How to Handle the Repair-Needy Tenant

How to Handle the Repair-Needy Tenant

Have you ever had a repair-needy tenant where it feels like every other day they want you to do a repair? And it’s always silly repairs like the cold sink water is not being cold when it is 117 degree outside or that the AC isn’t keeping the house at 65 degrees when it is 117 outside. Or my favorite, complaining that there is a one palmetto bug (flying cock roach) in the house (they confess the windows were left open) and wanting you to call out an exterminator.

Keeping control of our expenses is vital in order to make rental properties profitable. The key to doing that is minimizing these expenses. You could do this by creating a very detailed 16 page lease where you have a pest control and $100 deductible clause. This “skin in the game” has reduced all those issues that are hard to prove are wear and tear OR for when you just don’t want those repeated questions.

This brings up a good question: What do you do when you don’t have those in your lease? Your leases may have it written that anything that is not wear and tear is the tenant’s expense. The key is to address it before the repair. This way expectations are started from the very beginning.

For the tenants who signed prior to the deductible clauses (because, yes, you may have some tenants who were installed before these clauses can be added to your lease), you can send them a kind, but professional, letter making them responsible for the expenses if nothing broken is found.

Here is an example of one of those letters:

Dear ______ ,

I have received your text regarding the AC not keeping the house cool enough. Residential units are rated for keeping the house 20-30 degree cooler than the outside. One of the reasons we require monthly AC filter changes is to assist the AC unit to maintain the higher end of this spectrum. We are happy to call out the technician and have them evaluate the unit. If no issue is found wrong with the unit, the charge will be your responsibility. If the bill is not covered immediately, it will be taken out of the rent amount first, with rent second as described in the lease. Any leftover portion will be assessed as late fees as described in your lease. We appreciate you letting us know and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Your Appreciative Landlords

The key is to be friendly, professional, and to put the responsibility back on the tenant. You will find that the deductible does not prevent tenants from calling the repair man, if there is something really wrong. It simply prevents those calls that should never been made. If there is a true issue tenants will still notify the landlord that something needs to be repaired.

What has been your experience?

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