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mfauc3

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 

My husband and I are new at renting and every time we talk to the tenant they have a new problem. They have lived there one month and we have had to fix the A/C two times and we went ahead and put ceiling fans in most of the house. Then there was a flea problem so we sprayed the house (we never found any fleas jumping on us). Now one month later she is saying the dryer is broke so we where trying to get that fixed and when the repair man called her she didn't know what he was talking about so I had to call and schedule a new time for them to come out. When I was talking to her I asked how are things going and she tells me the stove is broke. When we get to the stove she pulls tin foil off the top and shows me where she has broke the glass top on one of the burners. I asked when it happen and she said two weeks ago. She said that she was boiling water and she heard it cracking but that is hard to be live because I have had that glass top stove and another one and boiling water on it does not break it. So is am I the one that has to fix it or is she? Also she tells me she still has fleas but she has also brought a dog in to watch for someone and did not ask if she could do so and we have it in the lease that she has to pay a pet deposit. Sorry for going on so long but any help would be nice. Thanks

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #2 
It looks like you've got the makings of a problem tenant there.  Demanding, multiple repair requests, always something wrong...  Here's how to slow them down. 

First of all, start making them put all repair requests in writing.  Unless it is an emergency, make them write a dated and signed letter detailing what needs fixed, what's wrong with it, and when and how it happened.  They tire of this easily and will start only doing this when something is really wrong. 

Second, start charging them when the repair is their fault.  Ask your repair guys to write directly on the bill what was the cause of the malfunction.  If it was the tenant's fault, pay the service guy.  Then bill the tenant for the repairs.  You will have proof right on the bill that the tenant caused the problem.

Why did the A/C need fixed twice in one month?  I wouldn't have installed ceiling fans, that was an improvement.  I'd have just had the A/C fixed.  Tenants have no rights to improvements.  They rented the house without c. fans, so they aren't entitled to them.

Was the flea problem there from the last tenant, or did these fleas come in with the dog she has?  (Right, watching it for someone else, I've heard this one before!)  If the fleas were there before, something she would have noticed within the first 2 weeks she lived there, then you pay for exterminating them.  If not, her dog brought them in.   You exterminate them, and bill the tenant.  While you are at it, serve a perform or quit notice for the unauthorized dog.  Either the dog goes within 14 days, they register him and pay a large non-refundable pet FEE that applies to only that specific animal, or they are in violation of their lease and you may be able to terminate it.  (Not a deposit unless your lease already says that.  Deposits are refundable, fees aren't.  I also charge an extra $25 per animal monthly pet fee.  If your lease says deposit and states the amount, you can't change that.  But, see if you can charge a deposit and a monthly pet fee.)  Go back and inspect with correct (24 or 48 hrs) written notice to enter to be sure it is gone (and not just hidden in the basement).

See what the repair guy says about the dryer.  If it was something she did, send her a bill.  If not pay it and chalk it up to an old dryer.  The glass top stove didn't break from boiling water.  When I bought my last glass top, the salesman specifically cautioned me not to DROP anything on it as it would break.  She has dropped something on it.  You may not be able to get it repaired.  If you can get it repaired, she pays for it.  If not, she owes you for part of the price of a good used one.  (She still has 3 good burners left on that one.)  Bill her for this as soon as you can get it repaired.  Or bill for 1/4 the price of a good used one.

Start charging them for these repairs that they cause.  Note on the bill that these repair fees will be paid before any money is credited towards rent, regardless of any other notations.  Then when she refuses to pay and sher next rent, you deduct for the bill, credit the rest towards her rent, and send her a notice that her rent is in arrears.  (Have you got late fees in the lease?)  If not paid in full, she will also owe a late fee.  After a month of not being paid in full, you can refuse the partial rent she pays and give her a notice for Pay or Quit.  When she doesn't pay in full, you can evict.  Once she sees that you aren't going to be a pushover (fair but firm), she will either stop this behavior or look to move. 

You need to take the reins with this tenant immediately.  Keep copies of everything you send her.  Start a paper trail.  Make all replies in writing so you have proof.  This one needs to be trained to be a good tenant.  Now some people take offense when I say that you have to train a tenant.  But weren't you trained on your job (job training)?  Aren't people trained in how to drive (driver's training)?  Well, tenants sometimes need trained too.  They need to know how to act in someone else's house.  How to care for other people's property.  How to be responsible for themselves, their family, and guests.  Making them put everything in writing accomplishes two tasks - this training, and creating a paper trail.  If they later claim the place is uninhabitable, has code violations, whatever; you have proof of every complaint/repair she requested and how quickly you took care of it.  If it comes down to court someday, this shows you met your obligations.  Let me know how this works out for you.  (Just remember that like a co-worker, not every one is trainable.)  Some, you are better off just letting go.  Good luck.
rel216

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi there, 

I have a similar problem...my tenants seem to have "messed" up the plumbing in the second bathroom of the apartment.  She tells me the sink and toilet keep leaking.  My husband went over today to have a look at it and he says it looks as if something has been "flushed" down the sink and same in the shower.

Do we have to pay the plumber to come out and fix it or does the Tenant pay this expense??

Also, if the Tenant does have to pay how would you handle informing them and billing them??

Thank You!
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #4 
Please create a new post (thread) for each person.  This makes it less confusing for each poster to understand the advice that is offered.

Leaking or stopped up?  Have a plumber go and repair the problems at your rental.  Talk to him before he goes there and explain that the tenants may have put something down the drains that stopped them up or caused the problem in some way.  Have him write on the repair bill what was the cause of the malfunctions.  If it was something the tenant did (if they flushed something he will probably pull it out with his snake), then pay the plumber and send a copy of his bill to the tenant.  Mark the bill due to you immediately and note on it that no money will be credited towards rent until the bill is paid.  If they refuse, subtract the amount of the bill from the next rent payments & send a receipt that the bill was paid in full but their rent is not.  If they don't pay up, you can give them a pay or quit notice.  If the plumber cannot find a cause for the problem, you'll have to pay the bill.

mfauc3

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #5 

thank you for you help mine has been fixed my renter is buying a new stove and I told them not to get a glass top.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #6 

I hope they are leaving you that stove when they move out since they ruined yours.  They owe you for the stove (or at least for part of it).

mfauc3

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #7 

yes they will be leaving the stove. If they don't I was told I can take it out of the deposit money.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #8 

Have them sign something in writing that the stove they bought is yours since they broke the one you provided, and that they will leave it when they vacate.

rel216

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #9 
How do I start a new thread?  I have a few questions aswell....
Thanks
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #10 
When you go to http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/mb/absoluteca?forum=68192  which is the new LL section that you just traveled through to get to this post, there is a little box at the top middle of the page that says [New Message].  Click on there and you can start a new post.  I'll be looking for it. 

I don't want to anger anyone by insisting on a new post.  It is proper procedure to post your own question.  "Hijacking" someone else's post (that's what it is called) makes it too confusing for each poster.  It try to post state specific information for each poster here.  I wouldn't want someone to get confused about what their state allows.  Following another state's laws will do you no good for your problem in your area.  Please post your state as some areas have very specific laws that don't apply in other areas.  Thank you.
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