I just had a tenant ask about changing a burnt-out light bulb...

55 Replies

Really.  Can't make this up.  I had to coach him through changing it over the phone because the closets have linear fluorescents, and he didn't know what to do.

I'm focusing on the day job now, but I had to share.  (Keep in mind that I rent to college students.  They're babies, even though they're all in STEM....)

I've had to walk tenants through some basic home maintenance situations as well. Many of these tenants (especially in student housing). I do know of some landlords that do a "tenant talk" when new people move in that cover basic home maintenance items. I've played around with the idea of adopting this for some of my less experienced renters. 

I was actually out of town when they moved in, but I'll be making an illustrated photo guide to basic things whenever I have time for future students. I have high turnover, as they're all students!  I even have little signs up telling them how to use the washing machine (always leave the door open to prevent mildew) and dryer (always clean the lint filter) and kitchen sink (no FOGs, no coffee grounds) because I can get away with it renting to kids.

Same kid just put a hole through the door with the doorstop. Arg. I was worried about those with the hollow-core doors.

@Genny Li   two of our student tenants actually shattered a sliding glass door panel because they were horsing around and put a chair through it (I think). It happens, but the funny part was that then they went to habitat and picked a door up they were going to install to replace our two year old door with.  That didn't fly with us. 

The cleaning toilet one puts me in mind of a story my son told me this week. The students are back and he is working part time in the deli. One of the girls comes up to order sliced ham. He asks her how she wants her ham sliced.  She says can you do it like my mom does it...   

Originally posted by @Genny Li :

Really.  Can't make this up.  I had to coach him through changing it over the phone because the closets have linear fluorescents, and he didn't know what to do.

I'm focusing on the day job now, but I had to share.  (Keep in mind that I rent to college students.  They're babies, even though they're all in STEM....)

 I've had tenants complain light bulbs were out like I was supposed to go replace them. Regular basic a** light bulbs.  Seriously 

Yes, my lease agreement specifically states they are responsible for certain "maintenance" tasks like changing light bulbs, batteries in remotes, etc. I once had a guy call because his garbage disposal stopped working. I told him to try pushing the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and he said, "Are you kidding me? I pay rent so I don't have to do stuff like that!" We've gotten to the point where pushing a button is too much work for some people.

"Are you kidding me? I pay rent so I don't have to do stuff like that!"....

Cool, I am happy to send the maintenance guy over there to push the button for you. I will need to add the $65.00 service charge to your upcoming rent though. 

You really can’t make this stuff up. 

It is funny that they are supposed to be technologically savvy, but in all honesty they aren't.  They can't even figure out how to google things. They can use a cell phone and sort of use a computer, but that's about it. As for the door stop through the door, how hard did he open it to do that?

Originally posted by @Genny Li :

Really.  Can't make this up.  I had to coach him through changing it over the phone because the closets have linear fluorescents, and he didn't know what to do.

I'm focusing on the day job now, but I had to share.  (Keep in mind that I rent to college students.  They're babies, even though they're all in STEM....)

 I will acknowledge that changing a fluorescent bulb is a little harder than a regular twist out. That being said, the first time I did it, I just looked at it and figured it out. I didn't need to Google, Youtube or phone a friend. 

It is like the old joke, "How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?" The answer is "None, because according to our calculations the light bulb doesn't need to be changed." There is often a disconnect between how things work on paper versus in the real world...

Funny story, I had a tenant who became a police officer, which was probably the third profession he had tried since being a tenant. They were moving out and I was showing the property to perspective tenants. Fifteen minutes before the showing he texts me a picture of a crumpled up piece of plastic that he found on the sidewalk. He says, "I noticed a suspicious plastic bag with white substance on the sidewalk. Officer is in route to investigate." I tell him it looks like a piece of garbage and I ask if he picked it up to look at it. He says, "No I secured the perimeter". Just for reference, this is a B+ family neighborhood a block from an elementary school. Soccer moms walking dogs is about as exciting as it gets. I have a showing in a few minutes, so having the swat team there is not cool. I show up at the property and police were just leaving. He texts me "it was a candy wrapper". I couldn't contain my sarcasm and I texted back, "I am glad we solved that mystery." He never talked to me again. 

What is it with lights and tenants becoming stupid?

I had a full fledged doctor call me because a recessed light stopped working. I went over believing the fixture had gone bad. To test it I swapped a bulb from the fixture next to it and it worked just fine. The bulb burnt out. Doctor was amazed and asked if I was going to replace it. Nope, read the lease, it's your responsibility. Got a text a few days later "where would I go to get a bulb like this"? I ask, Did the market or drug store across the street not have any? Oh, I'll try there. 

A few months into a new lease an IT professional tenant called me and said that half the lights in one room stopped working. I go over to check it out and ask how long as it been like this. "Since we moved in". There are two light switches next to each other. I flip the second light switch and the "non-working" lights go on. Tenant looks at me with astonishment. 

Talking to a tenant and his wife tells him to ask me about fixing the dining room light. He tells me something is wrong with it as it's too bright on one side. I look at it and let him know that it was because he had a 40 watt bulb on the left side and a 100 watt bulb on the right side.  

FYI, I rent A/B class units.

The hardest part of being a landlord is having the right attitude. I'd say 90% of my tenants over the last 20 years have been  stupid, lazy, inconsiderate, dishonest, and worse. I'd also say my income for what I have invested would be hard to beat. I just don't get upset :)

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :

It is funny that they are supposed to be technologically savvy, but in all honesty they aren't.  They can't even figure out how to google things. They can use a cell phone and sort of use a computer, but that's about it. As for the door stop through the door, how hard did he open it to do that?

