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Roy Mitle
  • Palo Alto, CA
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Renter demand laundry and dinner payment because appliances broke

Roy Mitle
  • Palo Alto, CA
Posted Mar 23 2024, 18:45

I have property in san jose.

The washer stopped working. We sent a repairman within a few days. Repair guy diagnosed said have to replace washer. The next day renter mentioned fridge stopped worked. Had to send repairman who took another few days to go there again (they are busy). I order both appliances. Store will deliver and install and it will take them a week to go there (they are backed up etc etc). So in total ~ 2-3 weeks w/o washer and ~1-2 w/o with fridge

Renter claims this is causing hardship and demand that they only pay a portion of the rent. They claim rent includes washer and fridge working properly. Claim they had to eat out and also they had to use laundromat.

As a landlord in California, San jose am I liable for this? If so, how can I minimize the rebate I give them - if the rent is say $5000, do I say fridge is $100 and dryer is $150 so ok you can deduct say $(250) * 2weeks/1month = $125. or do I say ok send me your bill for food and laundromat and you can deduct that full amount (that will be expensive I guess).

If I'm not liable how do I reply that doesn't have ramifications.

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Melanie P.
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Melanie P.
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 10:17
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:

Its good that I didn't need to apologize for my ignorance because you once again have shown yours.

By definition a customer buyers goods or SERVICES! Many would consider providing housing a SERVICE. If you prefer to look at it as "goods" then consider that the tenant does "own" the property. You have legally signed over your rights to possess the property and no longer have those rights to the property. So, they do have actual rights an owner has but only those to possess and use and for a period of time as opposed to an indefinite period.

So, if you prefer to think of the rental as "goods" then you have SOLD THEM a lease on the property. Therefore they are your customer by definition! BTW leases are in some cases actually considered real estate and the lease itself is taxes as real estate. For example ground leases. 

In my state the time to repair is 2 weeks and refrigerators are required for occupancy in many places. So, it could well be grounds to break a lease depending on the location.

With regard, to how a property is managed, you have no concept of what I'm talking about. It sounds like it is so far outside your experience that you can't even imagine it.

By no means does someone have to be a constant hard-*** to be in control of their business and just because a landlord approaches tenant relations differently than you do does it mean they are afraid or uncomfortable being the boss or enforcing their lease. Nobody who knows me would EVER describe me as a "shinking violet". So, you completely misunderstand.

Just because you have taken one approach and it works for you does NOT mean someone cannot do as well or even better with a VERY different approach. Yes, there are landlords afraid to manage their tenants, but just because someone has a different approach than yours doesn't mean its automatically less effective and doesn't mean they are afraid to manage.

A customer buys goods or services from a vendor. Difficulty with reading comprehension? What a tenant receives is a leasehold interest in real estate. What they pay for it is rent. That is neither a good nor a service. Tenants are tenants they are NOT customers - neither figuratively nor linguistically. Words mean what they mean.

Tenants do not own the property they rent. They have what is known as a leasehold interest in their home. Leasehold interests terminate automatically when rent isn't paid. This is why most states have an expedited court process for getting out tenants for nonpayment. Do you know of any good or service that will be taken back from you by the sheriff when you're behind in paying for it by as few as 40 days? The tenant has lost their right of possession - the landlord need only prove this single fact in court to get the tenant out.

I don't "sell" anyone a lease. I allow prospective tenants to sell themselves to me and charge them an application fee for the privilege of presenting. We thoroughly screen potential tenants. A lease is only entered into when we are satisfied a tenant is well qualified to manage the responsibilities of a particular lease.

I checked out your now-repeated claim that tenants can leave after two weeks into a repair in Pennsylvania. This is false. First the tenant must give written notice and the landlord shall be provided with reasonable time to make the repair. Here the landlord began making repairs immediately. He had a vendor to the apartment within three days. Replacement determined correction and replacement was ordered within the first week after notice given by the tenant. This is entirely reasonable. And in Pennsylvania the tenant would have no claims for a landlord acting within these timelines to repair a refrigerator.

