PropertyManagementMaven: When Tenants Do Repairs On Their Own.....Just Say NO!

When Tenants Do Repairs On Their Own.....Just Say NO!

New tenants just moved into a gorgeous townhouse that the owner lived in for 3 years and OVERimproved to the point that she would loose $100,000 if she sold it. 


In true tenant fashion - where NOTHING was WRONG - they found items that needed repair.....after a month in residence, a gas burner would not work so I suggested they clean it...they cleaned it and THEN it worked.


Then the fireplace UPgrade would not work.  The owners left the instruction manual AND a How-To on how to turn it on.  Tenant finally went to installer whose name was on the instruction manual and learned how to operate it.

Then the dryer took 2 hours to dry their clothes so the tenant investigated and found a "critter guard" at the end of the dryer vent on the exterior of the townhouse.  He took it upon himself to have it removed.  In his e-mail to me requesting reimbursement for the $273 he spent for the guard to be removed, he indicated 1) that it was not installed correctly; and 2) that they were against code to install because they can cause a fire.


After saying NO to his request for reimbursement, I advised him that sufficient heat in the dryer will cause it to stop operation for just this reason so the critter guard was not the issue AND that the guard was installed because of the construction in the area and the fact that "critters" * in the winter * would like a nice, warm place to sleep and the UNprotected opening of a dryer vent (the original plastic covering having disintegrated after the first year's warranty expired) was 5-star to them with the accumulated vent lint being better than maid-turn-down service.


When the dryer turned off completely, I had an appliance firm check it and they found a bad breaker for the dryer which my electrician will change out early next week.


I'll leave the issue of their "alteration" of the property in violation of their lease until they move out and then I will request that they have the critter guard re-installed at their expense.



View our available Charlottesville, Albemarle and Lake Monticello rental homes online with photos and floor plans

" be a Virginian, either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one's Mother's side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from the Almighty God...." Anonymous


Comment balloon 7 commentsWallace S. Gibson, CPM • January 09 2015 01:19PM


The improvements are not always needed. Or because the tenant was hard on something that broke.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 4 years ago

Key word is "tenant" and not owner. I am a firm believer that the owner should be informed and there needs to be approval in these cases to avoid complications later. As you stated there are many easy and less costly fixes that can be overlooked. Having a operational living space is paramount but having the idea of losing 100,000 because of "improvements" done by tenants is horrible!

Posted by Tanya Van Blake-Coleman, Improving the Quality of Your Life (Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/ over 4 years ago

The OWNER overimproved when she thought she would be living in the unit for a long time....So far, TENANT has spent his own money needlessly...HeHeHe!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 4 years ago

Good advice from one experienced Landlord Whisperer!

have a great night


Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) over 4 years ago

Wallace, yuo are the bomb!  You can tell you have experience in managing rental property just by the answers you give!  Well done!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Hi Wallace.  It is amazing how nervy tenants become with their demands.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 4 years ago

Wow!  I hope they don't get any critters in the dryer vent or they'll have another issue, one that they caused.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 4 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments