Purchased property tenants wants $1000+ of repairs

40 Replies

I’ve never run into into this situation before i recently closed on a property and turned it over to a property management company.

Almost immediately tenants are complaining about several items they want fixed some they say the last owner promised to take care of but never did. I walked the property before I meet some of the tenants during the due diligence period they didn’t say anything about promised repairs.

First item is a door that is broken this will be $500-$750 to replace / install. Second item is the dryer in the shared laundry room, not sure what the issue is but even a service car / minor repairs will be $250-500.

Are these things I should just replace as a good show of faith or will this open me up to another laundry list of repairs if I’m too giving from the get go?

How is the door broken?  If it looks like abuse (fist hole for example) then you fix and bill the tenant.  Definitely fix the door though.  Check out the dryer in the shared laundry room yourself to see what is going on.  You will have a better idea of whether a repair is needed or what it might cost once you isolate the problem.  Now is the time to make sure that tenants know you will respond to real repair needs but you have a timeline for any planned upgrades and you determine that not them. We once had a tenant demand a new oven when he had accidentally engaged the timed cooking feature and he couldn't understand why the oven was not heating up.  He had set it to start hours later.

I’m joking but just replace the dryer and washer with a coin operated one. That will stop their complaining.  

I agree with @Kathy Johnson if it is damage they caused or could of caused fix it and bill them.  

The dryer sounds like they could be testing the boundaries of your management style.  Not sure why the PM didn’t handle this with a simple house visit. 

Uggh. I'll never understand why owners are okay with the idea of having trashy properties. Why wouldn't you want to have doors that are not broken? If you include laundry machines why wouldn't you want them to be working? Maybe I'm wrong on this but I believe this mindset will lead to a very short career in landlording.

Now I'm all for charging tenants for damage caused by misuse or neglect, but if you can't prove it 100%, pay for it!

@Michael Henry

I find the first 30-90 days after you close is all about finding those little “aches and pains” and getting them fixed. Now, I would not do things just because the last owner “promised” to do them. But I would want to fix all the deferred maintenance quickly and then sit back and let the cash flow in. Out of curiosity, did you have a professional home owners inspection done?

If you have a move in condition report that states there are no broken doors, fix the door and bill it back to tenant. If not, fix it and then take very detailed notes and photos of the current condition. let them know any damage from that day forward will be fixed and billed back.

For the dryer, go give it a visual inspection and test to determine if it needs a service call or if it just needs to be replaced.


@Anthony Wick I did have an inspection done the major issues found the owner paid for at closing. $2800 worth of repairs, these smaller issues we not caught by the inspector.

@Michael Henry what kind of door is this? That shouldn’t cost 500-700 dollars.

Does the dryer/washer belong to you or the tenant? If it’s the tenants, you don’t need to fix that.

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

@Michael Henry what kind of door is this? That shouldn’t cost 500-700 dollars.

Does the dryer/washer belong to you or the tenant? If it’s the tenants, you don’t need to fix that.

The washer and dryer was purchased by the previous owner as a curtsey for the tenants. It’s  in a shared utility room . 

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

@Michael Henry what kind of door is this? That shouldn’t cost 500-700 dollars.

Does the dryer/washer belong to you or the tenant? If it’s the tenants, you don’t need to fix that.

The last door I had replaced was $500 for the door + installation... is this high ? 

 

Originally posted by @Michael Henry :
Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth:

@Michael Henry what kind of door is this? That shouldn’t cost 500-700 dollars.

Does the dryer/washer belong to you or the tenant? If it’s the tenants, you don’t need to fix that.

The last door I had replaced was $500 for the door + installation... is this high ? 

 

I would guess it depends on the door.  I’ve had a front door and a bathroom door replaced in the last 3 months, cost was like 200 each.  That’s for the door and labor. 

 

That is pretty common. When you take over a property the existing tenants are going to tell you about all of the issues they have with their apartment. In this case I would tell them that either they can replace the dryer or you will replace them with coin operated units. for the door that should be fixed/replaced. If it is tenant caused damage then definitely bill them for it.

@Michael Henry

First, it seems like you did not perform a home inspection or the inspector did not catch these items.

Second, you should have been advised by Lawyer or Agent to request for the tenants to complete an estoppel letter during your due diligence period.

You live and learn. Consider this a small price to pay to hang with the big boys.

Congrats on your purchase!

It's not uncommon for the tenants to find problems during the first few months of having a new owner. Typically it's stuff they have been waiting around for the previous owner to fix. 

