Tenant is wanting to replace things in the house.

38 Replies

Yeah, right. I know when I install a fridge, I always bring along a welder SK I can permanently affix the appliance to the structure.

MAYBE the law of fixtures would apply in the case of an actual built-in. Even in that case, the tenant would certainly be able to restore to the original condition and take her fridge.

TERRIBLE legal advice. Stick to accounting.

I would let her have what she wants but do it in a way to protect yourself.  If she agrees to the following, you will know that she truly is interested in staying there, as she is willing to make an additional financial investment.  If she does not agree, she is just being one of those pains that everyone has warned you about.  This is a sure fire way to see what kind of tenant she will be.  You never know unless you give her the test.

1) Take out the old security system and allow her to install her own as long as it does not harm the unit.  No skin off your back and she feels safe to live there.

2) Tell her you will be happy to purchase a new refrigerator for the unit and charge her a leasehold improvement.  If she has a year lease, make sure you recoup your money by the end of the lease.  She gets a what she wants and you get a new refrigerator.  Win. Win.

3) Tell her you will be happy to have YOUR contractor paint as long it is colors that you approve.  Once again, charge her a leasehold improvement for the painting and make sure you recoup the full amount before the end of her lease.  Win.  Win.

If she agrees to either of the three above, I would immediately make her sign a lease addendum, before actually doing any of it.  If she doesn't agree to it, she really didn't want it that bad to begin with in my humble opinion.  I have a commercial tenant that used to do this.  She is still a tenant, but she asks for a lot less things these days. 

Good luck!

All I am going to say is that right now she is exhibiting her very best behavior. If she seems a little pushy now (and I am only saying if) it will only get worse.

small invest with higher rent in return

Originally posted by @Ryan Dossey :

I have a tenant who has just moved in. Her application was great, work history was great, and she is a single gal with no pets or kids. She is looking to stay somewhere for years as she is sick of moving... Awesome! However....

There is an old alarm system that she wants made functional. It is not powering on and looks to consist of 2 motion detectors only. What would you do here? Make her eat the bill if she wants it? 

The fridge isn't the prettiest of things but is definitely functional. She said it "has to go" and wants to buy a new fridge. She wants to know what I want to do with the old one. Put it in storage for when she moves out and takes her fridge with her, lower the rent to compensate her for the cost of the fridge if she leaves it, or buy a new one and pass the cost onto her in the form of a rent increase. 

She is recently divorced. I am just hoping once we get these few "issues" addressed she stays happily and quietly. While I think she is being a bit demanding I also don't think she is being ridiculous yet. I just want to make sure it doesn't get carried away. 

 Did you put the alarm system in her lease as being a functioning part of the house? If so, you are obligated to either get it working or to replace it. As for the fridge, it sounds as though she's not asking you to buy it for her so if she wants to buy a new one, just allow her to do so and let her figure out what she wants to do with it should she move out. Generally, we landlords are not required to provide fridges so if you don't have room to store it, you can call the power company; here in CA, they will actually pay us $50 to haul it away and dispose of it properly. I also hope for you that she doesn't get carried away and make you regret renting to her, so I'd be very clear about these issues right from the start. You don't want to become her surrogate husband since she is now divorced.

Originally posted by @Julia Blythe :

I would let her have what she wants but do it in a way to protect yourself.  If she agrees to the following, you will know that she truly is interested in staying there, as she is willing to make an additional financial investment.  If she does not agree, she is just being one of those pains that everyone has warned you about.  This is a sure fire way to see what kind of tenant she will be.  You never know unless you give her the test.

1) Take out the old security system and allow her to install her own as long as it does not harm the unit.  No skin off your back and she feels safe to live there.

2) Tell her you will be happy to purchase a new refrigerator for the unit and charge her a leasehold improvement.  If she has a year lease, make sure you recoup your money by the end of the lease.  She gets a what she wants and you get a new refrigerator.  Win. Win.

3) Tell her you will be happy to have YOUR contractor paint as long it is colors that you approve.  Once again, charge her a leasehold improvement for the painting and make sure you recoup the full amount before the end of her lease.  Win.  Win.

If she agrees to either of the three above, I would immediately make her sign a lease addendum, before actually doing any of it.  If she doesn't agree to it, she really didn't want it that bad to begin with in my humble opinion.  I have a commercial tenant that used to do this.  She is still a tenant, but she asks for a lot less things these days. 