I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to managing property. It's the "new landlord with less than 5 units method." It's arbitrary, capricious and detrimental to your business interests and the right of the tenant to be treated in a fair, consistent manner.

If you take the cotton out of your ears and put it into your mouth you can learn something here.

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Kevin Sobilo
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  • Hanover Twp, PA
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Kevin Sobilo
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  • Hanover Twp, PA
Replied Apr 2 2024, 10:52
Quote from @Melanie P.:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:

Its good that I didn't need to apologize for my ignorance because you once again have shown yours.

By definition a customer buyers goods or SERVICES! Many would consider providing housing a SERVICE. If you prefer to look at it as "goods" then consider that the tenant does "own" the property. You have legally signed over your rights to possess the property and no longer have those rights to the property. So, they do have actual rights an owner has but only those to possess and use and for a period of time as opposed to an indefinite period.

So, if you prefer to think of the rental as "goods" then you have SOLD THEM a lease on the property. Therefore they are your customer by definition! BTW leases are in some cases actually considered real estate and the lease itself is taxes as real estate. For example ground leases. 

In my state the time to repair is 2 weeks and refrigerators are required for occupancy in many places. So, it could well be grounds to break a lease depending on the location.

With regard, to how a property is managed, you have no concept of what I'm talking about. It sounds like it is so far outside your experience that you can't even imagine it.

By no means does someone have to be a constant hard-*** to be in control of their business and just because a landlord approaches tenant relations differently than you do does it mean they are afraid or uncomfortable being the boss or enforcing their lease. Nobody who knows me would EVER describe me as a "shinking violet". So, you completely misunderstand.

Just because you have taken one approach and it works for you does NOT mean someone cannot do as well or even better with a VERY different approach. Yes, there are landlords afraid to manage their tenants, but just because someone has a different approach than yours doesn't mean its automatically less effective and doesn't mean they are afraid to manage.

A customer buys goods or services from a vendor. Difficulty with reading comprehension? What a tenant receives is a leasehold interest in real estate. What they pay for it is rent. That is neither a good nor a service. Tenants are tenants they are NOT customers - neither figuratively nor linguistically. Words mean what they mean.

Tenants do not own the property they rent. They have what is known as a leasehold interest in their home. Leasehold interests terminate automatically when rent isn't paid. This is why most states have an expedited court process for getting out tenants for nonpayment. Do you know of any good or service that will be taken back from you by the sheriff when you're behind in paying for it by as few as 40 days? The tenant has lost their right of possession - the landlord need only prove this single fact in court to get the tenant out.

I don't "sell" anyone a lease. I allow prospective tenants to sell themselves to me and charge them an application fee for the privilege of presenting. We thoroughly screen potential tenants. A lease is only entered into when we are satisfied a tenant is well qualified to manage the responsibilities of a particular lease.

I checked out your now-repeated claim that tenants can leave after two weeks into a repair in Pennsylvania. This is false. First the tenant must give written notice and the landlord shall be provided with reasonable time to make the repair. Here the landlord began making repairs immediately. He had a vendor to the apartment within three days. Replacement determined correction and replacement was ordered within the first week after notice given by the tenant. This is entirely reasonable. And in Pennsylvania the tenant would have no claims for a landlord acting within these timelines to repair a refrigerator.

I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to managing property. It's the "new landlord with less than 5 units method." It's arbitrary, capricious and detrimental to your business interests and the right of the tenant to be treated in a fair, consistent manner.

If you take the cotton out of your ears and put it into your mouth you can learn something here.


Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
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Melanie P.
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Melanie P.
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 11:53
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
Your understanding about broken refrigerators is wrong as it applies to PA and CA. Feel free to operate your five units on misinformation, but don't spread that BS when you've been told it's wrong and have no information that you are correct. Two weeks exists only in your head. Your inability to listen, research, evaluate and place facts in context is why you are sitting alone in rural Pennsylvania. 

