General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Complaints with a new renter; should i just say no?

Posted Jan 15 2022, 19:02

Hello, I just rented out my first unit. The renter asked for a couple of maintenance works to be done upon moving. Some of those requests are legitimate, which will be fixed asap by my contractor but a couple of them seem not worth fixing. For example, she says some shelves in the kitchen are missing in cabinets and in the freezer and a handle is missing on a closet door. Do you think it is ok to let her know that even though I will fix any structural issues asap, I will not be adding shelves to the kitchen or handles to the closet door. What do you think? I don't want her to text me everytime a handle gets loose.

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Kathy Johnson
  • Real Estate Professional
  • Hayfork, CA
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Kathy Johnson
  • Real Estate Professional
  • Hayfork, CA
Replied Jan 15 2022, 19:17

What kind of complaints?  If the complaints are valid basic habitability or safety issues, then take care of them in a reasonable amount of time.  If the complaints are 'niceties' but weren't things that were in the unit at the time it was shown/advertised then you are under no obligation to do anything about them.

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Replied Jan 16 2022, 05:03

If the freezer and cabinets are missing shelves that would ordinarily be there, then yes I would fix.

How else would they open the closet door without a handle? Is this some type of special request or is there another way to open the door?

these sound like pretty basic items that should have been punched out before renting.

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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Cody, WY
ModeratorReplied Jan 16 2022, 06:21
Two thoughts:

1. Her requests are reasonable. Cabinets are supposed to have shelves and doors are supposed to have handles. If you're the kind of Landlord that takes care of his property, why wouldn't you replace them when they go missing?

2. I make renters initial a short clause (one of seven) that states they were given an opportunity to inspect and are essentially accepting it in "as is" condition with no promise to do additional work or cleaning unless it's agreed to in writing prior to occupancy.

I get many renters every year - mostly moving here from other states - that rent places without even looking at them in person. I warn them against this verbally, in an "offer to rent" letter that they sign, and again in their lease agreement. I still get some that show up and complain they don't like the neighborhood, the bedrooms are too small, the windows weren't washed well, the hardwood floor should be refinished, etc. Because I've prepped them at least three times with warnings, I can shut down their complaints immediately and move on.

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Scott M.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Rochester Hills, MI
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Scott M.
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Rochester Hills, MI
Replied Jan 16 2022, 09:52

Everything you listed is 100% valid request by the tenant.  Fix them.  They are also all stupid cheap.  

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Jonathan Greene
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  • Mendham, NJ
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Jonathan Greene
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  • Mendham, NJ
Replied Jan 16 2022, 11:32

I would sell the building now if you think these requests are abnormal and outside of what you should do as a landlord. You basically rented someone a defective unit and now don't want to fix it. If the tenant did not remove shelves or handles then why shouldn't they be there, as they should be, when they move in?

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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
  • Contractor
  • Arizona
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Bruce Woodruff#3 All Forums Contributor
  • Contractor
  • Arizona
Replied Jan 16 2022, 12:11
Originally posted by @Jonathan Greene:

I would sell the building now if you think these requests are abnormal and outside of what you should do as a landlord. You basically rented someone a defective unit and now don't want to fix it. If the tenant did not remove shelves or handles then why shouldn't they be there, as they should be, when they move in?

 I know, right...? And it's only handles....

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Jonathan Greene
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  • Mendham, NJ
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Jonathan Greene
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  • Mendham, NJ
Replied Jan 17 2022, 10:10

@Bruce Woodruff Account Closed, lol