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If you have renters.

Posted by palimpsest (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 25, 12 at 21:25

We had torrential rain over the weekend and the tenants in my house emailed and said the kitchen counter was covered with water when they came home.

We emailed back and forth for a few minutes and I decided to go right over because water was apparently dripping from several areas but I knew there had to be a single source.

We went over and checked and the the downspout was clogged and the valley of the roof had Inches of water pooled in it. As soon as the obstruction was pushed down, the water drained and it stopped. (There were old beer cups on the porch, who knows, one could have ended up in the gutter, or something like it)

The water was getting in through one area and working down through the house probably along this gutter which runs through the house and down past the kitchen in this location.

I got an email from them asking (but treating it like it was a done deal) that since the water on the counter ruined their Keurig coffee maker they would be deducting $200 from the rent (If I didn't mind).

Isn't this an act of god? Mind you I replaced a lock that they basically broke (it worked when they moved in although I could see why it broke); I had a plumber out because they said the washer wasn't draining properly and it was a visible hairball; I painted their bedrooms in the colors of their choice (Not Neutral), and they complained about the new carpet before they moved in...and its Filthy now.

My informal poll has been one "yes" pay for it; a couple "it would be generous to split it"; to "no"; to one "tell them to shove that coffee maker up their collective a----".

What do you think?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If you have renters.

Are they good tenants paying market or above? If so yes.I do think the implied warranty of habitability would suggest you are responsible.

Would you just as soon they leave? If so, I say no.


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RE: If you have renters.

Aren't they leaving at the end of their lease? I vote no again... and, btw, I don't think those were my exact words ;)


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RE: If you have renters.

They are okay tenants. They pay their rent pretty much on time. They are high maintenance. They are paying slightly below market. They are 24 yo, they are not maintaining the place all that well. Hole in the drywall, drew all over the basement with chalk, carpet that was brand new when they moved in has black stains on it. But lots of people are sloppy and they may clean it before they leave. They bolted TV brackets in every room (we had to be careful about hanging pictures when I rented)

They are renting that house because I would rather have these things happen in a house I never lived in rather than renting out my condo which is pristine and having someone beat it up.

I would pay for it if it was plumbing, but this was from rain and a clogged gutter, and they technically are supposed to keep the exterior clean, shovel and such...If I were renting I would make sure there was not debris in the gutters in Fall as well, if it was in my lease to at least maintain the outside.


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RE: If you have renters.

They should have renters insurance to cover this. I think you have been mollycoddling them long enough.


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Allison:)

Ah, I got *two "shove its" and yours was a bit more polite and veiled :)


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RE: If you have renters.

What does the lease say about damage to a tenant's belongings as a result of weather?


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well....

I am southern. ;D

I hope they paid a nice deposit.


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RE: If you have renters.

I agree about the renters insurance. Is it in their contract that they are to take care of the exterior? If so, remind them of it when you tell them 'sorry, can't do it'.
Unless water was pouring directly onto the Keurig I have serious doubts that it sitting on a wet counter would cause it not to work. I would want proof of water damage from a repair shop before I would even think of letting them deduct $200 from the monthly rent. But that is a moot point since they should have insurance!
If they go ahead and deduct it, then let them know you'll deduct it from their deposit.

I hope you got a decent deposit from them since you're going to need it. No renters should be that high maintenance!


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RE: If you have renters.

When I rented an apartment within a larger building, the unit above mine had a fire. My unit and personal belongings where very damaged by the smoke and water and it turned out the fire was the result of the landlord doing electric work himself and yet I was still solely responsible for my items. I had renter's insurance so no biggie.I think the items that were damaged are their responsibility.


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RE: If you have renters.

I don't think it's an act of God but rather one of upkeep; however I would find out how long they'd had the coffee maker, and give them market value for a used $200 coffee maker, (which is probably around $25, since they've had use of it for 'x' amount of time).

The problem with youthful tenants is they don't tell their landlords about a problem until it becomes a bigger $$$ problem.


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RE: If you have renters.

Landlord/tenant law is entirely determined by state law. If you are going to continue renting out that house, get yourself into a landlording seminar PDQ.

I know of no circumstances where a tenant is free to deduct random amounts from the rent. Be sure to get the place professionally cleaned and repaired before returning their security deposit.


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RE: If you have renters.

Absolutely not. Roarah's right. You have insurance to cover the building. If they want coverage on their personal belongings for damage or theft FOR ANY REASON, they have to have renter's insurance. If there's a fire, if there's arson, if there's a burglar, if there's a hurricane, THEY ARE NOT COVERED.

If they had gone the extra mile as tenants, I might do it as a good will gesture, but in this case? Not a chance.

I'd probably respond to their question/statement with something like "I'm sorry, that's something you'll need to file with your renter's insurance." What? You didn't buy any? So sorry.

And Walmart sells Keurigs for $119.

Here is a link that might be useful: Keurig for sale


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RE: If you have renters.

Agree about the renters insurance! How do you know they actually had a new-ish Keurig coffee maker? If you are not sure and they don't have insurance you could give them $70 if they hand over the old non-working Keurig coffee maker to you as proof it existed. Of course I wouldn't give them a thing, I would just walk around loudly expressing how much their filthy carpet will cost to clean (ok, that is up to you but so what) and bring up other things. But then...girls can be so spiteful


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RE: If you have renters.

This looks pretty straightforward ...

Here is a link that might be useful: Hey, you can boil tea in anything


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RE: If you have renters.

They should have content insurance for their own belongings. Are these the same renters that you had to call a plumber as they plugged a drain with hair as they did not know enough to clean it out? I'm sure they would be just as clueless about gutters. Too bad as I think you are really trying to provide them with a decent place to live and you sound like you have made more than a few compromises for them. I rememberer when we rented our first place. You signed a lease, lived by the rules and if not they could evict you. Times have changed quite a bit since then, I guess.


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RE:re If you have renters.

I never got renter's insurance because either i owned nothing of value anyway, and then later on, living on the 32nd floor of a fairly new bldg I didnt think my risks were too great.

But it occurs to me, if I were a landlord (which is tempting when one compares potential rental yields to the pittance Bernanke has engineered for we conservative bond investors, but I digress) I think with each new lease I would hand the tenant a brochure for renter's insurance. That way you've put them on notice.


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RE: If you have renters.

IMO you are a dream landlord and I'd be tempted to sell my house and rent if I could find one as nice. However, I do believe it's your responsibility to help these spoiled girls grow up and face real life. Please follow the advice you've received already and let them do so. I know you will be nice and that's a good idea, otherwise they may trash the place beyond what their damage deposit will cover.

Don't even consider letting them reduce the rent to cover the Keurig. That might even be grounds for eviction.


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RE: If you have renters.

When a water pipe broke in the wall of an apartment I was renting (in RI while I was in college) and filled an entire closet with water, we invoked our renter's insurance and I got money to buy a whole new wardrobe. Not for one second did I think to charge the landlord for it. This is what renter's insurance is for, at least IME. If they don't have it, find out what your legal obligations are and stick to them. No more coddling.


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RE: If you have renters.

Another vote for a reality check for your renters.


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RE: If you have renters.

Part of my first apartment's fine print rental agreement was the notice that I should acquire my own renter's insurance so that if anything happened to the building or I was burglarized I could file to recompensed for the loss of my property.

Aggressively and pridefully clueless chicks who think the world owes them get right up my nose and I take no prisoners.

I would simply inform them that the problem was due to their negligent care of the premises and that the subsequent water damage to the structure would be added to their rent if they didn't have renter's insurance to take care of it. (Sorta like they stopped up the toilet with a tampon.) Then I would have a water damage specialty company come in to assess exactly what that damage was, and what it would take to repair it. And, I'd probably go snarky and send them an itemized bill and threaten to take them to small claims court if they didn't pay it.

Be prepared for them to create more damage and not pay you the last month's rent and then just move out, leaving their deposit to cover that and any damages. I hope you got a really big deposit!


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RE: If you have renters.

Are you sure the lease doesn't specify that it's the tenant's responsibility to obtain renters insurance? I believe it's a standard clause in leases where I am.


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RE: If you have renters.

I believe they're trying to snooker you.

If it was me,
I would tell them absolutely not on the
coffee pot.
I hope you have a nice security deposit
from them.
If they do deduct the 200.00
deduct it from their security deposit.
and tell them you're doing so, by registered
letter.


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RE: If you have renters.

I have a 24 year old and I do not think I would put her in the position of being responsible for outdoor maintenance.
All good advise above for you to follow.
Side story: My 24 year old is renting an apartment in Brooklyn with three others. Her room was in the basement and the tile floor was filthy. Door were warped, no blind on the window and no light fixture. We cleaned and fixed it all. but, I just couldn't understand how the floor could get so filthy. At my husband's advise, when a bedroom upstairs opened up, she moved. A new girl moved in and we were just saying how lucky she was to be moving into a clean and ready room. A week later, it flooded! She is moving out and now I know how this floor could get so dirty. He is now going to get someone else without cleaning it and without warning.
We own rental property too, and this is not how we conduct business.
Pal, you are tryig to do the right thing, but when you rent to young people, you can't expect the maturity of an older person. If you do find one, that is great.
This is very aggravating for you and you need to figure out a plan to make this doable for you.
Responsiblities need to be clearly stated. For example, we give one tenant a break on the rent in exchange for cleaning the hall. Another gets a break for being the eyes and ears in case problems arise.
All potential tenants are read the "riot act". If you want to party that is fine but not if you want to live here. We run a quiet building and since you are the last one in, so if others complain, you will have to go etc.
I don't know how long you have been renting, but you will get better at the screening process, but you have to be up front with what you expect.
Good luck and keep us posted.


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RE: If you have renters.

In our state, the laws are heavily stacked agaist the landlord. I agree about renters insurance; however, if they are going to leave at lease end and they have been a pain in the butt, allowing them to deduct a token amount may grease the wheels in getting them out smoothly. Technically I say no way but practicality says play it by ear. (not the full $200)


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RE: If you have renters.

It would surprise me if a renter was expected to clean gutters... hence I can't see how they're responsible door water damage.


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RE: If you have renters.

Ditto mtndredux -- that's the reason people RENT. So they don't have to spend their weekends painting and caulking and cleaning gutters. Most renters don't even own a ladder or have a clue about things like cleaning gutters (ah....those were the days, LOL!)

Personally, as a young 24 year old renter, I would have had you send the plumber for the hair clog -- the drain wasn't draining which required landlord/professional attention, not a DIY project from a clueless 24 year old girl -- how would I be supposed to know about plumbing snakes and hair screens and what not. OTOH, I would not have demanded that brand new carpet be changed just because I didn't like it, and I generally kept my places clean (no beer cups on the porch or stains on the carpet) -- but like you said, they might be planning on cleaning it before they leave (they will if they want their deposit back!)

I don't think they are out of line to ask for money for the coffeemaker - that is too small of a claim to make on renter's insurance IMO, but it's a big chunk of money to a 24 year old (when I was 24, after paying rent and bills, I had $30 left in my checkbook every month). I would ask that they turn over the old one and the receipt for the new one (which better be the exact same model) though, just to make sure they aren't scamming you.

And FYI - as a landlord, if you care about your building at all, do not trust the tenants to do anything on their own -- you'd better be over there checking on weather proofing and having the furnace serviced and chimney/gutters cleaned and all the other annual maintenance stuff because your tenants won't do it. I know your lease says "outdoor maintenance" but when I had a lease that said that, it meant I had to mow the lawn and shovel the sidewalk -- not paint the house and clean the gutters and replace siding that blew off in the wind. There's a big difference.


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RE: If you have renters.

I agree 100% with everything said by lkplatow.

If they had left the faucet running in the tub and that had caused a flood, it is their fault.

If water infiltrated because the property was not maintained, that is your fault.


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RE: If you have renters.

Don't worry, the house has maintenance. I'm not a slumlord, this is a house I want to live in.

I am not talking about climbing on ladders and caulking. The corner of the roof is at eye level, and the debris could likely have been something of theirs. I am talking about not leaving old party stuff laying around outside. They are "not bad" compared to some of the college/post college rentals around here, but I have seen beer bottle and cups and things like this left around the outside of the house obviously from the weekend before. I am not spying on them, the house is a block and a half away.

Because of Twitter and Facebook, I have seen pictures of their friends standing on/mooning from this roof. Since they have climbed up on the roof to goof around, they could be partly responsible.

I would never expect a landlord to reimburse me for something that happened when an upstairs unit left the tub running (happened to me) for a landlord to change a color because I didn't like it; for a landlord to come over and change a lightbulb, etc.

I will probably end up at least splitting the Actual cost of this (with receipt provided) but I was just surprised by the assumption that I would just pay for something like this no questions asked. I think I have mostly been a better landlord than they have been tenants --they are okay, like I said, but the rent is never quite all there til about the 7th, and the house is what I would consider dirty and a bit beat up, even in 8 months.

I am also at a loss as to how the coffee maker got "ruined"...It got wet, perhaps, but what else?


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RE: If you have renters.

Heck no! They did not maintain the gutters etc....it is their fault.

That stinks you have to deal with this at all!


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RE: If you have renters.

What ellendi said. I think you need to get tougher too, about their being on the roof, the garbage, cleaning, etc.
I don't know about the coffee pot but it's not their decision to tell you they will deduct it!

At our trailer park, and it's big, the renters have to keep all garbage in their official trash cans at all times. There are a lot of rules that I think seem unreasonable (they were in place when we bought the park) but everyone obeys them. No motorcycles, campers, boats, pets, and the trailers that we own, get inspected inside once a month.


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Regarding 20-somethings and paychecks

I don't know why everyone is assuming this house isn't maintained. It's a roof that is a couple years old, windows that were replaced in 2007, a kitchen that was never used before they moved in, and a bathroom that was finished on the day I closed on the house. This house was not sold (or bought by me) as an investment property. It was fixed up to sell and had a lot of recently done work in it when I bought. They are probably beating it up more than a typical owner would, because it's not theirs. I am not saying they beat up the roof, but on the other hand, I also would not be standing up there with a bunch of friends pulling my pants down and getting my picture taken.

There are probably 20-somethings that have to watch pennies and eat Ramen Noodles at the end of the month.

They don't live in this neighborhood. There are four restaurants and a coffee place on my block. $8-10 drinks, and $80-100 a meal per couple with drinks would be pretty typical. Packed with 20-30 year olds most nights of the week. $3-5 coffees walk out the door in the hands of 20-somethings every morning. They rent shore houses for the summer. They buy giant TVs and new furniture for their apartments. My niece's BF (24) drives a BMW, shops at Brooks Brothers, and will go and spend $500 at the casinos with his friends. My niece's last boyfriend had a job with a starting salary that was higher than her mother's after 20 years on the job.

They aren't exactly spoiled rich kids (they live in a nicer neighborhood than this), but they are not suffering. I think the $100 a piece two of them are claiming for the coffee maker wrecked their drinking budget for the weekend, if anything.


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RE: If you have renters.

I think splitting the cost is a mistake. It's an admission of liability on your part. And it probably will not make them happy--instead, they will feel cheated because they're not getting everything they want. Worse, you will have established that the rent is renegotiable each month depending on what they "agree" is fair.


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RE: If you have renters.

You are making exactly the same kind of assumptions about them that they are making about you, with respect to paying for the coffeemaker.

Unless you can prove the gutter obstruction was caused by something of theirs, it's not reasonable to hold them responsible for that kind of damage. And If the blockage was not caused by some random object of theirs, you want to call it an "act of God?"

I wouldn't ever let them deduct anything from the rent; it sets a bad precedent and later could be used to prove that that was an accepted practice. I'd either shop thrift stores or CL and give them a used keurig, or offer them the actual value (used item price) of the one that was ruined. That would probably be about $25, as another poster above mentioned. I would take it over to the home as a check, and give them a renters insurance brochure along with it.


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RE: If you have renters.

From what I see, I think it's pretty clear you don't owe them anything, legally. But for those who were saying you could go after THEM because they didn't clean the gutters, that seems like a real stretch.


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RE: If you have renters.

What I don't like is that they felt they could make the decision without any conversation with you.
College kids are hard tenants. We did once rent to three young girls who were great. I think this is not the norm.
There is a special place in heaven for landlords who rent to college kids!
Side story. My youngest was moving out of her apartment and when my husband helped her fix it up they bought a small cabinet that fit perfectly in the kitchen. When it came time to get the deposit back, one of the charges was that we left the cabinet! We thought we were doing the next tenant a favor and upgrading the apartment for the landlord!
For the most part, just looking at my own daughters and their friends, cleaning and maintenance are not priority.
For your own peace of mind, you need to have everything spelled out clearly for the next time. IMHO your standards cannot be high when renting to this population.


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RE: If you have renters.

There's a good chance that in a few days of drying out, the Keurig will be as good as new.

I think this is a perfect opportunity for you to help a couple of little girls grow up.

So my vote is not no, but he11 no!


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RE: If you have renters.

Pal... I haven't had time to read the other comments, but wanted to say that MY Keurig leaked water from the resevoir, several times. First time, we came home and it was sitting in a puddle. Still worked.... So, unless that machine was UNDER water..... they may be just trying to get the money from you.

As for the other, I also vote No. As long as their lease specifies exterior upkeep.


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RE: If you have renters.

I don't think Anyone is particularly responsible for what happened. It rained very hard and a roof that has not leaked in very hard rains before leaked because something got stuck in the gutter.There was no mass of leaves in the scupper, who knows what it was?

If this had happened to me, I would have just chalked it up as a random bad experience and moved on. Not every occurrence in life is some particular person's fault--things just happen.

In my neighborhood, since I have lived here, there have been three major fires that in total displaced over 100 people. and destroyed two large apartment buildings and several smaller buildings/rooming houses. In one, dozens of pets were also killed.

