Tenant Asking for Blinds

38 Replies

I have a warehouse type apartment that doesn't have any blinds and no one can really look directly into the apartment without a telescope or something. I have a female tenant who is moving in in two weeks and she's asking me if I plan to put up blinds. This was never mentioned before. I'm estimating blinds would cost $500 - $700 and while they might enhance the apartment, it's also one more thing that will break. 

Have you guys dealt with this type of request before? How did you or would you handle. I can obviously tell her that if she wants blinds, she needs to buy them, but I don't want to get off on the wrong foot either. I'm considering telling her I'll split the cost with her provided I choose the blinds. Either that or just no. I don't really want to invest a lot of money in this particular apartment right now.

You should provide a home that ensures security and privacy. If you don't put up blinds, she'll put something up and it may cause damage or look like crap (e.g. blankets in the windows). There are cheap blinds from Walmart.com for most sizes. If your house is A or B class, you should definitely spring for something nicer like selectblinds.com but you don't need top-dollar, 2-inch plantation blinds in custom colors.

If tenants ruin them, you deduct from their deposit just like you will for flooring, paint, appliances, landscaping, etc.

 Earlier this year, my husband and I were in the top floor bedroom of a 3 story townhouse at the beach, and he saw a drone hovering in front of the balcony door, watching him.  When he made a motion towards it, it sped off.  In this day and age, you'd better believe privacy, even on an upper floor, is a concern.  Not to mention your renter needs window coverings in the bedroom for darkness.  It is not reasonable to assume a renter is going to spend a lot of money for window coverings that she can't use at the next place she goes.  You should provide budget coverings, at least.  

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Thank you so much for the well thought out reply. I had some of the same thoughts in terms of her putting up some cheap blinds, putting extra holes in the walls, and beginning our relationship resenting me for not putting up the blinds. It's a very fair point that if future tenants ruin the blinds I could replace using their security deposit. 

Thanks!

No blinds, get ready for all kinds of original window coverings, including cardboard, Communist guerilla hero flags, sports flags, and my personal favorite to date, a printed banner with a marijuana leaf and "STAY TRIPPY" printed on it. If they can buy it at a concert or a swap meet, it'll be covering those windows. Hasta la revolucion siempre y es necesario el profilactico aqui.

You are right some may break and that is what a security deposit is for.  You should supply blinds in my opinion because if you don't who knows what the tenant will put up.  Have seen newspaper, wrapping paper, cardboard, black plastic garbage bags, towels etc.  They may try and put them up themselves or drapes and do far more then 500-700 of damage to your walls.  Put them up, take a photo and even have her sign a blind addendum stating how many are in the apartment and the condition.  Take photos.  

On move out anything beyond normal wear and tear you charge for.  

I mean, by that theory you could make the argument to not add drywall because the tenant could kick or punch a hole in it. Will the blinds get damaged? Possibly. Doesn't mean they're not an appropriate investment.

Window coverings for privacy and darkness should be considered a non-negotiable. They don't have to be fancy. And they're deductible, so that helps. I wouldn't ask her to pay for blinds, I'd consider that basic maintenance/upkeep.

@George Kopp Looks like you have a lease agreement/contract already executed.  I assume she saw the property and agreed to the condition and terms in the lease and there weren't any blinds installed, then I believe is your option.  

Blinds are attached to the property, and they should remain in place. 

This is what I have done with curtain drapes and rods: 

* Negotiated the cost with the tenant.  I picked what I want to install and showed them. They preferred something different.  It was a back and fourth three times until we agreed.  

* Tenant paid half the cost of materials, I paid half the cost of materials plus installation.  

Make clear curtains/blinds etc. will remain in property when tenant moves out. 

@George Kopp I’ll be honest, it is discussions like this that give landlords a bad name. Of course there should be window coverings. Just like there should be bulbs in the lights and seat covers on the toilets. It’s just a basic part of housing. Go to Home Depot, buy the blinds for 20 bucks apiece and put them up. It takes 10 minutes per blind. And if one gets damaged while she is living there, just replace it for the next tenant and forget about it.

Originally posted by @Mark S.:

@George Kopp I’ll be honest, it is discussions like this that give landlords a bad name. Of course there should be window coverings. Just like there should be bulbs in the lights and seat covers on the toilets. It’s just a basic part of housing. Go to Home Depot, buy the blinds for 20 bucks apiece and put them up. It takes 10 minutes per blind. And if one gets damaged while she is living there, just replace it for the next tenant and forget about it.

TWENTY BUCKS A BLIND? DO I LOOK LIKE I'M MADE OF MONEY?

So we use the $4 miniblinds from Walmart, and my wife knows this discount department store hole deep, deep in the most ghetto part of Duquesne, it's called "Roses." They have this big stack of cheap blinds piled high on a table for $5 a pop. Sometimes they're marked correctly, sometimes not, but you know, we deal...we also get sheers at this place, but nothing beats the $2 curtain rod deal you get at Big Lots.

