Tenant killed three spiders in the house.🤨

36 Replies

We rented a property by way of a property manager. The tenant has been nitpicking from day one. They’ve sent in all kinds of maintenance request which many of them seem to be petty and bogus. For example they sent a maintenance request that the garbage disposal didn’t work. There was not a garbage disposal in the house due to us taking it out prior to renting it. Lol

Now they are filling out a work request saying they killed three spiders. My question is how do other landlords handled this sort of matter. This is a house they’re renting not a hotel room. We have never had any other tenants complain about something of this nature.

I haven’t got the tally from the property manager just yet, but they have been sending people over there for multiple service calls.🤨

@Joe S. Some tenant lease agreements have a clause in there that states the tenant is responsible for certain aspects of the maintenance and upkeep. It is usually basic items and if they do not want to handle it, then you can send a maintenance person to take are of it for a charge. You should find out from your PM if they have anything like this in place.

Best of luck!

Tell the PM to stop sending people for petty things and talk to the tenant or to give you the tenant's contact info and you will talk to them.  The PM has multiple properties, so may not know that your unit didn't have a garbage disposal; but for things like spiders, they should have replied and told them the note was received, but doesn't warrant anyone going to the home and remind them what appropriate requests are.  

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Might be time for the "Happy Clause" for these folks.

What type of maintenance requests are they asking for and how much is each request costing you?  If these are reasonable requests they make sense.  If not it may be time to put a stop to these.  Does your PM have a limit on cost where they must get your approval prior to initiating service calls?  For example anything over, say, $250 must get your approval before continuing.  If so and after reviewing these requests and finding many are unnecessary then request this limit be significantly decreased for these tenants.  Then simply respond with "nope" over maintenance requests you feel are petty or bogus.

As far as the garbage disposal not working, they were correct.  From what you described, the person who was supposed to dispose of the garbage,...wasn't.  However, in your defense, I assume there was never a provision in your rental agreement stating you were supposed to provide that person.

Now, the big one, the spiders.  Here's a couple of options of how I would have handled it.

Option 1:  The Endangered Species Act

1 - Ask them to describe the 3 spiders in detail.
2 - When they did, you should become very mad, because...,
3 - ...as you will tell them, they killed 3 endangered species of spiders (this is where you give them names, like Gomez, Leggs, and Webmaster), and send them a notice (official looking) stating this and the potential consequences (fines mostly) for doing so.
4 - Then you tell them about the 4 other spiders, and yes they have names too, and the 3 mice (with names) and the large rat (fur ball), all on the endangered species list.  Mention how the mice and rats are extremely difficult to see/find during the day, but own the house at night when everyone is in bed.

Then see what happens. 

Option 2: The Close your Eyes and Wait Act

1 - Tell them there's more where they came from, and if they want to eliminate them they should call an exterminator.
2 - The cost of the exterminator is not the landlord's responsibility
...of course they wouldn't be able to get past the laughing on the other end of their call to the exterminator to worry about any arguments about the cost, and who pays for it.

Option 3: The Placebo Act

1 - Buy a supply of aspirin (not for you, although you may want to keep some).
2 - Put them in a bottle labeled Anti Spider Pills
3 - Tell them to save the next spider(s) they kill.
4 - Give the bottle to them and tell them to crush the pills.
5 - Mix the crushed pills with the crushed spider and spread them throughout the house.
6 - Tell them this works, but only if they do this often since it depends on the quantity of spiders they use...the more the better.

This last one should at least keep them busy for a while, and you will have a free "spiders be gone" service.

@Joe S.

I don't have something funny to say here. The property manager should be doing this front-line work. This tally of spider kills is just one variety of the nonexistent infestation problems that some tenants tend to obsess over.

If they're not happy, get them out. If they think their "spider infestation" is a problem, spray some bugkiller at the doors and windows, set some glue traps to see if they really do have some kind of insect problem the spiders are working on.

I would suggest getting 5 or 6 lizards to be on patrol for spiders.  

Question is why is your PM bothering you with this stuff?  Why is your PM putting up with this stuff?  They need to shut this down.  I guess them telling you isn't a big deal unless they are asking you for suggestions.  If they are telling you to keep you informed that is fine, or to say this is the situation and this is what we are doing about it, just to keep you in the loop okay.  But this is not cause for spending money, pest control etc....Would either take @Joe Villeneuve brilliant suggestions or point the pest clause in the lease. 

