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KFlandlord

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #1 
I went and cleaned up after another tenant last weekend. I found that they painted over a nuetrally painted bedroom with a bright blue color (close to sky blue, but a little more intense and darker).

It was in the contract that they can't make modifications or improvements without my written consent. How do you handle that as a landlord? Just re-paint it later at your own cost? Or give them a fine?


PioneerEquities

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Posts: 60
Reply with quote  #2 
I believe they have to restore the walls to the original color prior to when they move out.  If not, have it repainted and deduct it from their deposit.

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #3 
Issue a notice now that it must be done, just to document it.  Make sure to quote the clause of the lease and prohibit any further alterations.  When they give notice to vacate, re-send a copy of this notice to remind them.  If they don't do a professional job of painting or repainting, you can charge them for clean up.
KFlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #4 
I should have been more clear. I found the room painted during my damage inspection after move out. So they no longer have the opportunity to repaint.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #5 
Ahhh. Sorry, I misunderstood.  Then you have it repainted neutral and charge them for painting.  Make sure you take photos of the room before you repaint. When you do the deposit statement list the painting and the clause they violated, showing the need to paint it back to neutral.  If you can't get it repainted before the deposit itemization is due back, get estimates from professional painters, mark the item as "estimated" on the form, and charge accordingly.  When it is finished, refund any difference if the painting actually costs less or send them a bill if it costs more.  Remember that you have to follow the rules from your state law on whether you can charge for your own labor or not.
KFlandlord

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #6 
New question: Am I at risk of loosing anything in court over this? Is this worth me sending another check? Or is there not much risk here. Long story to follow.

Here is how the statement looked:

(the deposit was $1000)

sheetrock hole (bedroom exterrior wall, 4.5" x 4.5")

35.00

Missing light fixture shade/cover/hardware (staircase)25.00
Oven cleaning (burned food deposits, door window, bottom, sides, both racks)25.00
Fireplace cleaning (logs and lots of ash left behind)15.00
Unauthorized painting of room (bright blue room)
Garbage removal (some trash scattered over property, most in pile under carport)15.00

 

They got $885 back. I didn't change them for the room because I didn't have time to paint or get an estimate on a weekend (I have a 9-5 job). I got a call from the renter today, and he said he is going to report me to "whoever regulates this stuff" if I don't refund the rest of the money. He kept saying it is about the offensiveness of keeping his deposit, not about him loosing $115.

He mentioned these things as well while on the phone: I had promised (in writing) to build a fence and never built it, he went to the dump once to take care of tree trimmings that were left on the property after a week without charging me, and that he had to live with a huge rat in the attic. I placed traps, poison, and checked the traps, blocked any entrances to the house by rodents, and had an exterminator examine the property. He determined that there was nothing more to do to prevent rodents and that there was no direct signs of a rodent problem. The tenant said they put the hole in the wall to drop poison into the wall.

I did promise to build a fence, but couldn't afford it after I paid to have a hot tub installed that he had agreed in writing to pay for the installation of. The hot tub is a long story, they bought it in exchange for a discount in rent (it was all in a contract).

Please provide advice soon, I would like to avoid spending any more time and money on this tenant. They have been unreasonably demanding over the last 2 years, I have have bent over backwards to satisfy their requests.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #7 
I seriously doubt they will sue over $115.  It would cost them nearly that much to file the case in small claims court.  Additionally, I see nothing in that statement that jumps out as improper or excessive  If they do, counter-sue for the room painting and any other charges that you let them slide on.. 
KFlandlord

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Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #8 
Great. Thanks. I saw the $115 as low risk, my concerns were on the "rodent problem" that neither of us can really prove or disprove existed.

And I let them slide on a late fee one month of $150, and a few other things like that. So it sounds like this is a can of worms they probably won't open. Thanks for sharing your wisdom OH. I appreciate it.
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #9 
Complaining after the fact of a rodent problem in their unit is worthless.  The time to complain is when they are in the unit.  Does no good to complain afterward.  Since you addressed the issue with several measures, don't worry about it.  It would only be an issue if you had neglected to address it. 

A $150 late fee per month sounds steep.  Most states make you cap late fees at 8-10% of the rent amount max.  The rent would have to be $1500 per month or more to meet that level.  Don't charge more than 10% of the rent as a late fee.  A judge would toss it out if challenged.

KFlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 15
Reply with quote  #10 

Oh I was unaware of that. I will cut it to 10% promptly. Thanks again.

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,814
Reply with quote  #11 
KF, you will have to cut that fee even more I'm afraid.  Some states have even more stringent requirements on late fees.  I looked up OR law to see what late fee policy was there.  It says you cannot charge late fees until 4 days after rent was due (a 4 day mandatory grace period).  It says a flat late fee must not be more than the customary fee charged for the rental market.  It also says the daily late fees cannot total more than 5% of the rent.  And that a dily fee can be no more than 6% of a flat fee.

Therefore, for a unit with a rent of $1000 per month = no late fees until the 5th,a flat late fee equal to what others in the area charge, a daily late fee capped at 5% ($50), or a $3 a day late fee.  See OR Revised Statute 90.260.

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