You want your four or five tenants to be your customers? Go for it! Spend time fantasizing about your "reputation" as the landlord and Realtor nobody has ever heard of. How you can "set yourself apart" from the crushing competition out there in residential leasing. Stretch your mind to its outer limits to change the meaning of well-defined words. Tenants are tenants customers are customers. You just sound like a lonely guy being unnecessarily argumentative. It's scary that anyone would use someone as purposefully misinformed as you to represent them in a real estate transaction. But, let's face it, not that many people are exposed. Never got too busy over there...

When a TENANT fails to pay rent their RIGHT to hold their leasehold interest in the premises is extinguished. Under certain laws and lease agreements they can revive their right, but if rent is left unpaid they have no right to occupy, a court will confirm this and they will be evicted.

This will be our final communication. Welcome to my ignore list. You have been "schooled" with valuable and correct information. Unfortunately you're too stupid to get it and I'm too old to waste any more time arguing with the intentionally misinformed. 

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Michael Smythe
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Michael Smythe
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 12:12

@Roy Mitle what does your lease say?

Ours states appliances are "as-is, where-is", meaning we do NOT have to fix or replace them.

Now, if we have a great tenant, we will usually work something out to keep them happy to eventually renew:)

Why don't you offer something, but also REQUIRE they extend the lease for another 12 months?

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Kevin Sobilo
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Kevin Sobilo
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 12:24
Quote from @Melanie P.:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
Your understanding about broken refrigerators is wrong as it applies to PA and CA. Feel free to operate your five units on misinformation, but don't spread that BS when you've been told it's wrong and have no information that you are correct. Two weeks exists only in your head. Your inability to listen, research, evaluate and place facts in context is why you are sitting alone in rural Pennsylvania. 

You want your four or five tenants to be your customers? Go for it! Spend time fantasizing about your "reputation" as the landlord and Realtor nobody has ever heard of. How you can "set yourself apart" from the crushing competition out there in residential leasing. Stretch your mind to its outer limits to change the meaning of well-defined words. Tenants are tenants customers are customers. You just sound like a lonely guy being unnecessarily argumentative. It's scary that anyone would use someone as purposefully misinformed as you to represent them in a real estate transaction. But, let's face it, not that many people are exposed. Never got too busy over there...

When a TENANT fails to pay rent their RIGHT to hold their leasehold interest in the premises is extinguished. Under certain laws and lease agreements they can revive their right, but if rent is left unpaid they have no right to occupy, a court will confirm this and they will be evicted.

This will be our final communication. Welcome to my ignore list. You have been "schooled" with valuable and correct information. Unfortunately you're too stupid to get it and I'm too old to waste any more time arguing with the intentionally misinformed. 


Again, you are factually incorrect. Incorrect about so much it would take an enormous amount of time to explain all the ways you are incorrect.

As one more example, not paying rent does NOT automatically terminate their leasehold interest. Maybe they didn't need to pay rent! Maybe they paid it to an escrow account because you didn't make appropriate repairs. Maybe there is an error in accounting. Maybe you tried to increase rent before the end of the lease period and the tenant refused to pay the overage.

Nonpayment creates an issue where there may be a dispute over whether the tenant is in violation of the lease. To resolve the issue one needs to go to court because even though you don't want to hear it, YOU ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT just like every landlord isn't always right. So, unless a tenant agrees with you and leaves on their own, a tenant's retains those leasehold rights until the judge issues a judgement. This is probably in large part why self-help evictions are illegal because the tenant still has the rights you gave them under the lease.

Good luck!

