New renters are driving me crazy

16 Replies

I own 7 rental homes.  Have had one phone call from a renter with an issue in 11 years.  Have new renters in one home and they have driven me crazy in the 3 weeks they've been there.  Now they have removed the fridge I provided and moved theirs in.  That would be okay, except they didn't unhook the water line to the ice maker, pulled it, and now there's a leak.  I kept telling the husband on the phone how to turn off the water to the line and he was AFRAID to do it.  They're in their late 40's.  I went over, turned it off, and came home.  Now they're calling because it's dripping.  They caused this, should I tell them to hire a plumber and fix it? I told them upon moving in that they are to treat the house like their own and repair what they break.  They battery went out on the garage remote and they told me the garage door was broken.  I paid a company to go right over and fix it......it cost me almost $200 to find out the battery needed to be replaced.  Even after I asked the wife to check the battery and open the door by pushing on the wall opener.  None of which she did.  I'm at my wits end with these people. 

Originally posted by @Dick Stevens :

1 phone call in 11 years.  I call BS on that.  Take a walk.

 Obviously you're not one that makes sure the upkeep on rentals is as if you were living there.  I am and I do.  So how about you take a walk or just sit down.  Down.

Layne Bates how long is the lease for? Typically in my (limited compared to yours) experience most issues come up shortly after moving in. After that it’s usually autopilot for the most part

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

Layne Bates how long is the lease for? Typically in my (limited compared to yours) experience most issues come up shortly after moving in. After that it’s usually autopilot for the most part

 The lease is for a year and you're right about issues coming up at the beginning, that would be normal.  They've been there two months.  If it were issues caused by my overlooking something or the people hired overlooking something, I could understand.  But it has been some of the dumbest things in the world.  New a/c unit and they said it wasn't working......I send the a/c guy over and it was in the off position. lol  So I pay the a/c guy for just turning it to auto.  And it's always late on Sunday night when they have problems.  This is the first home in years to become vacant so I was use to the family that lived there for years.  Having wonderful tenants and then having new ones that call over and over makes it hard to sleep, for me anyway.  I'm a worrier and OCD when it comes to my homes.  

@Account Closed if you are self managing id recommend setting up a phone number thay tenants call with issues.  Let it go to voicemail and just check it once a day

You should be holding the tenant responsible for the service calls when the issue is turns out to be frivolous.  A dead remote battery, ac unit turned off. ect. they should be responsible to pay the service call for those false issues.  If the garage door opener was actually broken then you pay.  ac unit to mechanical issues you pay.  Operator error tenet should be paying.  

Evaluate your current lease and make sure you covered for these frivolous costs in the future

Originally posted by @Scott Rogers :

You should be holding the tenant responsible for the service calls when the issue is turns out to be frivolous.  A dead remote battery, ac unit turned off. ect. they should be responsible to pay the service call for those false issues.  If the garage door opener was actually broken then you pay.  ac unit to mechanical issues you pay.  Operator error tenet should be paying.  

Evaluate your current lease and make sure you covered for these frivolous costs in the future

 I did tell them today that this was the last call unless it was an issue with the actual unit or appliance or a busted pipe or something.  I had a long talk with them.  When renters move in I tell them to treat the house like it was theirs and if they break it, fix it.  I've been extremely lucky and renters have stayed for many years, the longest is a family who has rented a home for 11 years.  My first home to purchase as a rental.  It's obvious if something isn't their fault then I will willingly pay, but I can't afford to buy them common sense.  And what I've paid so far is okay, lesson learned.  I should have driven over myself but.....didn't.  And the people I use for the a/c and garages are the ones I've used for each home during renovations and they really don't charge much, they get a good laugh out of it mostly. 

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

@Layne Bates if you are self managing id recommend setting up a phone number thay tenants call with issues.  Let it go to voicemail and just check it once a day

 Excellent idea.  If any other renter calls on the weekend I'll answer since no one has ever called, but I'll only answer the new renters calls during the week from now on.  I know it'll calm down sooner or later, and am betting after my talk with them today it'll be sooner. While I try to be nice, even I hated the way I spoke to them today.  But I had to get my point across. 

You're very trusting to allow (insist) on your tenants performing their own maintenance. Would you really prefer these tenants to try and fix something? You can already tell that whatever they try and do will make a problem worse. That is why landlords are responsible for maintenance. I would never want my tenants to try and fix something that breaks. It is either me or someone I hire, period.

How about this: next time a tenant under 40 moves in, give them a 1 hour home operation class.  How to set a thermostat, change fridge and a/c filter, garage door battery. And how to check breakers.

Some kids have no clue.

Having the tenant fix the problems is a bad idea . They will Jerry rig everything and do it the cheapest crappiest way possible if they are footing the bill .

Originally posted by @Maurice D. :

How about this: next time a tenant under 40 moves in, give them a 1 hour home operation class.  How to set a thermostat, change fridge and a/c filter, garage door battery. And how to check breakers.

Some kids have no clue.

 The husband is 49 and the wife is 47.  

I see one aspect missing.  What did you do to troubleshoot the problems?  It's easy to blame the tenant for not knowing anything and that appears valid in this case.  Likewise, it also seems appropriate to ask you if you did anything to help besides immediately call a contractor.  I suggest thinking through some basic troubleshooting questions for the next time they call.  It will save you $$$.  It may be worthwhile to personally investigate first.

I've had a few "Turn it on." and "Change the battery." solutions to issues over the past 5 years.  I even had to explain to a tenant how to change a light bulb (true story!).

You have been extremely lucky with call volume.  A few calls in the first few months of a new tenancy is very common.  It get about 1-2 calls per year per property.

Originally posted by @Max T. :

You're very trusting to allow (insist) on your tenants performing their own maintenance. Would you really prefer these tenants to try and fix something? You can already tell that whatever they try and do will make a problem worse. That is why landlords are responsible for maintenance. I would never want my tenants to try and fix something that breaks. It is either me or someone I hire, period.

 Reasonable repairs.  If a toilet is running but not running over, I figure they should be able to wiggle the handle.  If a sink is clogged, they should be able to fix that.  Common sense stuff.  It's in the lease that they're never to do anything electrical and if an appliance breaks, I'm responsible for that since I rent the homes with all appliances.  And while it may sound crazy to some, this is the first family I've had that literally has NO common sense and needs their hands held while turning on and off the water.  I leave a detailed list of plumbers, electricians, etc. and explain that's who has worked on the home from day one.   Before I started purchasing homes I rented one and never called the landlord because I had things repaired if needed.  And yes, I do tend to trust that people aren't ignorant.  I'm old school like that.

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

Having the tenant fix the problems is a bad idea . They will Jerry rig everything and do it the cheapest crappiest way possible if they are footing the bill .

 I haven no idea what they'd have jerry rig.  It's pretty simple.  If you stop up a sink, unstop it.