Non-essential Request by Tenant

64 Replies

If it is a good tenant I would do it if it was needed like algae build up or gunk that will not wash off with a rain IF it is really a noticeable eye sore. Would I do I because there is a little dust that will wash off with rain? No way.

@Kai Hicks

As you know, I have properties with the same turnkey/PM company in JAX, and this doesn't sound right.   It sounds like the powerwashing is not really needed, but if pictures show that it is (and ask the PM's advice as well), I would say that chances are it was needed when you bought the house turnkey.  Ask the PM to cover the expense as it should have been done before you closed on it.  With the tenant asking for powerwashing of the driveway as well, my guess is that unnecessary maintenance expenses could become a real demand from this sweet lady.  

Interesting thread.  Where I invest we are mostly brick properties, so I am not familiar with pressure washing siding, although brick could need it occasionally.

I just wanted to add, you can get a pressure washer for under $150 if this is something you think you will do/use more often.  I have one and it comes in handy from time to time, but only use it 2-3 times a year.  Plus it is not hard at all, if you can spray a water hose you can do this (just a few safety items to keep in mind).

@Kai Hicks good question, and great responses.

That's one thing I love about BP - A pretty mundane issue comes up, and someone almost always pitches in with a response that encompasses all of the other unacknowledged and larger issues, and does so in a way that is also positive and instructive. 

@Account Closed  is telling it like it is. You have two problems that can be nipped in the bud by taking control of the situation: unrealistic tenant demands (that will likely escalate), and a PM that is not PM'ing 100%. It is also possible that this issue's kin will follow you into your future properties, absent a change in management style.

It takes extra work and effort to get your system working at high efficiency, and a good PM is one input that makes a crucial difference.

Best of luck!

Originally posted by @Kai Hicks :

K Marie,

I saw the house in person and it looked fine to me, the property manager was there as well. At that time, the tenant (who did not know my wife and I are the owners) requested a power washing of the driveway. The property manager told her, professionally in my opinion, that since there was no oil or other sort of disfiguring substance present, that wasn't something they were going to do. The tenant seemed to have no problem with that response. So I'm a little less inclined to think that the PM is just rolling over for any tenant demand, but of course that all could have been show? I definitely agree with the consensus that we'll need detailed pictures before we agree to anything.

If these are turnkey properties, the exterior shouldn't need anything in the first few months.  If it does need power washing I say it's on the TK operator.

Just out of curiosity:  did you post here in the forums about buying that property or working with this TK operator?  The BP nation can be hard on TK providers, but can be a big help with the numbers.  And making sure the deal makes sense.  Did you buy this property with a tenant in place?

@Kai Hicks

I think @Account Closed is the only one getting to crux of this.

This is about your relationship with your property management company not with the tenant.  Do you want to be called every time that they get a request like this (without substantive guidance)?  What did they do to head off the request in the first place?  Did they bring up any of the suggestions mentioned here like cost splitting?

As an owner, you are relying on their experience of seeing hundreds of situations like this.  How do they typically handle it?

This is a great time to think about how "hand's on" you want to be and have that discussion with the property management company.   Maybe it's a lot of communication at first until you establish a level of trust.  But I would expect my property management company to be more than a message relay service with a list of contractors.

Originally posted by @Doug M.:

@Kai Hicks good question, and great responses.

That's one thing I love about BP - A pretty mundane issue comes up, and someone almost always pitches in with a response that encompasses all of the other unacknowledged and larger issues, and does so in a way that is also positive and instructive. 

The habit of addressing unacknowledged issues is annoying to many.  Ask my husband.  This happens here a lot.  We get questions with responses that are often totally out of context, but you don't know it unless you ask or you dig deeper.  A new landlord buying turnkey doesn't need a lesson in being nice or responsive to tenants. He needs to understand why and if his newly rehabbed house needs anything. He needs to understand why his PM is even bothering relying this request.  

Originally posted by @William Hochstedler :

But I would expect my property management company to be more than a message relay service with a list of contractors.

You would expect that, but many new landlords do not.  I see and talk to a lot of landlords acting and feeling oppressed (or confused) by their PMs.  The choice shouldn't be oppression by the PM versus oppression by the tenant. They might as well self manage ( or mismanage) in that case and save the 6-10%. 

I'm curious to see where we will be 10 years from now with all the out-of-state TK buyers. PM has always been challenging, but TK adds a layer of expectation by the buyer/landlord.  So consequently could be a recipe for dissatisfaction and disappointment.

