I have an older rental with a tenant that never stops wanting some repairs. When they moved in, we did the walkthrough and signed on that the home condition was satisfactory.
I've had a few repairs done in the year they moved in- 2 sockets not working, a fuse replacement for the HVAC, replacing the range when the oven died on Thanksgiving evening, water leak above water heater and and an exterior water faucet replacement. All work was done within 72 hours of complaints registered, some earlier.
All through, the tenant has insisted I replace (not repair) despite advice from servicemen that it's not necessary. Then insisted that I used unlicensed workers even though I source from Angieslist and have furnished them with company names and certification. Recently, I refinished the counter tops and they claimed there was spray residue all over their furniture. I asked for pictures/proof which they admit "you cant really see it in the pictures". Went over and didn't see any residue. Now, they have asked us to pay for paint so they can repaint the living room ("the current color was a crappy job", they demand a backsplash in the kitchen....
I understand I have repaired more often than what tenants would like but is this ridiculous? My spouse wants to outsource to a property manager but I'm not sure that would solve the escalation. We still have about 8 months on the lease.
@Omow A. I would probably tell them that new paint, refinished counter tops, backsplash, blah, blah, blah is not a safety issue, and it would be difficult to make those upgrades at this point in time. If they are dissatisfied with the aesthetics of the property, they are more than welcome to leave with proper notice.
I agree that outsourcing management will only cost you more money and won't help, they will still have your phone number after all. Just keep repairing items that break, and tell them no when it comes to upgrades. Don't let them paint, there's no guarantee they won't screw it up and end up costing you $$.
We have learned the hard way that it is best to get rid of needy tenants ASAP. It helps stress levels and the pocketbook. Adding a PM in the mix will help the stress levels go down, but not the pocketbook. As you screen for tenants, start to look for things that indicate they are fussy. Go back and look at this tenants application if you still have it and look for clues that they would be a PIA. Start screening that stuff out, it's not worth it.
Offer them an out on their lease if they want to find a place more to their standards. Be thrilled if they are willing to move on.
In the meantime, agree that you need to focus on only fixing the truly broken items that relate to what you as a landlord agreed to handle in the lease for habitability. Fix them to your standards, not the tenants. We refurbish or buy used, don't reward bad tenants with new things.
Tell them that you do not allow tenants to paint, if they want it professionally painted you need to be involved and they need to pay for it. If they ask for borderline things or things you think improve the property, offer to cost share upgrades with them. That will cause them to stop asking, but not to stop complaining.