He claimed he didn't even notice it and it must have already been like that. I installed them right before he moved in, so that's not true at allllll 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :
Originally posted by @Genny Li:

Really.  Can't make this up.  I had to coach him through changing it over the phone because the closets have linear fluorescents, and he didn't know what to do.

I'm focusing on the day job now, but I had to share.  (Keep in mind that I rent to college students.  They're babies, even though they're all in STEM....)

 I will acknowledge that changing a fluorescent bulb is a little harder than a regular twist out. That being said, the first time I did it, I just looked at it and figured it out. I didn't need to Google, Youtube or phone a friend. 

It is like the old joke, "How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?" The answer is "None, because according to our calculations the light bulb doesn't need to be changed." There is often a disconnect between how things work on paper versus in the real world...

Funny story, I had a tenant who became a police officer, which was probably the third profession he had tried since being a tenant. They were moving out and I was showing the property to perspective tenants. Fifteen minutes before the showing he texts me a picture of a crumpled up piece of plastic that he found on the sidewalk. He says, "I noticed a suspicious plastic bag with white substance on the sidewalk. Officer is in route to investigate." I tell him it looks like a piece of garbage and I ask if he picked it up to look at it. He says, "No I secured the perimeter". Just for reference, this is a B+ family neighborhood a block from an elementary school. Soccer moms walking dogs is about as exciting as it gets. I have a showing in a few minutes, so having the swat team there is not cool. I show up at the property and police were just leaving. He texts me "it was a candy wrapper". I couldn't contain my sarcasm and I texted back, "I am glad we solved that mystery." He never talked to me again. 

That is definitely the best laugh all day!

Today they had TWO issues.

1) The boys couldn't read their utility bill! They didn't follow instructions when they signed up to set up auto deductions, so they had a renter's deposit of $280. They thought their whole bill was over $400 because they didn't understand the bill or read it right. 

2) A vent worked its way open, making one room super cold and two others hot.  They needed me to tell them to close the vent. 

The HVAC ducts were designed badly and because this was built in the 90s there are no dedicated air return grilles. I didn't have time to install some when I was there over the summer, but I'm going to do it over Christmas, and also hack at the air balance issues so that this doesn't keep happening. I'm going to just use the stud space for air returns in 3 rooms, but I need a Tamarack grille with baffle over the door in the 4th because of the walls.

My tenants talk goes like this 

Me:   The property won’t be ready for a few weeks because we need to connect the water line from the well to the house 

Tenent:   What if I do it?  Can I move on this week?

Me:  Why yes.   Yes you can 


these type of tenants don’t ask for help replacing a light bulb   

Originally posted by @Genny Li :
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

It is funny that they are supposed to be technologically savvy, but in all honesty they aren't.  They can't even figure out how to google things. They can use a cell phone and sort of use a computer, but that's about it. As for the door stop through the door, how hard did he open it to do that?

He claimed he didn't even notice it and it must have already been like that. I installed them right before he moved in, so that's not true at allllll 

 I think you are in for a long year.  

Originally posted by @Theresa Harris :
Originally posted by @Genny Li:
Originally posted by @Theresa Harris:

It is funny that they are supposed to be technologically savvy, but in all honesty they aren't.  They can't even figure out how to google things. They can use a cell phone and sort of use a computer, but that's about it. As for the door stop through the door, how hard did he open it to do that?

He claimed he didn't even notice it and it must have already been like that. I installed them right before he moved in, so that's not true at allllll 

 I think you are in for a long year.  

 Thank goodness I didn't sign the kid who needed me to send him a link to the bus schedule, because he couldn't figure it out himself and didn't realize that campus buses had a different schedule when classes were in session.  He also asked me how he was supposed to get to the grocery store.  *facepalm*

You may have missed the event at the end of the last month where one of the boys thought I would send a plumber because he clogged a toilet with poo.

Originally posted by @Mike Dymski :

college room, with a built in "cannabis closet"

 Lol!  These are not grow lights!  Fortunately, the boys are all very straightlaced. One of them wanted me to completely forbid any drinking at all in the unit.  Another my parents realized they knew from premarital Christian counselling. lol.  (Those two haven't actually been the ones to need so much help, though.  It's the other 2 I've heard from about...problems.  Light bulb guy is toilet guy and hole-in-door guy.  Utilities guy is my-room-is-too-hot guy, but then again, the light bulb guy's room was freezing, but he just didn't complain about it.

They have had remedial register adjustment training, so they should be GTG with that, at least!  There is honestly a bad HVAC balance problem, but it's more something that I'm worried about wearing out my air handler super prematurely than something that they can't adjust to make their stay comfortable.

Originally posted by @Huso Akaratovic :

@Genny Li I had tenant call me the other day to change the battery on the smoke detector.🤣😂😅

I lost my ****…..

 I have left behind 9V batteries and will just charge them for whatever they use because every single smoke alarm had been disabled by the students who had been there before.  There are no hardwired ones in the rooms (they're directly outside the rooms because that was the norm in 1998), only battery powered ones, so it would start beeping when the batteries were low and the students would just take the batteries out and never replace them.  I just asked them to pay me (at cost) for the batteries they use, and if some are missing at the end, I'll charge 'em for it.

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

My tenants talk goes like this 

Me:   The property won’t be ready for a few weeks because we need to connect the water line from the well to the house 

Tenent:   What if I do it?  Can I move on this week?

Me:  Why yes.   Yes you can 


these type of tenants don’t ask for help replacing a light bulb   

 Mine are college students.  Two got lost on the way to the condo even though it shows up great on Google maps and had to be coached in....