Tenant Problem, what would you do?

12 Replies

Hello, I have a tenant that has been renting from me for almost 1 year. Recently I found out the HOA does not allow washer/dryers in the condo unit. Tenants have to use the common coin-operated laundry, so I had to remove the appliance from the unit. They called me and are really angry and irate to the point where the tenant is using profanities and wants me to significantly lower the rent, otherwise threatening to not pay the rent and essentially evicting him. I have not responded back to them. What would you do in this situation? I am a new landlord, so any help will be greatly appreciated.

Did you first notify the tenant of the situation before it was removed?

Assuming that the W/D was in the unit when tenant signed the lease, I would:

1) Apologize for the inconvenience and show them the HOA guidelines.

2) Voluntarily reduce rent by an amount that you determine seems reasonable based upon what the coin-op machines are charging (some are several dollars per load, so could be in the range of $25-$100/month rent depending on the condo size and what the coin op charges. If it's a 3 bedroom with a family, they probably do several loads per week and this should be a break even for them.) Amend lease to reflect the new property conditions and the new rent and have them sign and date.

3) Request politely that they not use profanity, say you hear that they are upset by the change but unfortunately your hands are tied, and in response to any threats calmly assure them that "Pay rent or quit notice" will be served following the lease guidelines if they do not pay rent.

Not legal advice, but that is how I would handle.

I would also probably look at selling this property down the road unless the cash flow is really good. The HOA sounds like a pain.

Ok...I'm going to assume the place was plumbed for these appliances and these weren't some sort of mobile washer/dryer combos, if there is such a thing. With that assumption, you are banned from using something that your place was built to accommodate???? Also, how did they find out? Complaints from neighbors about the noise? Is there anything in lease stating you were to provide it? Anything, even if just verbal about the washer and dryer being included?

So you rolled into one of your tenants "home" and pulled out thier washer and dryer without letting them know before hand? That would warrant an *** chewin if so.

First off, get a copy of the CC&Rs and Rules & Regulations. If its not documented then the HOA Board has no say in the matter. I'd find out where the coin op money is going. Sounds like a money grab to me. Many self managed HOAs run renegade.

Thanks for the replies. The washer and dryer was noticed by the village inspector for rentals. I did notify the tenant every step of the way.

Good call not to enter without notice nor remove property without notice.

How did this other person get in to "inspect"?

One of the best funding sources you have as a landlord is your "I'm sorry" wallet. It's never empty and it's free to refill.

You want to pose yourself as on the same side as the tenant, "I'm really sorry those jerks at the HOA are making me take out the laundry. I feel badly about it." Show them a copy of the HOA rules so they understand it was your honest mistake and you pulled a bonehead move by putting in the machines.

You should lower the rent, and $100 a month doesn't sound unreasonable. One 'play' for apartment flippers is to ADD in unit W/D and that bumps rents by about $100 so it seems like a reasonable value.

If you can't work it out with the tenant, you will have to find a new one, but again, if you can say "I'm sorry" enough times and demonstrate that you feel badly about the situation, it will go a long way. Empathy is free and buys you all kinds of goodwill with your tenants. Don't come off as a jerk.

Welcome to land lording,

You could replace the items with either a laundry pod or 5 gallon salad spinner and a drying rack. If the tenants move out, you could advertise to 'green' tenants who will attempt to use less electricity, water, gas, and trash.


Please next time think before you buy where an HOA is located.

Joe Gore

How about negotiating with the HOA for an exception to the rule? Is there a solid reason why they have a rule that does not allow the washer/dryer in the unit? Especially if it is plumbed for such, I would explore this more. Sometimes rules can be changed, especially if you have a compelling argument. HOAs boards often are made up of other homeowners who volunteer time their time. I would try to work with the HOA board and get an exception made in this case. Sometimes HOAs fine you for breaking a rule, sometimes they will let you "buy" an exception to a rule, sometimes they will bend a rule. It is worth a try.

I would apologize sincerely and show them the HOA guide and apologize.

I would either reduce the rent. Or offer the tenant that they can break the lease early.

Thank you all for the great advice. I can understand why the tenant is upset, but I tried everything I could and I also gave them advance notice of this. Should I write a letter to the tenant explaining all this so that I have proof if anything was to happen? I just want to cover all bases before I proceed.

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