I knew people who lived in most of them. No one was killed in any of the fires. The people I knew didn't try to blame any one thing in particular, and I don't think any one successfully sued anyone else in these cases. Two of them were electrical in nature. One was caused by a curtain draped over a halogen lamp. This was most likely the fault of the tenant although theoretically the curtain could have blown over it.

I think people used to think more along the lines that sometimes things you don't like just happen. Now everything has to be someone's fault. I think that is what surprised me was the rapid conclusion that it was my fault as the owner of the house, and not a combination of events that caused it to happen.


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RE: If you have renters.

They tick me off and I'm not even in the sitution. I was a renter for 18 years, renting the same house. I maintained the yard, as far as maintaining the house, I did not abuse the house in any way and maintained it by cleaning. My landlord did any other the repairs that needed to be done. If I was you I would make a check of the place in the spring every year or in the fall to see if there are any maintenance issues on the outside. At least that way it protects you. I would not pay for the coffee maker - no way.


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RE: If you have renters.

If they use their keurig often it is likely it just broke. I have to replace mine every six to nine months with out any floods. The damage to your property is all you should worry about and the damage to their property is their worry. Just simply respond no to their request with a reminder that you are solely responsible to repair the building and you do not cover their personal property, and suggest that if they do not have their own insurance they should consider it for the future. It was many years ago that I rented, but I paid less than 200/year for it and it had a very low deductible.


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RE: If you have renters.

Forgive me if this has already been said (I looked and didn't see it), but what SPECIFICALLY did you spell out in the lease that they had to maintain?

The only time we rented a house, we had to keep the lawn mowed and the beds weed-free and that was it in terms of the exterior of the house. Even that was hard to pull off as early 20-somethings. We had to buy a lawnmower, shovels, mulch, pruners, and a wheelbarrow, and all of that cost us a serious amount of money at a time when our incomes were pretty low. But it seemed perfectly reasonable to us, as gardens require weekly maintenance, and it wouldn't make sense for the owner to have to come over every week. The owner, however, took care of all the "biggies", like getting the gutters cleaned, etc.

Going forward, you might want to set up your leases this way.

Personally, just having had an overflowing gutter on our (new-to-us) 1920's house that caused water to come in the back door, I wouldn't trust renters with the gutters. Gutters are way too important, as we have just learned the hard way.


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RE: If you have renters.

Unless you can prove the gutter obstruction was caused by something of theirs, it's not reasonable to hold them responsible for that kind of damage. And If the blockage was not caused by some random object of theirs, you want to call it an "act of God?"

I don't even understand what this means. pal is not suing the tenants. And yes, it is a random accident. At law, a landlord is not a guarantor of the tenant. Landlords are responsible only for patterns of negligence, and a one-time flood during a rainstorm will not prove negligence in any court in the United States.

I agree that they need a useful lesson in growing up, and if they don't get it, pal may be sorry later.


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RE: If you have renters.

"I think splitting the cost is a mistake. It's an admission of liability on your part. And it probably will not make them happy--instead, they will feel cheated because they're not getting everything they want. Worse, you will have established that the rent is renegotiable each month depending on what they "agree" is fair."

I agree with these comments 200%.

You're obviously a very nice person, pal, and a considerate and caring one. However, there are times when you need to stand your ground -- it you do not do so, you will be establishing a new precedent, a new line in the sand as it were. The lease agreement sets out each side's responsibilities and obligations, and you need to adhere to it, just as you expect your tenants to do. The lease agreement essentially spells out everyone's respective roles; yours is "landlord." Not "conciliator." Not "friend." Not "social worker" or "life coach." Not "parent"....

You're not their mommy & daddy; you are their landlord. And 24 years old is old enough to start growing up. If a damaged coffee maker, and a used one at that, is the only bump in the road to becoming, as a former prof. of mine would describe it, a fully functioning adult, then at some point they will be able to look back and count themselves lucky.


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RE: If you have renters.

I'm another no vote. I wouldn't let them deduct for two reasons, first they should have their own insurance to cover their belongings, and second because even though they may not be renting from you for much longer, this could start a precedent and they'll find a way to blame things like this on "the house", like an appliance shorts out (which can happen when they become faulty) but your tenants blame YOUR outlets etc. set them straight right now, yep they may be unhappy about it, but that's life, stuff happens and they should have their own insurance to cover these things and if they don't it's their own problem.


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Perhaps more important / RE: If you have renters.

"Because of Twitter and Facebook, I have seen pictures of their friends standing on/mooning from this roof. Since they have climbed up on the roof to goof around, they could be partly responsible."

Holy downspout, Batman! Who gets sued if one of those kids falls off the roof and is injured, or worse???? You need to put a stop to that behavior, like yesterday. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. This is serious, pal. Like me, you may love to watch people vying for a Darwin Award, but not on your property!


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RE: If you have renters.

It's an act of god and no way should you reimburse them a dime. That is what renter's insurance and big girl panties are for. The very thought that they feel you "owe" them says a whole lot about who they are, and it pisses me of even from a distance. The fact that you are even considering it says that you are a nice person, but an enabler in their juvenile behavior patterns.

Stop the enabling! Treat them as actual adults. Tell them if they want a new coffee maker, they'd best slap their shoe leather to the pavement and go buy one. And if they can't afford another $200 coffeemaker, there are plenty of $10 ones at Goodwill that will serve them just fine until they save enough to afford what they want.

I'd also read them the riot act regarding the roof adventures. It could be a gray area since you are aware of the behavior and haven't specifically given them a written warning addressing it. Do so immediately! Tell them (in writing!) that they could be personally financially liable and could be sued if any of their friends were injured since they were the ones leasing the premises and gave permission for such asinine activity. YOU expressly prohibit anyone having roof access. Tell them if such behavior does not stop immediately, that you will initiate the proceedings to have them evicted due to the hazardous behavior of their friends. (Before you send them the registered letter, you'd better save these pics to a file, just in case. You especially want any that show alcoholic beverages being consumed and the tenants in the picture.)

How are they getting up there in the first place? If you've got a ladder there, I'm afraid you need to chain it up somewhere they can't get to it. Think of it like babyproofing a home---but for larger sized and even dumber infants.


