They're drawing on my Cabinets!!!

64 Replies

@John Matthew Johnston  

You definitely need to bill them for the damage now, the deposit is for damages at move out and by that time will likely not cover everything. You should bill them for the damage, maybe give them the option to postpone the work until the end of their lease. Each time you inspect, bill them for any new damage. The point being to make them understand that they can live however they want, but they will need to pay for damage caused. I would also give them a notice for some of the dirty conditions, if you think it will lead to vermin infestations.

@Tyler Phalen thanks for the reply, I did send them an email stating all the things I found above normal wear and tear. They promised to rectify all the repairs by the end of January and clean the house throughly. I asked if I could come back then to do a re inspection of the property then. I believe that there should be a balance of not getting to stressed out about it and taking assertive action to let them know I’m on to their slobbish ways and that action will follow if continued.

@John Matthew Johnston I had a situation where I inspected a property with long term tenants and the children had written with markers all over the walls downstairs. The parents told me once they started, they just let them keep doing it. Their mentality was that the damage was already done, but that is not correct. The damage keeps getting worse. I gave them written notice to remedy the problem and two weeks to fix it. I reinspected and they painted to remedy. This tenant went on to do considerable damage over the 7 years they lived there. Ultimately the damage was thousands more than the security deposit with no way to collect.

If this is a B property, then it sounds like you have a C or D tenant placed in the property.

I would give them written notice to clean up the cabinets and if they cannot get them clean, charge them to repair while they are living there. Don't let it wait until move-out. 

@Kenny Dahill drawing on walls is not what children do. My child never once drew on a wall and of all the families I have rented to, I have only seen it once. This is not normal and it is a sign of negligent parenting, which means the tenant in general is bad.

@Scott Trench as far as those cats, hopefully you are inspecting to make sure they are not urinating in the property. Cats are different than dogs. They will spray the walls to mark territory. The urine can destroy base boards, sheet rock and even subfloor. Cat pee is much stronger and harder to cover the smell. You can use odor blocking primer in many cases, but in extreme cases you may need to rip out sub floor. 

This is a picture from the back side of the carpet after one cat was in the property for six months. This carpet was new before they moved in. I had to treat the cement with several rounds of odor neutralizer, then odor blocking primer. The tenant thought carpet cleaning should get it out. They told me when they moved in that the cat never went outside the litter box... The room smelled so bad I almost threw up. 

@John Matthew Johnston 1st off, you wanted 6 months, much to long. Also it seems your screening was not proper. Take photos, and tell the tenant this cost is on you. If  they give you a problem, hit them with eviction legal fees and EXCESSIVE wear and tear. Screening is the most important part

Good Luck 

@Joe Splitrock , we'll have to agree to disagree about kids drawing on walls.  And I am not saying every kid does, it's not a  rite of passage or a requirement to enter kindergarten.  My point is: kids do kid things.  Which includes drawing on walls because they do not know better.  Not all kids, but it does happen.

I do not think it is fair to simply assume it is negligent parenting because kids draw on the wall.  Things happen!  Maybe it happened with a baby sitter!  Maybe the parents were doing parent-things: laundry, cooking, etc. and didn't see the 2 mins in which it happened.  Maybe your child didn't because they had great parenting, but I find it hard to believe there has never been a great parent who had a kid draw on the wall.  By your theory, practically every parent I see in a restaurant is negligent parent because I see their toddler half drawing on the paper and half on the table. 

You only caught one of your homes that had children with drawing on the walls.  Is there a chance the parents either washed the walls or painted over prior to move-out?

If a child drawing on the wall is the worst thing they do, sign me up.  Paint is cheap and does no structural harm to a house.

Like others have said, all you can do now is ride it out. Assuming they pay rent on time, and are not disturbing other tenants with how they live just bite your tongue. Believe me I know it is not easy to do

@Scott Trench

Yes great advise!!! I still rent and as I read the comments I'm thinking OMG!!! Drawing in walls?!? One day maybe messy or me out and just kids and their dad.... and having a landlord micro managing is sucks!!!!. My goal is 10 houses so I know I'll be in the other side very soon for now please be Scott :)

As is always evident on BP, there are many different ways to approach the same problem.....different opinions and solutions....... there is not always a right or wrong way........

There are TONS of posts on BP that detail the "holy crap my tenant moved out and they destroyed the place, how do I get them to pay for all the damage?"

Those are by landlords that don't do any inspections and just roll the dice that at the end of tenancy, its all good to go.......sometimes it is and sometimes its a nightmare.....

So you can be a landlord that addresses issue NOW or a landlord that rolls the dice and hopes it comes up in their favor.... your choice..... both can work and both can back fire.