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

Tell the PM to stop sending people for petty things and talk to the tenant or to give you the tenant's contact info and you will talk to them.  The PM has multiple properties, so may not know that your unit didn't have a garbage disposal; but for things like spiders, they should have replied and told them the note was received, but doesn't warrant anyone going to the home and remind them what appropriate requests are.  

 Good points. One of the things I’m not sure about though that you mentioned is me getting tenants contact information and calling them. I do not want to be in contact with people like this. 

Originally posted by @Joe Villeneuve:

As far as the garbage disposal not working, they were correct.  From what you described, the person who was supposed to dispose of the garbage,...wasn't.  However, in your defense, I assume there was never a provision in your rental agreement stating you were supposed to provide that person.

Now, the big one, the spiders.  Here's a couple of options of how I would have handled it.

Option 1:  The Endangered Species Act

1 - Ask them to describe the 3 spiders in detail.
2 - When they did, you should become very mad, because...,
3 - ...as you will tell them, they killed 3 endangered species of spiders (this is where you give them names, like Gomez, Leggs, and Webmaster), and send them a notice (official looking) stating this and the potential consequences (fines mostly) for doing so.
4 - Then you tell them about the 4 other spiders, and yes they have names too, and the 3 mice (with names) and the large rat (fur ball), all on the endangered species list.  Mention how the mice and rats are extremely difficult to see/find during the day, but own the house at night when everyone is in bed.

Then see what happens. 

Option 2: The Close your Eyes and Wait Act

1 - Tell them there's more where they came from, and if they want to eliminate them they should call an exterminator.
2 - The cost of the exterminator is not the landlord's responsibility
...of course they wouldn't be able to get past the laughing on the other end of their call to the exterminator to worry about any arguments about the cost, and who pays for it.

Option 3: The Placebo Act

1 - Buy a supply of aspirin (not for you, although you may want to keep some).
2 - Put them in a bottle labeled Anti Spider Pills
3 - Tell them to save the next spider(s) they kill.
4 - Give the bottle to them and tell them to crush the pills.
5 - Mix the crushed pills with the crushed spider and spread them throughout the house.
6 - Tell them this works, but only if they do this often since it depends on the quantity of spiders they use...the more the better.

This last one should at least keep them busy for a while, and you will have a free "spiders be gone" service.

 I may need a good representative to help pull that one off. Are you available for the job? :-)

Originally posted by @Joe S.:
Originally posted by @Joe Villeneuve:

As far as the garbage disposal not working, they were correct.  From what you described, the person who was supposed to dispose of the garbage,...wasn't.  However, in your defense, I assume there was never a provision in your rental agreement stating you were supposed to provide that person.

Now, the big one, the spiders.  Here's a couple of options of how I would have handled it.

Option 1:  The Endangered Species Act

1 - Ask them to describe the 3 spiders in detail.
2 - When they did, you should become very mad, because...,
3 - ...as you will tell them, they killed 3 endangered species of spiders (this is where you give them names, like Gomez, Leggs, and Webmaster), and send them a notice (official looking) stating this and the potential consequences (fines mostly) for doing so.
4 - Then you tell them about the 4 other spiders, and yes they have names too, and the 3 mice (with names) and the large rat (fur ball), all on the endangered species list.  Mention how the mice and rats are extremely difficult to see/find during the day, but own the house at night when everyone is in bed.

Then see what happens. 

Option 2: The Close your Eyes and Wait Act

1 - Tell them there's more where they came from, and if they want to eliminate them they should call an exterminator.
2 - The cost of the exterminator is not the landlord's responsibility
...of course they wouldn't be able to get past the laughing on the other end of their call to the exterminator to worry about any arguments about the cost, and who pays for it.

Option 3: The Placebo Act

1 - Buy a supply of aspirin (not for you, although you may want to keep some).
2 - Put them in a bottle labeled Anti Spider Pills
3 - Tell them to save the next spider(s) they kill.
4 - Give the bottle to them and tell them to crush the pills.
5 - Mix the crushed pills with the crushed spider and spread them throughout the house.
6 - Tell them this works, but only if they do this often since it depends on the quantity of spiders they use...the more the better.

This last one should at least keep them busy for a while, and you will have a free "spiders be gone" service.

 I may need a good representative to help pull that one off. Are you available for the job? :-)

 MAybe?!  LOL

My fees involve whine and cheese.  You can supply the cheese, and it appears as though the tenant can supply all the whine needed...and more.

Originally posted by @Scott M.:

I would suggest getting 5 or 6 lizards to be on patrol for spiders.  

