When should you give in to a tenant request?
However you came to be a landlord, it is safe to say that you are not in it to lose money. While a landlord must keep an eye on the bottom line, being a landlord is also a people business, and a deeply personal one at that. Although you own a house, it is the tenant who considers your property their home. Providing them a safe and comfortable place to live is part of the deal. Sometimes a landlord must hear a tenant’s request and acquiesce to what they are asking for.
Hear the tenant’s request
Before giving a knee-jerk reaction by saying no every time the tenant leaves you a voicemail or knocks on your door, be sure that you are hearing the tenant out to foster a good relationship. Find out your tenant’s motivations for asking for a certain improvement. Are they becoming concerned that they will be injured by a rickety gate? Do they want to take in a relative’s displaced pet, or are they just appeasing a child’s whim to get a dog? Have they sustained an injury that makes keeping up with yard maintenance impossible? The reasons your tenant has for requesting a change in your agreement may influence you.
Sometimes saying yes means saving money
Perhaps the tenant is insisting that an appliance is deteriorating to the point where it needs to be replaced. Even though the appliance might have been working fine when the tenant moved in, it might have gotten worse since then. Although the appliance is still technically in working condition, this may be a time when you should acquiesce to a tenant request.
Sometimes saying yes can actually save you money in the long run. Proactively addressing some concerns helps you avoid making an emergency purchase. Taking more than one day to shop for an appliance gives you plenty of time to compare prices and discounts at more than one supplier.
Put it in writing
It is not often that a situation is truly without financial consequences. While from the tenant’s perspective it may seem like a small imposition, nearly all changes to the landlord/tenant arrangement will cost money. When you are saying yes to a tenant, be sure to allow for any additional deposits or responsibilities you will require from the tenant.
Let’s say you have agreed to allow for removal of a shrub from the property. If the tenant wants to remove the planting, could they be injured in the process? Is there any way for the tenant to damage your property during the course of removing said shrub, or should you hire a professional? Who will cover any costs incurred? Be sure that you and the tenant have agreed in writing to terms that will cover all of these scenarios.
If you have done your due diligence to put a trustworthy tenant into your rental, give them the courtesy of making a case for any divergence from the lease or improvement that they may request. Allow them to make their case without any prejudice. If you decide to say yes, make sure your are allowing for any additional costs or responsibilities you need the tenant to undertake.