlord in the world and she better not fcuking forget it. Then he said that he didn't want to hear from her for at least a day and hung up on her. So she waited 24 hours to call and once again, he didn't pick up. So she left another message, explaining that she was very sorry to have unintentionally offended him and that she hoped they could talk soon to smooth things over. He called Sarah back not long after to berate her for being rude enough to apologize over voicemail, and hung up on her again.
Sarah decided not to let it get to her, and she gave him some space before calling again, and until yesterday it seemed fine. Last week the construction plan for the master bedroom had been approved by the township and he was ready to get things going. Sarah called him yesterday and he freaked out again. He said she was stressing him out and he can't take it right now and he has health problems and she is making them worse. He also said he was having trouble getting the construction approved (even though just last week that was supposedly squared away), and he hung up on her again.
It's August 7th, and nothing has even been started. All Chris has done is recarpet the house. Nothing has been cleaned, he ended up not liking the contractor that he hired to do the construction, and so now he apparently can't find anyone trustworthy. He ended up having to change the construction plans for the master bedroom, and had to go through the township to get them approved.
Now not only are we all upset, we're worried. One of my roommates is moving in on the 19th, and we have no idea what kind of shape the house is in, because anytime Sarah asks, he goes off on her. I've offered to call him myself, but she doesn't want it to seem like we're gaining up on him. We have nowhere else to live because the on-campus housing is all full now, so we have to live there no matter what at this point.
I guess what I'm wondering is, are we eligible for any kind of compensation? He hasn't lived up to anything he promised us himself, and put in the lease without any pushing from us. We've been paying rent for two months on a house we aren't living in yet (lease started in May) and he's done nothing, really. What can we do?