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Kevin Sobilo
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Kevin Sobilo
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 12:37
Quote from @Melanie P.:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
Your understanding about broken refrigerators is wrong as it applies to PA and CA. Feel free to operate your five units on misinformation, but don't spread that BS when you've been told it's wrong and have no information that you are correct. Two weeks exists only in your head. Your inability to listen, research, evaluate and place facts in context is why you are sitting alone in rural Pennsylvania. 

You want your four or five tenants to be your customers? Go for it! Spend time fantasizing about your "reputation" as the landlord and Realtor nobody has ever heard of. How you can "set yourself apart" from the crushing competition out there in residential leasing. Stretch your mind to its outer limits to change the meaning of well-defined words. Tenants are tenants customers are customers. You just sound like a lonely guy being unnecessarily argumentative. It's scary that anyone would use someone as purposefully misinformed as you to represent them in a real estate transaction. But, let's face it, not that many people are exposed. Never got too busy over there...

When a TENANT fails to pay rent their RIGHT to hold their leasehold interest in the premises is extinguished. Under certain laws and lease agreements they can revive their right, but if rent is left unpaid they have no right to occupy, a court will confirm this and they will be evicted.

This will be our final communication. Welcome to my ignore list. You have been "schooled" with valuable and correct information. Unfortunately you're too stupid to get it and I'm too old to waste any more time arguing with the intentionally misinformed. 


For your reference, one of MANY possible references. Here is the NAR (National Association Of Realtors) code of ethics standard of practice defining a client and a "CUSTOMER". Based on this definition if I am a PM managing property for an owner. The owner is my CLIENT and the tenant is my CUSTOMER.  (https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-o...)

I didn't make these things up. WORDS MEAN WHAT THEY MEAN!


Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass
all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted
in person, electronically, or through any other means.



The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are
applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally
recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed
exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this
Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.



As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the
person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has
an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer”
means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information,
services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the
REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller,
tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship
with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate
licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency
relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a
real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as
an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)




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JD Martin
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JD Martin
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ModeratorReplied Apr 2 2024, 12:59
Quote from @Bruce Woodruff:

You as the property owner are (of course) responsible for replacing the appliances. The problem here IMO is that this is taking so long. 2-3 weeks? I'd be a little perturbed too. 

If I were you, I'd either find another company, or get a trailer and a helper and go pick them up yourself at Lowes or Home Depot. Same day....done. Problem solved.

It isn't like a fridge or washer take a complicated hook-up....just plug 'em in.


 After reading this whole thread, as usual Bruce generally makes the most sense and mirrors what I do. Whether or not you were reasonable by the standard of the law, if the vendor I was using took that long for appliances for any reason other than something extraordinary (like during the pandemic), I'd switch vendors. If a fridge is malfunctioning, I would consult my handy-dandy records and see what they said. If my records said the refrigerator was at least 10 years old, I'd just open up my Lowe's account, select a new fridge and next day delivery, and let them haul the old one off. No repairman, no waiting for parts. I use simple refrigerators and simple washers. A new washer is $500. A new fridge is about $600. Hardly any of them are worth paying a repair man these days. If it was under warranty, then by all means let the repair man go, but otherwise? If you're not fixing it yourself, you'll have half the cost of the appliance in the labor and the parts on virtually anything. Not worth it for old appliances.

My tenants are definitely not my customers. The relationship is halfway between that of a customer and that of an employee. You provide a service and they provide the money, but unlike most transactions the relationship doesn't end there so it's not a simple customer/vendor relationship. The tenant has the rights to use the property so long as they abide by the covenants, and if/when they don't they're "fired". As far as reputation et al, most tenants are one-off and niceties don't mean anything when it comes to business. You have a fair lease, you address the lease in a timely manner, tenant pays on time and doesn't damage the property, and that's that. No friends, no customers, no clients.  

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JD Martin
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JD Martin
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ModeratorReplied Apr 2 2024, 13:14
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Quote from @Melanie P.:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
Your understanding about broken refrigerators is wrong as it applies to PA and CA. Feel free to operate your five units on misinformation, but don't spread that BS when you've been told it's wrong and have no information that you are correct. Two weeks exists only in your head. Your inability to listen, research, evaluate and place facts in context is why you are sitting alone in rural Pennsylvania. 

