Tenant requesting updates

16 Replies

New tenant is asking for updates - recessed lighting in all three bedrooms. They already signed their lease and we’ve already took the max on security deposit (in CA). This isn’t a cost we feel we would need to pay for if we do it for them since it’s their request. Can we tell them yes, but the cost will be at their expense and will be taken from their security deposit? Please help!

Just say no! If they decide they don't want the unit, let them go THANKFULLY!!!! They agreed to rent the unit in the condition it was in when they saw it. They WILL BE PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE!!!

They leased the place as it was when they moved in.  I'd just say no.  I have done improvements at tenant request and my expense, but it was for a tenant that had been in place for several years and had a good track record.  Tell them, sorry, but the property is as you saw it when you signed the lease.

If you do decide to do this and they agree to pay DO NOT take it out of the deposit.  No way.  They pay for it on the spot.

HELL NO......

You aren't making the unit their dream home.... they signed the lease "as is".... take it or leave it.

You fix safety, habitability and maintenance issues....... DO NOT  fix cosmetic issues at the request of the tenant....you will open a flood gate that you will regret

At most I will allow painting of an approved color by a professional painter....that's it.

I’m new, but my view is if the changes are real improvements in terms of money in your pocket and they will pay a higher rent that gets you to break even over the life of their lease, go for it. If they won’t pay more or the “improvements” really aren’t (recessed lighting in a bedroom????), ixnay. 

I have a very simple clause in my lease that says they were given the opportunity to inspect prior to renting and that no promises were made/implied. They either want it or they don't. If recessed lighting is important to them, they should go find a rental with recessed lighting.

Do not EVER take money out of the deposit. The entire point of the deposit is to leverage the tenant into abiding by the lease. If you spend the deposit, you take away your leverage. Don't apply the deposit until all tenants are out and the lease is terminated.

There is no need in granting upgrades to a new tenant, tell them no we aren't doing that at this time. 

If they turn out to be good tenants and you decide to offer them a renewal at the end of their term, then maybe they deserve and you can afford an upgrade. But don't tell them this up front.

I agree with @Dick Rosen .  There's no need to improve in the first couple months.  If they've been there a while, and you can afford a few small improvements over time, then I would definitely consider doing some upgrades for them. It will probably keep them in place longer and you won't have to deal with vacancies.  

Do not take the money from a security deposit to pay for maintenance/upgrades. I don't even know if that is legal to do.

No

If you had other applicants you thought were just as good I would tell your current tenants if you like I’ll let you out of your lease

They sound like trouble from the start

I always inform tenants/applicants that I maintain my properties to their present standards and that I only do upgrades, if any, at tenant turn over. When tenants ask for upgrades I will agree if they are paying otherwise no way.

Just tell them no. And don’t offer to let them out of their lease as a couple others have suggested. That’s an unnecessary expense and hassle for you. They agreed to rent the property as is and signed the lease. Hold them to that. They’re probably just testing you as new tenants often do. If you don’t want to do it, just say no and move on. 

Whatever you do, don’t start deducting things from their security deposit while they’re still occupying the unit or there won’t be anything left to cover damages when they ultimately move out. 

@Kyle J. , the reason we are saying "No, and let them terminate the lease if they want" is because they WILL be problem tenants. If you think a request prior to them moving in is bad, just wait until they start asking you to change light bulbs, plunge toilets, replace electrical sockets, repair their furniture, buy them groceries, etc. It's coming. TRUST ME!

Originally posted by @Ray Harrell :

@Kyle J., the reason we are saying "No, and let them terminate the lease if they want" is because they WILL be problem tenants. If you think a request prior to them moving in is bad, just wait until they start asking you to change light bulbs, plunge toilets, replace electrical sockets, repair their furniture, buy them groceries, etc. It's coming. TRUST ME!

I hear you. I’d still suggest just keep telling them no. They’ll get the hint eventually. There’s no way I’m incurring the cost to let a brand new tenant move out so I can avoid them asking me to change a light bulb or buy them groceries or whatever - especially since none of that will cost me anything because I wouldn’t do it. 

I'm not a landlord but what if she said yes but with a large rent increase? Say she spends 10k on updating but increases rent by $300. That's a 36% annual return on her 10k. Plus she's adding value to the property too. 

No. They took it the way it was and end of story. You would just open a can of worm if you go for it. So as far as you are concern just maintain the house so there is no problem. Good luck