Offering tenant a hotel room

11 Replies

We are offering a tenant a hotel room due to no water.    We prefer she pay for the room and we reimburse her after she provides a paid receipt.   She would like us to pay.   I am hesitant because if we use our credit card we don't want to be responsible for any damage to the room or paying for extra mini bar.     We don't want to just give her the money and then she goes to stay at a friend or her parents.

Background:   Water has been off and on for about a week.  We have rats that have chewed through lines.   We have responded each time as quickly as possible but it is very hard to get plumbers out as most are booked and short staffed.   We have been able to get the leak(s) fixed and water back on the next day.    We have twice offered her a hotel room and she has declined but we are now into the weekend and still waiting for plumber.   And just to add to the stressful situation, she was given 60 day notice as we are selling the house.   Her move out date is June 2, 2021.    And, when we had to let the first plumber in we saw a cat in the house and a pit bull in the back yard.  She does not have approval for any pets, paid no pet deposit and certainly we could not approve a pit bull.    

We are in California and yes, we have a pest control company that specializes and guarantees rat eradication.    We have normal monthly pest control and we have them set traps for mice but have no caught any.  This is due to the part of town it is in and the general issues.

So, my real question is how do you pay for a hotel room - landlord pays upfront or reimburses tenant?  

Thanks

Here renters can and should, get their own renter's insurance that covers housing somewhere else if their main residence need repair. I forget the name of the insurance clause. Do apartments around you pay to put up tenants in hotels if their building springs a water leak?

@Paula Miser A hotel room should be the absolute last resort. However, if you feel you have to do it, I would let them know you will reimburse them up to X amount only and with a verifiable receipt. I would also cap it to X amount of days. Meals, gas, and anything thing else they will try to tack on are NOT included. I would try to avoid this solution because once you do it, they will expect it every time something goes wrong. I would call every plumber in town and find one that will go immediately no matter what it costs. 

I would keep looking for plumbers or handymen. Focus all my energy on solving the problem instead of going back and forth with the tenant.

Have them install copper instead of pex.

I don't normally pay for them to stay in a hotel. People can live without water for a short time as long as you provide them something for drinking and a place to shower. I usually buy some big containers of water for drinking, cooking, or even flushing the toilet. Then I buy them passes to the rec center where they can shower and a card for the laundromat so they can do laundry. 

On the rare occasion that I put someone up in a hotel, I require receipts and then reimburse them. I also have a limit to avoid them staying at a $150 hotel when a $65 hotel will suffice.

@Paula Miser When I offer a hotel it is in the form of a rent reduction and to a set dollar limit with receipt. So the following month they will get $300 off if they had to stay in a hotel for 3 nights and I said I would pay up to $100/night. The receipt must show they paid at least $100/night otherwise the reduction is what they actually paid. I've only done it once due to a slab leak resulting in no water and the remodel activity.

Sorry to hear about your predicament Paula. But I appreciate your post in helping all us newbies prepare for these kinds of challenges. I'm going to make sure to incorporate the ideas from the responses in my rental contracts in the future though - to the extent it's legal in Maryland ;) I do hope you come to a positive resolution with your tenants quickly. Please update us on how it goes. Best of Luck!

@Paula Miser ,

I don't know your state laws,  but not having water doesn't make it inhabitable.    I liked @Nathan G. 's suggestion about dropping off extra water for cooking, and the pass for showers.    

Last December, we had a huge electrical problem and the tenants were without power for 3 days.  I told them we could pay for a hotel up to $50, or we can credit them on rent.   They picked the $$$ off.     Also in September (yes, 2020 was  a bad year) we had a tenant complain of a mold issue and said she couldn't stay there, we immediately put her in a hotel for a few days and just did cash for keys to terminate the lease.   This might be solid option, if you can't fix the water situation within a reasonable amount of time.  I would absolutely put all my efforts into getting a plumber, post on FB, pay premium, do whatever.. because it will be wayyyy cheaper than paying a hotel/meals!

We also have in our lease that if a house becomes inhabitable,  by default we'll terminate the lease and refund the deposit within 14-days.

UPDATE - plumber showed up and water was back on so we did not have to go the hotel route.  I wanted to be prepared in case that is where it ended.   The first leak when water was turned off I purchased her some drinking water and gallons so they could flush toilets, brush teeth.    I am probably being more lenient than normal as the house is in escrow and we don't want her trying to stay longer due to covid or anything else.   We have repairs scheduled for the drywall and vanity.   The plumbers and pest control have all told us that rats will chew through copper as quickly as pex.   We asked the last plumber who was there about galvanized and his response was, 'you don't want to do that; it's too expensive".  sigh, how about giving us an estimate and we can decide for ourselves.  We just need repairs done and new disclosure so the house can close escrow.

I appreciate all the posts and suggestions.   There is a lot of experience and knowledge on these forums.

@Paula Miser

This just happened to me in cecil county, Maryland. I paid for the hotel and just the hotel. The hotel manager was able to annotate that any other fees were the tenants responsibly. I paid for the week of hotel rooms knowing it was not my clients fault. I did give my client the option of moving in with family and not having to pay her months rent. I would NEVER expect my tenants to go without water or sewer. I pride our team on being fair and treating tenants correctly. My tenant was super appreciative. This is the cost of doing business.

Originally posted by @Paula Miser :

UPDATE - plumber showed up and water was back on so we did not have to go the hotel route.  I wanted to be prepared in case that is where it ended.   The first leak when water was turned off I purchased her some drinking water and gallons so they could flush toilets, brush teeth.    I am probably being more lenient than normal as the house is in escrow and we don't want her trying to stay longer due to covid or anything else.   We have repairs scheduled for the drywall and vanity.   The plumbers and pest control have all told us that rats will chew through copper as quickly as pex.   We asked the last plumber who was there about galvanized and his response was, 'you don't want to do that; it's too expensive".  sigh, how about giving us an estimate and we can decide for ourselves.  We just need repairs done and new disclosure so the house can close escrow.

I appreciate all the posts and suggestions.   There is a lot of experience and knowledge on these forums.

Well, what I would do in this situation is probably not possible for you, but I'd ask. Theoretically, rats can chew through copper lines, sure. I've never seen it, but it had been documented. There is such a thing as thick-walled copper piping, Type L. It's a bit more expensive than Type M, what's normally used in ordinary residential plumbing. I'd like to see rats chew through Type L copper tubing "as quickly as PEX."


Pros/cons/requirement/non requirement aside we have provided hotel rooms under certain conditions....like it was -25F for a week and the furnace went and parts could not be sourced for several days.  But, all that aside we worked with a local hotel that allowed us to pay for the room/tax and then the tenant to pay for all incidentals and be responsible for damage.  They sent us a contract to sign that clearly spelled out who is responsible for what.  The hotel had our card so there was a risk but thankfully it all worked out in the end.  At that moment we were just thankful to find a place where this family would be out of danger.  Probably something to add to the lease, the rare conditions this will be done.