They're drawing on my Cabinets!!!

64 Replies

My first rental is a B class SFR, Rent 1500/month. I put all new finishes and it LOOKED really nice. I went to do my first rental inspection after 5-6 months( while doing a walk through with an appraisal company to BRRR it) and the place is disgusting. They kids have drawn on the new white soft close cabinets with green marker and I counted at lease 8 other places they have been drawling on the walls. the floors have food and crumbs all over the place. empty mountain dew bottles and wrappers are all over the house. Dont get me started on the new stainless steel appliances that are covered in a layer of gooo!! The front porch is just covered in all kinds of **** like cloths and garbage. How do I document a written warning. An official letter of some sort. I want to warn them and give them a chance to rectify but im not sure they can make the change.

Your lease should have (should have had) a clause that mentions cleanliness, particularly keeping the outside areas free of trash.

I hope you got a hefty deposit to keep and have some cash to clean/repaint/re-skin/replace (your choice) those cabinets.

How did you vette these tenants?

@John Matthew Johnston , a written warning for a dirty home?  As long as they clean the property at move out and city doesn't find them in violation, I'm not sure it is worth the stress.  I get the frustration, this is your personal investment.  

Obviously you can't discriminate against families, but drawing on walls is what kids do.  Be happy they aren't destroying plumbing!  

Be prepared when they move out for maintenance work to be required, but don't start stressing on that now.  Do a pre-move out inspection so you can know which scope to potentially have your handyman ready on speed dial.

You cant really "cite" them for a dirty house.... some tenants are absolute slobs and you will NEVER change that.....

What you can do is "cite" them for DAMAGE they are causing and the cost to fix it NOW....and bill them NOW for the repairs.....don't wait until move out. The deposit covers cost AFTER they move out...... its not a bank account....... you have every right to repair damages while the tenant is still living there and charge for those damages NOW.

I would point out the writing on the cabinets and provide them an estimate for repainting the cabinets...... and do so for any true damages that are evident now....

They obviously don't supervise and discipline their kids very well.... you wont change that..... the only hope is to make it hurt by having it cost them $$

@Ned J.

I may ask for an increase in the security deposit, but I would definitely not fix it now and charge them only to have it damaged again. As long as they are not creating a living hazard (the slopy house is not a hazard) such as breaking plumbing, dor causing structural damage, I would let it go until they were ready to move out.

If you rent to families with young children, this is to be expected, it comes with the territory. You are not their babysitter.

Originally posted by @John Matthew Johnston :

@Amy Aziz we did, I even told them to clean up because of the appraisal. They lite a candle by that was about it

Wow! people never seize to amaze me lol. I wouldn't worry about it untill they move then charge them for everything. 


@Jeff willis...... yeah but if they damage it again, you give them another estimate.....

The point is that the damage is gonna cost them......and the more you make it clear now, the greater the chance that the total damage at move out doesn't exceed the deposit and you get stuck left holding the bag.....

If you find substantial damage to your unit now don't wait and hope it doesn't exceed the deposit years down the road... if they are doing that damage NOW.... you can imagine what it will be in 2, 3, 4 years...... almost a guarantee it will exceed the deposit by then....

I disagree with some of the other stuff on this thread. 

If your tenants are reasonable, aren't creating a disturbance, and are paying on time, then treat them like you would any other situation. Let them pay rent and live in peace.

I had a tenant that moved in with two cats. The couple split and a new roommate joined, bringing in two more cats. FOUR cats in a 750 sqft apartment. Obviously, when they move, I'll have to replace the carpet. Guess what? That place has been continuously rented! The years roll by, and they stay, cats and all, and I don't have to do any replacement.

If you treat them reasonably, this family will likely make a mess, like the cats did and do for me, yes. And you will cringe over your cabinets. And over the goo and mess. 

But, they might just end up staying for a bunch of years. If they stay for 10 years and raise their family happily in your property, then the CapEx risk that you are all upset about will be completed diluted because they stayed so long! They might even replace the cabinets, or repaint/restain them for you if you politely let them know that this will be an area of concern at move-out.

Inspect for the smoke alarm and any maintenance/capex issues, and then be patient. If you are a jerk, beat them up for the mess they are making, and force them out, or make it so unpleasant for them that they leave, or simply don't renew, I bet that all you do is accelerate the cost of your next major rehab - and maybe by several years, costing yourself real money and a lot of anger. 

This is a business, and in a class B rental at that price range, I don't think that pride for your hard work, being a stickler for clean and tidy tenants, and trying to maintain a beautiful unit over messy tenants is a quality that will give you the result you are looking for long-term! And, in the end, all that green market, goo, mountain dew bottles, and other crap might just come out the other side with a perfectly ready to re-rent unit. 

The place is already ruined.  You now should try to keep them in there as long as possible.  Seriously!  They've destroyed it already.  You're not going to get more rent for it from a new party.  You're going to have to spend a tremendous amount of money fixing it up again, only for the next family with kids to destroy it again.

This is what it's like to rent to people with kids.  Get used to it.  Always take the highest deposit you can possibly get, document the condition of the unit before they move in, and pray for the best.  They want to live like animals?  Let them.  As long as they pay the rent.  Look at it this way - if they stay for a decade, you get a decade's rent from them.  You keep their deposit when they leave, and you renovate.  If you think there is money to be gotten from them, you can take them to small claims court after they move out, to try to get more from them.  But meanwhile, if you get ten years' rent from them, you've done okay.

Let them marinate in their filth ! 
they are  obviously disgusting slobs (as most tenants are (.. just keep collecting rent and don’t make waves if you see the place is a dump . If you were to put their dna in an electron microscope you’d see tiny garbage bags of trash everywhere in their proteins and enzymes of the helix ..It’s part of who they are . Learn to make money in the mess 

The marker likely will come off.  Even Sharpies will come off if you mark right over it with a normal marker.  Just take the marker off and charge her by the hour for the time it takes to fix the damage.  She should get the idea.

Let her live in the goo.

@John Matthew Johnston

Hope you were smart and took photos before renting out the place! I’d take photos now, use them against your tenant and tell them to clean up. If you take photos in front of them it adds to the seriousness. Then take their SD and fix up the place. This is why landlords are so mean because of tenants who ruin everything. I hope you learned that you need to be more judgmental about who you let in.

@Dennis M. you crack me up. Garbage bags in their DNA? lol

@John Matthew Johnston this is your first rental? I felt the same way when I inspected my first, I saw nails pounded in freshly painted cabinets and wanted to strangle someone. Now when I see sharpie drawings on new front doors, piles of crap and toys on freshly poured back patios, filthy appliances...I just roll my eyes and go about my business. Slobs are going to be slobs.

If it's not causing a safety/health hazard, it's not worth stressing yourself out over. Take a deep breath and let those rent checks roll in!

@Scott Trench

I gotta echo what you are saying.

I have a house that had a few broken down cars, dogs chained up, and the inside was completely trashed. It was that way for 4 years. The tenants were good people who just lived a certain way. Always paid on time, pleasant to deal with, and just good folks. When they moved out... you could eat off the floor and the yard was immaculate.

Let sleeping does lye. Don’t get fired up over the future because it will cause you headache for a problem that you don’t even know will exist.