Question is why is your PM bothering you with this stuff?  Why is your PM putting up with this stuff?  They need to shut this down.  I guess them telling you isn't a big deal unless they are asking you for suggestions.  If they are telling you to keep you informed that is fine, or to say this is the situation and this is what we are doing about it, just to keep you in the loop okay.  But this is not cause for spending money, pest control etc....Would either take @Joe Villeneuve brilliant suggestions or point the pest clause in the lease. 

 I get a copy of the maintenance request sent to my email every time. I have no idea just yet what the property manager is legitimately sending somebody over there for. I have a few properties with this property manager that I put with them this year so I am not sure how much they will put up with in terms of petty maintenance issues. I hope they are not sticking the owners with expensive service calls over stupid little things. If they are then we will definitely have a conversation.

Originally posted by @Joe S.:
Originally posted by @Scott M.:

I would suggest getting 5 or 6 lizards to be on patrol for spiders.  

Question is why is your PM bothering you with this stuff?  Why is your PM putting up with this stuff?  They need to shut this down.  I guess them telling you isn't a big deal unless they are asking you for suggestions.  If they are telling you to keep you informed that is fine, or to say this is the situation and this is what we are doing about it, just to keep you in the loop okay.  But this is not cause for spending money, pest control etc....Would either take @Joe Villeneuve brilliant suggestions or point the pest clause in the lease. 

 I get a copy of the maintenance request sent to my email every time. I have no idea just yet what the property manager is legitimately sending somebody over there for. I have a few properties with this property manager that I put with them this year so I am not sure how much they will put up with in terms of petty maintenance issues. I hope they are not sticking the owners with expensive service calls over stupid little things. If they are then we will definitely have a conversation.

 Beware of PM's that look for ways to make money for added services.  That's their version of bank fees.

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@Joe S.,

When tenants move in, I always leave a spray bottle of Green Gobbler for potential plumbing clogs, and Home Defense Bug Spray.  I  tell them specifically -- "I want you to have resources, if you see a bug, spray the area, if you see it again-- spray it the next day,  if that's not working, go to Walmart get something else-- if that doesn't work, then call me, don't call me because you saw an ant-- use the spray and treat the problem.   I'm giving your resources to take care of it immediately so you don't have to wait on a maintenance technician."    

  This has saved us a ton, and I think it also improves tenant satisfaction because they can immediately fix the problem. Some people might say it's a waste of money and tenants can just buy themselves, but when you manage as many properties I do-- it's 100% worth it to cut down on calls, and again-- improve tenant satisfaction and their quality of life! If I spend say $100 on bug spray, but it saved me from a couple maintenance calls-- it's absolutely worth it!  I use the same stuff in my personal home!

Also, as proper protocol, before any tenant moves in, we always bug bomb, even if we don't see anything-- better to be on the safe side!  It's $6 and completely worth it.

Originally posted by @Linda S.:

@Joe S.,

When tenants move in, I always leave a spray bottle of Green Gobbler for potential plumbing clogs, and Home Defense Bug Spray.  I  tell them specifically -- "I want you to have resources, if you see a bug, spray the area, if you see it again-- spray it the next day,  if that's not working, go to Walmart get something else-- if that doesn't work, then call me, don't call me because you saw an ant-- use the spray and treat the problem.   I'm giving your resources to take care of it immediately so you don't have to wait on a maintenance technician."    

  This has saved us a ton, and I think it also improves tenant satisfaction because they can immediately fix the problem. Some people might say it's a waste of money and tenants can just buy themselves, but when you manage as many properties I do-- it's 100% worth it to cut down on calls, and again-- improve tenant satisfaction and their quality of life! If I spend say $100 on bug spray, but it saved me from a couple maintenance calls-- it's absolutely worth it!  I use the same stuff in my personal home!

Also, as proper protocol, before any tenant moves in, we always bug bomb, even if we don't see anything-- better to be on the safe side!  It's $6 and completely worth it.

Great ideas!!! Maybe you can make extra income as a consultant to Property Management companies. :-) 

Originally posted by @Joe S.:

We rented a property by way of a property manager. The tenant has been nitpicking from day one. They’ve sent in all kinds of maintenance request which many of them seem to be petty and bogus. For example they sent a maintenance request that the garbage disposal didn’t work. There was not a garbage disposal in the house due to us taking it out prior to renting it. Lol

Now they are filling out a work request saying they killed three spiders. My question is how do other landlords handled this sort of matter. This is a house they’re renting not a hotel room. We have never had any other tenants complain about something of this nature.