@K. Marie P: Just out of curiosity: did you post here in the forums about buying that property or working with this TK operator? The BP nation can be hard on TK providers, but can be a big help with the numbers. And making sure the deal makes sense. Did you buy this property with a tenant in place?

I didn't post in the forums about working with the TK operator, it honestly didn't occur to me. I know that's a major fail! I'm pretty insular by nature, which I'm actively working on; I'm never going to neglect BP as an excellent resource again!  I talked to quite a few references, had a lawyer buddy that lives in FL do some extensive searching to see if he could turn up any dirt, checked BBB accreditation, etc. Please let me know if this is idiotic, but one thing I liked about the TK is that they didn't have a tenant guarantee. Guarantees just seem super shady to me. We bought the house without a tenant in place, and the TK placed her in about three weeks.

Originally posted by K.marie P.:

 The habit of addressing unacknowledged issues is annoying to many.  Ask my husband.  

This made me choke on my lunch yesterday.

This happens here a lot.  We get questions with responses that are often totally out of context, but you don't know it unless you ask or you dig deeper.  A new landlord buying turnkey doesn't need a lesson in being nice or responsive to tenants. He needs to understand why and if his newly rehabbed house needs anything. He needs to understand why his PM is even bothering relying this request.  

Just really straight advice, and well said. Thanks for the frank posts, definitely a fan.   

Originally posted by @Kai Hicks :

@K. Marie P: Just out of curiosity: did you post here in the forums about buying that property or working with this TK operator? The BP nation can be hard on TK providers, but can be a big help with the numbers. And making sure the deal makes sense. Did you buy this property with a tenant in place?

I didn't post in the forums about working with the TK operator, it honestly didn't occur to me. I know that's a major fail! I'm pretty insular by nature, which I'm actively working on; I'm never going to neglect BP as an excellent resource again!  I talked to quite a few references, had a lawyer buddy that lives in FL do some extensive searching to see if he could turn up any dirt, checked BBB accreditation, etc. Please let me know if this is idiotic, but one thing I liked about the TK is that they didn't have a tenant guarantee. Guarantees just seem super shady to me. We bought the house without a tenant in place, and the TK placed her in about three weeks.

I get the insular thing. As important as the legitimacy of the TK provider is the numbers IMO. TK operator aside, you could have gotten feedback on the rents and values (and crime) in that neighborhood in JAX. I think a 3 year lease was risky.  I also suspect your TK operator does this to create immediate satisfaction in the customer.  A 3 year lease in low income neighborhoods is rarely a good idea.  How long has the PM been working that area and how many successful, trouble-fee 3 year leases have they seen?  It's not too late to ask.  :)

Mildew will grow on homes with siding in Jax, depending on the amount(or lack of) sun exposure.  We received a ton of rain in July.  A power washing may be a reasonable request.

I have a couple rental homes with Section 8 tenants that the HUD inspector requires a power washing of the siding every year. I have other tenants that are more active with the house maintenance and hit the mildew with bleach water and a hose, which usually cures the problem.

I'd be more than happy to share my power washer's contact info with you.  He provides a good job at a good price.  Good luck.   

Originally posted by @Kory G.:

Mildew will grow on homes with siding in Jax, depending on the amount(or lack of) sun exposure.  We received a ton of rain in July.  A power washing may be a reasonable request.

I have a couple rental homes with Section 8 tenants that the HUD inspector requires a power washing of the siding every year. I have other tenants that are more active with the house maintenance and hit the mildew with bleach water and a hose, which usually cures the problem.

I'd be more than happy to share my power washer's contact info with you.  He provides a good job at a good price.  Good luck.   

You have a housing authority that requires annual power washing? Is it written anywhere? Or is it just one inspector with an issue for certain properties? I can imagine a reg that says property exterior must be kept free from mildew.  Having a hard time believing there is power washing maintenance requirement.

Originally posted by K. marie P.:
Originally posted by @Kory G.:

Mildew will grow on homes with siding in Jax, depending on the amount(or lack of) sun exposure.  We received a ton of rain in July.  A power washing may be a reasonable request.

I have a couple rental homes with Section 8 tenants that the HUD inspector requires a power washing of the siding every year. I have other tenants that are more active with the house maintenance and hit the mildew with bleach water and a hose, which usually cures the problem.

I'd be more than happy to share my power washer's contact info with you.  He provides a good job at a good price.  Good luck.   

