Tenant or landlord present for maintenance ?

16 Replies

In general who is responsible for being available to let in contractors for maintenance on a rental property, the tenant or landlord ?

My husband and I usually schedule maintenance for a day I am available if we are meeting them for the first time , getting quotes , or discussing the work etc.

One of our tenants doesn’t mind having contractors come when they are not there but the other requests that someone be there with them which implies it should be us which is thought because we all work full time jobs.

We are usually pretty accommodating but it can be tough. Thoughts ?

In my rentals, it is a tenant responsibility. If the tenant wants it repaired, they have a responsibility to give the vendor access. I only provide access if the tenant has a legit reason for not being available (e.g. they are out of town for a week and the repair must be made quickly to avoid further damage) or if I want to use it as an opportunity to inspect. 

@Kristen P. generally, you can put it on the tenant to be available when contractors are present, but keep in mind that often means they are the one's to sign off on completed work. Having the tenant sign for completed work is fine, however, this brings up the importance of trusting your vendors to complete the work properly and ensure they aren't cutting corners when you or your husband aren't around. Hope this helps! 

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Originally posted by @Kristen P. :

In general who is responsible for being available to let in contractors for maintenance on a rental property, the tenant or landlord ?

My husband and I usually schedule maintenance for a day I am available if we are meeting them for the first time , getting quotes , or discussing the work etc.

One of our tenants doesn’t mind having contractors come when they are not there but the other requests that someone be there with them which implies it should be us which is thought because we all work full time jobs.

We are usually pretty accommodating but it can be tough. Thoughts ?

 If the tenant wants someone there, they need to be there. Expecting you to be there makes you responsible for what happens. They may have misplaced an item and all the sudden they say it is stolen. If you are there, it should be with the caveat, "not responsible for lost, broken or stolen items". This should be clearly spelled out in your lease.

Have a clause in your lease that states with notice you as the landlord or one of your contractors can enter the home without the tenant present. Leave a lockbox with keys somewhere at the property for contractors to access so they can get into the unit. 

If the tenant has a big problem with this tell them they can be there and if not, this is way things are going to be done. If you present options to tenants they will always take the one that works best for them. Always. If you present things from day 1 as this is just the way you do business most tenants will comply. 

@Michael Noto thanks this is great advice and something we didn’t think of including in our lease. We will definitely include it going forward because it has been difficult for us to get the point across and have been scheduling for days I am available to avoid the hassle.

In general I like to be there for any and all work.  It is my asset and it is my responsibility to ensure the worker does a good job.  I also have learned that workers like to chit chat and I prefer they chit chat with me and not my tenants,  as that can breed tenant dissatisfaction (workers sometimes like to talk about the quality of the workmanship , how systems might be made better, all sorts of things that tenants dont need to know) ...

I will schedule the work for a time that works for me.  This system has improved the quality of work and I rarely have to have something re repaired. 

Great idea if it is a new contractor that you meet them.  Assuming a normal contractor that you have experience with the contractor should get the tenants info from you and they work out a day/time that works for both of them and the tenant lets them in.  

@Kristen P.

I always contact the contractor to go over the expected work, then have the contractor contact the tenant to schedule.

I used to schedule thw work, but it wasted everyone's time as I would have to go back and forth to get a date that worked for everyone.

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Forgive my naive questions, as Im still in the education phase before my first deal in January.

Do you typically have to be there for the entirety of the work? Or is a let in then come back later to sign off and lock up approach beneficial? 

If I would have to be there I may as well do the work myself, assuming that doesn't create awkward or untrustworthy tenant/landlord relationships and the job doesn't require a licensed contractor.

If I'm using someone who I or one of my trusted workers hasn't worked with before, I'll be there for the sake of making sure the work is done to par. But beyond that, I'm not going. And my workers know to not get into big conversations with my tenants or perform any work unless I approve it - had plenty of tenants try to go direct to my people when they don't like my answer regarding ridiculous repair requests.

If the tenant is complaining of something minor, they can work out a time with the worker to get the repairs done. If the tenant is a no-show after demanding they be present, that tenant is responsible for any trip charges. If its something more major like a leak or no heat during winter, my people are going in there asap, tenant present or not, but of course we try to be reasonable and work with the tenant so they can be should they desire.

Not only for pest control, but for general maintenance and repairs... 

What do your contract say?  

My contract says I need to notify the tenant and give "reasonable" notice to enter the property for maintenance issues etc etc.  In this case, it is my job (if I'm managing the property) to schedule and coordinate.  I think, if they want to be there at their will is OK, but not a requirement, of course if the lease allows.  I also charge $50 per trip or whatever the service call is for the job if they can't enter the property because the tenant have been notified with reasonable time (in written) and the property is not available.  Communication is key, make that clear, it should be in "black and white", no grey areas.  Yes, document, document, document.  

Protect your assets!  

Originally posted by @Barret Heinrich :

Do you typically have to be there for the entirety of the work? Or is a let in then come back later to sign off and lock up approach beneficial? 

It really depends on your availability, interest, and time.  If you want to learn, by any means the answer is yes.  If you don't care about learning the process and you trust the sub or contractor, or just don't have the time, then no.  I would however be there for any work done in the property I'm not familiar with, for at least a couple hours, then swing by when they are finishing, and have one of the foreman or team leaders explain to you the process (bug extermination company scenario, I don't think is worth it).  

You will learn so much you it will feel you can do everything yourself, but let the experts deal with if, please!