Should I be concerned if my tenant slipped in the bathtub?

35 Replies

My property manager notified me that my tenant hadn't paid rent and an eviction process was set into motion. After she didn't pay within the week and a hearing was setup, which she did not appear as well, she ordered a "stay" which the judge denied.

Tenant sent me a message saying she slipped in the tub and broke her foot which is why she didn't show, but she has always been late paying rent and always finds some sort of excuse.

She says her "attorney will be notifying me".

Should I be worried. She's in her 60s and has been an issue from day 1. Is it my fault she claims to have slipped in the tub ?

Tell the tenants lawyer to contact her renters insurance policy provider. 

Proceed with eviction. Assuming she has insurance the claim will be small. Assuming you have insurance move on. I assume there was no design defect with the tub and she has been using it for months/years. 

I was going to say tell her to look for housing meant for the elderly and infirm since she is no longer capable of using a tub safely. BUT. Really I would do what I did when customers told me they had contacted their lawyer in regards to my computer store. “Ok. My lawyer has advised me that as soon as any customer says they’ve contacted a lawyer I am no longer suppose to talk to them and only deal with their lawyer so please don’t call any more….” 100% of the time they’ve forgotten what they just said and asked for any help I can provide without involving lawyers. 

You should not be responding to ANY communication with your tenant whatsoever during this time if you hired an attorney. Since you have a PM don't get involved. Why does the tenant have your contact info?

Hi Jeremy. 
It's a terrible thing, but nowadays we all have to keep our guard up (Use a LLC to own property or manage, etc, using thorough legal documents, doing everything consistently and by the book, and on and on.) as a lot of people are out to sue and take advantage of others. It's disgusting, but it's the way it is. Yuck.
Firstly, I'm NOT an attorney and I'm not giving legal advice. Secondly, I doubt there are any attorneys that would give legal advice on Bigger Pockets, as they would be concerned about getting sued if something is misunderstood.

That being said, talk with a local attorney, ASAP. It sounds clear that the tenant is posturing for something. You have to go through the motions of protecting yourself very carefully, with people like this. Seriously, get an attorney (Not a friend or family member- get an actual paid attorney) and talk with them, ASAP. Even if it's just a 10 minute chat.

If you are on top of it, I think you'll be fine. Good luck Jeremy.

If you have a PM why is the tenant contacting you?  Also, since she made a legal threat I would just cut off communication and let your PM handle it from here.  Everyone makes threats these days, few follow through.  Assume you have insurance and a PM so I would not worry about it.  

LOL! not to make light of your situation, but if I had a dollar for every time a tenant threatened to sue . . .

ignore her. If she broke her foot and was unable to attend the hearing, then there is a process for her to notify the court and request a delay. You don't need to concern yourself with anything until her attorney attempts to contact you, at which point you could turn it over to your insurance company. most likely it is just a ruse to try and distract from her failure to pay rent and depending eviction. people can sue for anything at any time, even if It's a complete fabrication. unless you were knowingly negligent, you should have nothing to worry about. Press on with your process.

YES! I would be concerned if a tenant slips in a bathtub and the tub was not build with the non-slip whatever you call it, or if the non-slip whatever you call it is worn off. We remove the glass doors in every rental unit for four reasons; 1) because underneath the tracks always get that black mildew-moldy crap and the tracks stink, 2) because the bathrooms look larger and nicer with shower curtains, 3) because glass doors are ugly when they get slime all over then and they are hard to clean and 4) because glass doors are dangerous if someone does slip and fall through the glass.

Another of my short stories. I had  a really close person friend and I never hardly had any friends. Not even today! I say had because this friend was traveling from Boston back to Springfield Mass and the trip is only about 140 miles, but he called his wife and told her he was tired and felt like it would be safer to stop at a motel for the night. So, he stopped at a motel, started to take a shower and never finished his shower because he slipped in the bathtub, fell through the glass shower doors and bled to death. So much for stopping and trying to be safe!

Jeremy,

You need to notify your Insurance Carrier if you have not done so.  In your duties under the policy require notification when you become aware of a potential loss.  

