@Wesam S. ya got 3 months left. Ride it out, bite your lip and non renew their lease. Make sure you cross all the T's and dot all your i's in your exit strategy with them and get them out. then after they are gone repair the place and do a better screening job before renting again. A great home inspector is worth its weight in gold and then some, so use the time now to vet and locate a great home inspector. That is what i would do, oh and another thing. Take this time to make sure your lease is armed with as much ammo to benefit you to get bad tenants out in the future should you come across any again.
@Wesam S. Sounds like a rough year for the house. You may be overwhelmed but I see profit ahead. Too many problems from all sides. Tenants may be hard asses but they aren’t wrong in a lot of the cases.
I’m confused as to why you repaired a window they broke and didn’t charge them? You should have pictures and move in documents stating what damage exists. It sounds like not only are the tenants fed up but because you’ve attended to a problem or two that is probably their responsibility, they are going to come to you for solving all the problems.(like fixing windows they broke)
Other problems are clearly problems that need to be address and you did.
the wood chips is unacceptable. Yes they could have cleaned it up and as a tenant I would have. But every moment I raked the chips up I would have thought my landlord sucks and other **** thoughts about you. Contractors leaving a mess is unacceptable and you have to remedy their messes ASAP because it’s not the tenants responsibility.
I will tell you though I highly doubt these tenants will renew their lease, though if you let them break windows and don’t charge for it or if you let them tell you how you need to repair the house then they might want to stay lol.
Lay down the law, study what your standards are and be firm. After reading a lot of this bread I can’t tell if the tenants are being hard because they are hard asses with certain expectations or if they are fed up after being told to clean up your contractors messes and maybe fed up after talking to you about other things you’re suppose to take responsibility for but didn’t.
There are two sides to every story but I think you need to up your game sir. Read another landlord book or two. I know I still am and it makes a difference in my game everyday I pick it up and read. Law down the law when you are right and spend the money to remedy when you are wrong.
Also maybe get a new electrician lol
@Wesam S. I will agree with you that being disrespectful to repairmen that you have used for other properties is unacceptable.
There is a certain way to put your tenants in their place when they treat your techs like crap but sometimes you just got to let them rant if they have an opinion, listen and then move on.
There's a lot of interesting comments on here, but Los Angeles is a different beast due to Rent Control. I own 4 SFR... and a 4-Plex. in Eagle Rock/Glassell Park area, Los Angeles. I do a very thorough screening to find quality tenants upfront. Did you properly screen these tenants before they moved in? I always meet tenants in person when I show vacant properties to get a vibe of their personalities... you can easily spot a complainer by just watching them walk the unit when you are showing the property. Sometimes, I even look into their cars to see how the inside is and how they take care of it... its a good indication of how they will treat your property. I also make sure I call previous landlords on how tenants were... late payments, complaints, etc. In fact, Im doing all of the above now because I have a new vacancy that I've been showing all week.
As you know, It's very difficult to evict tenants on bad or less than ideal behavior without "just cause" in CA... Particularly in Los Angeles due to Rent Control. "Managing" your tenants can be a headache at times.... sometimes you just need to bite your tongue. But like someone else mentioned above. There are always 2 sides to the story.
Unfortunately, certain repairs and maintenance are your responsibility (roof leaks, plumbing, electrical, etc..). However, I've learned that throughout the years to add to my lease contracts certain provisions for certain types of petty requests. I have an addendum on the contracts that says my tenants are responsible for maintenance of certain things (replacing HVAC Filters every 2-3mos, Refrigerator water Filters, Light bulbs... especially Garbage disposals)... of course, I will supply the materials every year (bulbs, filter etc.) If things break due to negligence or failure to maintain certain provisions then I can hold them liable for repair costs and will take it out of their security deposits.