You want your four or five tenants to be your customers? Go for it! Spend time fantasizing about your "reputation" as the landlord and Realtor nobody has ever heard of. How you can "set yourself apart" from the crushing competition out there in residential leasing. Stretch your mind to its outer limits to change the meaning of well-defined words. Tenants are tenants customers are customers. You just sound like a lonely guy being unnecessarily argumentative. It's scary that anyone would use someone as purposefully misinformed as you to represent them in a real estate transaction. But, let's face it, not that many people are exposed. Never got too busy over there...

When a TENANT fails to pay rent their RIGHT to hold their leasehold interest in the premises is extinguished. Under certain laws and lease agreements they can revive their right, but if rent is left unpaid they have no right to occupy, a court will confirm this and they will be evicted.

This will be our final communication. Welcome to my ignore list. You have been "schooled" with valuable and correct information. Unfortunately you're too stupid to get it and I'm too old to waste any more time arguing with the intentionally misinformed. 


For your reference, one of MANY possible references. Here is the NAR (National Association Of Realtors) code of ethics standard of practice defining a client and a "CUSTOMER". Based on this definition if I am a PM managing property for an owner. The owner is my CLIENT and the tenant is my CUSTOMER.  (https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-o...)

I didn't make these things up. WORDS MEAN WHAT THEY MEAN!


Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass
all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted
in person, electronically, or through any other means.



The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are
applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally
recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed
exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this
Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.



As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the
person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has
an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer”
means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information,
services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the
REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller,
tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship
with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate
licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency
relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a
real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as
an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)




Actually, using these terms the tenant can't be your customer if you are a legal PM because you are an official agent of the owner, i.e. it is as if the property is yours to rent out and you can legally obligate the owner into contract with the tenant. In these definitions a customer is someone who has no contractual obligation to the individual involved, i.e. a buyer signed up with another agency would be a customer to you as an agent of a seller. 

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Nicholas L.
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Nicholas L.
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 13:24

@JD Martin

good post.  i do think these types of questions combine 3 things: "what does the law require," "what does the lease require," and "what should I do given the particulars of my situation"

and those are distinct questions.  we don't ever know all of the particulars of a situation - we only know what's posted.  for OP here - how long has the tenant been there?  does OP have a history of being responsive?  we don't know.

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Kevin Sobilo
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Kevin Sobilo
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Replied Apr 2 2024, 13:26
Quote from @JD Martin:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Quote from @Melanie P.:
Quote from @Kevin Sobilo:
Again you are just not familiar with how things work. Ask your state's real estate commission and they can explain it to you.

An listing agent represents a seller. If they represent the seller in the sale to a buyer with no buyer's agent then the buyer is their "customer". So, the sale of interest in property creates a vendor/customer relationship.

A leasehold is interest in real estate not unlike a sale. So, the tenant is a customer. Feel free to contact your state's real estate commission to verify.

You absolutely do sell the tenant a lease. You are giving them rights to the property in exchange for money.

No leasehold interests do NOT automatically terminate when rent isn't paid. You MAY try to terminate them but most states require a redemption period with their Pay Or Quit notice to allow a tenant to make payment and I believe some states allow a tenant to come current up through the actual court hearing.

Yes, businesses repossess cars that have been financed. I'm not sure the time period involved.

With regard to my state's laws. You are correct about the black letter law uses the term "reasonable" but my understanding is that applicable case law shows that 2 weeks is generally what is considered "reasonable" in most cases. So, it is the appropriate guidance on the topic.

