Bathroom door coming off the hinge

36 Replies

Tenant just notified us that the door in the bathroom is coming off the hinge on the second on third hinges.  The 1st one apparently is already off.  We have in our lease, tenant must maintain all appliances, equipment, furnishings and furniture. Who's responsibility to repair is this? If we didn't have the eviction moratorium, we would had already ejected her. However, with the delta variant catching steam, we're not sure if Connecticut will suspend evictions again. The tenant is on a month to month. We were going to inform her next month that their lease will not be renewed the following month and they need to move out. However, with the COVID restrictions, we're not sure if we'll be stuck with this tenant or not.

How would you guys proceed? The tenant is a nuisance to say the least. 

Sounds like the screws are stripped.  Sometimes this happens if the doors are handled roughly (but it's doubtful your tenant would agree to having done this....instead, hinges just "magically" come off).

I'd probably repair it (because I would not trust the tenant to do this correctly), either using larger screws if the holes are damaged or the old trick of toothpicks and glue to help hold the screws in.

If you hire someone to do this the question is whether you either charge the tenant for this damage or withhold the cost from any security deposit they have (when they move out).  If you decide to without the cost from their deposit take pictures of the damage to confirm the accuracy of doing this should they complain about this deduction later on.

Gail

Go look at the door.  It sounds like the first one came off and because they didn't say anything, the weight of the door is now causing problems with the second one.  Just go and put in longer screws.  As Gail said you can sometimes glue one or two toothpicks in the opening and put the same screw in and it works. The longer screws should also work  It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes of your time.  It is also a good chance to see the condition of the house.

If their lease is up, tell them you aren't renewing it.  That is not the same as an eviction.

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

Go look at the door.  It sounds like the first one came off and because they didn't say anything, the weight of the door is now causing problems with the second one.  Just go and put in longer screws.  As Gail said you can sometimes glue one or two toothpicks in the opening and put the same screw in and it works. The longer screws should also work  It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes of your time.  It is also a good chance to see the condition of the house.

If their lease is up, tell them you aren't renewing it.  That is not the same as an eviction.

Agreed, however, I have a feeling it will turn into an eviction since this I do not think they will leave quietly.

Originally posted by @Marita Jojo :

@Bruce Woodruff fix the door would only make your work more probably bye further destroying the door

I'm not sure how getting the door secured to the jamb properly is going to destroy it. Guess I missed something.....

Originally posted by @Mike Adams :
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

Go look at the door.  It sounds like the first one came off and because they didn't say anything, the weight of the door is now causing problems with the second one.  Just go and put in longer screws.  As Gail said you can sometimes glue one or two toothpicks in the opening and put the same screw in and it works. The longer screws should also work  It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes of your time.  It is also a good chance to see the condition of the house.

If their lease is up, tell them you aren't renewing it.  That is not the same as an eviction.

Agreed, however, I have a feeling it will turn into an eviction since this I do not think they will leave quietly. 

Then it might be worth waiting a bit if they are paying on time until the courts work their way through what will be a backlog of evictions now that the ban is lifted. 

If you go and fix the door as others have suggested (And I agree) then it will give you a chance to see the interior of the property and do some other inspections while there.  Great time to assess what will need to be done to the property when they do leave so you can start to plan both financially and what kind of crews you need to assist.  

This is a small, minor fix and not one you can easily prove is the tenants fault, I would just eat the $10 and fix it and take the opportunity to gather more intel that may come in handy in court if you end up there.  Bring a camera, document what you see. 

@Mike Adams i think if you were to ignore this issue until the eviction, it could cause more damage to the frame and could destroy it completly. This could make it go from a cheap fix to something more serious. i would personally fix it asap. Put longer screws in the hinge plates. Hope this helps!

@Mike Adams Fix the door. Unless there are other issues with the tenant beyond what you’ve mentioned here, I’m not seeing any reason to evict or not renew their lease. Sounds like you just need to fix the door.

My parents gave my son a screwdriver set for Christmas one year.  I came home from work shortly there after and the nanny said the kids were quiet all day downstairs in the playroom.  The sat her buns on the third floor where the living room and kitchen were.  

When I went downstairs EVERY door hinge was removed and most door knobs.  So the next day he was to put the doors back on, with the nanny helping him hold the doors in place for the first few screws.  

That night I came home to 'several screws won't go back in'.  So I showed them how to use a toothpick to let the screw grab and hold in a 'too big' hole.  The next night all the doors and knobs were back on.

Your job is easy, maybe a box of toothpicks or a few bigger screws.  And ten minutes.  Just do it!

You take the door off and and use body filler (Bondo) or fast-repair epoxy putty (SteelStik) to fill the stripped-out screw hole. Wait until the epoxy dries and drill new pilot holes. Reinstall. The bathroom door gets the most use of all the doors in a house. Rigging the hinges with longer screws, toothpicks, or putting in plastic hole anchors, three common quick-fixes, would be too flimsy for my rental properties and probably yours.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

You take the door off and and use body filler (Bondo) or fast-repair epoxy putty (SteelStik) to fill the stripped-out screw hole. Wait until the epoxy dries and drill new pilot holes. Reinstall. The bathroom door gets the most use of all the doors in a house. Rigging the hinges with longer screws, toothpicks, or putting in plastic hole anchors, three common quick-fixes, would be too flimsy for my rental properties and probably yours.

Agreed - the toothpick method is too flimsy.  But the Bodo method is too messy and too too slow in my experience.  Use ZZem screws system for a quick and rock solid repair.

https://www.amazon.com/4-pk-Sc...

@Lynnette E. that is the laugh of the day! 

