Give Advance Notice
It’s good to communicate with the tenant in terms of the maintenance to give them the proper notice. If you’re going to be in there doing repairs, you give them at least a 24 hours notice. Make sure that you’re communicating with the tenant telling them what you’re going to be doing.
If you’re going to be doing repairs and it’s an emergency repair, then they’re probably aware of what you’re doing. If it’s a preventative maintenance type What Is A Dual Agent of thing, take some time and explain to them what you’re doing. For the most part they’re going to fine with it. In fact they’ll probably appreciate it.
If in the fall, like now, you’re going to test the heaters, make sure the filters are current and all that they’re going to appreciate that. Give them the proper notice and the common courtesy kinds of things.
One of the things we deal with, particularly if you’re doing what I’ll call lower end properties, is you’re going to get into this situation many times during your career. Let’s say something’s not working and you’ve been trying to fix it or it’s expensive and you don’t have the money right now and you’ve been trying to put off doing the repairs.
The tenant decides that at the end of that month or the next month, “Hey, I’m not going to pay rent until the repair’s done.” They call you up and say, “You know what? I’m not paying rent until you fix that toilet. It’s been leaking for three weeks. Why can’t you get somebody out here?”
Now you’re going to end up in a very difficult situation. This is where you really have to use quality, professional techniques. If you don’t, you’re going to get yourself in trouble.
Never Cross and Mix and Match Repairs and Rent
One of the things that you as a landlord must understand is you can never – I repeat never – cross and mix and match repairs and rent. What I’m saying is the tenant has an obligation to pay rent regardless of whether the repairs are made. You have an obligation to fix things regardless of whether the tenant pays rent.
You cannot say to the tenant, “I’m not fixing that toilet until you pay your rent.” Don’t ever say that in front of a judge. He will come down on you so hard you can’t imagine Properties For Sale With A View what will hit you. You have an obligation to fix the toilet, period. That is part of your contract. The tenant has an obligation to pay rent, period. They don’t cross over.
This is a hard concept for most landlords to get. Do not start telling tenants that you won’t make repairs until they pay their rent. That will get you in a lot of hot water.
This is one of the unfortunate and nasty parts of this business. You have to make that repair and the tenant may or may not pay the rent. If they don’t pay their rent, at that point you would begin the eviction process and explain to the judge that they’re not paying their rent.
However you need to be able to demonstrate in front of that judge that you are a professional landlord. You’ve held up your end of the bargain by making the repairs. Do not go into that court hearing and say, “Well, he’s not paying his rent so I’m not fixing the toilet.” You will lose instantly. I will guarantee it.
Give Advance Notice