Wood floors are scratched and tenant wants new floor

19 Replies

I purchased a house last February and rented it out to a tenant through the voucher program in August. The house is in decent shape but it has older, 1970s wood parquet flooring. The floors had a darker stain on them which is showing signs of wear/tear/scratches. I looked in to getting new flooring but it will be at least 2k which is not an expense I had budgeted for. I consider it purely cosmetic but my tenant keeps asking when the flooring will be replaced. I’m still new to this and think the floors can wait, thoughts?

Libby,

I have section 8 properties and if you take care of the tenants they will likely take care of you and be long term tenants.

I would say to them I can't afford it right now but if you will give me 6 months I will upgrade the flooring and give you a few choices to pick from. I would also add as long as no major unexpected repairs come up in case the A.C. or hot water heater were to die.

That should hold them short term. Maybe at the 5 month time show them a few affordable choices and let them go ahead and pick.

Be sure to follow through with what ever time frame you give them.

Difficult to refinish or replace flooring while tenants are in a place.

Did you make any promises to the tenant when she moved in? Was the floor in the same shape then? If she accepted the house this way then she really doesn't have the right to get the floors refinished. 

As to tenants taking care of you, that really changes from tenant to tenant and if someone is asking for extras now then they're likely going to start asking for more and more in the future. 

No....No..... and HELL NO...... the floor is not an essential item to offering a livable unit. If the issue is purely cosmetic, then hell no.....not a chance.

You are supplying a livable unit for them....on the VOUCHER program....you aren't building them their dream home.

Do this and prepare for the flood gates of other things they want to upgrade to make the place nicer....

Unless there is a safety or health issue, they can pound sand or move somewhere else....at which time if you want to upgrade the floors and up the rent, then go for it....

DO NOT DO IT....

I agree with @Max Tanenbaum .  It's much easier for you and the tenant to replace flooring between tenants especially if you are going to polish or refinish hardwood.  I am all for keeping tenants happy.  In fact, 4 of my 7 tenants are long term tenants (living there more than 2 years), but I get nervous when new tenants (less than 1 year) start asking for lots of fixes or upgrades right out of the gate. Needy or entitled tenants (or worse needy entitled tenants) will drive you crazy.  I had one that always had a need or complaint to the point she complained the neighbors weren't friendly.  You have to draw a line somewhere.

I find timely fixes like paying extra to fix the heat on a Sunday in January endear you to a tenant more so that what shiny new object they can get. 

If it was that way when she moved in she accepted it. If she caused the damage she can bear all costs upfront to repair. Another suggestion, You can use those stain pens to touch it up too. For dark stain they can really make a difference, stop by and test it out.
Originally posted by @Libby Wolfe:
thoughts?

 No new floors.  Tell the tenant in a pleasant straightforward manner, "I will not do anything to the flooring because it is in good physical shape."

If you hem and haw and say anything besides "No," they will assume you are considering the request and will ask you again in the near future.

Tell her you will refinish the floor when she leaves.

Give them an inch, they will beg for a mile..

Libby Wolfe
Ned hit nail on head - a scratched floor has no effect on the habitability of the home and no way would I replace the floors or refinish them.

Worst case go to Home Depot and buy the filler that is a pen and fill them in for the time being. It’s
Like them wanting to paint the wall after it gets a mark on it.

[Start of conversation]

"When will the flooring be replaced?"

- It won't

[End of conversation]

Voucher or not, either they moved in with the floor condition like that, and therefore should have no expectation of it being fixed because that's how it was accepted upon lease signing. Or it was in good condition when the lease was signed, and they caused the damage during their tenancy, therefore they should pay to fix it.

@Libby Wolfe

What did you say to your tenants that they are under the assumption the floors are going to be replaced?

If they want it to look pretty, I would encourage them to purchase a throw rug.

And I would change them out while the place is empty.

Originally posted by @Libby Wolfe:
I purchased a house last February and rented it out to a tenant through the voucher program in August. The house is in decent shape but it has older, 1970s wood parquet flooring. The floors had a darker stain on them which is showing signs of wear/tear/scratches. I looked in to getting new flooring but it will be at least 2k which is not an expense I had budgeted for. I consider it purely cosmetic but my tenant keeps asking when the flooring will be replaced. I’m still new to this and think the floors can wait, thoughts?

 Tell them you will rent the sander from Home Depot when they want to refinish. In fact, you will even pay for the stain they want. They can do the labor.

The idea of allowing a tenant to run a sander on a floor should strike fear into the heart of any landlord.

The next time this tenant asks when the flooring will be replaced explain a rental unit needs to be empty for this to occur.

Gail

Yes mike gives terrible advice

Ok, so either it was worn when she moved in, and apparently was ok with it then, or she wore it out living there. Not a land lord issue. I like what Collen said:

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
If it was that way when she moved in she accepted it. If she caused the damage she can bear all costs upfront to repair. Another suggestion, You can use those stain pens to touch it up too. For dark stain they can really make a difference, stop by and test it out.

I would not agree to this - the scratches on the floor have no impact on habitability.  Save your money for when something breaks that truly needs to be repaired like AC or the hot water heater.  

If the floors really need to be refinished or touched up, do it when she moves out. You’re going to open up yourself to a never ending floodgate of repair requests if you agree to this. 

Thanks all for your feedback! The floors were decent but not perfect when they moved in. Then, as they lived there, the stain started to get scratched up. I did contemplate new flooring and had someone come in to do an estimate but after they told me it’s going to be more than 2k, there’s just no way. I do try to take care of my tenants but have seen the ‘give an inch take a mile’ in effect.

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