@Mike Adams It is your responsibility to fix even if she did it, these kind of fixes are an opportunity to inspect and if applicable, issue any relevant lease  violation notices.  Look for sink leaks etc.  You have several good fix suggestions.  

Curious if you are terminating a month to month why wait, is she paying and you think she will stop?  You can be a nuisance too and let a tenant know that their behavior is causing problems, not in a mad way but in a matter of fact way.  I suspect she may not listen but some people won't hear you unless you are very direct.

Some landlords have a tendency to quickly blame the tenant for everything. Doors take a ton of use and generally speaking, issues with hinges have nothing to do with tenants. A properly adjusted door can open and close a million times on hinges and never have an issue. I have a 70 year old property with all original doors and hinges, but when I bought the property, some of the doors were not shutting right. At the first sign of a door not shutting properly, it needs adjustment. That could be new shimming or sanding/cutting some thickness off the door. When a door is hard to close, it puts stress on the screws/hinges. That can pull screws out. It is really your responsibility as a landlord to keep doors operating properly. Unless you can prove the tenant damaged them, you need to cover the expense.

I would caution you to fix this immediately. Using a door with damaged hinges will make the damage worse every time you use it. If the hinges are still in good shape and the door is adjusted properly, it may be as simple as putting in longer screws. Cheaper doors may be harder to fix. @Jim K. had some good tips for fixing holes that are stripped out.

I would recommend hiring a handyman to fix it, just because I have a feeling it is out of your skill level. I say that because anyone asking "should the tenant fix hinges" probably isn't very knowledgeable or handy. 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

Some landlords have a tendency to quickly blame the tenant for everything. Doors take a ton of use and generally speaking, issues with hinges have nothing to do with tenants. A properly adjusted door can open and close a million times on hinges and never have an issue. I have a 70 year old property with all original doors and hinges, but when I bought the property, some of the doors were not shutting right. At the first sign of a door not shutting properly, it needs adjustment. That could be new shimming or sanding/cutting some thickness off the door. When a door is hard to close, it puts stress on the screws/hinges. That can pull screws out. It is really your responsibility as a landlord to keep doors operating properly. Unless you can prove the tenant damaged them, you need to cover the expense.

I would caution you to fix this immediately. Using a door with damaged hinges will make the damage worse every time you use it. If the hinges are still in good shape and the door is adjusted properly, it may be as simple as putting in longer screws. Cheaper doors may be harder to fix. @Jim K. had some good tips for fixing holes that are stripped out.

I would recommend hiring a handyman to fix it, just because I have a feeling it is out of your skill level. I say that because anyone asking "should the tenant fix hinges" probably isn't very knowledgeable or handy. 

 No, you are mistaken on my experience, but thank you anyway for your 2 cents.  The issue isn't to fix it, the issue is should the tenant be responsible of the cost or not.  Apologies to anyone who thought the issue was about fixing the door; that will be fixed. The question, again, is should the tenant be billed for it.

Originally posted by Mike Adams:
Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

Some landlords have a tendency to quickly blame the tenant for everything. Doors take a ton of use and generally speaking, issues with hinges have nothing to do with tenants. A properly adjusted door can open and close a million times on hinges and never have an issue. I have a 70 year old property with all original doors and hinges, but when I bought the property, some of the doors were not shutting right. At the first sign of a door not shutting properly, it needs adjustment. That could be new shimming or sanding/cutting some thickness off the door. When a door is hard to close, it puts stress on the screws/hinges. That can pull screws out. It is really your responsibility as a landlord to keep doors operating properly. Unless you can prove the tenant damaged them, you need to cover the expense.

I would caution you to fix this immediately. Using a door with damaged hinges will make the damage worse every time you use it. If the hinges are still in good shape and the door is adjusted properly, it may be as simple as putting in longer screws. Cheaper doors may be harder to fix. @Jim K. had some good tips for fixing holes that are stripped out.

I would recommend hiring a handyman to fix it, just because I have a feeling it is out of your skill level. I say that because anyone asking "should the tenant fix hinges" probably isn't very knowledgeable or handy. 

 No, you are mistaken on my experience, but thank you anyway for your 2 cents.  The issue isn't to fix it, the issue is should the tenant be responsible of the cost or not.  Apologies to anyone who thought the issue was about fixing the door; that will be fixed. The question, again, is should the tenant be billed for it.

Sorry I misunderstood. 

This is part of the structure and you stated the tenant is responsible for "appliances, equipment, furnishings and furniture". I think you would only charge them if you had evidence to believe that misuse caused the damage. Misusing a door is difficult to do. Opening and shutting it hard may cause some damage or forcing it open. I would ask the handyman what they thought caused the issue. In my experience lower quality doors are usually the issue when there is a problem with hinges. Some interior doors are mostly fiberboard and even cardboard on the inside. Bathroom door can also be water related. The steam can cause the door to swell, making it harder to close and putting wear on hinges. Sometimes the best fix is even replacing the door if it is not closing properly.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

You take the door off and and use body filler (Bondo) or fast-repair epoxy putty (SteelStik) to fill the stripped-out screw hole. Wait until the epoxy dries and drill new pilot holes. Reinstall. The bathroom door gets the most use of all the doors in a house. Rigging the hinges with longer screws, toothpicks, or putting in plastic hole anchors, three common quick-fixes, would be too flimsy for my rental properties and probably yours.

 We've always used Screw It Again.  Takes about a minute per hole and it's pretty solid.

It would take less time and frustration if you just fix it.  At least you would know it was taken care off before the actual doors comes off and the damage is much worse.

Jeremy - Registered Architect

@Mike Adams

Fix the door! It’s a few screws and maybe a $4 hinge.

If they were newer pre-hung doors, the screws are only 3/4”. They get loose, the world is an imperfect place.