Difficult Tennant - Posted by Tom Sullivan

Posted by Michael in Phoenix on May 02, 2002 at 10:08:54:

Dennis just listed a number of my suggestions, and a few others that are quite good as well.

Another suggestion that may serve you well is to be extremely FIRM AND CONSISTENT with how you handle these issues. Make sure you are firm, in that you do what you say you will do (let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’), and consistent in how you handle situations like this across the board. This means not just with this tenant, but with ALL your properties.

Tenants that end up in small claims court love to gather evidence that you mistreated THEM, and they often do this by showing how you treated others differently under similar circumstances. Document, Document, Document. Keep a written record of how you resolved these disputes, and keep them on file. Never know when you may need them!


Difficult Tennant - Posted by Tom Sullivan

Posted by Tom Sullivan on May 02, 2002 at 08:30:23:

I recently bought a duplex that had a long-time tennant in one side and the other side was empty. I had it cleaned and painted and rented it to an elderly couple (in their 70s) with spotless credit.

Before they even moved in, the wife started nit picking, stuff like the toilets don’t flush very fast and the burner covers don’t fit right. I think these will be good tennants on the whole (she planted flowers around her unit when she first moved in) but I’m concerned about how to handle this nit picking. My daughter manages the property and she has a full time job and a young son to care for. She doesn’t have time to run over there every time this lady gets a bug up her butt.

Any suggestions how to handle her?


Re: Difficult Tennant - Posted by Tom Sullivan

Posted by Tom Sullivan on May 03, 2002 at 09:42:16:

Thanks guys…I appreciate the advice(EOM)

Re: Difficult Tennant - Posted by dennis

Posted by dennis on May 02, 2002 at 09:52:19:

hi, i hear ya on this one. i just posted a similar message and got good suggestions. one person said to have a set schedule for a “minor repair day” every few months or so and to have the tenant prepare a list of what they want done. you should go over the list with them and tell them what you will and will not repair in accordance with the landlord-tenant laws in your state. this should keep them out of your hair and present the appearance that their complaints are being heard.

someone else said to sit them down and tell them you’re not a hotel and they’re not paying hotel rates and you’d be happy to rip up their lease if they’d prefer to live elsewhere.

someone else said to make them responsible for the first $25 of a repair per incident, but i checked and that’s not legal in my state, georgia.

finally, you can do what i did: claim poverty. let me quickly tell you my saga:

i renovated a 1940’s bungalow, new everything, and gorgeous. i rented it to a grad student with perfect credit and within the first week she started calling telling me things like the closet door wouldnt quite latch shut, rain had created a small mud hole in the backyard, could i bring her touchup paint for a spot on the wall… etc. i basically politely ignored those requests but responded the same day to a legit one: a plumbing backup.

the last straw came just a few days ago, after i’d put a $1,500 central AC in, and she called to say thanks for the AC, and by the way, would i would split the cost of putting gravel near a flower bed? i told her, in no uncertain terms, that installing the AC had left me FLAT broke and i have no money for any additional expenses. i said if she wanted to get touch up paint, gravel and other (key word here) DECORATIONS, she should feel free to do so but i have no money. now, this seems to have worked. if i’m called again I’m going to go with the “minor repair day” thing. the problem is that she’s a great tenant who pays and takes very good care of the house. i dont want to lose her but cant deal with her ocd.

this tenant has also prompted the addition of a new clause in the lease i use with all my tenants. i added a paragraph that spells out per state law, the landlord must meet local code and minimum safety requirements and that also, the landlord is only responsible for maintining strutural integrity, including the roof, and keeping heating, electric and plumbing operational. that’s it.

once bitten… you know? good luck!