Landlord charged a fee because tenant didn't let a plumber in

23 Replies

Hi! I will appreciate your opinion. There is a small leak in one of our rental apartments. My husband arranged a plumber to come and fix it, he let the tenant know a day before, and the tenant agreed to let the plumber in. When the plumber showed up at the agreed time, the tenant didn't open the door. The plumber waited for 20 min and left and now charging us a fee. How do you deal with tenants in situations like this?

I had the exact same situation a couple months back. The tenant arranged the day/time with the plumbing company we use and she just forgot about it. We told the tenant to call them and reschedule and when she did, they told her that there was a $50 charge for the missed appointment and she needed to pay it over the phone before they would come out again. She paid. Had she not, we would have paid and then charged her and/or deducted it from her security deposit.

@Yulia J.

My lease states if tenant agrees to be present and then isn't, the tenant is charged the fee. If tenant states they cannot be present, I make other arrangements.

The tenant pays the fee. I have it set up in my management agreement that if they make the appt and don't cancel, they are responsible for the charge and will be added on as additional rent, this way we can use it on the three day notice the following month as "additional rent"

@Yulia J. Why does the tenant have to open the door?

Tell the plumber what the problem is. Tell the plumber where to get a key. Tell the tenant when the plumber is coming by. Plumber goes in, fixed problem and leaves and returns key.

As long as you give proper (usually 24 hours) notice to the tenant this isn’t an issue

@Yulia J.

Based on what others have written here, it looks like the first place to go wood be your renter’s agreement. What stipulations are in place today? If nothing to deal with this type of scenario, consider adding to your renter renewals moving forward.

@Yulia J. This is one of those things you would never think about putting into a lease until it happens. For most tenants, they will only go out of their way for a landlord (yes even to open a door) if they are incentivized monetarily or if the issues directly impacts their day to day. Put a lockbox at the property and have keys in there for the vendors.

I would still charge the tenant unless it was coordinated for the landlord to open the doors.  This isn't your fault.  Although lesson learned would be making sure landlord is present for future repairs, if you wanted to completely avoid this situation again.

If you front the payment then deduct from their security deposit.

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

@Yulia J. Why does the tenant have to open the door?

Tell the plumber what the problem is. Tell the plumber where to get a key. Tell the tenant when the plumber is coming by. Plumber goes in, fixed problem and leaves and returns key.

As long as you give proper (usually 24 hours) notice to the tenant this isn’t an issue

 And then what do you do when the tenant calls you up and says Caleb my Play Station is missing. 

It's our policy that a vendor never enters an apartment without the tenant present. The only time they are given keys is if the property is vacant.

Don't think these things don't happen. There are reasons why property management companies have the procedures we have.

Originally posted by @Peter T. :
Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth:

@Yulia J. Why does the tenant have to open the door?

Tell the plumber what the problem is. Tell the plumber where to get a key. Tell the tenant when the plumber is coming by. Plumber goes in, fixed problem and leaves and returns key.

As long as you give proper (usually 24 hours) notice to the tenant this isn’t an issue

 And then what do you do when the tenant calls you up and says Caleb my Play Station is missing. 

It's our policy that a vendor never enters an apartment without the tenant present. The only time they are given keys is if the property is vacant.

Don't think these things don't happen. There are reasons why property management companies have the procedures we have.

I’d say it depends on the PM and the vendor.  I’ve had vendors who won’t enter a home without someone present from the PM or the owner.  Others have no issue with it.

As far as PM policies in place I think that varies too.  In my market (where I’m invested) the PM don’t have any issue with someone picking up a key and then bringing it back.  I don’t like that policy the best but that’s how they operate

 

When I was a renter in a luxury apartment building, things were fixed when I was not there, and I didn't care. They probably had internal maintenance staff, but I think when they hired help from outside somebody from the management company would be present. As a landlord, it's my policy to not give the key to anybody else to avoid possible true or false claims. And starting from now, my husband or I will be present for all maintenance appointments. Until we can afford a management company:)

It's your property. Make the appointment, inform the tenant, be there for the repair. It's a good time to get a look around and see how the tenant is treating your property. Do they have pets or extra people residing in property? Are they overloading electrical circuitry? Are they storing dangerous items, like paint next to the furnace? Take advantage of the opportunity to check on your property.

When you re-do your lease, model it after the Texas Realtors standard lease template. It covers EVERYTHING including this situation, which puts the fee on the tenant. 

Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth :

@Yulia J. Why does the tenant have to open the door?

Tell the plumber what the problem is. Tell the plumber where to get a key. Tell the tenant when the plumber is coming by. Plumber goes in, fixed problem and leaves and returns key.

As long as you give proper (usually 24 hours) notice to the tenant this isn’t an issue

I've got exactly the same problem in my units, Caleb. All the time. I also have some tenants who think I might be using my keys to snoop around and do unmentionable things when they're not there. Been accused to my face of it. Never underestimate the paranoia of tenants in lower-end units.

In theft cases, it's usually not a Play Station, at least with home health aides in this position (my wife is extremely familiar with multiple cases). It's usually something smaller, jewelry specifically, rings, earrings, that sort of thing.

 

Originally posted by @Jim K. :
Originally posted by @Caleb Heimsoth:

@Yulia J. Why does the tenant have to open the door?

Tell the plumber what the problem is. Tell the plumber where to get a key. Tell the tenant when the plumber is coming by. Plumber goes in, fixed problem and leaves and returns key.

As long as you give proper (usually 24 hours) notice to the tenant this isn’t an issue

I've got exactly the same problem in my units, Caleb. All the time. I also have some tenants who think I might be using my keys to snoop around and do unmentionable things when they're not there. Been accused to my face of it. Never underestimate the paranoia of tenants in lower-end units.

In theft cases, it's usually not a Play Station, at least with home health aides in this position (my wife is extremely familiar with multiple cases). It's usually something smaller, jewelry specifically, rings, earrings, that sort of thing.

Our tenants have a choice - either be there to supervise their property, or leave it unattended. Either way we are entering within the time-frame they have been notified of.

Yes, some will say X item was stolen. To which I then respond (reluctantly, I normally don't even want to engage these complaints) - so you are telling me my staff who I pay $30/hr (who cares if that's true) put their job at risk to steal your item worth $45 at the pawn shop? "Well...no...but...its..." is the usual response. Or super-aggressive, "All my drawers were opened, house was ransacked!". Either way its BS and I don't entertain it unless I get MULTIPLE reports of similar conduct involving the same employee.

However, I can understand a tenant's concern if a landlord just sends in any old schmuck they find on craigslist and gives them the lockbox code.

And as last resort, I tell them to file a claim with their renter's insurance (oops - didn't notice that's required per the lease???).