Originally posted by @Jack Orthman :

YES! I would be concerned if a tenant slips in a bathtub and the tub was not build with the non-slip whatever you call it, or if the non-slip whatever you call it is worn off. We remove the glass doors in every rental unit for four reasons; 1) because underneath the tracks always get that black mildew-moldy crap and the tracks stink, 2) because the bathrooms look larger and nicer with shower curtains, 3) because glass doors are ugly when they get slime all over then and they are hard to clean and 4) because glass doors are dangerous if someone does slip and fall through the glass.

Another of my short stories. I had  a really close person friend and I never hardly had any friends. Not even today! I say had because this friend was traveling from Boston back to Springfield Mass and the trip is only about 140 miles, but he called his wife and told her he was tired and felt like it would be safer to stop at a motel for the night. So, he stopped at a motel, started to take a shower and never finished his shower because he slipped in the bathtub, fell through the glass shower doors and bled to death. So much for stopping and trying to be safe!

In all the homes I lived in and my own bathtubs i have not see any nonslip things built into bathtubs. Even a google search shows that the non slip material is an accessory and purchase and added onto a bath tub but they do not come from manufacturer with it. 

You need to know what you are looking for and look a little harder. Attached, is an image of a bathtub and the long darker lines is a slip-resistant coating that has been applied to every bathtub since I started my plumbing company in 1973 and maybe they applied the slip-resistant coating before 1973. I did do a little surfing in the internet and am surprised that this slip-resistant coating that has been required for more than 48 years is not mentioned.

I also posted a picture of a bathtub at my office. I installed this bathtub in about 1998 and you can see the dark lines where the slip resistant coating attracts dirty soils.

When we plumbers are installing brand new bathtubs and our workers do not pay very special attention to keeping the slip-resistant coating and the step on the coating with their shoes it is impossible to clean the soiled coating and our customers get angry. We try usine Comet or Dutch Cleanser powders, bleach, every other chemical and we cannot get the coating to look white like it was before nobody stepped on the coating with their shoes.

One more time, e

very tub I've ever seen has has this coating for at least 48 years. This is a picture of a new tub.

Picture of a tub I installed at my office in about 1998. This is a 32 inch Kohler yellow bathtub and my supply house gave it to me for free because I do a lot of business when them and probably because this dark yellow bathtub was hard to sell. You can see the long dark lines with the slip-resistant materials that was built into the bathtub.

Originally posted by @Jack Orthman :

Picture of a tub I installed at my office in about 1998. This is a 32 inch Kohler yellow bathtub and my supply house gave it to me for free because I do a lot of business when them and probably because this dark yellow bathtub was hard to sell. You can see the long dark lines with the slip-resistant materials that was built into the bathtub.

Yea actually your right. I do see remanants of that in my old bathtub 1980s although it doesn't feel like much of anything. My newerish kohler deep tub 2010 didn't have anything on it though and is just pure white. Regardless i think insurance will cover liability in this case if it were to ever go down that route. 

M2M agreements. You can deal with misbehaving tenants immediately.  My experience, the people that tell you they are contacting an attorney are bluffing.  

Every deadbeat tenant appears to have an "attorney".  I know there are lots of hungry attorney's out there that follow the rules of the firm  "DoWeCheatEm and Howe" but it's unlikely if she had one she'd be paying them either.

Since her request for a "stay" has been denied what's the status of the actual eviction process?

Gail

@Jack Orthman

If the tub is in good working order, the owner has absolutly nothing to worry about. As long as neglect isnt in the equation, no case. The lawyer should advise her to stop trying to steal some elses money..

Thank you for all the advice and guidance everyone. It helps put a bit of ease throughout the process considering I've only been landlording for a couple years, and this is my first rough tenant experience. Knowing how to handle and approach troublemakers is certainly a learning experience and so it'll prepare me for future circumstances.

My PM said the tenant should have been locked out yesterday, so now it's a matter of seeing how orderly or disorderly she has left the place. I should know more within the week.

Well, for an update pertaining to the situation, the tenant has vacated the premises and left a major mess behind.

Smoke smell and stains all throughout the condo.

All appliances need to be replaced.

Cabinets and fixtures need repairs.

Is this typical of an eviction? Does insurance or anything cover this sort of ordeal ?

How is it on the landlord to pay for all this.