For the door, how is it broken? We have a clause in our lease that says broken doors get billed back to the tenant. (Breaking a door is not normal wear and tear). However, since you inherited these tenants, it's not likely that you have a full move-in inspection. I would probably fix the door and move on. Same with the dryer. I would fix it this time, but at the next lease renewal I would opt to move away from providing washer and dryers unless that is what is required for the unit to rent. It's just one more liability that you have to deal with. 

The dryer might me something simple like a lint filter hopelessly clogged or a plugged up vent hose, etc. Dryers aren't expensive, may be cheaper to replace it than to have it repaired if you can't do it yourself.
The door should be fixed. Be responsive to your tenants but make sure they don't "train" you.
Whenever I'm at a property, I always inquire whether everything is working properly? If not, I WANT to fix these items. I have a list now I recently collected from a house. None of the items are "major" but added together, it's a number of things the tenant has been putting up with that should be fixed. (of course if I had been aware of them, it would have been done, but they "don't want to bother me".)

$500 for a door? I'm not sure what that door is made of. (Gold?) If it's an interior door, and it's hollow, that's about $40 for the door. For a solid core, it can be about $90. Labor should only be about an hour or two at the most.

@Michael Henry

You are approaching this the wrong way.
. You are the landlord, You purchased the property with these issues already there. All of the responsibility is on you, Don't blame the inspector. 
. Don't blame the tenants for not speaking up during the due diligence, that was between you and the seller. Respect your tenants.
. Make a list of issues with the property and fix them. Treat the property like you live there.
. The three S's of Property Management are Safety, Security and Serenity . Fix problems in that order.
. If you don't know what items cost of items you need to start getting multiple bids on repair items
. If you have so many items that it will be a continual upkeep issue hire a part time or full time maintenance person.

no door = one step closer to "open concept" lol no normal/cheapo door should be that much to replace. as far as the dryer, might as well get them one that was gently used instead of paying couple of hundred for a service call.

p.s. Were you present during the inspection? i'd be asking current tenants all kinds of questions relating to anything that could be broken. lesson learned.

@Michael Henry

I can understand why they wouldn’t spring repair talk on you before you are actually the owner. Those two things don’t sound unreasonable although I’m guessing there’s more where that came from. If there are some things the previous landlord promised but didn’t deliver on, and you don’t fix them or make them satisfied with why you will choose not to fix them, I would expect to lose them as tenants. The other landlord has left a sour taste in their mouth which will transfer to you now.

The real question is, how do you feel about losing them and having to replace them?

@Michael Henry this is really very little money to do these two things. I always have a list of things to fix when I buy a property. It is very common when owners are selling, that they neglect repairs. That is because sellers are usually in one of two situations:

1. In over their heads so before selling they are neglecting

2. Ready to move on, either retiring or upgrading so are not putting more money into the property as they sunset

In both cases, you will find the properties are not in top shape. Working door and appliances are both your responsibility. I have never found that doing one repair opened the door to having to do other repairs. I know people say that, but it is nonsense. 

Fix thing you are responsible for and don't fix things that you are not responsible for.

I wish some of these landlords would stop giving advice to not fix things. That is shady slum lord behavior. When you neglect a property, it falls into disrepair. That is how C properties turn into D properties. That is also how you end up with crappy tenants. Good tenants don't want to put up with crappy landlords and broken properties. That is just common sense.

The door should be around $200-300 for exterior. The dryer could be replaced with a used one for around $100-150. Not a huge cost, so I would just get it done.

One other question, is the laundry coin operated? If not, you may want to upgrade both to coin op and that could be another income stream. 

Good luck!

I greatly appreciate everyone’s feedback, the door looks like it isn’t the tenants fault so I’ve gone ahead and gotten some quotes for the repairs, dryer is next on the list. 

@Michael Henry   ALWAYS  have a check list and have the tenant sign off that the property is what they expected.  We even video the walk through. This solves a lot of issues. 

Good  Luck 

Oh man. That door is probably 80 years old as is the hardware. That stuff does fail over time. But it doesn't look to me like the whole door needs replaced just from your pictures (I assume those are 2 pics side by side). You probably can't get that door hardware any more unless you go to an antique place but if there's nothing particularly historical about what you have you can sleeve the entire opening if necessary and add modern door knobs/deadbolts. I can't tell what the problem is in the first picture - what is the problem there?

Anyway, point is you don't always have to replace things - sometimes you can make repairs that are perfectly fine, cost less money, and maintain the integrity of the home. Sometimes pulling old historical doors ends up doing work on plaster, reframing openings (old doors were often shorter than new ones), adding trim, etc. Most old doors are solid wood and are better initial quality than virtually anything you're going to buy new.