Hello Bigger Pockets!
I have some new younger tenants who have been leaving their windows wide open while they are gone at work all day. They have even done this on a rainy day where it was predicted to rain all day (no thunderstorms, just steady rain). I happened to be over in there in the morning to look into a broken stove and so I just closed them up most of the way while I was there. I am not 100% sure if it would have become an issue that particular day, but the rain did become significantly heavier that afternoon and with just a little unexpected wind, I could see it having become a real problem.
Personally I would never do this at my house. Even if the weather report said it was going to be clear all day, I have experienced enough unexpected thunderstorms that I wouldn't leave my windows open all the way. If I wanted fresh air in the apartment, I would, however, leave them cracked a few inches at the top and bottom, but I would never leave them all the way open while I am gone for hours at a time.
For reference, this apartment is a 2nd floor apartment and on these particular windows there is little overhanging structure to help keep the rain out. There are screens on the windows and hardwood floors below them and the apartment is in Minnesota were we do get random unexpected thunderstorms from time to time.
I spoke to a friend of mine who is another small time landlord and he thinks I am paranoid. I don't want to micromanage my tenants, but I could see an unexpected thunderstorm easily causing significant damage. So I am curious what the bigger pockets community thinks? Am I paranoid? Would sending a polite email to the tenants be overbearing? Do any of you include language specific to this sort of circumstance in your lease (I could have sworn I read a lease once that hand language about windows being left open in it)?
Looking forward to hearing your opinions.
@Jacob Gerber I agree, you don’t want to micro-manage your tenants. BUT, since you were in the house anyway, I wouldn’t hesitate emailing or texting them to suggest they keep the windows closed or open slightly when they are out so rain doesn’t damage the floors, walls, etc.
Then forget about it. Worst case, you have some repairs and security deposit to withhold. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you worry about all the awful things your tenants might (and do) do.
I recommend that you ask them to secure the apartment before they leave for any extended time. We have the same sudden thunderstorm events here in Tampa Bay and regardless of the overhang protection, the great outdoors finds its way "in." We also had a tenant in a secure building leave her front window open with the screen on. She came home one evening to find the screen ripped from the window and a man sleeping in her bed. Fortunately (if there can be anything fortunate in this situation), he was a resident/owner in the community who had quite the night out and misjudged the location of his condo. Waking up drunk to police with guns drawn surely cured him from a repeat performance - and it had a curative effect on the tenant too...the windows are locked whenever she leaves the premises. What comes in - isn't always rain. You're not paranoid nor micromanaging. You just get it.
@Jacob Gerber just a polite email would be warranted. Often the younger tenants don’t understand what could happen if water gets on the floors.
@Jacob Gerber I'd leave them a note or call to follow up on the repair you did and mention that the windows were accidentally left open when you arrived, so you closed them as it is too easy for the rain to get in and cause damage to the floors which they'd be responsible for.
I would send them an email (so it is in writing) saying that you noticed the windows open during a storm while you were there, you closed them, but they should be aware that any and all water damage to the window, walls, floor, structure and anything under that flood including but not limited to the ceiling, walls, floors and tenants contents will be their sole responsibility and will not be repaired using deposit funds. After that I would forget about it