The security deposit from her only covered last month's rent, so I'm pretty much at a loss with fixing everything else myself at this point...

Shouldn’t be any smoke smell since they shouldn’t have been smoking in the unit since day 1. 
this isn’t an insurance issue.

Make sure the appliances really need to be replaced, my PM’s cleaning crew do amazing things. 

The security deposit isn’t supposed to be used for the last month’s rent, that’s just the way it’s being classified. You can sue/get a judgement/lien if you think they will ever have money again (they must have had 3x your rent at sometime). 

Otherwise. This is just a repair it and get it rented back out situation. Incoming rent solves all problems. On a scale of 1 (really good) and 10 (really bad). This is probably only a 6, maybe a 7. If this kind of thing is a deal breaker talk to a realtor about listing it for sale. Properties  are skyrocketing. 

GL either way. 

@Jeremy Szymankowski

What, the tenant's gone and still no lawyer? Take her to court, get a judgment on any background check ever ordered on her in the future. That's how it works here in Pennsylvania, at least. You're not going to get money from a broke deadbeat but you can at least guarantee that woman will never see a Section 8 housing voucher and that for the rest of her life the best place she'll ever live in will be a cardboard box in an alley with a scenic view of an overflowing dumpster.

She practically begged for it. Give her what she wants.

Originally posted by @Bill Brandt :

Shouldn’t be any smoke smell since they shouldn’t have been smoking in the unit since day 1. 
this isn’t an insurance issue.

Make sure the appliances really need to be replaced, my PM’s cleaning crew do amazing things. 

The security deposit isn’t supposed to be used for the last month’s rent, that’s just the way it’s being classified. You can sue/get a judgement/lien if you think they will ever have money again (they must have had 3x your rent at sometime). 

Otherwise. This is just a repair it and get it rented back out situation. Incoming rent solves all problems. On a scale of 1 (really good) and 10 (really bad). This is probably only a 6, maybe a 7. If this kind of thing is a deal breaker talk to a realtor about listing it for sale. Properties  are skyrocketing. 

GL either way. 

Well, since she wasn't paying July's rent, the eviction was set in motion, and by the time she got out, it was now August. So, in a sense, her security deposit mainly only covered 1 month of the rent. And yea, this whole thing is a learning experience. I'll be more vigilant with knowing when someone's smoking in a unit from now on. But like you mentioned, just going to have to fix everything, and get it back on the rental market. 

It helps to have a financial cushion, but it just hurts having to eat into so much of it when it wasn't expected.. but then again, we're told to expect the unexpected which now makes the unexpected well... expected.

Here's a couple photos for some amusement 

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Jeremy Szymankowski

What, the tenant's gone and still no lawyer? Take her to court, get a judgment on any background check ever ordered on her in the future. That's how it works here in Pennsylvania, at least. You're not going to get money from a broke deadbeat but you can at least guarantee that woman will never see a Section 8 housing voucher and that for the rest of her life the best place she'll ever live in will be a cardboard box in an alley with a scenic view of an overflowing dumpster.

She practically begged for it. Give her what she wants.

 And thanks for considering the option Jim. I just felt that the hassle and process to go through isn't worth my time for a couple thousand dollars. As nice as it would be to have that extra couple thousand for something else, I'm coming to terms with just accepting what has happened and learning from the mistakes. Plus, our time is too precious to waste more of it on what was initially a nuisance. 

@Jeremy Szymankowski

Are you sure she was smoking? If I walked in to that room and looked at the soot patterns I would guess they tried to burn something in the fireplace with the damper closed  

that actually doesn’t look too bad. 

I wasn’t making light of the security deposit being used for the last month’s rent being an accounting issue. What I meant was you could just as easily said she didn’t pay the last months rent and I had to use the security deposit to fix the place up. In that case you say thank goodness it was one month she didn’t pay rent, not 6, or 12 or 18 friggin months like some tenants. 

I’m actually finding better tenants in the last 12 months than before covid. People who are moving now are people who can afford it. Also make sure you check what today’s market rent is. Rent is up an easy 20% in the last 6-12 months. ($1395 - $1850 and $1325 - $1800 in my 2 experiences). These are units that we filled in 2 weeks. Not a tenant was found, a tenant moved in 2 weeks after last one left.