Tenant wants new fence; should I raise rent?

13 Replies

I had a tenant move in on September. I offered rent $150 less than other similar properties in community. Reason was because part of fence was down. Tenant understood that. Then Hurricane Irma comes (property is in Miami) and takes the rest of the back fence down too. Tenant wants brand new fence in back. In this rental property, roof fan blew off and shingles came off. I fixed this. And I also resurfaced flat roof. And then after all this, tenants wants a new fence in back for her large dog. 

I have been spending a lot of money. Should I raise rent now or after 1 year contract?

Check with a local attorney familiar with landlord tenant law in that area. I would think that you can not raise the rent if you have a contract (lease) for a year at a certain set amount. The tenant rented the place a certain way (with the fence) so I would think it needs to be replaced or repaired as that is part of what she bargained for when she rented.

Just mt two cents

If the fence was already  partly down and she couldn't let her dog loose  before then I don't see how more of the fence being down is causing her a problem .

Depending on your area you could get tickets if it looks awful or it's dangerous.

I would just fix it if it were in my budget. If not, remove the down part so hopefully no tickets, and tell her when you plan to repair it.

The garage door at my sfh needed replaced when my tenant was placed. They were advised that it would not be done for another year but it wasn't dangerous and didn't cause any problems. I worked it into my budget this year and it's now taken care of.

I would say you can't raise rent until the lease is up.

@Dan V. ,

I happily accept dogs in my rentals, under 1 condition-- there is a fenced in back yard.  I love fences!    Fences define areas, provide additional privacy and protection!   6ft Privacy fences are my absolute favorite! 

People are lazy, granted you are in Florida, so the weather is nicer, but in general, people don't often take dogs for walks, or exercise them, so the dogs don't have an energy outlet, which IMO translates to chewing and destroying your house.    I would absolutely put up a fence, just because if there's a fence, they can let their dogs out to run around, significantly less chance of accidents in the house.   I'm sorry, but I think pee-pads are gross.      Think quality of life for your tenant!   If she moves after 1 yr, and you have 1 or 2 months of vacancy, wouldn't you rather have put that $$ towards a fence? 

 I would plan on increasing the rent  a bit upon renewal to offset the costs, but definitely not now IMO since you are under contract. 

@Dan V. If you gave them lower rent because of the broken fence then it only makes sense to increase the rent now that the broken fence is fixed...

This should of course be done when the lease agreement is renewed to avoid any legal issues.

You should also look to see if insurance will cover the lost fence...same thing happened to me last year in Myrtle Beach and not only did insurance pay for the fence but they ended up paying more than what it costs.

Best of luck!

Nothing in health or safety code says you have to have a fence so I would just rip the whole thing down and tell her to figure it out and get an electronic collar.

Have they been a good tenant? Are you charging anything extra for the pet in the house? $150 dollar discount for no fence or partial, sounds like a pretty good deal to me for the tenant.

Without knowing much about the area and the property, I would assume a fence is very desirable. You could rebuild now, and then when lease is up for renewal, raise the rent to what you think is reasonable. If the tenant wants to move so be it. I'd imagine if you raise the rent $50-$100 you could make up the cost of a fence relatively quickly. That's just my 2 cents based on the information you have given.

You’re telling me you’re charging a tenant $1800 a year less in rent due to the fact that the fence is down. Something doesn’t add up here.

I don't understand it either. I look at most fences in rentals like porches. If you ripped the whole nice porch down because it was rotted and replaced it with 3 steps and a railing you will still get the same rent and save possibly over 10k

Take down the fence and don't bother replacing it. Since the fence was partially down when she moved in and she has a rent discount there is no reason to spend money on a new fence.

I would leave it down or alternately tell her you will replace it at $ x dollars a month rent increase 150-200? Make her sign the increase agreement before replacing. Have it say amount increase will start when fence is complete. What will a new fence cost? I would only do this if you eventually plan to replace it anyway.

I'd think a tenant with a large dog would prefer a fully fenced yard rather than a partially fenced yard. I'd ask them if they would pay more rent if I fully fenced the yard. If they would, I'd fence both the back and side yard. You get a fully fenced yard and the tenant helps pay for it (and you are the "good" landlord who is responsive to your tenant's needs).

Otherwise I would feel obligated to replace the back fence as that feature was important to the tenant at the lease signing.

Your least expense will be to remove the fence, and not to rent to people with dogs.. 

Unless you know for sure the lot lines and put new fence within those lot lines,, don't install it over again. nothing uglier than weeds growing up in fence edges, the neighbors will fell free to paint their side and then it's ugly again.

Tell her to buy a Chain Link Kennel, or your going to be worrying about gates,, how to keep Her dog In and whatever..

NO pets is easiest

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