Tenant vs Tenant Agreement

14 Replies

Hey Everyone. This is my first question so “Thank you” in advance. Issue: I have a Plumbing Portion of my lease agreement that states that the tenant is responsible for the internal plumbing and the landlord is responsible for the external plumbing (from the wall to the outside). Obviously the tenant was fine with this at signing, but calls repeatedly about repairing a leaking sink and toilet chain. She no longer thinks that is her responsibility and has tried to report me to the Housing Authority (Section 8) property. They are on my side because we have had great inspections with no issues and I turned in the Plumbing Attestment with the lease when we recorded the lease with them in the beginning. I have a second house we are rehabbing across the street from the property as well which I feel leave me at risk for retaliation. I am not going to renew her lease in February. Would you fix the issue?

I would fix it. The alternative is your tenant likely won’t fix it and you run the risk if a simple leak that would probably cost you a few bucks to fix, going unfixed and continuing to leak and you end up with a much bigger problem and a lot more damage that ultimately costs you much more to fix down the road. 

Are they month to month? I believe after the tenant has been there over a year on Section 8 then they automatically convert to being month to month.  My experience with Section 8 tenants is they generally try to be as low maintenance and cooperative as possible. 

1. Either way it goes you need to fix the leak, and if she's month to month...give a 30 day noticve you are evicting her because I can pretty much guarantee you that with proper screening you will be able to find another Sec 8 tenant that is less of a hassle and you may be able to get more rent from the next tenant.

2. If they are not month to month, then I would have a licensed plumber that knows what to really look for come in and see why these leaks keep occuring......then,,...when her lease is almost up...give the appropriate 30 day notice......and get another Sect. 8 tenant.

@Brian Garlington , thanks for the response. She is on an annual term agreement. So I can’t wait for February. This is my first problem tenant. Even the neighbors have complained to me. The only up side is Section 8 is paying 100% until the end of the lease. I think I will follow that advice and just fix it.

Don't fix it and deal with rotten wood.  Either you take cake of your property or it doesn't get taken care of.  No matter what your lease said it's your property and don't expect tenants to take care of it.  In theory they should take care off it but in "reality" it's your responsibility.  

I have no experience with section 8 so this may not be possible with the government program, however if you have a provision in your lease that makes them responsible for repairing the leak and they are refusing to do so you should be able to evict them now even if their lease is not up. I would send them notice to repair within say 10 days and provide proof or you will start the eviction process.  

Now the other side of that coin is if you do it that way they may retaliate and cause more damage.  If you already have documentation of their refusal I would have the repairs completed and if you want the tenant out then send the notice to evict.

@Lydia Bolling   Then again....like another poster has just stated....she signed and agreed to be responsible for leaks inside the property. If she is refusing to get those fixed, that can certainly be a violation of the terms she has agreed to. Show this to Section 8 and see if they agree. Also, you should still get the leak fixed, and then send the bill to the tenant. If she refuses to pay....let Section 8 know this and you might....might....be able to take this cost out of her security deposit.

@Brian Garlington , that is what I emailed to my Housing Authority rep for that property. I could wait to the upcoming inspection and the housing authority then ask me to fix it. When this happened in the past I was allowed to deduct it from the security deposit. My issue is the inspection is not for another month. I don’t want any damage.
@Michael Badin , Thanks for responding Michael. I will definitely ask the housing rep about them pressuring the tenant to fix the items first. In the past with late rent they would send a stern letter to the tenant as well. I will send the letter requesting repair tomorrow. Excellent idea. I don’t want to release them before the end of the lease because the housing authority is paying 100%. My caution come from not wanting them to harm the property they know I am rehabbing across the street.

Why in the world would you think a section 8 tenant or any other tenant would be competent  to do plumbing repairs.  Fix it and get on with being a landlord.  Take care of your property.