New tenants put cardboard over windows

24 Replies

Depends on the units, even if it did there isn't much you can really do unless it is spelled out in the lease.  They are probably doing it because it is incredibly hot especially this week, it may be temporary until the weather gets back below 100 degrees.  If it is a good quality unit they probably won't like looking at cardboard either.

Well, it is an unorthodox way of covering the windows.  Are they trying to insulate against the heat?  You might educate them about sunlight killing dust mites and keeping mold and other nasties down.  

The other alternative is a drug lifestyle.  I have found that tenants who want to block all the light either have a drug problem or work at night and are trying to darken their room for daytime sleeping.  You might want to investigate to make sure you don't have a drug issue.

You don't equip your units with some type of blinds or curtains? If not, then you gotta expect the tenant is going to do something. You can buy cheapies for $10 or so at Home Depot or Walmart. Does your lease address this? Any restrictions by the HOA or city?

Now, maybe its just to keep the sun out.  But maybe they're doing a grow.

You might casually ask the tenants about it, but it's no big deal right off the bat. Letting it "upset" you means you're emotionally attached, and you shouldn't be. Always remember tenants are not going to live the way you live. They might not keep as nice a house as you keep.

As long as you have realistic expectations and they are not destroying the place, it's likely not a big deal. I see you're in Baltimore, and assuming your property is too, it honestly sounds typical.

It wouldn’t “upset” me but it would annoy me, if that makes sense. When I did PM we didn’t allow anything other than blinds or curtains as window coverings. Now with my own properties, I ask the tenants if they want me to purchase (cheap) blinds or are they going to get something they want, but I make it clear that it has to be presentable. Next time I would have it put in your lease.

@Andrew S. My rentals are in Baltimore City. What might bother me is that I let that tenant get through my screening process. I think cardboard is better looking than trash bags which are fairly common in the city instead of curtains or blinds

When I was single , I used cool looking beach towels as drapes .  I had some cardboard I would put up on the windows when I wanted to sleep in and didnt want any sun to disturb my hangover 

@Matthew Paul I wasn't going to admit this but since you brought up beach towels, I did something similar. When I first moved into my home I didn't have curtains or blinds. To cover the upstairs windows i hung white dress shirts on hangers on the windows to keep people from seeing in.

If it had a negative impact on the appearance of the property, which it would on any of my properties, I would tell them to remove it or I would begin the eviction process. Judges understand that there are community standards and that something like this will have a impact on neighbours.

If it was in a C/D community it is probably an improvement over tattered curtines and broken blinds..

I agree with approaching the tenant to see what the intended purpose was, but as @Jon Holdman suggests, I furnish all my rentals with mini-blinds.  I also have the following in my lease:

(f) Any draperies or other window covering must be white or neutral color so that only said color may be seen from outside your apartment. 

Although, I can see that a tenant might point out that the above provision in my lease has not been violated as cardboard is earth tone!  So, if this happened to me, I might have to modify the above item going forward, perhaps specifying window covering need to be made of some type of textile.  Just when I think I've tightened up my lease, leave it to a tenant to find a hole.  ;)

If it's a nice-ish rental it would bother me as it looks trashy and negatively impacts curb appeal.  This is not being "emotionally attached", wanting your properties to look good and have curb appeal is perfectly rational.

I would start by asking to remove and offering to buy window coverings.  

I would ask them why. If they have a legit reason, I would try to find a more attractive way to meet their need.

I provide window coverings so tenants don't try hanging blankets or cardboard in the windows.

Tenants are like oversized toddlers . They use poor judgment and will almost always make the wrong choice especially a c or d class tenant . If it bothered me I’d just go flat out tell them that it’s unacceptable and a more attractive option needs done . Even if it’s not in a lease doesn’t mean you can’t intervene and control a situation . These tenants need trained like children so they know the boundaries . All that being said .. in a lower class area this is to be expected . There are probably plenty of houses on the block with Steelers flags , rap artists banners , and beach towels as blinds ! and probably nothing I would personally make a big stink over because I would expect poor people to make poor decisions . Sometimes you have to ask yourself . Is this really going to matter ? and is the tenant paying the rent on time and in full ? Is it hurting anything or anyone ?

Agreed with @Matt P. - install some rods for them and write something into your lease that no towels, clothing, blankets, etc... can be used as window dressing.

This would be considered an alteration to the property and this is not allowed in my lease.  Would I get upset, no.  Would they be removed, most likely.

Originally posted by @Andrew S. :

Just to be clear, we are talking about the window on the front door not a regular window.

 I cover mine with a paper towel, so what is the problem???

I would be suspicious and make monthly inspections just to make sure nothing fishy is going on and to catch a problem with them before it gets out of hand.

If it is the window on an entry door ask them why ? offer to add a magnetic curtain rod if it is a metal door or privacy film/spray. Its cheap and easy. Maybe start with asking if the solution is permenant. Some people dont like windows on thier entry door because they dont want people looking in.

It would upset me because it means I picked the wrong tenant.

However, I think taped trash bags are the worse.