New Tenant Wants Everything

16 Replies

Hi everyone,

So I purchased my first place and everything went smooth. Found a tenant who fit all my criteria, passed credit check and background check. We did a move in check and I went over lease in detail. The first week they move in, they are asking for things to upgrade house, screens. Ceiling painted etc. I have been very polite and explained that the house was rented as is and the move in check list was a security for both parties at move out, not a repair list.

They are a nice family. I need advise on how to deal with this without losing a potential good tenant

Thanks

The word NO works very well. 

You already explained that the house was rented as is. If they wanted someone done, the time to mention that was before signing the lease. Maybe they leave after the lease is over? That's a risk you take. Maybe they are new to renting and think it is normal to ask for all sorts of small fixes. You need to educate them. Otherwise you're going to end up spending money to fix every little thing. 

My answer is always yes we can do that and rent will increase by $x. I usually figure a 12 month to sometimes an 18 month payback. This takes away the power struggle and finds out how badly the tenant wants the improvements. If they agree, they just improved my property and invested in living there longer. If they say no, they made a financial decision and you didn't deny something they wanted.
Originally posted by @Syed Ahmed :

Hi everyone,

So I purchased my first place and everything went smooth. Found a tenant who fit all my criteria, passed credit check and background check. We did a move in check and I went over lease in detail. The first week they move in, they are asking for things to upgrade house, screens. Ceiling painted etc. I have been very polite and explained that the house was rented as is and the move in check list was a security for both parties at move out, not a repair list.

They are a nice family. I need advise on how to deal with this without losing a potential good tenant

Thanks

You gotta nip this one in the bud quickly. Tenants like this make a trial run on something small, like a lightbulb out when they move in. Then they gradually get you on the hook and soon you'll be gut-rehabbing the whole place. Proper response is that ownership will not be making any further improvements to the property beyond the condition in which the unit was turned over to them [the tenant] upon lease signing.

Don't worry about losing a good "tenant" or "applicant" that otherwise fits the bill. Someone like this will cost you just as much as a tenant that doesn't pay unless you control the situation from the beginning. They rented the property in a certain condition, and that's how they'll get it - this isn't new construction with a punch list.

@Syed Ahmed just keep being polite and patience and maybe ignore a phone call or two unless it’s an emergency. They will get the message

Otherwise be upfront and say landlords do not do that. No other landlord would be doing that for you. Obviously say that nicely

@Syed Ahmed , I think the responses here have all been very good!

I would consider each request because some might be things that should be repaired. Screens for example should be present. So, something like that I would fix. Every issue won't be caught at the move-in walk through.

Upgrades like painting ceilings, I would either say no to, or consider doing with a small bump in rent. I think either response is appropriate.

Some good suggestions.  If they persist, you can always tell them that this isn't a good fit and give them the option of leaving.  Don't be afraid of saying no.  I think you said it best with they are a potentially good tenant, emphasis on potentially.

Your lease - and your discussions - should be very clear that they were given the opportunity to inspect prior to renting and they are accepting the home in its current condition. You will obviously repair things that are non-functional (bad outlet, stove burner is out, or other things missed during your inspections) but any requests for improvements should be denied.

Yes, I will occasionally make an upgrade for a tenant but ONLY after they've lived in the home for a year and proven themselves. I will not make upgrades for a brand new tenant when I don't even know if they will pay rent on time or take care of the place.

If it's a request for making the unit functional, do it. For example, windows should have screens so you should install them if they are missing or torn. If it's a request to upgrade appliances or plaint or window treatments, politely tell them they viewed it and rented it so they clearly accepted it. You can discuss improvements down the road when they've proven themselves to be good tenants.

The carpets are dirty... who is going to vacuum? The dishes are dirty... who is going to wash them? We want an accent wall... who is going to paint it? Like others have said already put out the brush fire before it spreads into a forest fire. 

There's not a place to be had for most people that couldn't bear some improvement. I just had it out with my constantly complaining German tenants, I told them if they weren't happy they should leave. . They complain more than my 11 other tenants combined!  I provided free laundry, and they complained the basement was dusty!!! Some people you just can't please. Unfortunately this being Jersey, I cannot simply not renew.

You could say no, the place is rented as-is, you were clear about that. If you decide to do a few of the basic things like put screens on the windows, stuff that would just make the place more habitable and that any tenant would benefit from, be clear that is ALL you are doing. Put everything in writing and be direct.

Originally posted by @Victor N. :
My answer is always yes we can do that and rent will increase by $x. I usually figure a 12 month to sometimes an 18 month payback. This takes away the power struggle and finds out how badly the tenant wants the improvements. If they agree, they just improved my property and invested in living there longer. If they say no, they made a financial decision and you didn't deny something they wanted.

i like that very much 

@Syed Ahmed well how are you going to lose  them? They have a lease If they decide to just leave, well now you go to court and get a judgement against them. HOWEVER it seems they are asking for things that already should have been there. How do you have a window without a screen, put them in.  ?  Its peanuts, Paint,  well they moved in now their stuff is there. Tell them you buy the paint, $50 bux, and tell them to do it  how long will it take, an hour or so.  You do not want to lose a good tenant over such minor things, 

Good luck 

There are excellent answers here....BP is a fantastic forum.

Stay polite and professional, just like how you worded your post.  Supply the screens but don't paint until they've stayed and paid on time through the end of the 1st term of the lease (which I'm guessing is one year).