Tenant keeps on pushing off repairs

12 Replies


I have a tenant that's complaining that we need to fix her ceiling because it's cracking, and we wanna take care of it , especially that is in the beed room whet she's sleeping with her toddler. .

and she insists every time that we must fix it, and we go and call guys. And she cancels in the last minute. 

same now workers were supposed to start tomorrow morning, and she texts me a few min. Ago that we need to cancel, and we can't do it before another few weeks..

I have 2 questions 

1) how should I deal with it, I can't keep canceling people in the last min.

2) I don't wanna be responsible of it falls on someone. ..

Thank you

@Sami Gren what does your lease say for maintenance? Have you seen the ceiling in question? I mean ceiling falling seems like mandatory maintenance, I would reschedule and tell her if she can’t let them in next time you will be there.

Originally posted by @Bryan S. :

@Sami Gren what does your lease say for maintenance? Have you seen the ceiling in question? I mean ceiling falling seems like mandatory maintenance, I would reschedule and tell her if she can’t let them in next time you will be there.

it's not literally falling, but cracking a little, and it can happen anytime, so we always like to be prevented. .

we're trying to fix it for months..

the problem is she won't let is in only when she's available. 


I would give proper notice to enter for purposes of repair and maintenance of the property (as per your lease and local statute) and just go in with your guy and have him repair it.  If you are using a contractor, I would stay with him so that your tenant does not bring up claims of theft.

Good luck!

@Sami Gren

@Wesley W. 's advice here is exactly what you need. This sounds like a plaster ceiling that you're going to need to do quite a bit of work on. The next time you schedule is the last time. There's no more canceling allowed here. It's your property, and you're going to get in there and fix it. Make all this clear to your tenant, and of course explain very clearly how these cancellations are affecting your long-term business relationship with the guy who's going to be fixing the ceiling.

Plaster's much heavier than the people who don't work with it believe it is. If a piece falls on a child's head, you're in deep trouble. Explain this as well. You're trying to do your best for her as well as yourself. You're not the bad guy here because you're insisting that this gets done.

I had an issue with a building that had a particular tenant trying to create a lawsuit for the previous management company, that carried onto our acquisition. He would make these complaints but always refused entry or changed dates.

In the lease, it does say that we reserve the right to enter especially to complete/address repairs that affect safety, structure and building system.

I sent a letter to him stating that we would be entering the unit on X day to address repairs. If this date is not suitable, then he should reply to the letter and present an alternate date. If he is not present on either date, we do have the right to enter the unit to address the issues (insert lease paragraph).

Upon the day of visit, unit must have areas accessible, no unsupervised minors or loose animals.

And that letter was emailed, stamped and left at their door, and left in vm 48 hrs before the scheduled visit.

It helped immensely at court, stripped his credibility down.

in our state, we give 24 hour notice to enter for needed repairs, ready or not. Tenant does not need to be present.

If they refuse, it's breach of contract, remediable by eviction.

Not sure about NJ, but in my state, I don’t need permission to enter the property, only need to provide notice.

I’d make it clear that because it’s a safety issue, you’ll need access on x date and will have workers in for however many hours. No longer a question.

@Sami Gren

Hi there:

Document... Document... Document. You need to document the complaint, the issue, the solution and all the times she has refused access.

I would then craft a letter and let her know that on a specific date at a specific time I’m coming to do an inspection of the property and I expect to have access granted. If she cannot be there ask her to have someone else available. Suggest 2 or 3 different times.

Once you gain access look around to see what’s needs to be done. Take pictures and arrange to have the repairs completed.

She cannot deny you access to your property. Let us know how it works out.

You should have a clause in your lease that explains that maintenance requests deferred by the tenant will be the responsibility of the tenant and they will be liable for the damage.

@Brandon Turner talks about this in the book on landlording (or managing rental properties)

Let her know that if she continues to delay the fix, and something worse happens then just cracking, she will need to pay the difference for a whole new ceiling repair.

@Sami Gren I'm sorry you are experiencing this. I literally had the same situation not even a month ago and this rental was located in South Jersey.

As @Sheldon Nave stated, you absolutely need to document. Additionally, you need to reference your lease. In NJ you can have a clause that allows entrance into the property to fix items that are deemed an emergency or major safety concern. Furthermore, you can place a clause in your lease that allows you entrance as long as you give 24 hours notice and reasonable cause. Check your lease if it is already there. If it was prepared by an NJ lawyer many automatically put it in there.

I know that may not help your current situation but it may help you in the next.

Also if you need a reference to a good landlord tenant-lawyer and your property is in South Jersey I can refer you. DM me.