Tenant not cooperating with repairs & asking for reimbursment

17 Replies

She is a classic problem tenant. We've repaired all her issues in a timely manner of course, most recently her fridge has been leaking, so we set up an appointment which she failed to confirm three times in three days. Then I get the aforementioned letter a few weeks later.

She is saying that we owe her $15,000 dollars for "hospital visits" due to "housing condition" (her unit is totally fine, housing inspects her unit and she has caregivers keeping it clean). She wasn't more specific. We also owe her for when she got heat stroke and had to get a hotel room. She complained about her A/C and it was replaced that day. It's really all so silly. Finally, we owe her for her damaged furniture, again due to "housing conditions". She also lists many many other minor things.

Any tips or perhaps a way to get rid of her would be greatly appreciated.

Currently my plan is to simply start tackling her list on by one, but I'm unsure of how to reply about the reimbursement. Clearly we're not going to do that. Should I not even mention it or tell her that we have no intention of paying up?

Thanks

Originally posted by @Michael Patrick :

She is a classic problem tenant. We've repaired all her issues in a timely manner of course, most recently her fridge has been leaking, so we set up an appointment which she failed to confirm three times in three days. Then I get the aforementioned letter a few weeks later.

She is saying that we owe her $15,000 dollars for "hospital visits" due to "housing condition" (her unit is totally fine, housing inspects her unit and she has caregivers keeping it clean). She wasn't more specific. We also owe her for when she got heat stroke and had to get a hotel room. She complained about her A/C and it was replaced that day. It's really all so silly. Finally, we owe her for her damaged furniture, again due to "housing conditions". She also lists many many other minor things.

Any tips or perhaps a way to get rid of her would be greatly appreciated.

Currently my plan is to simply start tackling her list on by one, but I'm unsure of how to reply about the reimbursement. Clearly we're not going to do that. Should I not even mention it or tell her that we have no intention of paying up?

Thanks

 Does your lease allow you to have tenant move out in order to perform repairs to the house?

What about local or National laws which allow tenant or landlord to end lease if repairs are needed?

Originally posted by @Michael Patrick :

She is a classic problem tenant. We've repaired all her issues in a timely manner of course, most recently her fridge has been leaking, so we set up an appointment which she failed to confirm three times in three days. Then I get the aforementioned letter a few weeks later.

She is saying that we owe her $15,000 dollars for "hospital visits" due to "housing condition" (her unit is totally fine, housing inspects her unit and she has caregivers keeping it clean). She wasn't more specific. We also owe her for when she got heat stroke and had to get a hotel room. She complained about her A/C and it was replaced that day. It's really all so silly. Finally, we owe her for her damaged furniture, again due to "housing conditions". She also lists many many other minor things.

Any tips or perhaps a way to get rid of her would be greatly appreciated.

Currently my plan is to simply start tackling her list on by one, but I'm unsure of how to reply about the reimbursement. Clearly we're not going to do that. Should I not even mention it or tell her that we have no intention of paying up?

Thanks

I would tell her that she should contact her renter's insurance for any claims she may have.  I would tell her that you are sorry but do not carry insurance directly for tenants and that is her responsibility to purchase her own renter's insurance policy to cover her needs.  

I agree with Eric.  What type of lease do you have with her?   May be time for the Happy Clause.

Had a tenant (not quite so bad as yours) who was late on a rent payment one month and claimed that it was because she was hospitalized for "mold".  Sent a picture of herself with one eye shut; looked like she had maybe run into something.  At any rate for "evidence" she had pulled up (and thrown away) a small piece of carpet claiming once she did that she found "mold" and "dried blood" under it.  I suspected she was nuts but we went over to the house to view the flooring which was perfectly fine.  To cover all bases I prayed the area down with Concrobium and replaced that part of the flooring with LVP.

From then on it was a downward slide....claimed several more hospitalizations for various things.  Sent me a picture of sitting up in bed smiling so I'm guessing she wasn't at deaths door because of this.  These were all her excuses for not paying rent. 

Did not come up with a demand for money for all these hospitalizations but it did take me three months to finally get her evicted for nonpayment of rent.

Gail

Unfortunately no, the lease does not include having the tenant move out to perform repairs (will add it). But even if it had, I am being told that an eviction is impossible right now due to the moratorium in Washington state.

She is currently month to month.

Part of my letter draft includes a suggestion to contact her renters insurance, we tell tenants they need to get insurance.

I will mention to her that if she wishes to discuss reimbursement further she needs to have her lawyer contact mine.

Thank you all so much! So glad I found this website, I am not alone..!

If she is a month to month tenant, follow the guidelines for your state for TERMINATING this tenancy at will. Pay particular attention to when/how she is to receive this documentation.

