Landlord advice please.

11 Replies

Hello Bigger Pockets,

 I really recently purchased a duplex to "house hack".  I am in the process of renovating the side that I am currently living in. I inherited some tenants. The tenants are OK. They pay on time.   They are a little messy but nothing crazy.  I recently totally remodeled the garage and put an electric overhead door. The garage was falling down when I bought the property. The pad was totally wrecked and the garage doors would not close because the tracks were so badly damaged.  The garage backs up to an alley that has a few shady characters. I have asked the tenants twice now to keep the overhead door closed at all times.  All that is required to close the door is pushing a button. I woke up to go to work this morning and the door was open again. I have a few ladders in there and a nice car.  Their car was actually broken into while parked in the garage before I purchased the property.  

I don't think it's unreasonable to push a button and close the door when you leave.  How would you savvy landlords handle this?  Is giving an ultimatum of no longer being able to use the garage and effective way to handle this?  Any thoughts would be appreciated.


We should not except everyone to be the same as ourselves. Secondly there are reasons why most people rent! Thirdly, You will come across so many annoying things since you live next door 🚪 it’s learning process being a LL.


Is the garage part of the rental and included in the rent? If not, let him know that is no longer available to him, or when the lease renews, no longer a part of the rental

In most multifamily buildings, only exterior areas are shared. Very difficult to enforce compliance with your wishes if the garage is shared. Even if the tenant attempted to lock up your stuff, it would be hard to hold them accountable. Consider the garage is like an open carport until such time you can secure it for your use only.

I would do as @Kim Meredith Hampton suggests.

Thanks for the replies.  All good advice!

According to the lease with the previous owner, the tenant has access to one side of the garage.  It is a month to month lease that I have not altered because I am planning on everntually asking them to leave so I can renovate their side of the home and raise the rents.  They currently pay on time and their rent covers the taxes, mortgage and insurance and then some.  

@Chris Walsh - congratulations! Inheriting tenant that continue to pay on time is awesome. It makes the holding costs a little more bearable as you renovate other units (I know you're living in the other half of the house). @Kim Meredith Hampton had great suggestions. Check the lease and get them out of the garage with the next lease renewal.

Since you're already planning to have them move in the near future, I wouldn't rock the boat. Just keep your valuable secured somewhere else until they've moved out.

Good luck with the rest of your project!

I agree with the others in regards to waiting for the right time. Wondering if there is anyway to resolve this because if this is there only bad thing, its better than a lot of other tenants. lol

Quick thought, is the button on the inside of the garage and "hard" to touch and get out with their hands full? 

Can you ask them again to do so in a letter? 

Can you provide a second remote inside their unit to close it from there?

Give an ultimatum. Close the door or lose the use of the garage. Some people are like children and need to be treated as such.

Usually it is also a CITY ordinance the garage is to be kept closed.. 

Write up a lease infraction / next offense will result in loss of use of garage,,

If garage is separately listed as part of the lease then you'll have to honor them using the garage, but give lease infraction..

if it's not separately listed as like garage space 1 .. then Whoops to bad,, it was an option that is no longer available.. 

I guess the situation is such you need to enforce the importance of safety and proper use of the property  

Thanks for all the feedback!  I appreciate everyone taking the time to answer.   It's interesting how everybody has a different take on the same situation. I guess the great thing about real estate is there isn't one way to do it. What a great place to learn from each other!  

The lease says they have a garage spot but there isn't  any language about keeping the door closed. I thought about having them sign a new lease, but I figured it would be a waste of time at this point. It will be easier to have them leave on my timeline. Plus, they are paying on time. 

 In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. It does sometimes feel like dealing with a child.  

Lets look at it from a different angle.  you said they have a right to part of the garage in the lease.  Until the lease renews you can't change that.  You can however fix your problem.  Go buy an automatic garage door closer on a timer.  That way whenever the garage is left open to long it automatically closes.  Problem solved!

@Chris Walsh , you said they are on a month to month lease. I'd give them 30 days notice that they are no longer allowed to use the garage. If they aren't closing it now, they will continue to leave it open. That's just how they are. Take away their access.

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