tenant asking for discounted rent due 2 oven not working properly

29 Replies

Hey BP Community!

So here is the scenario:

Our tenant informed us on Monday night that their oven wasn't working properly. My husband immediately went to the unit to check it out. He agreed with the tenant that the oven was getting much hotter than the set temperature. On Tuesday morning (yesterday) he called the maintenance man, he was able to check the oven same day. He explained to us that the oven is old and the part needed to fix oven is no longer manufactured and that he advises that we invest in a new oven. Today, we are placing an order for a new oven and the tenants will have it as soon as Sears is able to deliver and install.

The particular tenant is currently going through a difficult financial time and I am expecting them to ask for a discount as they will be without a properly working oven. We addressed the problem immediately and have a new oven ordered within 48 hours of the complaint.

So my question is, If tenant does ask for a discount to the rent, what is the proper way to handle this, and what would other BP members do? I do not feel that they should get a discount as we are fixing the problem but I am curious as to what you all think.

Thanks in advance for your input!

-Beth

No, they should not get a discount. And don't mention anything about it especially since they haven't said anything yet.

You addressed the problem quickly. Plus, an oven is not something that drastically changes your life to lose for a few days. They're getting a brand new appliance out of this.

hey Beth I work as maintenance for apartment townhomes. We get this issue frequently. You just have to notify the tenant that the problem is getting fixed, and you do not  offer rent discounts for maintenance issues.

also I have a hard time believing the stove could not be fixed. Next time take the model and serial number of the stove and go to searspartsdirect.com. you can find any appliance part there.

This happened to me in my own residence.

If you want to go above and beyond, get them a simple oven thermometer (under $10 at the grocery store).  Then they can still use the oven, just have to turn it off manually when it gets up to temp, and experiment a bit with how frequently to turn it back on to keep temp steady.  

No need to go into too much detail if you go this route - a simple "hey, this might help until the new oven arrives" should do it.

You clearly responded within a reasonable amount of time and they're getting a new stove to boot.  They should be tickled pink.

They don't get a discount. If they ask, tell them to take a flying leap.

Its a stove. Its not like their furnace is out and there is no heat. Or their water is out and they can't use the bathroom.

Do they have a microwave? If so, they're good to go. 

I've had 2 fridges go out over the years and I have never been asked for a discount on the rent. Its not our fault. These things happen. And a judge would agree.

I've had water problems twice as well. One where the service line to the house went out and I had to replace it. Took 3 days to get a company out there to do it and I put the tenant up in a hotel for that. Another one was a sewer line that the company had to dig up the basement to get to the line. I put them up in a hotel for that too.

Those are things that a tenant deserves some sort of help from a landlord with. But being out a stove is not one of them. They'll survive.

Thats like saying that if a window is broken, they should be entitled to a discount on the rent until its repaired. Or a doorknob. Or a leaky faucet.

They wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court. What you could do is offer to buy the appliance at menards or lowes if the tenant wanted to pick it up themselves. Otherwise, they have to wait for the soonest delivery and they should be happy they're getting a brand new stove.

I could understand if it was 3 days without hot water.

3 days with an oven that works, just imperfectly, is not justification for a discount.

I would move forward, if they bring it up, tell them your position and re-evaluate if they are persistant. Their poor financial decision shouldn't prompt you to make poor financial decisions.

I agree with everyone.   A stove not working properly and being replaced within 3 days is a sign of a good landlord and showing great costumer service. 

In Georgia, the rule of thumb is if the timing of a repair is reasonable for a homeowner, it should be reasonable for a tenant.    

I've had other appliances stop working (hot water heater, air cond),  etc. Even though we replaced the item the next day ( hot water heater) and fixed the air cond, I offer them a gift card of $25 to their favorite restaurant - for their "inconvenience". When I tell them I am mailing the card and they'll get it two days - they are extremely happy - and it cost me only $25. When someone asks for a rent discount- it usually has "00's" in it - such as $100 off, etc. I get more mileage with a happy tenant, going out to eat, than a reduction of $100 off the rent that they never really appreciate. 

