Possible Needy Tenant

12 Replies

We just signed a lease on Monday with a seemingly good tenant. She passed our application process and had all the money due for lease signing. Within hours I received a text of things she would like us to change or her be allowed to change. I’ve not really had tenants ask for much of any changes in the past so this is becoming a little worrisome to have all these requests right off the bat. Am I just being a strict landlord by wanting to deny most of these requests or is this a potential needy tenant? Please keep in mind this property has just gone through a pretty nice $5,000 fix up (new carpet, paint, faucets, light fixtures, etc..) and is only at $800/month rent.

-Remove the current fridge so she could bring hers (allowed this one because I needed a fridge in my basement anyways but kind of wishing I wouldn’t have because I think it made us look too lenient)

-Paint an accent wall in EVERY room including bathrooms (told her the color has to be approved by us and she must use a professional of our choice)

-Install a third lock for the front door (haven’t said yes or no)

-New kitchen faucet (current one is brand new but she wants one that has a hose on the end. She said she’d buy it but wants us to install it. I don’t want to allow this because it seems unnecessary)

-Mount her t.v. to the wall (not happening)

-New shower head (current one is brand new she just wants a “better” one)

Sounds like she is willing to pay for upgrades. I would allow it but bill her for the install she pays for faucet and whatever it cost you to Install. same for the shower head. Same with paint and the TV wall mount. I would require all work to be done by your handyman paid for by the tenant and get it in writing that you retain position of fixtures and the TV wall mount at the end of the lease if They are not left the cost to replace will be deducted from security deposit. This allows for you to have a win win situation you get upgrades that you approve and she gets what she wants. It costs you nothing. If she is unwilling to agree to the terms the. You have grounds to say no but retain good will for trying to work with her.

Forgot about the third lock I would not allow that if she wants one that would damage the door. It would give the appearance of needing extra security not a good image.

Cameron,

As a landlord, and in my experience, I believe all of these requests are a fairly good indication that she is going to be willing to stay in this unit for a long time. I have a set of tenants who are on the high need end and they are my best tenants. I worry more when I hear nothing from tenants because usually it will end up being those who will cause damage or stop paying etc. I agree with John that the cost of these extras should be paid for by the tenant but be careful how strict you are with the tenants. At the end of the day (when it's done right) a landlord/tenant relationship is just that, a RELATIONSHIP.

As far as the fridge goes... I stopped providing fridges years ago. Why? The maintenance on them sucks. Most people are willing and actually appreciate being able to bring their own refrigerator. I wouldn't sweat this. Consider it a blessing.

~Nicole  

I've been in the rental business some 30 years now. I rent my units as is. They are all freshly painted, new carpeting, however we have recently switched to using a new flooring product from Home Depot called Alura. It is a vinyl plank flooring and it is so easy to replace any damaged pieces. If a tenant wants to make changes it must be in writing with the understanding also in writing that the unit must be brought back to what it was before they rented. Any costs involved is by them and only installed by our approved contractor. Pictures are taking before and after and the tenant signs them. We also add these changes as an addendum to the lease. You just can't let tenants do what they want because it costs you in the end, believe me. It is your property and you are responsible for it and any liabilities along with it. Always ask yourself, what will it cost me to rent to these people. 

You are way too worried about "appearing lenient."  This is business, not the playground.   A good tenant who wants and is willing to pay for upgrades?  Sounds good to me.

Thanks for the great responses.

Having very little tenant requests in the past this definitely is a new tenant experience for us. After speaking more with my partner, I think we are going to allow her requests but she's covering all the costs of course. She seems to be a potential long-term tenant (two young daughters who go to school in the area and she works in the same city) so we are going to try to work with her.

