Is this Illegal?: Can you have tenants pay to fix problems that they cause in all states?

6 Replies

I just finished reading Robert Shemin's Book "21 mistakes that real estate investors make" and in it, it had a section where he talked about writing out a contract for his tenants that makes them responsibile for paying for problems they cause like plumbing or things they broke.

I was thinking about going this route because that's the biggest complaint or fear that people have when it comes to renting.

I was wondering if this was legal in all states and what were you're thoughts on having tenants pay for the wear and tear they cause?

Where can people find out more about state or new federal laws and policies regarding real estate?

You could put it in a contract but getting them to pay would be a different story.  Plus they would be more likely to let stuff go causing you more problems later.  

You can look up and read the "landlord tenant act" for the area in which you are investing in.

I have something similar in my lease agreement and an addendum that the tenant sign which outlines "negligence" in regards to the plumbing issues and damages outside of normal wear & tear. I also do quarterly inspections and look for damages and speak to the tenant about any problems/issues they may be having.

When/if  my plumber assesses the situation and says "Tenant has been putting paper towels/feminine products/cooking oil in the  sink or toilet. I notify the tenant that they are responsible for the repairs due to the negligent act. I will typically pay for the repairs and get reimbursed from the tenant, even if I have to offer them a payment plan.

Having them PAY for things they damage through their negligence or other than normal wear and tear is one thing, although it is sometimes difficult to get them to admit they did the damage (I once had a tenant tell me her husband caused a hole in a wall by simply leaning against it "where the wall was thin"...huh????).

Having them fix it themselves should strike terror in the hearts of many a landlord. It's a bit like a tenant asking if they can paint.  Tenants should paint nothing more than their toenails when residing in your rental properties (and even that is questionable if you've got carpet in the place).


If the tenant caused the problem, then they should definitely be responsible for paying for it. I have my handyman, plumber, etc do the work and they pay it. Make sure it is spelled out in your lease that they are responsible for damage they cause. Check your local laws, but I've never heard of anywhere that wouldn't allow this.

Why wouldn't you just replace or repair the plumbing and electrical before renting the unit?

Mario is asking about repairs for plumbing, etc that the tenants cause/break after they move in.

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