I think it depends on how quickly you can get he new oven delivered and installed.  4 days and under, I say no discount. If it is 5 days or more that they go without the over, why not discount the rent a few bucks.  Im not sure how much the rent is on the unit, but on my rents in the $1000-$2000 range Id go ahead and offer then $25 off, and over $2000 Id offer $50 off. I think the better we treat our tenants, the better they will treat us back. (Ok that last half of that sentence is probably wishful thinking)

i would discount maybe like 30 dollars of rent hey  its christmas maybe they needed oven to cook for family gathering . Especially  if they good tenants and  they going  thru a financial difficulties  just what i would do

Normally I would say no discount if it is there within a couple of days but since you are asking them to go without an oven on Christmas  they may have had baking planned. Drop off a gift card and an oven thermometer.   Other then that  I would not do it but it seems  the time of year and this particular inconvenience I would call it a gesture of understanding for the inconvenience not a rent discount.

Really think it depends on you. How 'bad' do you feel? If you're being reasonable then most tenants don't mind.

Big issue here is Christmas, so unless oven turns up tomorrow, it's not coming till next week. So as another poster suggests, buy a thermometer to get them through Christmas.

We did have an oven go out last month. Spoke to the tenant, oven had been repaired twice before for (other) minor things, so it wasn't being repaired a third time. We gave the tenant a choice, second hand oven that afternoon, or brand new one next week. 

"We'll be eating sandwiches this weekend!" came the reply.

I would agree with the gift card to a restaurant, and the oven thermometer. Understanding goes a long way. If you ignore the situation, and their Christmas suffers for it, that goes a long way too. It'd cost less than $50 for this solution, which should be easily absorbed by prompt rent payments. Just my $.02, your mileage may vary

Okay everyone, I would love to hear your opinions on appliance finish. We are going to place the order for the new oven by the end of this evening. Currently the oven and fridge are white. Do I upgrade the new oven to stainless steel or save the extra money and stick with white? The kitchen has standard cabinets but does have granite counters. I am thinking granite counters and stainless steel appliances would be a good selling point to new tenants. My husband however thinks we should save the money and go with white.... We wouldn't be replacing fridge until we have to, so if we go with stainless oven the appliances would be mismatched for the time being. 

What do you guys think? Is stainless worth the investment?

and for everyone concerned about their Christmas plans, we offered to let them use our oven to bake their ham. We own a duplex and the tenants live in the other half. So rest assured, their Christmas dinner should not be affected by the broken oven

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :

Normally I would say no discount if it is there within a couple of days but since you are asking them to go without an oven on Christmas  they may have had baking planned. Drop off a gift card and an oven thermometer.   Other then that  I would not do it but it seems  the time of year and this particular inconvenience I would call it a gesture of understanding for the inconvenience not a rent discount.

That's exactly would I would do and what I would appreciate as a tenant.  I had my oven stop working the day before Thanksgiving a few years ago, and I make the dinner for 10-12 people every year.  It was my stove so no one to call but the repair man (who owed me a favor, so he fit me in and he had the replacement part on his truck).  The tenants in this case have a working oven, at least manually.  A gift card and an oven thermometer is a huge show of goodwill.

In some of my leases, it states that the apartment comes with a (name the appliance) but, if it stops working, it will not be replaced.  At that time, it would be up to the tenant to supply themselves with said appliance.  If they moved out, they would undoubtedly take their appliances with them.  

I have an account of all the appliances that I own so I can quickly take an inventory of my appliances and make sure no moving tenant takes them. Each apartment situation is different and, upon bringing in a new tenant, they will know what is supplied.  

Doing things this way helps with tenant expectations and keeps me from having to take a big hit on certain "emergencies". 

Whether or not you can do it this way might depend on your state, so make sure you're remaining legal and above board on your decisions.

Great job, Shellhamers. Sounds like anyone would be well blessed to have you for landlords. Merry Christmas! As for the replacement, step it up a little, but not too much. If you know you'll replace the other appliances when the current renter leaves at the end of their lease, or future lease(s), then yes, upgrade to stainless. But if the other appliances all have lots of mileage left, then just replace in kind and maintain the appeal of a symbiotic matching kitchen.

Take care of the issue in an timely manner. Inform the tenants it is going to be dealt with. 

If he hasn't asked for a discount no need to worry. Then when he asks for a discount you say no.

I don't even know when you would consider giving  a tenant a discount? Maybe at lease renewal time give them a cheap month IF they pay on time every month AND have taken care of your property like you would have.