Need Advice: Letting a tenant install a new toilet?

34 Replies

My new tenant just asked me if I would allow him to pull out the old toilet install a new high-efficiency toilet. He said he would cover all expenses, and hire a plumber to do the work. He even recommended I write up an official document that states what work was being done, that he would cover all expenses, and that he would leave the new toilet in place upon vacating the property at the end of his lease.

Does anyone have experience with handling situations like this? Are there reasons why I should not allow my tenant to proceed with this project?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

@Josiah McGinnis That would be incredibly foolish to permit that unless maybe If the guy was a plumber and you have known him for many years .If that toilet is not sealed it will cause a leak and could rot out the subfloor or worse-flood the house . Not worth the risk . Somebody handy could do that for under two hundred bucks and you can have peace of mind your property isn’t being ruined .

Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.  How about going through with all of it except you get to pick the licensed plumber, that way you know it was done right and you have some recourse if it isn't.

@Josiah McGinnis No, dont let him do it or arrange to have it done. If you feel the need, $89 @ HD and an hour of your time to install it will get you a happy tenant, a new efficient toilet (installed properly in your property) and him not asking to do future repairs himself.

@Josiah McGinnis It's up to you and your comfort level. As a landlord, this can end up being a dream or a nightmare. If you're up for it, you could always talk to the plumber who's going to do the work and get a feel for them. Or you could allow it but have a plumber you've worked with in the past and feel comfortable with do the work. Hope that helps. Good luck! 

Since he agreed to have a plumber do it, allow it with the caveat that you arrange it with your approved plumber. Get a portion of the quote from tenant upfront to make sure he doesn't flake on you. Have him sign something that states that he agrees he holds no interest in the property and will leave toilet when he vacates.

This is a good indication that he wants to stay long term, but you must be careful not to set the precedent that he can do this without going through you.

As for the people that say don't do it, I'm pretty sure they think he will be doing it by hand, and not using a licensed plumber.

A friend of mine helps his dad run a few rentals and this is the process his dad does with his tenants (all self managed btw). He will pay for the materials and tenant pays for the install. 

I would not think it would be a a bad idea if you could vet the plumber that is being used. In your case the tenant is offering to pay for all costs so why not. Make sure he chooses a verified plumber and gets a good quality toilet. I myself dont own any properties so my experience is limited but sounds like a good deal to me.

Thats a great deal for you. Do it!

Only thing I would change, and its big, is that YOU hire the plumber or at least specify which plumber(s) they can use. That way you know whos doing it. You'll need to know when its going to happen and how much. Make sure receipts are given to you as well. As long as you do it the smart way and dont just let them do whatever, you should be fine. I've heard of these kind of tenant improvement requests happening all the time. Usually in SFR vs other types.

As long as a qualified and licensed plumber does it....and one that you approve, then sure, why not.

The tenant sounds legit....they did it the right way. Lets face it....99% of the tenants would have just done it and either never told the LL or tried to hit them with the cost after the fact.

NEVER agree to let the tenant do it themselves.

I just had a quick side bar question pertaining to the question. Im currently shopping for toilets to install in my rental. What are these high efficient toilets he trying to install? Are they worth the fuss?   

Lately we have had many leaking and loose toilets.  We are inserting a "no twerking on the toilets" clause in our leases.   

@Joe Arida makes a good point--landlord has it done, tenant pays.

As a matter of policy, we do not allow tenants to make any repairs. In our lease it states that leaks, etc, must be reported immediately. If caused by tenant, they well be charged for the work. 

Originally posted by @Joe Arida :
Why don't you write up a document stating you will have the toilet installed and just bill the tenant back for it?

 I agree with joe about having the work done yourself and charge the tenant.  Ask the tenant what they were expecting to pay.   Get the toilet installed yourself and charge the tenant the lower of what the tenant expected to pay or actual cost.  A lot of the posters are fearing the quality of the work, but any licensed plumber should be able to install a toilet.  What they should be fearing is the quality of the toilet.  Where I live, and most of our rentals are, low flow toilets are required. Some are junk.   I used to like American Standard but have had issues with one of our latest so my top choice is Toto.  

Good luck

I don't like the high efficiency toilets especially in rentals. They need to be plunged two to three times a week. It may be OK for this tenant-what about the next one. I'd say NO. All the best!

Originally posted by @Josiah McGinnis :

My new tenant just asked me if I would allow him to pull out the old toilet install a new high-efficiency toilet. He said he would cover all expenses, and hire a plumber to do the work. He even recommended I write up an official document that states what work was being done, that he would cover all expenses, and that he would leave the new toilet in place upon vacating the property at the end of his lease.

Does anyone have experience with handling situations like this? Are there reasons why I should not allow my tenant to proceed with this project?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

 I'm intrigued as to why he wants a high-efficiency toilet (resisting the temptation to make some dirty jokes here), but I would do it if you can vet the plumber he uses, or tell him that you'll provide a plumber and get approval from him for the amount it costs. Or you could provide him with a list of two or three plumbers you like, and have him choose one. This really isn't a bad deal, I mean, if done right, you are getting a new toilet and won't have to replace even when he leaves. Rental I bought had a guy who replaced the old terrible fridge with a used one in good condition, right before we purchased the home, and he had agreed not to take it with him. Now, I don't have to buy a new one for at least several years. 

Originally posted by @Mitch Price :

I just had a quick side bar question pertaining to the question. Im currently shopping for toilets to install in my rental. What are these high efficient toilets he trying to install? Are they worth the fuss?   

 I have a 30 year old triplex and toilets of that age use 6 gallons per flush. High efficient toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush from what I read. My  water bill doubled in 10 years from $100/month to over $200/month and I'm thinking about it. 

Supposedly, toilet flushing, showering, and clothes washing are the 3 main water uses. We use water efficient shower heads already. Our tenants don't have washer/dryers at present. I figure if I change all the toilets in the house, 4 of them, to efficient, it should reduce water use by at least a third.

So if I reduce the water bill by $70/month, is it worth the fuss?