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RE: If you have renters.

Since they're such party people it's no wonder the coffee maker is no longer working.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the feeling you must have known these kids beforehand to be giving into their every whim. I've been a landlord and if i saw that much damage done to my property in 8 months time they'd be getting a notice of eviction.
You now have proof (and I'd be making copies of those photos) that people have been up on the roof during parties, so be prepared to add roof damage to your list of future repairs.


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RE: If you have renters.

The house is a 2-1/2 story with a porch on the second floor and a relatively agile person could pull themselves from the porch to the low point of the roof. I could do it easily by standing on a chair.These are row houses.

I did send them something that said they were not to go up on the roof.

Based upon what I see this is not unusual behavior for that age group, and they are probably better behaved than average since they have good jobs and are not in college or grad school or working at some job to get by. When you are that age you do some stupid stuff even if you are technically not stupid. That doesn't excuse it of course.


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RE: If you have renters.

I'm nonplussed at some of the angry comments here on behalf of landlords---not the op, s/he is more reasonable than the "h@ll no, those babies need to learn a lesson" responders. Landlords should make decisions according to law and circumstance, not to teach their tenants a lesson.


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annz

I didn't know them but the have great credit ratings, they have good jobs, and two of their fathers guarantee the rent.

I think that their parents will probably step in and patch in and repair things...I know one of the dads was there for the furniture delivery and has done various other things for them. I think they have just come from parent's that took care of everything and still take care of most things.

These have been called helicopter parents: those that just hover around their kids. I think it is generational and it is also typical of the type of fairly affluent, good-college educated kid that moves into the neighborhood. The even more entitled ones get a house or condo bought for them or heavily subsidized by their parents.


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RE: If you have renters.

Are you sure that having tenants make a moisture invasion-related claim on their insurance wouldn't cause problems for YOUR insurance? Do tenants' claims go on the house's CLUE report?


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RE: If you have renters.

kswl, I've never been a landlord but I did rent for many years and I never:
a) expected a landlord to paint rooms in my chosen colours
b) replace flooring or carpet because I didn't "like it"
c) be responsible for MY belongings

as far as I was concerned, the landlord takes care of the house repairs, and my stuff is my responsibility

heck, I never had a landlord who cleaned my gutters, it was either up to me or hire someone, just like I never had a landlord cut my grass, if I didn't want to do it, I hired it out. One time the house I was renting got broken into and I rang the landlord to pay for replacing the glass pane that got broken, but I never said "you have to pay to replace the stuff that was stolen, because the house isn't secure enough and I didn't insure my belongings!". I mean, a tenant has to take responsibility for their own possessions, you either get it insured or you suck it up.

Their house, their responsibility, my stuff, my responsibility, as far as I'm concerned that's the way it works.

To contact your landlord and say "my appliance is broken and I'm deducting it from the rent?!", nup sorry, I never would have had the GALL to do that, I would have expected any landlord to tell me to shove that up my behind! It's just not their problem if I can't be bothered to pay for my own insurance.


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RE: If you have renters.

"There were old beer cups on the porch, who knows, one could have ended up in the gutter, or something like it) "

Oh please. If you'd been maintaining the gutters, the kitchen wouldn't have flooded. I don't think you can legally force renters to carry insurance, but you might check your state laws.

Pay for the coffee maker--it's not their fault the kitchen flooded.


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RE: If you have renters.

i don't think i could ever be a landlord for this reason! especially if young 'kids' were the renters!

when i was 24 it would not have occured to me to clean the gutters or check the gutters after a party to see if anything had been tossed in them... and i would have also thought that 'rain damage' of my property was my landlord's responsibility...

if you're sure that it was party paraphenalia that clogged the gutter i would not cover the cost of the coffee maker- it's their hard lesson to learn.
but, if you're not sure, then i would replace the coffee maker-but would insist on reimbursing them the lowest price for an identical coffee maker...(quick internet search)

i also wouldn't let them screw brackets in the wall and paint the walls! it's ok to say no!


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RE: If you have renters.

I'm a landlord and own a rental for college students plus others. First off, you need to know the law. You stated in the lease they were responsible for the outside maintenance but according to local law you may be responsible. Each town is different. Many larger towns have books and website on landlord rights and responsibilities. You need to know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord otherwise you could get sued. (Also, never expect a tenant (especially a young one) to even think about a gutter.)

As a landlord you're responsible to give them a safe sound apartment. I don't think you could charge them for damage from this gutter issue unless you have concrete evidence that they intentionally did something to create this mess. In MA if you did try to charge them and they sued you back and won you would have to pay treble damages plus all their court costs. Be very careful on how you tread in this area.

I have a tenant lawyer on retainer. This issue would be a quick email message to them with an email response back (or phone call) - for me this would cost less than $50. Many times if it's a quick question they don't even charge me. I like the written response for my records. It's comforting to know someone has my back and knows the law. I asked my lawyer who drew up my will for recommendations for a tenant/landlord lawyer and chose from those. I gave them a $300 retainer 8 years ago and still haven't used all the money.

You are NOT responsible for their contents - that's what renter's insurance is for. If there was a fire or a huge flood YOUR insurance won't pay for their contents of the apt. Your insurance will pay for them to move and be put up somewhere else until the apt is repaired but it never pays for their furniture, clothes, etc. You should not be paying for their coffee maker now. They are taking advantage of you for being a kind soul. This is a business and treat it as such.

You are probably responsible to repaint or repair the apartment from the water damage. This repair is to the structure and items like cabinets, ceiling lights, major appliances, etc not tenants' personal belongings. Hopefully there's no mold otherwise it can get expensive. Good luck!


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RE: If you have renters.

I have only read some of the replies, don't have time for all, so I apologize if this is a duplicate response. First, property damage by the tenant and damage to a tenant's belongings are two completely separate issues and should not be resolved as one. (they did this so I shouldn't have to do that) I have been on both sides of the spectrum and the rule of thumb as I've always experienced it to be is:

1. Any damages to a renters personal property due to fire, water or other acts of nature are always the renter's responsibility. That's what renters insurance is for and what they should have especially since they are in an older build. Some landlord's even insist that renters insurance be in place as a condition of renting.