You have a housing authority that requires annual power washing? Is it written anywhere? Or is it just one inspector with an issue for certain properties? I can imagine a reg that says property exterior must be kept free from mildew.  Having a hard time believing there is power washing maintenance requirement.

 Exterior mildew can certainly be something an inspector could pick on if its bad enough (as it would go against the overarching inspection criteria of "clean and safe"), but according to the Jacksonville PHA website, power washing is not listed as a requirement. Its not like the PHA can demand to see your receipt from a power washing guy to verify. 

Originally posted by @Bradley Bogdan :
Originally posted by @K. marie P.:
Originally posted by @Kory G.:

Mildew will grow on homes with siding in Jax, depending on the amount(or lack of) sun exposure.  We received a ton of rain in July.  A power washing may be a reasonable request.

I have a couple rental homes with Section 8 tenants that the HUD inspector requires a power washing of the siding every year. I have other tenants that are more active with the house maintenance and hit the mildew with bleach water and a hose, which usually cures the problem.

I'd be more than happy to share my power washer's contact info with you.  He provides a good job at a good price.  Good luck.   

You have a housing authority that requires annual power washing? Is it written anywhere? Or is it just one inspector with an issue for certain properties? I can imagine a reg that says property exterior must be kept free from mildew.  Having a hard time believing there is power washing maintenance requirement.

 Exterior mildew can certainly be something an inspector could pick on if its bad enough (as it would go against the overarching inspection criteria of "clean and safe"), but according to the Jacksonville PHA website, power washing is not listed as a requirement. Its not like the PHA can demand to see your receipt from a power washing guy to verify. 

I was curious because I read a lot of HA requirements and have never seen such a maintenance requirement. The units have to meet certain cleanliness and health and safety standards, but the HA doesn't set how and when the LL has to do so.  That would be like requiring scheduled repainting before any peeling paint appears.  My guess is that inspector sees the mildew upon annual inspection, not that annual power washing is mandatory.

Originally posted by K.marie P.:
Originally posted by @Bradley Bogdan:
Originally posted by K.marie P.:
Originally posted by @Kory G.:

Mildew will grow on homes with siding in Jax, depending on the amount(or lack of) sun exposure.  We received a ton of rain in July.  A power washing may be a reasonable request.

I have a couple rental homes with Section 8 tenants that the HUD inspector requires a power washing of the siding every year. I have other tenants that are more active with the house maintenance and hit the mildew with bleach water and a hose, which usually cures the problem.

I'd be more than happy to share my power washer's contact info with you.  He provides a good job at a good price.  Good luck.   

You have a housing authority that requires annual power washing? Is it written anywhere? Or is it just one inspector with an issue for certain properties? I can imagine a reg that says property exterior must be kept free from mildew.  Having a hard time believing there is power washing maintenance requirement.

 Exterior mildew can certainly be something an inspector could pick on if its bad enough (as it would go against the overarching inspection criteria of "clean and safe"), but according to the Jacksonville PHA website, power washing is not listed as a requirement. Its not like the PHA can demand to see your receipt from a power washing guy to verify. 

I was curious because I read a lot of HA requirements and have never seen such a maintenance requirement. The units have to meet certain cleanliness and health and safety standards, but the HA doesn't set how and when the LL has to do so.  That would be like requiring scheduled repainting before any peeling paint appears.  My guess is that inspector sees the mildew upon annual inspection, not that annual power washing is mandatory.

 Exactly. The closest parallel I know of is a few PHAs that "require" the tenant to have the carpets cleaned annually, but they don't/can't actually require a receipt or anything, they just hold the tenant to that level of cleanliness. If the tenant is immaculate, they could presumably go a decade and never clean their carpets. If an inspector ever tells a landlord something like powerwashing yearly is a requirement, I'd take it as a statement that they're expecting that level of cleanliness or upkeep to the exterior of the building. 

Without knowing why the tenant wants it washed limited advice can be given.  With that said, here is my limited advice.

If the house needs washing as preventative or regular maintenance, it is in your best interest, so you do it; however, this should have been budgeted and planned so it shouldn't be a big deal.

If this does not fall into the above category, consider letting the tenant know that you schedule these annually and it will be done on the anniversary of their lease.  

In either case, I would not just do this to satisfy the tenant, I would have the conversation to where you show them that you are working to ensure their satisfaction on your schedule as the business owner.  @Steve Babiak makes an excellent point to which, if you do go through with the power washing you may want to price out window cleaning and any other additional services that may come due as a result in order for you to better plan / budget in the future.

I hope that helps.