So, far its you who are getting schooled here! At minimum you're learning what a customer is if nothing else.
Your understanding about broken refrigerators is wrong as it applies to PA and CA. Feel free to operate your five units on misinformation, but don't spread that BS when you've been told it's wrong and have no information that you are correct. Two weeks exists only in your head. Your inability to listen, research, evaluate and place facts in context is why you are sitting alone in rural Pennsylvania. 

You want your four or five tenants to be your customers? Go for it! Spend time fantasizing about your "reputation" as the landlord and Realtor nobody has ever heard of. How you can "set yourself apart" from the crushing competition out there in residential leasing. Stretch your mind to its outer limits to change the meaning of well-defined words. Tenants are tenants customers are customers. You just sound like a lonely guy being unnecessarily argumentative. It's scary that anyone would use someone as purposefully misinformed as you to represent them in a real estate transaction. But, let's face it, not that many people are exposed. Never got too busy over there...

When a TENANT fails to pay rent their RIGHT to hold their leasehold interest in the premises is extinguished. Under certain laws and lease agreements they can revive their right, but if rent is left unpaid they have no right to occupy, a court will confirm this and they will be evicted.

This will be our final communication. Welcome to my ignore list. You have been "schooled" with valuable and correct information. Unfortunately you're too stupid to get it and I'm too old to waste any more time arguing with the intentionally misinformed. 


For your reference, one of MANY possible references. Here is the NAR (National Association Of Realtors) code of ethics standard of practice defining a client and a "CUSTOMER". Based on this definition if I am a PM managing property for an owner. The owner is my CLIENT and the tenant is my CUSTOMER.  (https://www.nar.realtor/about-nar/governing-documents/code-o...)

I didn't make these things up. WORDS MEAN WHAT THEY MEAN!


Standard of Practice 1-2

The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass
all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted
in person, electronically, or through any other means.



The duties the Code of Ethics imposes are
applicable whether REALTORS® are acting as agents or in legally
recognized non-agency capacities except that any duty imposed
exclusively on agents by law or regulation shall not be imposed by this
Code of Ethics on REALTORS® acting in non-agency capacities.



As used in this Code of Ethics, “client” means the
person(s) or entity(ies) with whom a REALTOR® or a REALTOR®’s firm has
an agency or legally recognized non-agency relationship; “customer”
means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information,
services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the
REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm; “prospect” means a purchaser, seller,
tenant, or landlord who is not subject to a representation relationship
with the REALTOR® or REALTOR®’s firm; “agent” means a real estate
licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting in an agency
relationship as defined by state law or regulation; and “broker” means a
real estate licensee (including brokers and sales associates) acting as
an agent or in a legally recognized non-agency capacity. (Adopted 1/95, Amended 1/07)




Actually, using these terms the tenant can't be your customer if you are a legal PM because you are an official agent of the owner, i.e. it is as if the property is yours to rent out and you can legally obligate the owner into contract with the tenant. In these definitions a customer is someone who has no contractual obligation to the individual involved, i.e. a buyer signed up with another agency would be a customer to you as an agent of a seller. 

Not quite.

In a sale where I am the listing agent. The seller is my client. If the buyer has an agent, I don't deal with the buyer directly at all. So, they are NOT my customer as I provide that person no information or service. If the buyer chooses to have no representation/agent, then when I deal with the buyer they are my customer UNLESS both the buyer and seller agree to allow me to represent both of them as a dual agent in which case both are my clients.

In a rental situation if I am the PM for the landlord/owner they are my client. Since I have no relationship with the tenant, I only provide them with information about the rental, services such as lease signing, rent collection, responding to maintenance requests etc then they are my customer under this definition:

“customer” means a party to a real estate transaction who receives information,
services, or benefits but has no contractual relationship with the
REALTOR® or the REALTOR®’s firm

Technical definition of the word aside, what matters here isn't the word but the approach. People use the word customer to describe their tenant and its completely appropriate. Its also appropriate for someone like yourself to describe your relationship with tenants as being a little different than that. Doesn't change the meaning of the word but describes how you approach the relationship. So, what you said made good sense to me even if its a little different than I approach the relationship with tenants.

