Is this a reasonable request?

sun2007June 26, 2014

Hi,
We have a tenant who is requesting that a screen door be installed.
Our understanding is that he rented it knowing there was no screen door and this request is unreasonable. Of course if something existing breaks, we are more than happy to fix right away. (New landlords here)
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!

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sushipup1

If it's a good tenant and you want to keep him, keep him happy. Offer to split the cost, such as, if he buys the door then you'll pay for installation.

But it's an improvement to your property and maybe he realized after moving there that he needed better ventilation or whatever.

It won't cost too much to keep a good tenant happy. OTOH, if he's a PITA, it may be a different story.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 1:23PM
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camlan

I think it didn't hurt that he asked. Screen doors on exterior doors are pretty common. He might be trying to save money on electricity by not running fans/AC all the time and letting the house cool off naturally. But just opening the door would invite all sorts of insects in.

And while he may have noticed there wasn't a screen door, he might not have realized how that would impact living in the house.

It's not like he's asking for a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel.

I agree with sushipup--give him a counter offer, where he pays half, or does the installation, or he buys it and you get it installed.

The second winter I was in my current apartment, I asked the landlord if he could have a storm window made for the screen door. It had a screen in the upper section and a storm window in the lower section, and the exterior door did not fit at all tightly. Even after I weatherstripped the door. I hung a thermal curtain over the door the first winter and you could see it blowing in the wind that entered through that doorway.

We ended up splitting the cost, as the door is an odd size and the window had to be custom made. I was expecting to have to pay something towards this. But my heating bill went down and the landlord had improved his property and made it more attractive to future tenants and didn't have to pay the full cost. Win/win, in my book.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 2:41PM
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fortyseven_gw

As a HO and past renter and LL, I vote for giving the tenant the screen door and Not splitting the cost. What is he s'posed to do, take half the SD with him when he leaves? This is a privacy and safety issue for a high class tenant. Don't nickel and dime him or he will walk.

This post was edited by fortyseven on Fri, Jun 27, 14 at 14:44

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 2:42PM
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camlan

Another way to look at this is, do you want to keep this tenant?

How much would it cost you to buy and install the screen door? This would improve your property, don't forget.

How much would it cost you to find a new tenant if this one decides not to renew his lease? You'll have to advertise, and spend time showing the place, and run the risk of a month or two without rent.

Yes, there's a cost to installing the door. But there are potential costs to not installing the door. You need to weigh the pros and cons.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 8:56PM
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kaye820

IMO it's not only a reasonable request but a quite responsible one to boot. Any and all attempts at green living should be encouraged and potentially rewarded, if feasible. And as stated by all, if he's a good tenant it's a Win-Win, and if he's a PITA it's still a good idea. Wish I could request the same here in my little corner of the world, but I'm actually afraid of the management team at my complex! They're very mean, personal and grudge-carrying bee-otches.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 4:18PM
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phidauex

I say work with him on it - the request is one that improves your property after all. While you aren't legally obligated to improve it, don't get sucked into the trap that usually gets new land lords sued eventually - thinking that their rental property should never cost them a dime. It is in your best interest to keep the property up and your tenants happy.

One thing I used to get from a landlord in St. Louis every year was a "re-up gift". When we resigned each year he would improve something - new kitchen floors, new doors, etc. It was a nice gesture, and he was rewarded by having a building full of responsible long-term tenants rather than a constant stream of unreliable in-and-outs.

Happy tenants will stay a long time, protect your property values, pay rent on time, etc. Unhappy tenants come and go, let the place deteriorate, etc.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:15PM
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Jck507

I think it's reasonable and I don't understand why many apartments lack screen doors. In a box apartment with windows only on the same side, the front door can be critical to airflow after a hot day.

I've seen some temporary screens like "Instant Screen Door" but those might not work in some places due to velcro sticking on paint, etc.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:37PM
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azmom

In my opinion, it is 'unreasonable' viewing this tenant's request 'unreasonable'.

Installing a screen door is inexpensive, what would you lose?

You could
1. put it in your business expense.
2. It improves YOUR property. You will be able to use the improvement as a selling point when you market the property to future tenant.
3. help your tenant to save energy cost that is likely to ensure the tenant to pay rent on time.
4. Spend little to improve your tenant life that shows you are a good landlord. It could encourage your tenant stays longer or helps you to recruit next tenant. Keep in mind, potential tenants usually talk to the current tenant. You need to build a good reputation as a nice landlord.
6. ....
5. ...etc.

You are running a rental business, as a business owner, you need to have a long term view.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 6:29PM
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nyboy

wow good luck keeping good tenants if you think a screen door unreasonable.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 3:33PM
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dreamgarden

"IMO it's not only a reasonable request but a quite responsible one to boot."

Ditto.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:02PM
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