My perspective is that there is a difference between living like a slob and living in a way that you are damaging my property and I will be stuck with the bill for your lifestyle....

As for kids and parenting..... yes ALL kids misbehave and do "kid" stuff..... but the difference is do the parents do anything about it? If my kid writes on a wall or has a tantrum in a restaurant, that doesn't make me a bad parent....if they just keep doing it over and over and I do NOTHING, then I am not a good parent..... PERIOD.....

Originally posted by @John Matthew Johnston :

@Tyler Phalen thanks for the reply, I did send them an email stating all the things I found above normal wear and tear. They promised to rectify all the repairs by the end of January and clean the house throughly. I asked if I could come back then to do a re inspection of the property then. I believe that there should be a balance of not getting to stressed out about it and taking assertive action to let them know I’m on to their slobbish ways and that action will follow if continued.

 Don't ask a tenant if you can do an inspection. If it's not already outlined in the lease, you should be letting the tenant know when you will be doing an inspection. It's your property, treat it as such. 

As for the other stuff: mostly it sounds like slobs to me and if I had to guess your first rental. Yes, you will find that people often live a lot more differently than you do. That includes being a slob. I have a tenant that the house always looks like a tornado hit it inside. But there's no vermin and no damage and they pay early every month without fail and keep the outside immaculate. If your cabinets are painted, paint will hide the markers. If they're white laminate, I'd be surprised if the marker didn't come off, and if it doesn't then you should absolutely bill for it. Everything else just sounds messy. I wouldn't worry about the appraiser - they see this stuff *every single day*.

I learned pretty early in life you'd be appalled at how a lot of people keep their house if you aren't that way. We were dirt poor but everyone was a stickler for cleanliness and not having stuff everywhere - food went in the trash, dirty dishes got washed, etc. I was in the Navy and had a friend whose parents owned a huge, high-dollar house in the suburbs of Charlotte. We went to his house one weekend and when I walked in I asked him "Man, what happened here?" - there were clothes and crap everywhere, dried disgusting dishes piled higher than the sink and all over the counters, garbage everywhere. He told me "Oh, the maid hasn't got here yet and she comes once a week."

Originally posted by @Kenny Dahill :

@Joe Splitrock, we'll have to agree to disagree about kids drawing on walls.  And I am not saying every kid does, it's not a  rite of passage or a requirement to enter kindergarten.  My point is: kids do kid things.  Which includes drawing on walls because they do not know better.  Not all kids, but it does happen.

I do not think it is fair to simply assume it is negligent parenting because kids draw on the wall.  Things happen!  Maybe it happened with a baby sitter!  Maybe the parents were doing parent-things: laundry, cooking, etc. and didn't see the 2 mins in which it happened.  Maybe your child didn't because they had great parenting, but I find it hard to believe there has never been a great parent who had a kid draw on the wall.  By your theory, practically every parent I see in a restaurant is negligent parent because I see their toddler half drawing on the paper and half on the table. 

You only caught one of your homes that had children with drawing on the walls.  Is there a chance the parents either washed the walls or painted over prior to move-out?

If a child drawing on the wall is the worst thing they do, sign me up.  Paint is cheap and does no structural harm to a house.

That is a fair point that it could have been the first time and the parent may have stepped away for a moment. It is what happens next that is most important. The parent needs to clean up the damage immediately and teach the child it is not ok to damage other peoples property. They should also put the markers in a safe place and only let the child use them under supervision, until they are old enough to be responsible. 

The concerning part for me is that the tenant left the damage knowing a landlord was coming. I doubt the majority of people, yourself included, would have left that damage in that situation.

I will agree repairing walls is not too difficult. Magic Eraser, primer and paint will take care of most things. However, damage on cabinets is much worse. It is a different paint process and it can be very difficult to match paint or stain on pre-purchased cabinets. 

I hope it works out, but in my experience I would get ahead of it. 

In general I agree with what @Scott Trench said. Too many people make their tenants hate them for damage that is already done. Tenants hate landlords that are too present in their lives. Tenants that hate their landlords move out. Turnovers don't make you money. Definitely best not to sweat the small stuff.

My policy is that I don't charge tenants for damages until they move out, unless I am actually making repairs while they live in the house (which I don't do for cosmetic items).

Most cosmetic damages are fairly inexpensive to fix.

Originally posted by @John Matthew Johnston :

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.


This is what we call Baptism By Fire. Welcome to the club, your officially a Landlord now, lol. 

Best advice I can give is make this an education event, because it is if you let it be, and it makes the sting of the cost a little more digestible if you see it as educational expenses. Learn, improve, evolve, move forward. 

