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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Real Estate and Landlording => Topic started by: Megatron on November 03, 2014, 09:25:29 AM

Title: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: Megatron on November 03, 2014, 09:25:29 AM
My wife and I recently purchased a multi-family building on a short sale. we got a violation notice about the garbage being all over the place. it's $300 dollars. We recently moved to one of the apartments in the building and I have cleaned up and notified all tenants about neighbors complaining. This violation was given out around the time of our closing when we didn't even have contacts with any tenants yet. I couldn't find much on the specifics of making tenants pay for city violations that were caused by them. My question is, can we make the tenants pay for the violation or is it not lawful? Should I? The tenants are decent. I think it's when they tell the kids to throw away garbage that they left it all over the place. I've had a discussion about it with them.  also, can violation notice like garbage disposal be written into future lease agreements?
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: olivia on November 03, 2014, 09:44:44 AM
What do the tenants' leases say about fees?  Do you know which tenant specifically was responsible for the garbage issue?  If not, how do you intend to make the tenants pay?  Splitting the cost among all units?  I have no clue but I'm guessing that's not legal.  Even if it is legal, it would piss them off majorly if they weren't the offenders.  If I was in your tenants' position and was charged for something I didn't do, I would refuse to pay, and would move out as soon as my lease was up.

Seems like a lose/lose for you-it's probably best to suck it up and pay the fee yourself.  Then going forward, you should put a clause in the lease that if you receive a violation due to an issue with a tenant, the tenant who caused the issue is responsible for paying it.
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: Megatron on November 03, 2014, 09:51:45 AM
I guess we would divide the violation up among tenants. The thing is, our building has 3 units, currently one is occupied by us. How would you determine which tenant did it? The violation would come in the mail months later without us knowing at the time. It would be a he said she said thing and each one would blame the other. Has anyone had experience with this kind of situation?
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: jda1984 on November 03, 2014, 10:16:23 AM
We received a notice that our rental property had some conditions (garbage and some construction debris) that needed to be addressed.  The city gave us 1 week to get it cleared up.  I sent a photo of the notice to both tenants in the duplex separately and noted to the one who was more likely that it would be subtracted from the security deposit.  Well, it only got partially cleaned up and so I deducted that amount from the tenant's security deposit.  I discussed it with the tenant at the move out walk-through and so far it hasn't been an issue (he cashed the deposit return check).  If you don't know who it was, I doubt it is lawful to assess it to all three equally.
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: BlueHouse on November 03, 2014, 10:43:47 AM
I live in a city and the Department of Public Works, which is responsible for sanitation and trash pickup, has inspectors that will come out and root through trash to find out who it belongs to!  All you have to do is be willing to look on trash days to see if something is a mess and then pick up the phone. 
I can't imagine doing it, but I do have a neighbor who has called on more than one occasion when the trash piles look unkempt.
So check your DPW to see what kind of services they offer, then ask one of your tenants to be on the lookout for the misplaced trashed and to take photos.
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: dragoncar on November 03, 2014, 03:00:24 PM
I guess we would divide the violation up among tenants. The thing is, our building has 3 units, currently one is occupied by us. How would you determine which tenant did it? The violation would come in the mail months later without us knowing at the time. It would be a he said she said thing and each one would blame the other. Has anyone had experience with this kind of situation?

Security cameras are the only way.  In a multi-unit building, I'd probably want a couple around anyways.  could be as simple as sticking a webcam in your window.
Title: Re: City garbage violation, Can/should I make my tenants pay?
Post by: MikeBear on November 03, 2014, 05:43:17 PM
When it's time for new leases, put a specific clause in there to address situations such as this, and attach a dollar value to it. If they violate it, they get a warning, second time, warning and fine as stated in the lease. 3rd time and it's an eviction. "3 strikes (maximum) and you are OUT"! is a real good motto in management, and landlording.

Don't let your tenants "pull dominance" (like dogs do) on you like this, because if you let it slide, some will escalate to levels you won't believe.