This is not an eviction.  

Gail

I would check your local laws about maintenance notification. Here in Ohio we aren't required to have an appointment. We just have to give 24 hours notice before 'non-emergency' entries (no notice is required in an emergency). My leases require that tenants maintain an email address on our tenant portal and it specifies that notices for entry will be done by email. We change all our locks to our smart key system when we buy new units and when we have repairs that are in house, we give proper notice and then maintenance will knock and enter (we have 'morning' 8-12:30 and 'afternoon' 12:30-5 appointments). When I send out third party vendors, they make appointments directly with the tenant and our lease agreement requires that tenants cooperate and make appointments as required to maintain the property. Your tenant would be in violation of my lease. and I'd send her a notice to cure.

Here her demands for reimbursement would be laughable. In Ohio where we have an escrow system that tenants can use if there are legit issues that can't be resolved after making a written request. Here I could non-renew her month-to-month lease (because she is not reasonable, and I hate dealing with unreasonable tenants) and not give her any reason at all. You'll need to find out the rules in your area-- It's really critical if you want effectively deal with problem tenants.

Originally posted by @Michael Patrick :

Mi Michael,

Give your Attorney a heads up on this "Written Threat" that involves hospital bills, and ask how best to handle it.

It's probably best not to communicate with the tenant until you talk to your attorney.

Good Luck!

That is what Insurance is for, sounds like she is trying to make a quick buck. All too familiar with this, if your LLC has a solid General liability policy then let her bump her gums about what is "owed to her". Nothing will come from it.

Sounds like she may have some sort of mental illness.

I'd respond to all repair requests. If it ever gets to court, you want a record of the actions you took. The judge won't know who to believe if she says the ceiling fan needs fixing and you said it didn't. However, if you have a written record of inspecting it one day after her request and you noted it was in working order, that will go a long way with believability. 

As for the money you "owe her", a simple letter that you are not responsible for tenant losses should be enough. Ignore any future money requests unless it is a lawsuit. 

This is drama you don't need.  Forward the letter to your attorney and let them handle this issue for you.  This is what they get paid to do.  Sounds like you have things under control on your end and hopefully all documented as well.  

The odds of follow through are minimal on the tenant part and you have your ducks in a row if they do so keep on moving forward.  

Thank you all for the responses! Just an update & some gossip :). Told her we were gonna change her fridge and inspect her unit for all her other issues. Also made use of the happy clause in the letter, SO GLAD I learned about the happy clause on here. She finally confirmed an appointment for today at 12PM, however when I got there at 12:01PM she was complaining that I was late. Yes, really. She asked why I made the appointment at 12 if I wasn't going to be there at 12. She claimed she was extremely busy with other appointments made with housing authority, lawyers, and oxygen deliveries. I told her she should not expect me to adhere to her personal strict standards on time, and that she confirmed this appointment specifically (Now you see why we require a confirmation from her even when we don't technically need it)

Anyways I'm a quick worker, so I placed the fridge and was out by 12:07PM, all the while she is complaining about her schedule and how she just can't believe we were late. Again, I was done and out of her unit by 12:07PM. Extraordinary & speedy work if you ask me *pats self on back*.

Some more fun tidbits:

-She claims we infested her unit with mice when we gave her a new stove. She said there was a rats nest in there when we brought it LOL. I actually laughed and said "that is not possible, and I really hope you documented that". To which she replied, "Yes I did", so I asked to see her pictures/documentation, and she said that she didn't take pics, she only keeps a diary. Okay.

-While I was removing her old fridge, the caregiver was on the other side helping me unbeknownst to me, when suddenly the tenant starts yelling, "that' illegal! You can't help him!". Caregiver just said it's my choice and everything is fine. She was extremely nice and helpful :)

-Caregiver has been with her for only a week, and already looks miserable as all heck. You could really tell she is tired of the tenant, who goes through caregivers like crazy. Seems there's a new one every month. The caregiver was openly rolling her eyes at all the comments, trying to calm her down, even getting a bit snippy because she was getting annoyed, which wasn't exactly professional but with this tenant it's tough.

-She complained the new fridge was too small but that she was 'willing' to accept it(1.5 CU FT smaller)

-Expected me to clean up her kitchen floor, where there were stains under the fridge, as well as paper/trash. I told her it was her responsibility.

      It appears you're taking this well, which is OK, but I think you should start to take it serious. She's likely dealing with mental illness and could really, really make your life miserable. She's on a month-to-month agreement, so I would give her the required notice of termination and get her out.

      Then again, maybe you don't have a personal life and enjoy spending all your time on frivolous complaints from tenants.