What Is "As-Is?"

…In which a reader learns, through the power of IM, the definition of the contractual clause “As-Is,” and how it applies to the damaged apartment he subleased…


shash : I wanted your opinion on an apartment issue that I was having. I’m trying to secure my security deposit from my landlord. I subleased the apartment in January from another student and signed an addendum stating that I was taking the apartment as is from the previous tenent. No one from the leasing company came to do any sort of walk through or clean up, it was all left to me. When I moved in, I took photos of all of the rooms and damage that was there as well as emailed the landlord notifying them of the situation. They said that there was nothing they could do about it at that point since I decided to take the apartment as is.

shash: Now that I am about to move out, I emailed them to find out what I need to do to guarentee my security deposit while not getting blamed for any damage in the apartment which was there previous to my moving in. The landlord is claiming that I am responsible for it since I signed the addendum saying that I would take the apartment as is and that I should have taken care of the damages with the previous tenent.

shash: I feel like they are going to try to screw me over and keep my money. Is there something I can do about this? None of the damage that is in the apartment was inflicted by me, and I have evidence of all of the damage that was there previous to me moving in. They can’t hold me responsible for something I didn’t do, can they?

shash: Any input or thoughts would be really appreciated. I didn’t know who else to turn to.

benpopken: I think you’re plumb out of luck

benpopken: taking something “As Is” is pretty straightforward: you accept the item, warts and all

benpopken: sorry to say but i think you’re on the hook for any and all damages

benpopken: probably why the person made you sign an as-is agreement

shash: Thanks for your help. It sucks that I got roped like this.

benpopken: Yeah, caveat emptor!

shash: That has never rung more true.

Wikipedia says:

As is (or as-is) is a legal term and concept used to disclaim liability for an item being sold. “As-is” denotes that the seller is selling, and the buyer is buying an item in whatever condition it presently exists, and that the buyer is accepting the item “with all faults”, whether or not immediately apparent. This is the classic “buyer beware” situation, where the careful buyer should take the time to examine the item before accepting it, or obtain expert advice.

And now you know. Next time you’re thinking of taking something as-is, know that you’re taking full responsibility for the item with no warranties or disclaimers. Look the gift horse in the mouth before signing.

Are we right? Does As-Is apply this way to apartments? — BEN POPKEN

UPDATE: We asked Sam Glover, debt and renter lawyer and Consumerist contributor and he said:

….a sublessee assumes responsibility for the lease–including all damages–from the sublessor. If he wants to recover, he will indeed have to sue the previous tenant.