2. Damages to the property by the tenant are the tenants responsibility and what the deposit is for. That's why a detailed walk through and pictures are taken at the time the lease is signed. The pictures document condition at the time of move in and an agreement of condition is signed by both mutual parties for the file. If damages go beyond the scope of what's considered to be normal wear and tear and their deposit doesn't cover all the repairs, then you have what you need to take the renters to small claims for the balance due.

I would send them a reply that says they need to file a claim against their renters insurance and be done with it. I wouldn't say you should have this or that, instead I'd make the letter sound as though I just assume they have it like they're supposed to. Whether they do or not is of no consequence to you.

I would also not bend anymore because by doing so you're sending the wrong message. I understand wanting to be fair, but fair in this case is the contract that you both agreed to and signed. You really need to just follow the guidelines of the contract so you don't risk having problems later should you ever have to sue. If the rent isn't paid on time, charge a late fee, if a repair is needed because of neglect on their part, charge them the cost of the repair. It should be very black and white. You may have the choice to "waive" the first late fee, but your contract should definitely include your policies regarding a late rent payments or repairs because of neglect and you should just stick to the program.


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RE: If you have renters.

Do as Pam does--get a landlord/tenant lawyer on retainer ASAP. These are not questions that can be answered by speculation. And trying to be "nice" can create a legal minefield.

Oh please. If you'd been maintaining the gutters, the kitchen wouldn't have flooded. I don't think you can legally force renters to carry insurance, but you might check your state laws.

Pay for the coffee maker--it's not their fault the kitchen flooded.

A comment that is as astonishing in its rudeness as it is embarrassing in its ignorance. Literally every statement is empirically false. Self-educate before you accuse.


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RE: If you have renters.

I am really surprised by the anger/annoyance either on my behalf or on the behalf of my tenants.

Neither of us are planning on suing each other. Neither of us are angry at each other.

I was just surprised that they asked for and assumed I would pay for a coffee maker. I was over to the house within 10 minutes of finding out something was wrong.

I don't think they are awesome tenants. If so, the house would look as good as it did the day they moved in and the rent would be in my account on the first of the month. However, I think they are decent, typical, tenants.

I think the entitlement is generational.

As for the house:

I owned it for 10 days before they moved in and it had a comprehensive home inspection right before that. This is house on an urban street, not in a tree covered yard. The roof and gutter were not littered with leaves when I went over during the storm. I don't think there are enough trees nearby to clog the gutter in years let alone a few months. Who Knows What it Was Down there? Nobody. And I am not about to go down there with a fiber optic camera to find out so I can Assign Blame.

I really thought this was one of those "Things that Happen" but the role of current society seems to be that Someone is to Blame, and you are either the Perpetrator or the Victim.

So, I don't get the comments about "If I was properly maintaining the property" Short of being in the house weekly doing housekeeping, I have certainly addressed any issue they have brought to my attention almost immediately.
As far as I know, I am not reading the lease and I am not going to read it and quote it here, I am required to give 24 hours notice before I go into the property, and I think they can deny access to a particular request, although not multiple requests. We are not NYC, but the laws favor the tenant more than the owner, generally.

So I really just wanted to see what people thought, not for people to be p1ssed off in my or their behalf.

I don't think it is up to me to teach them a life lesson.

I don't think they are bad tenants, certainly not enough to evict...that takes drug dealing or prostitution here, and if you are a prostitute with a disabled kid no one can get you out for Years.

So, simmer down, it was a question. I have pretty much made a decision about how I am going to handle the situation but I am not going to be unwise enough to post my decision here.:)

Thanks for the widely varied responses.:)


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RE: If you have renters.

bostonpam, Thanks for the idea of having a lawyer on retainer...

We had fire on our rental house caused by a tenant; hot light knocked over by an iguana. True story. They move because the house was not habitable for a year which is what it took to rebuld! We paid nothing. They paid nothing. Insurance settled all. We don't remember if they had their own insurance. Not our problem. A significant loss to us but it happens. We did not have the rent replacement insurance at the time but now we do.

A flood in another instance. We did not pay for any of their stuff. We only deducted the rent to remediate the flood. It was quite expensive, including a test for mold. They did not want to move. So they stayed through the work needed to be done.

We do not rent to anyone whose parents guarantee the rent. (We have had people ask.) We are not a college student type of rental... We only rent to people that qualify on their own. We do not rent to 'young' people without stellar rental references. We also do not accept rental qualification for 1/2 of the rent due to roommates sharing. This is too complicated in case of damage to prove who did what. So we have one person hold the lease and carry responsibility for damages. I suppose you can have them split by the percentages. But this often does not work because roomates tend to change quite regularly. This sole liability tends to 'perk' up their level of responsibility.

We use the exact same criteria applied to everyone. We pick the one with the best reference. We call them all. If there is no reference, their parents are NOT references.

We are quite picky about our tenants. We will leave the property empty for a few weeks to a month or two rather than renting to people that are not qualified. It's not worth the trouble to rent to less than stellar people.

I think the trouble with these young adults is that they are not ready to move away from the young people 'dump' type of rentals because they have had rather affluent childhood. They want to live in a nice place but they don't know how to have the behavior necessary to live in a nice place. It seems like the parents enable these type of behavior by guaranteeing their rent.

Even if they were high maintenance tenants, if they behaved well, it would not be an issue.

Why was the police not called by a neighbor if there is a wild pary where people climb the roof? Is this type of behavior norm for the area? I would ask the neighbors to call the police if they see anything amiss. Then you may have a "cause" to ask them to leave or not renew the lease. You will have to look at your local tenant/landlord laws.

One more thing: no matter whom you rent to, renters 'beat up' the place. I have had neighborhood people that have rented temporarily to rather well to do older people and they all seem to have stories to tell.


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RE: If you have renters.

"To contact your landlord and say "my appliance is broken and I'm deducting it from the rent?!", nup sorry, I never would have had the GALL to do that, I would have expected any landlord to tell me to shove that up my behind!".....Nice.