By the way, SFR do not abide by the same multi-unit rent control ordinance. You can only raise the rent for multi-units up to 4% annually. However, you can raise the rent of SFR to the 10% limit within a year. What is your lease term agreement like? Are they on a yearly basis or month-to-month?? I have my tenants on a month-to-month basis after the first years lease so this would allow me to do so with a 30day notice. I've raised my rents 3% annually only, but I have a pesky tenant... I will bump it up to the 10%. Failure to pay rent is "just cause" for eviction under Rent Control. Thankfully, I've never had to do that. All my tenants are great because I screened them well.
At any case, if you don't want to deal with tenants directly. Just get a property manager to handle the calls. They are a dime a dozen. Good Luck!
I wrote up a long post and decided It’s ill-advised to diss one of my tenants on a public forum, but I will say, if you aren’t land lording in California it’s hard to understand the OP’s perspective. I’m not trying to sound ostentatious, but I would wager that Californians are THE most high maintenance tenants around. What right do the tenants have to request an entire window be replaced after a little crack has been replaced? A lot of them make requests as if they own the house and it just isn’t up to standard. When people at showings suggest “Well would you consider changing ____?” Or “Can I paint the room ____?”
Sure, we have great appreciation, but we also get to deal with “gems” that are a nonstop pain in the $&[email protected]
@Wesam S. You have a lot of good advised and thoughts here from BP. If you want to make peace with them try that if not don't renew the lease, go through the property and start fresh.
@Jim K. makes excellent points here... In my case, YES, I expect the tenant to handle minor repairs themselves and I require this in my lease, but I have also first done all the things that Jim suggests as just a routine part of my rehab, since I buy highly distressed properties to begin with. For example, I can be confident in requiring a tenant to handle their own plumbing clogs after the first two weeks of occupancy in my lease, because I've had the full system serviced by a licensed reputable plumber prior to and in between tenants. I know everything was in proper working order before they moved in (because we check), so I can be fairly certain of what repairs are on me (because things do break in homes over time) and what are due to their own actions and thus on them to handle.
Reading over this thread I can see how I would feel as the tenant in this case, as enough is enough with all the issues. I'd still not likely renew their lease, as the relationship may now be damaged beyond repair. But certainly put some money into the property to get everything right before renting it again - and it seems you may need it vacant to do all the work that is needed.
A landlord can only try minimizing the repairs, you cannot satisfy a tenant who keeps complaining on all. Here are a few ways you can try in order to minimize the complaints. Analyze the damage and then try to use the best solution. Try to provide fewer fittings and furnishings because this will reduce your responsibility on bearing the repairs. Finally try avoiding flimsy fittings.
If this is class A or B property you will get class A or B tenants. They are clean, respectful and pay on time. In turn they expect a good product where their landlord doesnt act like they are doing them favors over justified repairs. At the second or third service call for important things such as basic living issues (water heater/electrical issues) I would have had my repair guys give me a full list of the issues. Seems like you cut corners prior to move in and you are reacting to tenants. Now tenants are sour with a magnifying glass in their mind. Maybe you’re handling it correctly being reactionary to each call. My opinion is you are correct on a lower end rental. If you’re charging more than 2k a month then I dont. Maybe 3k in cali im not sure on markets there.
@Will Dixon we do get the same kinds of requests here in Ohio, I don't think it is a California thing exclusively. However you are right that California is different in terms of landlord tenant laws. I still believe half of the landlord's problems would be resolved if he hired a PM, because most of his frustration is with the nonstop requests that go to him directly. A PM has consistent standards for when to say yes and when to say no. And a tenant not willing to work with a PM (any PM in general, not necessarily one specific PM that maybe has a poor reputation) usually is doing something they shouldn't be...
Sorry your experience is bad but it may be a learning experience. In all honesty its a clash between you who knew there were issues and someone who might have unreal expectations or just may be a perfectionist? I have run into problem tenants before and there are those that have a legitimate complaint and those that have a motive. You need to document every issue you resolved. Tis may be their method of not paying the last few months. Request a sit-down with the tenant at you office. Get an understanding and start looking for a replacement. People like this don't change.
Either way you and his tenant are a bad combination. Find someone new.