 

Originally posted by @Kenny Dahill :

@Joe Splitrock , we'll have to agree to disagree about kids drawing on walls.  And I am not saying every kid does, it's not a  rite of passage or a requirement to enter kindergarten.  My point is: kids do kid things.  Which includes drawing on walls because they do not know better.  Not all kids, but it does happen.

I do not think it is fair to simply assume it is negligent parenting because kids draw on the wall.  Things happen!  Maybe it happened with a baby sitter!  Maybe the parents were doing parent-things: laundry, cooking, etc. and didn't see the 2 mins in which it happened.  Maybe your child didn't because they had great parenting, but I find it hard to believe there has never been a great parent who had a kid draw on the wall.  By your theory, practically every parent I see in a restaurant is negligent parent because I see their toddler half drawing on the paper and half on the table. 

You only caught one of your homes that had children with drawing on the walls.  Is there a chance the parents either washed the walls or painted over prior to move-out?

If a child drawing on the wall is the worst thing they do, sign me up.  Paint is cheap and does no structural harm to a house.

Couldn’t agree more. My kids have drawing on their bedroom ceiling. We gave them bunk beds... they drew in the ceiling. We made them clean it, but it’s still pretty well there. Call me negligent if you’d like, they did it one night when they went to bed. Short of sitting in the room and watching them fall asleep... how would I have avoided this? I don’t even want to think of the worse things they have done.

Regarding the OP, I’m not sure what can be done about a dirty tenant. Even the “damage” of drawing on a painted surface isn’t really that much damage. 

How fun!!! I think each and every one of us has had our heart broken with property damage.

My favorite post was the one that said everyone has a different idea of clean - so true.

I think the advice of the BP CEO is sage. However, I also think it is absolutely ok to get bent out of shape over property damage if that is ones prerogative, which is why I equally agree with the alternative views that have been posted.

Personally I don't tolerate disrespect to property, period. A yard full of junk is not exactly property disrespect. An insanely dirty floor or bathroom is not exactly property disrespect. Writing on cabinetry or any other long-term component is without a doubt property disrespect. The difference lies within the definition of wear and tear and then everything else. It is unreasonable to think a floor would not have dirt on it. It is unreasonable to think a toilet would not have urine surrounding it. Conversely, it is unreasonable any component whatsoever would be used as a writing board. What it all depends on, is the damage caused from what just naturally happens as humans use a space or, did the residents have to make an effort to damage the property. The first is incidental and the second is intentional.

In this case, in my opinion, the parents may or may not have been negligent, but they sure are responsible. Despite any toddler mishap that any of us who have had kids can relate to, this is the sort of thing I would consider disrespectful damage and without question charge the tenant for. And as far as that goes, there is no time like the present. I would take three steps.

#1 - Assess the damage, communicate the estimated repair cost to the tenant and ask them how they would like to address the repair.

#2 - Assess the tenant, are they remorseful, are they taking steps to pay for the damages, can they afford to pay for the damages, what is the likelihood they will continue to disrespect the property?

#3 - Either let the tenant stay and see how it goes from there, or move for non-renewal.

In more simple terms - month to month baby - you act the fool in my unit and you can go live elsewhere. That attitude goes for all nonsense.

I sometimes wish I could wear the suit of zen that others have decided to wear, I see that wisdom, but for my part I happen to believe that is exactly how slums become slums. I'm tolerant. I let crap I hate go. I also draw the line. All that said, I don't blame anyone for being a slumlord, because like I said out of the gate, each and every one of us has had our hearts broken with property damage - I get it.

I'm and appraiser and mostly agree with JD. OK, not every day, but many days and now and then there is a straight up hoarder house. Any appraiser that is experienced will look right past the stuff until it gets extreme. And most of us are no longer young.

I wouldn't worry about the appraiser - they see this stuff *every single day*.

Sell it on roofstock to an out of town investor i bet youll get a bidding war

You know, I think that this has to do with whether you are a LL used to dealing with class C/D rentals or class A/B.  We're class C/D. We deal with plenty of awful tenants.  We provide clean, painted, safe units with everything clean and working when they move in, they beat the .... out of the units, and stay if they pay the rent.  As long as they pay their rent, we don't worry too much about what they do to the units.  Our goal is to get paying tenants to stay as long as possible, and pay their rent.

@Kyler Cook I have 3 kids 5 and down! Yes they have drawn on a wall before but we then cleaned it off. They also don’t have free access to permanent markers and crayons lol, we supervise them when they are drawling( Because they are toddlers). I counted 8 different places where they scribbled like crazy on my walls. I’m not arguing that it’s strange for a child to color on a wall I’m arguing that if it happens to this degree it definitely points to a lack of supervision or caring in general.

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