Repairs while tenant isnt home?

18 Replies

What is your opinion on performing repairs while the tenants aren't home?  My tenants are fine with me being in the house when they are not home but I hesitate sometimes.  I wouldn't want something to happen, that I didn't do, that would give them an opportunity to question if it was me.

ie They lose something and think I stole it....

Our management company will have the tenant coordinate with the vendor when they can come. We will usually let the vendor pick up keys from us if the tenant won't be home. The people we use are trust worthy. In the event the tenant demands they be home, that's fine, they just might have to wait longer for the repair to be done if it's after the tenant returns home from work, class, etc. 

Personally, I would not give keys to a vendor unless I was going to be there..or one of the staff.  If the tenant finds something missing or even makes it up, you could be in for a world of hurt.

@Justin Seng . I’ve done this. Heck I wasn’t even there. My contractor just went. If you okay it ahead of time and you work with ethical people this shouldn’t be an issue.

If you’re using random people off Craigslist then yeah I may be a bit worried if I was your tenant

I inform tenants  before they sign the lease that I cannot guarantee repairs / inspections will be done when they are home. If they insist on being home they will need to arrange their schedule to accommodate the vendor. I do work with tenants on scheduling repairs but it occasionally happens that they need to occur when tenants aren't home so I don't accept tenants for which this is not okay. 

I have found that tenants that refuse to allow you entry usually have something to hide or are they are high maintenance tenants.  I have never had a problem with vendors I trust  being in a unit alone but it is rare  that neither the tenant or myself are present. I have had tenants call afterwords noticing items moved but there is always a good reason for the move. 

@Justin Seng

We just did our a cleaning on all AC units I sent notice we would be entering on this date and that’s what I did. I only have 16 doors but I can’t work around everyone’s schedule.

So always take someone in with you if you are concerned, better safe than sorry.

As long as the tenant gives permission, it shouldn't be a problem. Considerations:

1. Make sure your tenant is not leaving valuables or medications out.

2. Don't send a vendor to a home when children are home alone. Our policy is that we won't go into a home with anyone 16 years of age or under.

3. Try to avoid a single male, single female situation.

@Justin Seng I explain to tenants at lease signing, that they have a right to be at the property any time work is being done, but also have the option to approve work being done without them being there. I also make it clear should they chose to be there, they need to be flexible on scheduling. I try not to have work done while tenants are living in a property unless it is a repair or HVAC maintenance.

In today's day and age, people have cameras hidden in their house, so anything you do in a property could be caught on camera. Hopefully people with employees, remind their employees of this regularly. Even as a landlord, resist the urge to wander anywhere but where you need to be doing work. A friend of mine had his "trusted" plumbers son steal a bottle of liqueur from his business, caught on camera and prosecuted. Sad story, but the lesson is nobody can be trusted.

@Justin Seng

I schedule repairs around my schedule, and notify tenants I will be present, and they can choose to be there or not. Then I text tenant just before coming over and again when leaving.

@Joe Splitrock Thanks Joe. I will be the one going into the house and the tenants are ok with that so I think I’m good. Good tip to discuss this during the lease signing. 

@Joe Splitrock

Great point about cameras. Was at a tenants place checking electrical in garage and basement the other day. What would I say if I’m on camera in the upstairs bedrooms that day? Unless you specifically tell tenants you will be doing a full maintenance inspection while there, respect that it’s their home and stick to the job at hand.

@Justin Seng . I'm small time - manage all my own! I coordinate the repair with the Contractor / vendor, and then have the Contractor /vendor schedule the timing with the tenants. If the item needs repair / service, tenants will find some time in their schedule to meet the contractor.