Tenant cement vandalism

39 Replies

We had the sidewalk and driveway redone on the tenant side of our duplex. Yesterday the concrete was poured. This afternoon I noticed that a smile, a pentagram and a third illegible mark had been inscribed in the now dry cement.

After speaking with our tenants, who told us they had nothing to do with it, we called the police and filed a report. Tonight a neighbor showed us video footage of our tenants daughter defacing the cement. 

After this discovery the tenant called asking if we had found out who did it. I told her we knew the persons name and we were discussing our options. Less than 10 minutes later both parents and the 23yo daughter came over to apologize. This is the first problem we have had with them.

We had the images rubbed out of the concrete by our contractor. The area that was defaced no longer has a broom finish to help prevent slips and looks drastically different from the rest of the work that was done. 

The driveway and sidwwalk as well as patio were re-done at the request of the tenants, whose daughter ironically was the one complaining about how she would fall in the winter time due to the un-level side walk. 

They are pleasant neighbors and good tenants, always paying rent on time. We don't want to evict them (they are month to month) because of the foolish mistakes of their daughter. We are trying to decide how to proceed. 

 We are worried that if we evict their daughter they may possibly leave. We had planned to renovate their side when they move out and this is not the ideal time for that to happen, having recently spent so much on the driveway and a new fence. 

My husband believes that we need to either have them pay for damage compensation or raise their rent. Any suggestions? 

Lori,

Charge the tenant (or take it out of their security deposit) for the cost to rub it out. You could indicate that they could pay it over the next 3 to 6 months (depending on the cost).

Make it clear that any additional vandalism of the property will not be tolerated. 

I would be nice about it, but firm. 

Good Luck!

Jim

Thanks Jim! We are waiting on the repair cost from the contractor and I am working on putting a letter together to give to them that I can also keep in our files. 

We decided to charge the tenant instead of taking it out of the security deposit since they offered to pay for it. This will keep the deposit open to be used at the end if the tenancy if we need to.

Lori,

Great job making a potentially bad situation work for everyone.  

Good luck, 

Jim 

Why would you evict them over this stupid issue?

They've already offered to pay for the repairs to concrete.  Let them do this and be done with it.

Gail

I would definatly have them pay.

I would have stress relief cracks cut 1/2" deep in the sidewalk every 6 feet if they are not already there and actually cut through and remove 6 feet of the damaged section and replace it. I would charge the cost to the tenant. You need to be made good at their expense. No reason you should live with a defective job due to their ignorance.

It sounds like the tenants know they are at fault here and they probably know you will be charging them for this. Just let them know that they will be paying for the additional work caused by their daughter and let it play out from there.

Originally posted by @Gail K. :

Why would you evict them over this stupid issue?

They've already offered to pay for the repairs to concrete.  Let them do this and be done with it.

Gail

Gail,

Initially they denied having any responsibility,  and only after they found out we knew it was them did they admit to it, apologise and offer to pay. Makes us wonder what else they are trying to get away with.  We don't appreciate being lied to.  

We are waiting on the quote from the contractor to pass onto them for payment.  It's too cold too have it done this year now.  

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

I would definatly have them pay.

I would have stress relief cracks cut 1/2" deep in the sidewalk every 6 feet if they are not already there and actually cut through and remove 6 feet of the damaged section and replace it. I would charge the cost to the tenant. You need to be made good at their expense. No reason you should live with a defective job due to their ignorance.

 Thomas, 

We do have the stress cracks already cut, but the weather is getting too cold to fix this year.  So it looks like it will be around for the winter at lest. We expect a quote from our contractor end of week.  

Since they requested it SPECIFICALLY because the daughter complained of slipping, and because the broom treads were buffed out, I would be sure to include that in your letter to your tenant. Spell out that, due to damage caused by the tenant, the sidewalk will need to be replaced come spring.

Am I reading this right that the daughter is an adult?  Who requested you replace the sidewalk, then messed it up?  This all sounds like a careless act of a child, but the person involved is an adult, right?  That's some crazy stuff.

You don't normally evict just one person.  You evict your entire set of tenants.

And, I too would have this section re-done when weather allows and charge them for it. I'd think twice about renewing their lease.

Welcome to the ownership of rental property!

If they are month to month, you likely should get a quote to replace the section in spring, but bill them now for it. If it is less than their security deposit, break it up into payments so that it's paid for before spring. If they want to stay, they'll pay it. If not, you'll have an amount established with them so they shouldn't argue if remaining balance is deducted from security deposit (and hopefully no other damages). If you just charge them for the bandaid fix now and loosely discuss the repair in spring, they may take the next few months to find a new place and hope to get full deposit back. If it is too high to pay, maybe the daughter could lend a hand swinging a sledge hammer to bust up her handy work? Haha, but I'd say if they pay for it no problem, I'd try to look past the stupidity of what the daughter did.

