I'm just getting started as a real estate investor and I'm trying to get an understanding of as many different scenarios as possible. What would I do in this situation?
I'm pretty handy, I did my mom's kitchen remodel by myself for example. Say my tenant broke something that I could easily fix myself like patch a large hole in the drywall or replace a few broken tiles. What do I charge the tenant for labor?
Do you have the tenant yet? If not.....I would put it in the lease agreement that the tenant is responsible for repairs and corrections that are $50.00 and under. That way they don't call you to come replace a light bulb. Different areas of the country charge different amounts so do a craigslist or google search on what that charge would be.......THEN let the tenant know beforehand....it will cost $XX.XX Dollars and you will get it done within 7 days.
If they "balk" at that and they think they can get it done cheaper, tell them that's fine....but they also need to get it done within 7 days.
We have a list of what we charge for common repairs. This list is given to residents both in their move-in packet and again when they give notice that they are moving out. It is a document entitled "How to get Your Security Deposit Back" and also sets the expectations for how we want our unit's left. It includes the common repairs we have found -- fist holes, broken bi-fold closet doors, trash left in units (we charge for dump runs).
Some localities do not allow LLs to charge for their own labor, some do. I have never had a tenant contest what we charge against Security Deposits, but most of our units come back in good shape as we screen well and are fair about SD deductions.
I would absolutely not have the tenant responsible for any repairs under $50 because your tenant will not fix whatever is broken and then you'll have a bigger problem later. I understand the concept of making a tenant responsible for small repairs but tenants in nature live paycheck to paycheck mostly so it likely won't get fixed.
Laws vary by location. In my state, a landlord can charge a tenant only for repairs needed b/c of the tenant's misuse or negligence. And you don't want to discourage tenants from reporting issues.
Whether or not you can charge for your own labor can vary by location too. Some courts might not look too kindly at that.