"I have pretty much made a decision about how I am going to handle the situation but I am not going to be unwise enough to post my decision here.:)" .....Good Call :)


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noticing someone on the roof.

This is an urban neighborhood. Someone may have noticed people on the roof, or not, I don't know. I think the party would have to be insane for anyone to call the police. I think this was more a matter of them goofing around.

This is a second tier, nice neighborhood. The pricier-old money neighborhood is to the east, the the more entitled- ostentation neighborhood is to the west
This is a neighborhood of very mixed income, very mixed demographic, very mixed race, very mixed psychiatric status. The most expensive house in the neighborhood($6M) is next to a subsidized housing unit. People who are either off their meds or on PCP walk down the street screaming. There is a methadone clinic in the neighborhood. The corner across from the house is a current hangout for transgendered prostitutes, for two reasons: there is a bus stop (I'm just waiting for the bus, officer) and there are two pedestrian only streets on that side that they can run down to elude the cops.

I doubt anyone would think twice about seeing someone on the roof if it looked like they "belonged there" and not like they were breaking in. Many of the houses in the neighborhood were originally sold with bars on the windows. They have only started to disappear recently.

This is a very particular kind of neighborhood that, if you don't get it, you don't get it. It's not like living in a suburban or town neighborhood surrounded by people mostly like you, so an awful lot of things go either unnoticed or ignored short of accident, assault or murder.


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RE: If you have renters.

Not hard for me to understand. A very expensive neighborhood in Cambridge, MA is populated by rich Boomers, Section 8 tenants and a very famous guy without a nose.

What concerns me is that I'm not sure you are boned up on the legal aspects here, and I don't just mean the coffee maker. You can buy them a coffee maker if you want to, but whether you are required to is not a matter for reasoned speculation or a public opinion poll. Same with whether your telling them not to go out onto the roof will be deemed adequate if someone is hurt. It has nothing to do whatsoever with what seems reasonable, and everything to do with the actual law. I have personally known more than one person who rented to "OK" or even "good" tenants who later found themselves in all sorts of hurt, right up to and including permanently life-altering financial catastrophe. It doesn't matter what a layman thinks is likely. Do get yourself a lawyer, and not over this one issue, and look for some landlord/tenant classes. Many big cities have them.


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RE: If you have renters.

Pal, DH and I used to own rental houses. For years we owned over 200 houses - singles, duplex and a couple of very small apartment complexes (aka large houses divided into 3-5 apartments). We never had a lawyer on retainer. It's not necessary, but liability insurance is an excellent idea. We currently own commercial real estate and do not have a lawyer on retainer.

As someone said above, the rain was nature/act of God, so it is not your responsibility to buy them a new coffeemaker. If they have renters insurance (and most Landlords do require it), it would be silly for them to file a claim for the coffeemaker.


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RE: If you have renters.

Even if they don't have renter's insurance, Pal doesn't have to pay for a new coffee maker.

Check the state laws. Check the lease. Go by what the law and the lease say.

It really is that simple.


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RE: If you have renters.

Get a copy of the lease circle where it says they are responsible for outside care and then attach a note saying you are not paying or deducting 200 dollars from the rent. If they complain you can tell them it states clearly in the lease agreement who caused the problem.


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RE: If you have renters.

Hi Pal. You are such a thoughtful person and landlord. I would love to be your tenant.

Keurigs are NOTORIOUSLY short lived, especially if they are not well maintained. And $200 seems pretty steep for one. Unless they can provide a receipt proving that is its nearly brand new (i.e. less than 3 months) there is NO WAY its worth $200.

Pushing aside the legal responsibility for replacement here (personally, I don't' think there is one), I would NOT allow a rental deduction for a failed personal appliance. Especially one with such a well known high failure rate. It probably just wore out. Unless they can prove the flood fried it, I wouldn't replace it. If they could prove it, i would not give them a brand new one, unless theirs was to begin with. Water leaking on a counter should not ruin an appliance that - hello - basically boils WATER. More than likely it was lack of maintenance or overuse that is responsible. I think it is their burden to prove and even then, I don't think you should have to replace it with a brand new one.

You are obviously trying to take the high road here and I think they are taking advantage. Maybe not on purpose, but they are. Their expectations are unrealistic and its time to burst the bubble.


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RE: If you have renters.

I'd probably respond to their question/statement with something like "I'm sorry, that's something you'll need to file with your renter's insurance.

I think that this is the best way to handle it.


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RE: If you have renters.

I would think the renters insurance would cover the cost of the coffee maker but I know that can vary from state to state. My daughter rented a home through a large property management company. She is a dream tenant. She returned from work to find that someone had broken into her rental house. The front door was kicked in and all of her electronics and many personal items were taken. She had renters insurance to at least cover some of the replacement of her electronics but she had to pay for the homeowners a new door. I would have thought their home owner insurance would cover that but she was told it did not. In fact, if a rock from a lawn mower or even hail broke a window, she would have been responsible for paying for that as well. My daughter is a construction engineer and certainly knew enough master carpenters that would have been happy to fix the door for her, but that was not allowed. The rental company put a patch on her door as a temporary fix. She then waited for 3 months for the homeowners to decide on a door and then had to pay for the door as well as pay the property management company for installation. Needless to say, she moved when her lease expired.


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RE: If you have renters.

I agree with marcolo -- think of this as a bullet dodged and use it as a spur to get yourself completely up to date on landlord-tenant law in Philadelphia. Your lovely tenants are clearly not above going for the money as soon as they think they can, so you need to be forearmed and know the law in order to protect yourself.


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RE: If you have renters.

Good advice about attorneys ( I do "retain" one, I guess although that sounds very formal), and the lease is one provided by the Realty company who markets and rents thousands of apartments and single dwellings in this area.

The legality of the issue would be pretty easy to determine, I guess I was just asking people's opinions about their request and what they might do, legality notwithstanding.

