General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Do landlords have to pay for a reverse osmosis filter sustem?

Posted Dec 4 2019, 08:11

Hello,

My renter just sent me an invoice for a reverse osmosis water system and installation fee.  I previously had a water filter connected to the fridge but had no such water system.  He chose to install it on his own and unfortunately, the lease does not spell out whose responsibility this is.  

Any advice on whether this is my responsibility or the Tenant’s?  He installed it without my knowledge and consent so it seems fair that I shouldn’t have to pay for it.  

Appreciate your input!

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Jon Reed
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Springfield, MO
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Jon Reed
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Springfield, MO
Replied Dec 4 2019, 08:33

That is all on your tenant. Unless you had a verbal or written agreement that you would pay for it. 

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Jennifer T.
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  • New Orleans, LA
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Jennifer T.
  • Investor
  • New Orleans, LA
Replied Dec 4 2019, 08:48

That is completely bizarre the tenant thinks they can put in a reverse osmosis system...especially considering the house didn't have one to begin with...and that you should be responsible for paying for it.  I assume you knew nothing about it and never agreed to that.

I swear!  Some people just live in an alternate reality from the rest of us.

I'd tell the tenant you did not authorize or agree to pay for an RO system.  I'd also mention that he is welcome to take it with him for whenever he moves out, as long as the sink/plumbing is fully returned to its previous condition.

Edited to add: In regards to it not being addressed one way or another in your lease.  Of course it isn't addressed.  Because an RO system didn't exist before.  To give an exaggerated analogy.  That would be like my tenant taking it upon himself to spend $40K to put a pool in the backyard.  And then tell me I'm responsible for the cost of the pool and for maintaining the pool.  It's not like, "whelp, he's got me there, because I didn't write anything in the lease about a pool and pool maintenance."

I realize you mentioned something about a filtered water line to the fridge that no longer works.  One could argue you are responsible for replacing that.  But an RO system is totally different.

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Kris L.
  • Tampa Bay Area, FL
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Kris L.
  • Tampa Bay Area, FL
Replied Dec 4 2019, 11:17

@Maria Tran

Your lease says nothing about tenant needing written permission before modifying the property? You need to get that into your leases going forward.

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Colleen F.
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  • Narragansett, RI
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Colleen F.
  • Investor
  • Narragansett, RI
Replied Dec 4 2019, 12:58

Return to sender. You must have sent this by mistake... 

Lease should say something about no alterations but regardless if it does or not,  if there was no discussion or agreement to pay it is on them.  Try to come back with the appropriate lease clause but if you can't just politely refuse to pay. Let them know no alterations can be made without your approval and in general you do not approve alterations.  If you have a filter on the refrigerator it should work but replacement filters in my opinion are the responsibility of the tenant.

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Dennis M.
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  • Erie, pa
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Dennis M.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Erie, pa
Replied Dec 4 2019, 15:02

Brace yourself because next week it’ll be a bill for the new hot tub jacuzzi he’s adding lol inform the tenant that he needs to go pound salt and tell him you touch stuff like that again he’s the one getting charged for tampering altering your home . Do not put up with this crap going forward . I’d nip this in the bud now before this fool gets more bright ideas 

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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
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Nathan G.#1 All Forums Contributor
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ModeratorReplied Dec 4 2019, 18:21

Dear Tenant,

I did not give you permission to add a reverse osmosis system. You are required to request permission, and receive permission, before making any alterations to my property. You also do not have the right to bill me for alterations I did not approve.

You are responsible for paying this invoice. When your lease ends and you move out, you will be required to remove the reverse osmosis system and return the home to its original condition.

Your Landlord

I would set up an inspection at your earliest opportunity to ensure they are not making any additional changes to the home. I would also document the reverse osmosis system with pictures or video.

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Max T.
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Max T.
  • Investor
  • Philadelphia, PA
Replied Dec 4 2019, 19:15

something doesn't add up here... something is missing from the backstory

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Replied Dec 4 2019, 19:22

Very helpful.  Thanks, all!  Looks like there’s a clear verdict here and that I’m not unreasonable.  

Ps: no backstory here.  Simple as what has been noted.  🤷‍♀️

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Dick Rosen
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  • Gilbert, AZ
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Dick Rosen
  • Property Manager
  • Gilbert, AZ
Replied Dec 5 2019, 08:54

First I would send him a Lease Violation for making alterations without prior written consent but that must be written in your Lease. No, the Landlord is not responsible for that. The house didn't come with it and it wasn't listed in the

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Replied Dec 5 2019, 15:18

Many thanks for all your input.  Very helpful! 

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Kyle J.
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Kyle J.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Northern, CA
Replied Dec 5 2019, 15:46

I'd double check your lease to make sure it doesn't address this.  It probably doesn't specifically address reverse osmosis systems, but it may address alterations/repairs to the property.  (If not, you should definitely add that in.)  

For example, my lease has a clause that states (in summary) that the tenant shall not make any repairs, alterations or improvements to the property without the landlord's prior written consent, and that the landlord shall not be responsible for the costs of alterations or repairs made by the tenant.

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Jim K.
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Jim K.
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  • Pittsburgh, PA
Replied Dec 5 2019, 16:06
Originally posted by @Maria Tran:

Very helpful.  Thanks, all!  Looks like there’s a clear verdict here and that I’m not unreasonable.  

Ps: no backstory here.  Simple as what has been noted.  🤷‍♀️

Sure, sometimes the cray-cray's crystal-clear. 

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Dennis M.
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Dennis M.
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Erie, pa
Replied Dec 5 2019, 16:07

Make sure your lease states tenant is not permitted to alter fixtures and whatnot without permission . My lease is 9 pages long it is so biased In my favor removes so many rights and so thorough I actually feel embarrassed to read it aloud when signing on tenants 

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Replied Mar 19 2022, 13:52

How about wording holding tenant responsible for maintaining RO system and any damage resulting therefrom.  Those are prone to leak if not properly installed or maintained     I had a tenant complain about mold and I spent a lot of money for testing and repair of deconstruction before I found out tenant had installed RO unit without my knowledge or permission and it was leaking

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Scott Mac#1 Rehabbing & House Flipping Contributor
  • Austin, TX
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Scott Mac#1 Rehabbing & House Flipping Contributor
  • Austin, TX
Replied Mar 19 2022, 14:01

And if it goes unpaid the installer (probably a plumbing company) might lien the house.

Unless the renter installed himself in which case he will take it when he moves.

Refrigerator filters are $35 to $50 items that click/pop (or screw) in place.

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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Replied Mar 19 2022, 14:06

Tenants..........headsmack.....