I would unequivocally tell her she was not renting a brand-new apartment and is in as is condition. Any painting must be proved by you prior to the projects beginning. if she wants to install locks for her own security that's fine providing she gives you with a key for access in the event of an emergency. I had tenets like this in the past and they typically are much more of a pain than they're worth. Best to set the tone early

I disagree.. She sounds like she is going to take care of the place and treat it well. I would allow her to paint as long as she paints it back when she leaves and the faucet and showerhead is more than reasonable. If a tenant is willing to be the product only for you to install that is a good sign. As for the lock, that is your call.. Women tend to be more aware and concerned with security than us guys so we have to understand that and sometime give them what they need to feel safe and secure.  Just my thoughts.

Originally posted by @Cameron Berens :

We just signed a lease on Monday with a seemingly good tenant. She passed our application process and had all the money due for lease signing. Within hours I received a text of things she would like us to change or her be allowed to change. I’ve not really had tenants ask for much of any changes in the past so this is becoming a little worrisome to have all these requests right off the bat. Am I just being a strict landlord by wanting to deny most of these requests or is this a potential needy tenant? Please keep in mind this property has just gone through a pretty nice $5,000 fix up (new carpet, paint, faucets, light fixtures, etc..) and is only at $800/month rent.

-Remove the current fridge so she could bring hers (allowed this one because I needed a fridge in my basement anyways but kind of wishing I wouldn’t have because I think it made us look too lenient)

-Paint an accent wall in EVERY room including bathrooms (told her the color has to be approved by us and she must use a professional of our choice)

-Install a third lock for the front door (haven’t said yes or no)

-New kitchen faucet (current one is brand new but she wants one that has a hose on the end. She said she’d buy it but wants us to install it. I don’t want to allow this because it seems unnecessary)

-Mount her t.v. to the wall (not happening)

-New shower head (current one is brand new she just wants a “better” one)

 Hi Cameron,  My first response was NO WAY!  LOL.  But, then I read the responses, and your reply that this is a woman with two kids, and I changed my mind.

She does sound like a woman fixing up her "home" so she can live in it.  She's settling in, and hopefully for the long haul.  So, I put myself in her shoes.  And, honestly, I always want to change the shower head.  When I was a manager, the owner had no problem with this and he changed shower heads for tenant himself - they bought them, but he wanted to install them correctly.

The owner I worked for always said no painting, but women who are making a home almost always want to paint.  So, if she agrees to pay for it, and put it back the way it was when she moves out - why not?

The faucet - well, if having a hose helps her feel more efficient in her kitchen, or maybe she wants to wash her hair in the sink after coloring it, I guess that's not horrible either.  Although it seems like nobody has those anymore.  Honestly, when she moved out, though, I'd put the other sink back in.  the problem with those hoses is people accidentally spraying the room with water.  Or, as I recall from personal experience, teenagers spraying each other across the room and getting the walls and floor wet.  LOL.

The locks - maybe a compromise is in order, where you can put in a good latch for the inside - like one of those hotel type metal hooks that are more solid than a chain, so she can crack open the door to talk to someone and still be safe?  Adding another deadbolt would be unnecessary, and as someone mentioned, make your place seem unsafe and damage the door.  

And the TV on the wall - I think you should allow her to do this, too.  It will probably mean bolts in the studs.  Just let her know she'll have to fill the holes when she leaves.  If she has a wall-mounted TV, she's going to want to mount it on a wall.

I guess the really irritating thing about all this, is that she waited until she had a signed lease before springing it all on you.  Clever girl, eh?  :-)

The third lock is a no - when you buy lock sets, they come in packs of two and are keyed alike. So the third lock will make you have to search for the matching key codes on more than one package.

If security is the concern, offer to install reinforcement for the deadbolt lock so that it better withstands a kick-in attempt. 

I agree with most responses thus far:

1. No to the third lock.

2. Yes to the other upgrades, provided that she pay for the labor and materials, and the upgrades then stay with the property.

I agree the 3rd lock seems excessive.  Most of the rest of the list seems reasonable on her dime.  I would have her hold-off on the painting.  I would insist on 6 months minimum and ideally use it as a renewal incentive.  I also would price re-painting into the rent increase.  

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