Tenant is asking for discount in rent for damages due to water

7 Replies

Hi all,

In past whenever I had questions, I always turn to BP and it always is helpful, so asking one more question.

I am a new landlord and yesterday at 8.30 pm tenant reported that there is about 2 inch of water in basement. I went there within an hour and take care of water issue. We had new sump pump in property but due to shaking of pump , float switch was leaning on concrete and wasn't working. I fixed that while I was there yesterday night.

I just got text form them saying thank you for work and asking discount in next month rent due to damage to rug and some damage to tv.

In your experience , is it a reasonable request? should I give them some discount in rent or give them gift card of some sort or should not do either?

Thank you for all of your time and help. 

Looking forward to your thoughts

What would u do if u were the tenant & ur furniture was damaged? Take care of ur tenants and this will make them not to lookout else where. If your tenant is prompt on rents and taking good care of the property, I would definitely consider giving them a break for the damages.

Does your tenant have renter's insurance? We always make it mandatory for all tenant to carry renters insurance to cover any such damages.

@Neerav Patel

I'll break it down from my perspective given the facts presented.

There was an issue with the mechanical system, but you addressed it quickly and resolved the issue.  Nothing more to do there except maybe look for root cause or water source so that it doesn't happen again.

Next issue is the damage of their personal items.  Do the tenants have renters insurance?  If so, I would refer them to their insurance provider to replace their personal items.

I don't see how its your responsibility to replace their personal items if the lease requires them to have renters insurance.  The insurance should cover those things and they shouldn't be out much if any on the replacement of those items.

However, if you like the tenants and they have been good payers and low drama, it may not hurt to let them know to contact their insurance for repair/replacement of their personal items, but offer them a discount for the trouble of having to handle that.

You may give them a sense of entitlement in the process where they feel like they deserve a discount every time something minor happens.  

If you decide not to give them a break, they may hold that against you and may make future relations more tense.

Personally, I would stick to what is in the lease unless the tenant goes over and above and went down there and figured out the problem and offered to fix it then I would give them a break definitely because they were looking out for my best interest.

Sounds like they are just trying to get a freebie.

On the other hand, if you don't have a "Renters Insurance" clause in your lease, it may be a good idea to revisit your lease and add that policy to cover yourself from liability for the renters personal items in the future.

Hope this helps.

Jeff V

@Vic Reddy @Jeff V. Thank you both for your valuable input.

Yes, they do have renters insurance which is part of our lease requirement.

I believe they wanted something for damage to their rug and TV damage.

Here is what my thoughts are:

As @Jeff V. mentioned, I agree that it is mechanical problem and it should not be our responsibility other than removing water. otherwise there will be sense of entitlement going forward

At same time they are nice people and I do want longer relation with them.

So I am thinking that I should give them option that I can use shop vac to remove some water from rug and loan them my space heater for some time , so they can resuse rug.

Sounds reasonable? 

@Neerav Patel I’m a landlord as well as a tenant. I recently had flooding in the apartment I live in. I got a 150 rent concession. I would offer that or up to 200 to your tenant.

If they had renters insurance I would not offer them anything. Simply remind them that is why you require tenants to carry insurance. It makes no scenes for a landlord to require tenants carry insurance and then pay tenants for damage. I would not put it past a tenant to ask for a landlord to pay up and also make a insurance claim.

The rug will dry, and there is no way a TV would be damaged if it was being used, it would be sitting up off the floor. It may be a old TV they had in storage.

@Neerav Patel As always, lots of great answers with lots of different perspectives. I do have a question that I haven’t seen anyone address. You say it’s a new pump and that due to shaking, the switch was impaired and could not work. Is it a poor installation problem? If so, I would be talking to the installer about the damage they caused. If you’re the installer, then you own that share of the responsibility. I, like many others, would tell the renter to claim it on their insurance. However, I would also figure out some small compensation for the renter’s inconvenience, time and effort, even if the insurance makes them whole. Be firm, be fair. Treat them like you would expect to be treated if the roles were reversed.