The lease does discuss keeping the outside areas clean and free of litter, garbage, leaves and snow (it's all paved, at the current time). This does not include cleaning the gutters or doing outside Maintenance, per se, but I would think it would be common sense to make sure the drain on the patio and porch stay clear so they don't flood allow water into the basement or under the porch door if there is a lot of rain.

I just don't think the gutter/scupper went from 60 to 0 overnight, and since it is on a porch and one of the tenants has a bedroom that opens onto this porch, and the porch get used I'm surprised that they didn't notice that the gutter was not working at full capacity.

They aren't required to clean drains or gutters, but paying some minimal attention to it would just be common sense to me, since it is a House with an outside that gets used, not an apartment structure. It's like I don't think I would wait until the bathtub drain was so clogged that it overflowed when I took a shower before I called the landlord to fix it.

Of course a renter In our condo complex allowed a leak to go until part of the ceiling caved in and then notified the landlord, so who knows about people.


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RE: If you have renters.

I have known of tenants trying to flush clothes down toilets. So, there you go.


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RE: If you have renters.

You sound like a considerate landlord; your tenants sound young and inexperienced about homes...they may think that water pouring out of a gutter is normal. If the gutters weren't freshly cleaned when you bought the place, perhaps it was accumulation of debris that just was flushed into the downspout all at once by the heavy rain. I have mine cleaned regularly and have had a downspout missed by the cleaner and had the gutter back up. Perhaps a bird or squirrel built a nest, etc.

I think the advice to deny the request for the coffee pot replacement was wise...should a pipe burst, then they might want you to replace anything damaged in that kind of event - because of precedent. And suggesting they always carry renters insurance will be good advice.

Hopefully, they will see the reasonableness of your decision and recognize that you have been very accomodating to them. Good luck!


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RE: If you have renters.

Pal, I think it's unfortunate that many or even most people view a rental with the perception of it's not their dime so it's not their responsibility. You had your concerns when they were moving in, so it's easy to assume that maybe your expectations are unfortunately too high. It's really a shame but true.

Another unfortunate thing about leasing property out is there's really nothing informal about it. I rented a place for 10 years once and was pretty good friends with my landlord. Even so, when it came to our rental agreement, the friendship was put aside and we each had our own point of view. There are just so many things that can go wrong and when they do the first thing I always thought was, who would have thunk. I ended up in small claims court twice as a result. Oh the stories I could share; I'd never wish it on anyone.

I think that as nice as it is that you want to keep things on the simple side, it's still important to protect yourself in just in case.


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RE: If you have renters.

It truly blows my mind what gets folks riled. As to your question palimpest I would just say no about replacing the coffee maker and if push comes to shove then agree to give them the depreciated value of the thing.

I was more fascinated by the number of folks who would call insurance over the thing and are prepared to litigate it in court. Yikes and Wow!

By the way, if you did go to court and your tenants won, they would only get the deprecated value in the decision.


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RE: If you have renters.

Did the house suffer any interior damage? If their coffee maker sat in water long enough to render it unusable, wouldn't the counters or walls or even floor have suffered water damage also?

Sounds fishy to me. And the amount they're requesting is absurd for a used coffee maker.

I'd say no to deducting the rent and, if push comes to shove, offer to give them a check to offset the value of the coffeemaker. Ask for a receipt and depreciate from there.

$200 claim on insurance? What the heck?? The deductible is probably higher than that for crying out loud!


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RE: If you have renters.

I have a feeling they came home and it had water that had traveled though the wall and was not completely clear on it and they went "Ewww Ick!" and threw it away rather than wiping it off.


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RE: If you have renters.

My advice to tell them to file with their renter's insurance was actually intended as a veiled/subtle way to say "not my problem." And if they don't have renter's insurance, it would be a good reminder to them that they should probably buy some.

I agree that filing a claim for $200 would be stupid.


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RE: If you have renters.

I now find out that there has been a leak "but only a little one and since it dripped in the bathtub, we didn't tell you."

I don't think that's a point for their side of things.


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RE: If you have renters.

I agree to kindly tell them to check their renters insurance. No need to get heated about it, just friendly advice to the youth as to how these things work. Even if they don't have it, you will be giving them a gentle nudge they may need to grow up a bit, and you won't be negotiating rent.


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RE: If you have renters.

I now find out that there has been a leak "but only a little one and since it dripped in the bathtub, we didn't tell you."
I don't think that's a point for their side of things."

Like I said before....24 years old is old enough to begin the journey to fully functioning adult.

Nothing you've said about your tenants suggests malice, selfishness, intent to take advantage of you, laziness, etc. They just sound immature and inexperienced. "No, I will not allow you to deduct $200 off your rent; you have signed a lease" and "I appreciate your not wanting to bother me about a 'little' leak, but please know that, going forward, I want you to tell me about every problem and issue, so that I can decide whether repairs are necessary" should serve as road signs on their journey to adulthood. Not to mention: "there is no such thing as a 'little' leak," said with a kind :)

And anyway, you seem to have pretty good tenants, all things considered. We had a chat once with someone living in the area. He was complaining about the loud, late-night parties on the grounds of a house within his hearing distance. The part that amazed him was that the landlord allowed mud-wrestling by girls, at 2 a.m....oh wait, the "landlord" was one the mother of one of the teens who lived in the house!


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RE: If you have renters.

I had a renter who let the plumbing to the pedestal bathroom sink drip ever so slightly. The water was very hard and when she moved out I spent two days scraping the calcium deposits off the 5 x 5' floor. She was upset that I deducted cleaning off her security deposit.


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RE: If you have renters.

Who's responisibilty is this? IE: Who is to take care of the yardwork?
Cleaning the gutters falls under the yardwork category.

If you mow the lawn for them, it's your problem. You shouldn't have let the gutters on YOUR house get stopped up. Buy em a coffee maker and consider yourself lucky.

If it's their job? Send em a bill for the repairs. OR..if you like them? Work something out.


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RE: If you have renters.

I'm not a lawyer, or a landlord, or a renter, but I thought if you witheld rent from your landlord the amount withheld had to be put into a legal escrow until the dispute is legally settled?

A friend had a bad kitchen fire due to a Keurig - good thing they were home (and awake) at the time.


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