Cosmetic rot in deck. What to do?

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Hi BP,

So a deck on one of my rental properties has a rotten area due to a bad design that doesn't let water drain out properly.  It got inspected about a year and a half ago and I was told it was completely safe, despite how it looks.  It's also aging and has probably only got another few years before it needs to be at least refinished.  The deck is 2 stories up, and the tenants have recently expressed concerns about going out there.

These are good tenants, that have been there for about 2 years (now month-to-month) and are at roughly market rent ($1400/m).  I estimate the deck refurb is going to cost $2000-2500.  I'm in ontario (rent controls) and I haven't increased their rent since they moved in.

What would you do in my situation?  Should I tell them that the inspector declared it safe and to use their best judgement?  Replace the deck either now or when they move out?  Offer to replace it for them if they sign on for12 month at a bumped-up rent?

If it's solid and the damage is truly cosmetic, you could paint it with something like Cabot Deck Correct or Behr Advanced Deckover Coating. These are thicker and will fill small gaps and prevent additional damage from water, at least for a while.

Rather than put a band-aid on it, you may just consider replacing the deck. See if the tenants are willing to accept a small increase or maybe help pay for the cost.