You got to be careful here.I sense your tenants may be up to no good.6 months ago,I found myself in similar situation with a tenant that had a similar MO.Like in your case they complained about everything in the newly rehabbed home.But I quickly realized all they were trying to do is to justify no paying rent by claiming they are withholding rent for deferred maintenance that I failed to do.They lied about the water heater was broke and got an estimate to replace from a dubious handyman.Water heater still works till date.Long story short,after the rent was late a second time,I stopped taking rent and evicted them.I later realized they have been doing this for a while to several landlords and apartment complexes.Always screen your potential tenants,mine wasn't properly screened.
It seems the property was not ready to be rented. If the tenant is complaining about light bulbs tell them go buy them . Also You should have a check list when walking threw the house during move in. Have the tenant sign off as all is ok
I hesitate to add another post when there already have been so many, but just don't renew their lease. In short, get rid of them. There are people out there who just never grew up or are so narcissistic they simply can't be managed.
You may be able to encourage their leaving when they complain the next time by telling them, if they want to leave you'll let them out of their lease. Tell them to give you a months notice, leave it clean and you'll return their deposit. I had a troubled tenant, and after a couple of times hearing me tell them this, they straightened up.
I am in California. I had a crap CA. tenant. I gave him 60 day notice the landlord will be moving into the property. I did. This was in 2016. Don't talk to anybody about why you moved in. Just do it. If you only have a short time left before the lease, you're lucky. Last I looked in CA. if the landlord wants to move in, they can with 60 day notice on a month to month.
@Wesam S. Sorry about the headache but it sounds like you are handling it right. I’m not sure of the landlord laws in your state but I would let them know that they are free to leave if the property is not up to their standards and cancel the lease as a mutual agreement. If you don’t want to go that route, then it might not be a bad idea to visit the property and see the condition for yourself. Is the property really in that bad of a condition?? Also, let it be known what’s an acceptable repair request and what is not.
Originally posted by @David Avetisyan :
California is a different beast, especially if the property is located in a rent control neighborhood. Tenants are protected by all sorts of laws and getting rid of them isn’t easy.
My suggestion: Next time they complain, let them know you are willing to let them out of their lease.
It is my impressions that the tenants are mistaking your kindness for weakness and it’s time you start channeling your frustrating correctly. Put your foot down and take control of your property. Don’t let them bully you into doing things.
To your success!
"Dr Mr and Mrs Tenant,
I wanted to acknowledge your recent request to repair the X. As you know, there have been various minor issues with the home over the past several months. The attempts to repair and improve the property have not been fully successful. I have decided to undergo a more comprehensive renovation of the property so as to determine the root cause of any issues and ensure any underlying issues are resolved. It won't be possible for any tenant to live in the home during this work. For that reason, I will hold off on this work until our current lease ends. I realize this means you'll need to find new housing and take on the inconvenience involved in that - to make the overall process easier for you, I am comfortable ending our lease at any point on or before October X, 2019 when our current lease expires. Hopefully this gives you the flexibility to make your next move with confidence. My only condition is that you provide a 10 day notice when you're ready to move instead of the 30 day notice agreed to in our lease.
<say something nice>
Go in there, deal with whatever you do or don't need to do. Put it back on the market. Move on. The opportunity cost of dealing with nitpicky tenants is larger than any lost rent you'll have for the month.
As always, I thank all of you for the incredible input you've given me. I've read through every response and internalized many of the principles that you all have spoken about.
Just to clarify a few things:
The property is in Bakersfield, I live in L.A., so there is no rent control to worry about in this case. The tenants do pay rent on time (sometimes they even pay early) and they do take care of the property (last I checked, I need to stop by again). I don't believe any of the repairs that were/are needed are due to the tenants breaking things, my repairmen would have told me if they had thought foul play was the reason the repairs were needed.
I had a discussion with them yesterday and told them that based off their never-ending stream of request for repairs (some with are trivial), that clearly they are unhappy with the home, with the individuals making the repairs, and the quality of the repair work being done and that they are welcome to opt out of the lease at any time. They then assured me that they love the home, the neighbors, and neighborhood, and that they didn't mean to come across as being so bothersome. We talked about a few more things so I'll wait and see if the conversation changes anything.
