Author Topic: Should I repair washer for the tenants?  (Read 1724 times)

CourtneyT

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Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« on: January 02, 2019, 08:31:21 PM »
Hello! I would love to get some suggestions about how to handle the situation I ran into.

I bought a rental house and inherited the one-year lease and the tenants. The lease will be due in 4 months and the tenants are not the best tenants. Just now I received an email from the tenants saying the washer is not working properly. I checked the lease, which doesn’t mention which appliance is included, but does say ‘the washer/dryer will not be replaced by the landlord’. Based on the lease, am I obligated to REPAIR the washer for them? I know I don’t have to get another washer for them, but what if they only want me to repair it?

Do I have the right to tell them either ‘you repair the washer on your own’ or ‘I throw away the washer so you can get a washer on your own’?

Thank you so much for reading!
Courtney

LDoon

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 09:05:13 PM »
The language suggests that the w/d is provided by the landlord.  I'd get a repair estimate and repair if it makes sense. 

Is it typical in the area for the tenant to provide their own w/d?  If usual for landlord to provide, then you'll either have to repair or replace in four months anyway.  Small issue to keep tenants happy for next four months before declining to renew the lease.

ilsy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 09:24:03 PM »
A used washer in my area on CL is about $50, I wouldn't even think twice about replacing it for tenants. I like to be nice to my tenants, they live in my property. My tenants got 1/2 rent off for Xmas.

CourtneyT

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2019, 09:24:24 PM »
Actually it’s not very common to provide washer or dryer in that market.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 12:54:33 AM »
You should fix or replace the washer.  This is pretty basic stuff and not worth being a cheapskate about. 

waltworks

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2019, 07:20:34 AM »
If your goal is to be a slumlord, you should be nickel and diming every tenant. Your places will get trashed fast and you'll constantly have problems, but you won't spend much (at least in the beginning) on maintenance.

If your goal is to have tenants that take decent care of your place and will let you know when there are problems, then you should consider fixing (and often replacing) appliances part of the cost of being a landlord. There will be *lots* of small (and some large) expenses with any rental. Hopefully you planned for that when you bought the place.

-W


Car Jack

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2019, 07:36:40 AM »
What exactly does "not working properly" mean?

If it doesn't wash the clothes, then play on.  If it means that when they overstuff the washer, it doesn't just work as well as it does when they put in a reasonable amount of stuff, then that's not your problem.  Find out what it's actually doing first.  This is part of the "non-passive" work you need to do as a landlord.  A visit to the place to verify what's actually going on is your first step.

Basenji

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 07:37:19 AM »
Yes.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 08:23:08 AM »
Your jurisdiction matters.
In mine, if you started the lease with it, you are required to maintain it. That's why it is generally not provided to begin with.

Cwadda

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 05:38:35 PM »
A used washer in my area on CL is about $50, I wouldn't even think twice about replacing it for tenants. I like to be nice to my tenants, they live in my property. My tenants got 1/2 rent off for Xmas.

I like being nice to my tenants too, but IMO discounting rent is a terrible idea in the vast majority of cases.

Another +1 for fixing the washing machine. Just do it. It's not hard.

ilsy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 06:56:36 PM »
A used washer in my area on CL is about $50, I wouldn't even think twice about replacing it for tenants. I like to be nice to my tenants, they live in my property. My tenants got 1/2 rent off for Xmas.

I like being nice to my tenants too, but IMO discounting rent is a terrible idea in the vast majority of cases.


Don't see a reason why giving my tenants a Xmas gift is a terrible idea? I could have came up with a monetary equivalent of upgrades, but couldn't come up with anything.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2019, 07:16:12 PM »
Another voice in the choir. Repair or replace with used, whichever is cheaper.

I also do not discount rent as a gift. However, I do think asking long term tenants for a list of modest improvements of which I would choose one for a handyman to do is a nice touch. They are typically small things that you wouldn't notice if you didn't live in the property. Example: The underside of an outdoor railing had gotten a little rough and a tenant had gotten a couple splinters.

ilsy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2019, 07:49:41 PM »
Another voice in the choir. Repair or replace with used, whichever is cheaper.

I also do not discount rent as a gift. However, I do think asking long term tenants for a list of modest improvements of which I would choose one for a handyman to do is a nice touch. They are typically small things that you wouldn't notice if you didn't live in the property. Example: The underside of an outdoor railing had gotten a little rough and a tenant had gotten a couple splinters.
Wow, really? That's something I would fix the next day they complaint about it. I guess I should consider raising my rent, since they get such a superb service. I should increase it anyways, inflation and such.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2019, 08:13:37 PM »
Another voice in the choir. Repair or replace with used, whichever is cheaper.

I also do not discount rent as a gift. However, I do think asking long term tenants for a list of modest improvements of which I would choose one for a handyman to do is a nice touch. They are typically small things that you wouldn't notice if you didn't live in the property. Example: The underside of an outdoor railing had gotten a little rough and a tenant had gotten a couple splinters.
Wow, really? That's something I would fix the next day they complaint about it. I guess I should consider raising my rent, since they get such a superb service. I should increase it anyways, inflation and such.

