Compensating Tenants for inconvenience and loss of use

5 Replies

Fellow landlords, how do you normally compensate tenants for loss of use of the property for a brief period - including inconveniences before and after it.

In addition, do you compensate different tenants different depending on their situations?

For example, I have a triplex that has evidence of drywood termites...which is not unusual in South Florida.

Without getting into details it seems termites are alive and active in two of the units, no sign of it in the third, doesn't mean it's not there.  The building being a flat roof with no attic makes it impossible to do a good assessment.  In one unit the termites are in the walls, in closet shelving, such that when it spray it's dropping every few days, the closets are basically not usable.  Pest control experts recommended tenting.

So to tent I need to get all three tenants out for a few days.  Not only that, they most likely have food items and medicine that need to be wasted unless they consume them all or take it with them during their brief "vacation".

How would you compensate your tenants?

On the number of days they can't use the property while it's being tented, I am thinking at least a prorated rent credit.  So if they can't use it for 3 days, then say at $40 a day thats $120.

Would you compensate them for the wasted food items?  Say a fixed amount, $50, $100?

Would you compensate them for lodging?  If they have to stay at a hotel, some sort of a daily per diem?  This is most likely a renter's insurance item, but I just took over this building and don't think any of them have it.

If their situations are different, would you compensate them differently? I am leaning to pay them the same, regardless of their individual situations.

One of them has two dogs that need to be kerneled.  Would you pay additional for that?

If one of them can stay with a sister for a couple of days without a problem, where the other has no where to go but a hotel, would you compensate them the same, or different?

Looking for a way to fairly compensate tenants on situations like this, I guess it doesn't have to be termite infestation, it could be a major repair, or something that requires them to vacate.

Can you do it when they are naturally out of the house? I would pay them all the same and treat them as equally as possible because people talk. I also don't like to open the door for compensation because I find it starts to be expected. 

Personally I would try to do it when they were already out of the house. Therefore there is minimal if any impact on them. 

I'd be interested in how this works out. For temporary (1 or 2 day) inconveniences, I've sometimes taken a small amount off the rent. Sounds like @Elizabeth Colegrove 's idea is ideal as far as whatever you do for one, you do for all....except paying for a dog kennel. If you're getting extra rent because of them, you probably should pay for that, but otherwise, no. 

When in doubt though, consult a local attorney well versed in landlord/tenant law.

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You have to be fair and equal to all.  I would offer them packages.  

1) a predetermined (you pick) place to stay funded by you, plus a grocery store gift card to replace food and supplies needed for them to clean.  

2) they can stay wherever and you will discount their rent based on a prorated rate and a grocery store gift card to replace food and supplies needed for them to clean. 

This way even if they stay with the sister they will choose option 2 and you want have to care.  If the choose option 1 your a great guy!!!

The dogs are tricky.  People love their dogs.  I would tell them if they have a favorite kennel you will refund them.  If they take the dogs to sisters house then no refund, but you will increase the grocery store gift card amount to replace wasted dog food.  

@Elizabeth Colegrove, there is really no way to time it when they are already out of the house, for a single family house I can see may be if they are on a winter break or spring break, but for a multi unit building there is no mutually convenient time really.  The most I can shoot for is during a vacancy so that I have one less unit to worry about.

@Aly L, I am not charging a pet fee or pet rent.  This is a new purchase so I am still under the "spell" of the previous landlord's leases where many things are either not specified or vague in the language of the lease.  I normally don't allow pets but this one has been grandfathered in. 

@Bryan N. , there is no cleaning involved.  At the end of the fumigation everything is gone and there is no trace left.  Actually you could put food and medicine in a plastic bag, and even keep the fridge running.  However I remember years ago when I had my own house tented, I elected not to keep any food...why risk it?  So I wouldn't expect my tenant to consume food and medicine even if they have been protected during the fumigation.  Much of it is psychological.  They told us no trace left no need to clean, yet I still redo all my dishes and wipe down the food prep areas.

So I think consensus is same treatment for all, regardless of individual situations.

May be I'll rent a giant RV and park outside the property and offer it to them LOL.