Good luck!

 Absolutely concise, simple advice here. I feel like Julia has hit it right on the nose, and from here you're only going up - either you eliminate the demands (and potentially the demanding tenant), or you get the improvements on her dime and a happy tenant.

Originally posted by @James Kendrick :

Do the alarm and the fridge.  This is a no brainer considering the tenant you have.  In my experience she is indicating to you that she wants to make the dwelling into her "home" and that is never bad for you.

 Hi James: I don't know what kind of experience you have as a landlord, but the most common ploy for asking for things early on is tenants telling you they just "want to make it a long-term home". I learned a long time ago not to cave to requests that were not brought up before the signing of the lease as you can spend considerable time & money making tenants happy only to have them move out after a year. If they want it the way they want it, let them buy their own property...

Originally posted by @Kyle Civittolo :

@Marcia maynard,

looks like I can't get the @ function to work, but regarding paing I just want to let people know that dark colors are actually much EASIER to cover than a light one. If you don't believe me, test it out yourself!

 Sorry, but I have to disagree. I paint all my properties off-white and it only takes one coat to run over everything between tenants; in fact, I stick to one color for everything and often just need to patch-paint to make it look like a complete paint job. Darker colors take at least 2 coats and the cutting in is more of a hassle. I know paints have improved greatly but there's a limit to how much a light color will cover in one coat. 

@Ryan D., how did it go with this tenant?  Is she still there?  Has she been a difficult tenant or an easy tenant?  Just wondering.

She has been a total sweetheart. She lost her job. She communicated with us letting us know. She kept us updated on her job search. She didn't miss a rent payment. She wasn't late. She has only had two "issues" and both were routine AC problems that we fixed. She will most likely be there long term. 

@Randy E.

Originally posted by @Ryan Dossey :

She has been a total sweetheart. She lost her job. She communicated with us letting us know. She kept us updated on her job search. She didn't miss a rent payment. She wasn't late. She has only had two "issues" and both were routine AC problems that we fixed. She will most likely be there long term. 

@Randy E.

 I suspect this has at least as much to do with the landlord as it does the tenant. While I get that the point of LL is to make money, I sometimes wonder about the approach that (seems) to be used by many here in that the tenant is nothing but an income producer. Our tenants are people.

@Marcia Maynard My new tenant wants to repaint the baseboard in his unit. Nothing wrong with it, just a little dusty however I gave him permission since it bother him with the condition that he will not be reimbursed nor will it be taken from future rents. I plan to put this in writing. How should I state it?

Originally posted by @Ayodeji Kuponiyi :

@Marcia Maynard My new tenant wants to repaint the baseboard in his unit. Nothing wrong with it, just a little dusty however I gave him permission since it bother him with the condition that he will not be reimbursed nor will it be taken from future rents. I plan to put this in writing. How should I state it?

If the baseboards are fine, but just dusty or dirty, I would start by cleaning his baseboards. This is something he could do, but since he is a new tenant, I would do it for him. That will show good faith. If normal cleaning products don't work, try using the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Most tenants don't notice baseboards once their furniture is in place. If the tenant thinks the baseboards need repainting and you don't, then get a third opinion from a trusted colleague. Depending on the type of baseboard, it may be easier to take it off to repaint/replace, thus keeping paint off of the floor covering and walls. If you agree the baseboard needs repainting, then have it done by your crew. Don't give him the impression he can make improvements. Don't give him the impression that you reimburse tenants for improvements they make.

 I would start with being consistent with what is already in your rental agreement. Ours states:

ALTERATIONS.Tenant agrees not to alter the premises without prior written consent of Landlord.All changes made by Tenant must be reversible and property must be restored to original condition at end of tenancy, unless other arrangements have been made with Landlord. Tenant agrees to not do painting, wallpapering or structural modifications to the premises. Tenant agrees to not make alterations, changes or additions to plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, heating units, or locks.Tenant agrees to hold Landlord harmless for any mechanic’s liens or proceedings that result from Tenant actions.Any alterations or additions made by Tenant become the property of Landlord when Tenant vacates. Tenant agrees to pay a penalty fee of fifty dollars ($50) per violation, plus restoration costs.  

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