Blinds AND curtains for us, thank you very much. 

First, thank you everyone who has responded. I have decided to just get decent blinds and pay for it myself. 

Having said that, some people need to chill just a bit. @Mark S. take it easy. I'm not a slum lord here. What you aren't aware of because I didn't want to make my original post a novel is that this is a warehouse apartment, with large windows that look much much cooler with no blinds. I recently picked it up and it had rented for 15 years with no blinds. So after having agreed to everything, signed a lease, everyone is happy, she's like, so when are you putting up blinds. I would have much preferred she had mentioned it before this. Also I have voluntarily put a new ceiling fan, new bathroom mirror, new bathroom fixtures, new faucets, etc. I want the place to look at nice as possible.

Also, based on being on the top floor next to a building where no windows look into this unit and the other side facing an open space with a train, no one can look in under normal circumstances; however, a previous poster makes a good point about drones. The same thing happened in our backyard, we called the police, they basically said tough sht!

@Chelsea Monk, cute analogy about supplying drywall, but I've never seen drywall choke a small child, so let's not compare the two. By putting up these blinds, which make the place look worse, I now have to deal with a potential choking hazard if someone with children moves in. I'm planning to look for the type that don't require a string, but those are a lot more expensive. 

Lastly, everyone is talking about $20 blinds. I wish. Firstly, this is a B+ property in an A neighborhood, so I can't go cheap. I need to go with something like a blinds to go, and these are large warehouse windows, so I'll need to add brackets above the window. It has seven windows, so this will be like $1000 on a unit renting for $1650. It's fine. I'm doing it, I just take offense to the comments suggesting that merely by asking, I'm some sort of slumlord. I guess I thought about what I would want when I got the place market ready and under no circumstances would I have put blinds up for me.

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@George Kopp I use the Allen & Roth faux wood vinyl blinds from Lowe's, they average about $30-35 per window for regular sized house windows. They're cordless and look nice, I've had them up for years and haven't had anyone tear them up yet.

Definitely better than someone tacking up Scooby Doo sheets in your nice rental, lol.

@Michael Noto

"Now fingers crossed this isn't the first of an avalanche of requests." - This is exactly what went through my mind when I got this request! Not even going to get into the fact that she was very borderline in terms of the background check, but that going into the holidays, I bit the bullet and accepted her. Then a week after receiving her deposit to hold, a super qualified person who told me he couldn't move until Feb 1 texts me to say he could now move in Jan 1. Ugh!! Anyway, at this point I just have to hope for the best.

@George Kopp Yea, my reply was a bit snarky I admit. Your additional background info put your question in a whole different light. It just seems some landlords try to do everything on the cheap and complain about every nickel they have to spend in order to give tenants a nice place to live while still making good money themselves. Doesn’t sound like that is you though.

@Mark S. Thanks for the reply Mark! I appreciate it. I think I was a bit sensitive because I know I am trying to do the right thing and didn't love the idea of blinds for this unit long term though this thread has convinced me that others will probably want them, so I might as well put them up now.

By the way, I'm also a twin cities man. Lived there from 2006-2012. I moved back to the east coast for family reasons, but wish I had stayed. I loved it there and would have loved that housing appreciation from when I left until now vs. the very stagnant CT market :)

I've Dealt with this issue before i solved it by buying the blinds and then raising rents. 

Hope that helps

Ps im sure you can find cheaper blinds or cheaper labor cost

@George Kopp,

100% Yes--- get the blinds, it's about privacy and security, not just for the tenant-- but for your house.    No blinds, as @Jim K. has said, I guarantee it will be a sheet/blanket, and there will likely be some type of logo on it.     

Blinds are standard-- and I do C/D rentals! 

Put a note in your lease,  how much each blind is to replace (ours we do $20/blind including install).   When you  do your walk through video/pics, show all the blinds.   If you want to spend a lot, you can-- it's your house and your budget, but you don't have to. IMO tenant shouldn't be charged more for blinds. 

@George Kopp without knowing layout and size heres some ideas for blinds. I agree with you that seeing the industrial window is always best and yes window treatments can get really expensive. Maybe try some type of covering that highlights the windows instead of covering them? Like rolling door shutters, a scrim type material so it defuses the sun but doesn’t block the windows or just partial covers still exposing the top parts of the windows? Just ideas… Hope they help, sounds like a cool building.

@Theresa Harris $30 month for blinds? They are a 15 year depreciable item....  blinds are about $100 each depending on size.....  so you are saying that say 500 worth of blinds should bring in $360 more a year?? 

I would argue that binds are mandatory for privacy... and that his apartment is probably priced for having them if he used other similar spaces to price his unit as they almost certainly have blinds.