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Matthew Paul#2 Contractors Contributor
  • Severna Park, MD
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Matthew Paul#2 Contractors Contributor
  • Severna Park, MD
Replied Apr 2 2024, 15:53

Who here would go 2 weeks without a refrigerator ?   Raise your hands if you would .  Whats more costly , a refrigerator or a tenant turnover ?  Like @Bruce Woodruff said , get a refrigerator ASAP . The washing machine , is not as critical .  I have sitting in my shop 2 refrigerators ( one for beer and food  and the other is a spare )  , 2 washing machines and 1 dryer .  If any one goes down they will be replased generally that day for a refrigerator , maybe a day or 2 for a washer .   I take the broken one to the used appliance guy who uses them for parts or fixes them and I pick up another spare . 

I would definatly take $ off the rent for the inconvenience especially if its a family with kids . McDonalds isnt cheap anymore 

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Russell Brazil
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Washington, D.C.
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Russell Brazil
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Washington, D.C.
ModeratorReplied Apr 2 2024, 16:21

Whatever you do, do not listen to the advice of Melanie P. Her advice in this thread is amongst the worst I've seen recently in these forums. And her attitude is exactly why people hate landlords 

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Owen Rosen
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  • Keego Harbor, MI
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Owen Rosen
  • Professional
  • Keego Harbor, MI
Replied Apr 3 2024, 08:57
Quote from @Russell Brazil:

Whatever you do, do not listen to the advice of Melanie P. Her advice in this thread is amongst the worst I've seen recently in these forums. And her attitude is exactly why people hate landlords 


Not an expert on the landlord nuances but I can 100% concur that her insurance advice and suggestions should be kept to herself.  Not qualified and not accurate.  Not surprising considering the rest of the tone.

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Dave Hart
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Dave Hart
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Replied Apr 3 2024, 15:51

Wow. Opinions on how to deal with tenants gets spicy in here. I vote on the side of honey rather than vinegar. Reduce turnover costs.

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Bruce Cook
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  • Orange County CA
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Bruce Cook
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  • Orange County CA
Replied Apr 3 2024, 23:32
Quote from @Melanie P.:

Y'all are so crazy thinking you have to run for these tenants. A tenant has zero standing to do something about a repair in California until they've given the landlord 30 days written notice that the repair needed to be made.


 Crazy?  Wow, how about we have a conscience.  People dont "have to" do a lot of things in life, that doesnt mean it is the right thing to do.  I feel sorry for your tenants.  Renters laws exist for landords who treat people like this.  Sad.  I have never made my tenants wait 2 to 3 weeks!  and 4 days without a fridge?  Crazy.  

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Elise Bickel
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Elise Bickel
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  • Cranberry Twp
Replied Apr 4 2024, 07:31

Very interesting responses here. I can only speak from my 20 years of experience in real estate in Pittsburgh, PA. Your laws and "customary" responses to situations where you are from may be different. I always teach my staff there is a "legal" responsibility and an "ethical" responsibility. Legally, if this situation happened in PA, per our lease, we are not required to do anything at all. Our leases state that when situations happen like this they need to contact their renters insurance and their insurance will determine if they are entitled to something or not.

From an ethical responsibility, it is not their fault or your fault that these appliances stopped working. And if they owed the property they would be facing the same hardships with having to wait for the replacement. But I would offer them a small credit for their inconvenience. If the rent was $5000 I would offer them $250(or so) as a connivence credit. Maybe even $500. What I think about is if you have a good paying tenant, how you handle situations like this may be the difference between the tenant staying another year or not. What would the potential turn over cost you? If you would have little to no vacancy and could rent for more and there would be no costs (if you self lease) then maybe it's worth saying "not giving you a dime" but if it will be costly I would be more liberal with the credit. 

Just my two cents.