Author Topic: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed  (Read 3134 times)

Bliss

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Over the holiday weekend, my rental property had a non-emergency plumbing problem. Instead of calling the property manager's 24-hour help number or me, the owner, they went ahead an called a plumber directly and had the issue repaired. The invoice came in at $200+ and are now asking to be reimbursed. Neither I nor the property manager knew anything about this until today. The item repaid was most likely still under warranty.

My initial reaction is to tell them that they are responsible for the full bill since they didn't follow proper procedure in the lease. Would anybody disagree with that approach?

ncornilsen

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2017, 10:17:26 AM »
If it's an otherwise good tenant, I would reimbursme them, and issue a written warning that in the future, they MUST call you before having anyone work on the property, and that next time you will not pay them back.

I'd then go after whoever is supposed to be waranteeing thier work for reembursement.


Bliss

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2017, 10:22:34 AM »
They coming into the last month of the lease and I don't know if they paid for the month yet. They've already caused damaged at the property due to not calling the property manager in a timely manner. So, I wouldn't consider them good tenants.

Carless

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 06:15:44 PM »
Not to be cynical, but how do you know there was even an issue?  To play devil's advocate, they could have manufactured the invoice / be in it with the plumber.

Goldielocks

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2017, 09:06:49 PM »
Was someone available over the weekend to tell them it was a non-emergency issue (such as over the phone)?   If not, you have shaky ground to stand on because you don't want tenants NOT calling for emergency plumbing issues in future, do you?   

Tenants have very low experience with what is emergency and what is not.   Yes, my 15 year old could probably figure it out better than your tenants, but that does not negate the fact that you do not expect your tenant to make an intelligent decision when it comes to plumbing.

If you have a voice mail from them over the weekend about this, before they called the plumber, or as they were doing so, then I would pay and give warning.

jmusic

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 07:45:30 AM »
Carless has a good point.  You could google the phone number for the company on the invoice (NOT the number written on the paper!!), and call them to validate the service.

Besides that, you have a property manager.  I know they ultimately work for you, but what did they recommend?

piethief

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 02:45:28 PM »
Is this covered in your lease?

therethere

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 03:25:08 PM »
In general, how good has your PM been? We are stuck with the crappiest PM company who never fixes anything in a timely or professional manner. They also frequently don't log or just delete work orders for problems we call in without informing anyone. This has resulted in us not calling in repairs because all it does is create a hassle in our life. They frequently send handyman who do inadequate repair jobs which usually don't fix the problem. The owner is going to be in for a big surprise when we finally move out and they realize how their property has slowly been declining. Knowing how they operate, if something related to plumbing was leaking or not working, I would be very tempted to call a plumber myself and follow the same path as your tenants.

So as others are questioning the tenant, I would question the PM.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 03:29:47 PM »
I hardly think this ranks up there on the list of tenant horror stories.

If you bill them for this, do you think they may try to take that $200 out on the place before they leave?

Drifterrider

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2017, 10:26:19 AM »
First find out if the plumber actually did work and find out exactly what work was done.  You, the property owner, are liable in most jurisdictions for work done on your home whether or not you authorized it (you can't rely on the tradesmen to make that determination if the caller has authorization to authorize work). 

Then, determine if the work was really necessary and if you could have gotten it done for less (and if so, how much less) then determine if it is worth the headache.

It might be time to find new tenants.

Pootie22

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Re: Tenant Made Unauthorized Repair and Wants to be Reimbursed
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 11:59:12 AM »
I have some rental units and have never had a property manager but I'm curious as to why you are even handling this at all. Isn't that the whole point of having a property manager?

If I was paying someone to manage my property I would expect this whole scenario to play out like this:

Tenant contacts PM for reimbursement (because tenant shouldn't even know I exist much less have my number).
PM then explains to tenant that they did not follow the lease they signed, pointing to specific part of calling the 24hr hotline.
End of story

Why did it even reach your "desk" so to speak?