At this point the entire house is virtually new: entire sprinkler system is new, the electrical system has been completely gone over, the A/C and heater is serviced, from the remodeling by the previous owner all the cabinetry throughout the house is new, stone flooring, paint inside and out, never had any issues with plumbing, roofing, etc.
Hey Wesam, I appreciate you writing about your frustration regarding the troubling tenants. California is definitely a tenant friendly state, and there are many rules in place.
These resources were kindly provided by @WesBlackwell.
Here are some resources for you.
If you are in a popular location, consider doing vacation homes. It is a little more hands on regarding the communication and booking requests, but I find it much easier, and simple. Guests are in and out, the return is usually 1 - 2 times the amount, you are able to fix any issues after check out, and block the calendar off when you need to. Basically you have absolute control of your property. The downside is the time investment needed, constant attention to guests (Usually a greeting, and a checkout message is needed, but sometimes small issues occue such as being locked out, supplies running out, light bulbs etc).
I wish you luck and be sure to follow the great advice the BPers have offered. Even if some comments are more aggresive, take a step back to understand their perspective (Which I see you doing already).
Great work and keep it up! Keep us updated. I will be following.
@Wesam S. — sounds like one thing that might be helpful is to set up some boundaries. Perhaps they could make a list and you could set up a weekly/monthly time to connect to discuss the items in the list. This would eliminate you taking calls 24/7, and would also give you a chance to prioritize what you need to tackle and/or can afford to tackle financially. If you are just *done* with these tenants, you could always offer a financial incentive for them to leave ASAP.
Sounds like a typical A neighborhood house is it?
Never buy a A neighborhood house, I HATE THEM! Trust me you will get the most needy & annoying tenants.
Focus on B C
The first mistake was giving any tenant your phone number (easy fix = don’t answer).
Give tenants your handy mans number for emergencies only.
All communication (including non emergency maintenance requests) should be through email. This gives you the opportunity to ignore all b.s. requests easily, and train your tenants to not get answered when they make such requests (they will catch on quick).
I also recommend never telling any tenant that you are the owner (future forward). I always say I work with the owners (not untrue).
Lastly, remember that Regular upkeep is the nature of the beast with rental properties.
Once your handy man identifies a request as a legitimate repair, handle it like a professional investor (with a smile). In my experience most repairs made will be one less thing to break/go wrong/give you an issue in the future (which is actually a good thing).
Personally, I try to take care of all deferred maintenance prior to placing a tenant (though not always possible).
The last thing I will point out (perhaps the most important) is;
As professional real estate investors ALL of this stuff is in our job description (and is why we get the big bucks)!
In the words of Buddha
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
Hopefully this helps.
Ah ok its not in LA and its not rent control [sfr not under RC in LA anyways but tenants still have the upper hand in most cases.] If you are running up there to fix little things thats a deal breaker for sure. Its a problem -Lets make some lemonade!
Bakersfield a different story. Here is what I would do depending on what your long term goals are.
If they like the house and the area make your life simpler. Stop being the landlord and become the bank. So many landlords are afraid to talk to the tenants. Just make them an offer they cant refuse. Most tenants are so unaware that they can buy a home.
Bakersfield market is undervalued, but will be declining 1st for sure.
Look at selling it to them as a lease option or even a seller carry back etc. You create an AITD, add some equity and give them a payment similar to rent [minus the repairs, taxes etc]
They pay for the repairs and have a vested interest to take care of the property. Maybe after a few years they can be in a position to buy. Or now FHA loans are dirt cheap and even zero down loans are available. Sell them the home, especially if you have owned it more than a year.
Keep us posted
Presumably you are 9 months in to a year long lease? If so, just let it ride out at this point and tell them you will not be renewing. It is frustrating, but if they just move out at the end of their lease term I would consider that a win.
I am glad that you had a talk with them. Hopefully what you told them stuck and they stop calling so often.
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