I haven’t got the tally from the property manager just yet, but they have been sending people over there for multiple service calls.🤨

 Hi Joe!

What does the lease agreement say about these issues? Become an expert on these things so that you aren't relying upon you PM to interpret. I find that over half the time, the PM rep dealing with it, tries not to rock the boat. Many times, you the expert, will need to tell your PM how to deal with these things, until they understand what you want. Read and re-read the lease agreement. Also, learn your state's landlord tenant act/law.

Go get 'em!

I would advise working with the PM to outline more clearly the expectations of what is to be considered a maintenance issue that would need a tech coming out to the property, as well as get ready for the potential that this situation only goes downhill. In my experience a tenant who starts off with this level of neediness won't stop and you will be better off with a new tenant in the unit. 

As was mentioned previously you might want to offer the "happy clause" IE if the tenant is unhappy with the place let them know you are ok with them giving notice early and terminating the lease agreement without any early termination recourse. They get to find a new place that is more suitable to them, and you get to find someone who wants to be there. 

Originally posted by @Linda S.:

@Joe S.,

When tenants move in, I always leave a spray bottle of Green Gobbler for potential plumbing clogs, and Home Defense Bug Spray.  I  tell them specifically -- "I want you to have resources, if you see a bug, spray the area, if you see it again-- spray it the next day,  if that's not working, go to Walmart get something else-- if that doesn't work, then call me, don't call me because you saw an ant-- use the spray and treat the problem.   I'm giving your resources to take care of it immediately so you don't have to wait on a maintenance technician."    

I do the same thing in leaving bug spray on the property, as well as a new plunger as part of a welcome package. I learned the hard way that some people never learned how to plunge a toilet as adults. :) And I am not talking about a clog that needs a plumber to tackle. 

I think the conversation needs to be with the PM, and ASAP. Understandably, they don't want to be blamed for the tenant moving out because they failed to take care of the tenant's complaints. Also understandably,  you don't want to be paying for every whim that passes through this tenant's mind. Possibly they are regretting their decision to rent the place, possibly they are just high maintenance. 

Everything could just have a price; Garbage disposal (purchase, installation, removal at end of tenancy; $700. PM visit to replace light bulb; $40, Plumber visit for slow drain; cost. Plumber visit for clogged drain:cost. Etc)

Also, if you haven't already, strongly suggest renter's insurance to cover all the things that they will feel you should pay for if there are any problems in the future (water damage to furniture due to clogged sink, food lost due to fridge failure, etc). 

Originally posted by @Joe S.:

We rented a property by way of a property manager. The tenant has been nitpicking from day one. They’ve sent in all kinds of maintenance request which many of them seem to be petty and bogus. For example they sent a maintenance request that the garbage disposal didn’t work. There was not a garbage disposal in the house due to us taking it out prior to renting it. Lol

Now they are filling out a work request saying they killed three spiders. My question is how do other landlords handled this sort of matter. This is a house they’re renting not a hotel room. We have never had any other tenants complain about something of this nature.

I haven’t got the tally from the property manager just yet, but they have been sending people over there for multiple service calls.🤨

 The number one reason I don't use a property manager is because they do a poor job filtering maintenance requests. It is really due to conflict of interest. Most of them make money on every service call, but make nothing if they talk the tenant through the request. I can't count the number of times that I have trouble shot a problem over the phone. It has saved me thousands of dollars. 

In the case of this tenant, talk to the PM and see which calls are being rejected versus paid calls. If the PM is screening out the calls, it may be fine and more of an annoyance to the PM. In that case give the PM permission to push back on their abuse of the maintenance request system. They need to be told "Bogus requests will result in a $50 charge." or something similar. They need to feel consequences. 

I am not sure about the people suggesting eviction or happy clause. It seems this can be worked through without such extreme measures. 

@Joe Splitrock, I agree that the happy clause would be a last resort and that the OP should contact the PM immediately. A strong PM should be able to handle the situation with the tenant without going down the happy clause path in most situations. I was just saying that in my experience tenants that are this needy rarely just stop being needy and sometimes can escalate issues even further. 

In most cases, the "happy clause" doesn't cause the tenant to vacate, it causes them to reconsider their ways. ie, you tell them, "It's obvious this property isn't working out well for you and we want you to live in a property that you can enjoy. We'll allow you to break the lease with no penalties and you can find a place that works out better for you. Just let us know when you're leaving so we can find another tenant."  This will take these "needy" tenants by surprise in some cases but will rarely cause them to move.