Jon & Russell

Yes, she is an adult. 

They are currently month to month but would like them to stay for a while, or at least until we are ready to renovate that side (we are diy while my husband works 50+ hours and I run our business and take care of the property and tenant problems). 

Do you have any pictures of the damaged area?

The police actually took a report about that? My friend in Portland had a gun pulled on him and the police here wouldn’t do anything.

get the estimate now and get the money from tenent now

Don’t wait until spring 

Month to month they could be gone 

I️ recently heard about tenants pouring cement in the toilets and then flushing to have it harden in the pipes. Your cement damaged could have been worse but I️ like your idea of keeping them as tenants so long as they cover the expense of the damages. Good Luck !!!

@Lori C.

Holy smokes.

Wait out the winter.

Get yourself a 4 or 4 1/2 in diamond cup wheel and mount it on an angle grinder. The rig will cost you less than 60 bucks.

Grind out the offending area. Using a cold chisel, chisel down 1/2 in into the concrete. Clean the area thoroughly.

Apply $5 of cement patcher to the area. Sackrete's stuff is better than Quikrete's. Broom finish it up all you want with a broom.

If it's been ground out already as you seem to indicate, just chisel down 1/2 inch, apply the patcher according to the directions, and run a broom over it in the correct direction. Good as new. Will the repair still be visible? Yes. Are you planning on selling the place next week? No? Well, when are you planning on selling your viable rental property? Oh, in twenty years? SO IT DOESN'T MATTER, RIGHT? It just offends your sensibilities and outsized sense of propriety.

You are really making a mountain our of a molehill because your basic property maintenance skills are lacking. You called a contractor back to fix a smile and pentagram. Did you give him an earful about the brazen little hussy next door?


You have the moral high ground. Congratulations! Bravissimo! You can stop clutching your pearls now.

It's a business. Tenants do stupid things. That's part of the reason why they're tenants.

Just what are you going to do when the daughter gets knocked up properly and her 35-year-old boyfriend moves in with his pit bull, his gun collection, and his penchant for sitting in his beater jalopy with his shady buddy-of-the-week and smoking it up every afternoon? Go over there and lead with some pursed-lip condemnation?

Maybe you shouldn't buy any more rentals, Lori.

Account Closed You never fail to come with the advice and the not so subtle!

"It's a business. Tenants do stupid things. That's part of the reason why they're tenants."

It is a Business and for that reason you make tenants pay for their stupidity. Why should a landlord have to fix a tenants stupidity with their time and labour.

Get the estimate and bill them immediately for the attempted  fix and the replacement costs..

@Andy W. Yes. We have before and after pictures. Document, document! 

@Steve B. - We are in a small town and are across from the grade school. The County Sheriff responded. 

@James K. Thank you for your suggestion on how to patch the problem areas, we will look into that, rather than use an experienced contactor. 

I was wondering if you had any pics to post so we can look at it and make better judgement. Minor or major damage.

@Thomas S. OK, fine. But you make them pay according to the scale of their stupidity and the real cost to repair the damage, not according to your inability to manage a property and ignorance of the upkeep and repair of basic building materials. This really is just a simple cosmetic surface patch job. The OP and several thoroughly silly posters on this thread have turned it into a traveling salvation show, complete with love offering collected in fried chicken buckets and some snake handling over in the small tent.

Did your tenants wear out a hinge in your place? You charge them for the epoxy to fill the holes and reset the hinge, not for a new door and frame.

They put a chip in your granite countertop? They pay to have the chip repaired, not to have the granite replaced.

Smash a pane of glass? Pay to replace the pane, not put in a new window.

Burned out a light bulb? You don't charge them to have the house rewired.

To date, the OP has brought in the sheriff, filed a police report, collected video footage, played mind games on the tenants, brought back a contractor, practically whistled up a medieval herald to read a proclamation and cry a condemnation over the concrete, "Hear ye, hear ye..."

The tenants are going to spend the next few days asking everyone they've ever met in person and over social media if all this was really necessary to get the concrete fixed. Sooner or later, just as the OP did, they're going to meet someone to introduce them to the subtle mysteries of cement patcher. And they're going to realize that the pitchforks and torches were all an unnecessary dog and pony show run by a ringmistress bent on extracting a great show of moral vengeance for doodling in wet concrete.

And the predatory advice the OP has gotten here...

Saw out a six-foot block of concrete!
Punish the evildoer!
Throw the baggage out on the street along with her family!

What's next? Make her wear a scarlet V for vandalism for the rest of her days? Fifty blows on the corner with the cane dipped in ink to tattoo the welts into her back? Perhaps the amende honorable or some crispy auto-da-fé action?

Wet concrete just screams " write something in me " 

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here