Yes, really. No, they had not told me about it until I asked if there were any small improvements they would like for their house.

FINate

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2019, 09:00:13 PM »
If your goal is to be a slumlord, you should be nickel and diming every tenant. Your places will get trashed fast and you'll constantly have problems, but you won't spend much (at least in the beginning) on maintenance.

If your goal is to have tenants that take decent care of your place and will let you know when there are problems, then you should consider fixing (and often replacing) appliances part of the cost of being a landlord. There will be *lots* of small (and some large) expenses with any rental. Hopefully you planned for that when you bought the place.

-W

This^^^

Not worth the headache. Spend the $50-$100 and get a cheap used washer.

remizidae

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2019, 09:19:16 PM »
Your jurisdiction matters.
In mine, if you started the lease with it, you are required to maintain it. That's why it is generally not provided to begin with.

I'd like to echo this point. While I'm not familiar with your local laws, it's often the case that if the apartment offered certain amenities when they moved in, the landlord is obligated to maintain them.

Also, whether you repair or replace, make sure you hire a good handyman instead of trying to do it yourself. I had a landlord once who did his own repairs, and it was super awkward as well as taking much, much more of our time than a handyman would have. Don't cheap out if you want good tenants to stay.

ilsy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2019, 11:27:43 PM »
Your jurisdiction matters.
In mine, if you started the lease with it, you are required to maintain it. That's why it is generally not provided to begin with.

I'd like to echo this point. While I'm not familiar with your local laws, it's often the case that if the apartment offered certain amenities when they moved in, the landlord is obligated to maintain them.

Also, whether you repair or replace, make sure you hire a good handyman instead of trying to do it yourself. I had a landlord once who did his own repairs, and it was super awkward as well as taking much, much more of our time than a handyman would have. Don't cheap out if you want good tenants to stay.
I would have to totally disagree with that, it depends on a landlord. I don't think that any handyman could do a better job than I can. Since I fix my rentals myself, or am present at every stage of the reno, how can any handyman be better?

About washers and dryers, I have fixed so many in my personal property and for my rentals, that I doubt a regular handyman is better than me. Another thing, is that, I won't even try and fix a washer or a dryer, unless it's something easy and obvious (and most problems are, 2-nd video on YouTube usually has the answer), since I can get a working used one for $50.

I also think, that my tenants appreciate me taking care of the property and explaining them how to avoid a problem in the future. They can see that I love the property not less than they do. A handyman might make sense in an apartment complex or a multiplex, but in SFHs landlords should fix problems, IMHO. A 3rd party, like a handyman, reports to the paying party, the landlord, and usually leaves the tenants outside - not a good approach when you want tenants to take care of the property.

Cwadda

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2019, 12:38:35 PM »
Quote
Another voice in the choir. Repair or replace with used, whichever is cheaper.
Mustachianism would learn towards the repair route, to generate less waste.

Quote
Don't see a reason why giving my tenants a Xmas gift is a terrible idea? I could have came up with a monetary equivalent of upgrades, but couldn't come up with anything.
I'd argue that taking money off rent puts into a tenant's mind that the landlord already has a good deal of money, and if things get tight, can afford not to be paid rent.

A better idea IMO would be giving them a Dunkin Donuts gift card and leaving it at that. A nice gesture, but no gray area in boundaries. That's what I did for all of my tenants for the holidays.

MaikoTsumi

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2019, 12:55:54 PM »
My lease specifically excludes the refrigerator, and washer and dryer, i.e. not part of the rent.  Further, it states that repair and maintenance is on the tenant.

That being said, I've replaced refrigerators and washer and dryers for tenants and usually do so without even reminding the tenant about that clause that they didn't remember or forgot they agreed to.  However, I have, on two occasions, pointed to the clause and told different tenants I wouldn't replace the refrigerator. One I offered to pay 50% up to $125 for a service call and they opted to buy their own.  The other I didn't offer anything.  In both situations, it was going to be a nonrenewal of lease situation at the end of the lease for tenants I wanted gone.

Personally, I've been toying with the idea of no longer providing them, except as a rental option. $15-$20 a month depending on the appliance.  The reason is, more than half my tenants end up bringing their own and I get tired of hauling the unneeded ones in and out.

cchrissyy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2019, 03:16:34 PM »
As a landlord, yes I would repair or replace it even if not obligated to do so. Partly because I want the tenants to know I'm taking good care of the property and partly because I know having good and working appliances will be important to the next tenants.

As a tenant, I did once sign a lease with the attached wording. If that's what you want to do, just word it something like this next time you rent the place.

ilsy

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Re: Should I repair washer for the tenants?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2019, 08:23:41 PM »

I'd argue that taking money off rent puts into a tenant's mind that the landlord already has a good deal of money, and if things get tight, can afford not to be paid rent.

A better idea IMO would be giving them a Dunkin Donuts gift card and leaving it at that. A nice gesture, but no gray area in boundaries. That's what I did for all of my tenants for the holidays.

My tenants know that if they don't pay rent on time, they are going to be evicted.
Many property managers give tenants their 1st month free, I give my tenants their last 1/2 month free, right after they renew the lease for another year.