Landlording Advice

15 Replies

I had a contractor at a SFH to do some work on redirecting the gutters away from the house. I got a text from my tenant and he is claiming that the contractor had to move his grill and they "must have hit a knob and all of the propane leaked out".

What do you all do when your tenants make statements like this?  Obviously, he wants $ taken off of his rent, but that is unreasonable, so I'm looking for advice on how to address this?

@Kevin D. Have you checked with the contractor? How much would a propane tank filled cost.. 25$ at most? Does this tenant have a track record or is he a good tenant?

That money should come out of the contractor's pocket. If you hired a reputable contractor then he/she should have insurance to cover these shorts of instances. Just be polite when contacting the contractor and explain the situation.

I'd mail him a check for $25..It is not worth your time.


I'm with @Nick Britton .  If the guy is a good tenant I would lean toward just getting a new propane tank for him.  Those tanks don't cost much.  However, if the tenant is claiming damage to the grill itself and he wants a couple hundred dollars for a new one, I would need to investigate further.

Either way, I'd inform the contractor and ask if he had reason to move the grill.  Maybe he didn't even touch it.

I'd mail him a check for $25..It is not worth your time.


Thanks everyone for the advice.  I was going to call the contractor, but he does good work and I want to forge a relationship with him; so I just decided to take the $25 hit and reimburse the tenant even though he has only been there for a month.

@Kevin D. - you made the right decision.  If it costs $25 to keep everyone happy, I'd write that check 20 times a year.  It will save you money in the long run not to nickle and dime your contractor or your tenant.

I agree with what's been said but make sure the tenant turns off the propane AT THE TANK between  uses. On the tank itself. If hitting a button causes the propane to leak out, that's a hazard.

We always shut off our propane at the tank, every time we grill.

@Kevin D. God bless you for even allowing grills at your rental property.  You made the right decision :)

I would not send the check even though it is just $25 but I would state that in order to be allowed to have a grill at the property they need to operate the equiptment correctly. If they are not shutting off the propane tank at the tank they are creating a fire hazard by allowing what they alleged happen happen. They let the grill pressurized which could cause leaks with the hoses regardless.

Sounds like they left the tank on and want to blame the contractor. Just writing a check with one month on the tenancy is not probably going to set a  good precedent.

I would go back with the instruction that they should shut the tank off between uses. That could have been a kid accidently turning dials.  At most I would  get them a blu rhino refill or something but really how do they know it was the contractor and the tank didn't just run out or they did not leave it on.  Another words be reasonable and responsive but don't just write a check or you may find yourself writing more.

Hello fellow landlords. I'm in the process of filling a vacancy (SFH) and I'm sure you can all relate to this one. Lady calls to inquire about it. Sounds very professional over the phone. Schedules a time to come see the place. I get there 10 minutes before she does. When she shows up, her significant other is with her. I assume it is. Now I understand if she doesn't want to go it alone. She doesn't know who I am, I could be some crazy. Anyway, the guy with her looks like a skin head that just got out of prison. Need I say more. I greet them at the door, everything is cool show them the place and explain the rent app fee ect. I ask, "will you both be living here." She told me, "he will be here part of the time," I told her he would have to fill out an application as well. He immediately was upset. She hesitated and said that her credit wasn't so good. I told her, "rental history and criminal background are what I look for." She said, "Mine is fine, he might not ck out very well." I told them, "it's up to you." They hesitated and then said, "thanks for your time." And left.

Question:  This is not the first time I have had a Lady that has called and had guy show up with her and she says, "oh he will not be living here."  Come on people,  you and I both know they are trying to circumvent our policies and procedures.   People are constantly trying to beat system and not give a care about it.  Let's rewind a second, if this girl had flat out said, "he will not be living here."  And it looks pretty obvious that he needs a place to crash.  Or even if it didn't.

How would you handle it so that you get both of them to fill out the application without sounding like you are pointing the finger?

Anyone anyone??????????

Well, @Trevor Rutherford , I believe I would just look her in the eye and say something like, "I don't think you'll be a good fit for our property." 

If pressed for my reason, I'd tell her. I don't lie to my tenants, and I expect them to tell me the truth as well. I'd tell her I don't believe she is being truthful with me, and that's no way to start a relationship.

Maybe the market is tighter in your area than mine, but I have no reason to try to convince an applicant who is borderline (at best) to cooperate with me. I'll just move on to the next applicant. 

We are great landlords (according to our tenants!). We provide clean, safe housing and make necessary repairs promptly. We are polite and respectful with our tenants. But the houses we own are ours, and we decide who will and will not live there.

@Sylvia B. Have you ever had situation such as that.  You've been so direct that they started to confrontational with you?   I have a situation where two guys where leaving a rental and we were (my wife and I) there to doing a walk though at the end.  They were two brothers that rented the place.  At the end, they showed up for the walk through, and we all walked in to look at the place. It was clean inside, however, there was miss matched paint though out. They got so upset they raised their voice at us saying this is B.S. and pointing fingers at us.  We told them, "you need to go right now."  They stormed out saying, "we'll settle this in court."  Neither myself or my wife for that matter need to deal with that. 

Well, @Trevor Rutherford , we have been in retail sales as sole proprietors since 1989, so that kind of behavior is not so surprising as it once was. We are both pretty easy-going, so those confrontational situations don't happen as often as they might, but we refuse to let bullies push us around. The vast majority of our interactions with the public are pleasant, or at least not unpleasant, but we have had to ask people to leave our store. It's just one of the things you have to deal with when it comes up, kind of like an overflowing toilet. ;-)

I may have given the wrong impression about being direct. It's difficult to convey the nuances of conversation in print, since tone of voice and body language drastically change the meaning of what we say. We always try to use a pleasant tone and facial expression, even if what we are saying boils down to, "Go jump in a lake." An "I'm in charge" body position - shoulders back, head up, eye contact, but relaxed - tells the other person that you will not be trifled with, but is not necessarily confrontational. Calm, factual statements without a lot of explanation are best.

Situations like you described with the brothers can take you by surprise. You never know when some people are going to explode. Stand your ground, say as little as possible, and call the police if necessary.

Another way to handle the girls with "non live-in" boyfriends is to say something like, "Thank you for your application. We'll let you know." and just leave it at that. You don't have to get them to admit that they are trying to hoodwink you, just don't rent to them. (If you charge an application fee you would, of course, return it to them.) If they contact you to ask about the status of their application you can just say, "We are renting to a more qualified applicant." If they get difficult at that point, just repeat your statement, add, "Thank you for your interest, good-bye." and hang up.

Remember, you have something people want. The question you need to consider is, do they have something you want in exchange?

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