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labqueen

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I stupidly agreed to allow the tenant (a contractor) to repair a small leak in an upstairs bathroom. He opened the wall, told me there were two small pinholes in a pipe, that he would replace the broken part and make an access hole in case of future repairs at an estimated $200. I knew there was a potential issue with that area of the bathroom.

Co-incidently the tenants were going to be late with the rent this month. When we finally received the rent it was $910 short and accompanied by a long note and a bill for 30 hrs of work plus materials. The note explained how there was another leak and mold in the wall etc etc. Given how the home is build it is possible that this is the truth. BUT the note said he closed the wall back up (no access hole as discussed), so it may be hard for us to tell whether any work was done to the pipes without ripping the wall open again. The note also stated that he took pictures and has receipts for materials, so I requested those. I have not yet seen the repairs but plan to stop by this week. 

Basically, there was no notification that the bill for repairs had more than quadrupled, the amount was simply deducted from the rent without us having seen the completed work and this was done without an agreement about deducting repairs from the rent. 

Since there is no agreement in the lease about deducting repairs from the rent, wouldn't the tenants be in violation of the lease for not paying the full amount regardless of the repair issue?



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Chris Johnson
MikeTfromCA

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Posts: 125
Reply with quote  #2 
As you've just admitted, you've just learned the hard way of why you should never authorize a tenant to perform any repair work to their rental unit themselves. 

Proceed with serving them a pay or quit notice for the amount due, minus the $200 that you agreed to for the repairs.  Since the law requires that a tenant notify you for any repair work that may need to be done in order for rental unit to be habitable and your tenant foolishly went ahead and performed the additional repair work without your knowledge or authorization, the expenses that they (may have) incurred is on them.  Assuming that they truly were being honest in their claim that there were additional problems that needed to be fixed (who really knows whether or not that was actually the case), them being able to charge you for it is irrelevant, since they never gave you the opportunity to either perform the repairs yourself or hire another contractor to perform them.

If this issue were to ever be brought up in a court hearing, the most I could see a judge giving your tenant is reimbursement for the cost of any materials that they used to perform the repairs.  Since you weren't notified about this additional work, it would be a longshot for them to collect any labor charges from you that they incurred.
labqueen

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Yes, it has been a lesson! Thanks for your advice. 
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Chris Johnson
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