When Tenants Do Repairs On Their Own.....Just Say NO!

Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

New tenants just moved into a gorgeous townhouse that the owner lived in for 3 years and OVERimproved to the point that she would loose $100,000 if she sold it. 


In true tenant fashion - where NOTHING was WRONG - they found items that needed repair.....after a month in residence, a gas burner would not work so I suggested they clean it...they cleaned it and THEN it worked.


Then the fireplace UPgrade would not work.  The owners left the instruction manual AND a How-To on how to turn it on.  Tenant finally went to installer whose name was on the instruction manual and learned how to operate it.

Then the dryer took 2 hours to dry their clothes so the tenant investigated and found a "critter guard" at the end of the dryer vent on the exterior of the townhouse.  He took it upon himself to have it removed.  In his e-mail to me requesting reimbursement for the $273 he spent for the guard to be removed, he indicated 1) that it was not installed correctly; and 2) that they were against code to install because they can cause a fire.


After saying NO to his request for reimbursement, I advised him that sufficient heat in the dryer will cause it to stop operation for just this reason so the critter guard was not the issue AND that the guard was installed because of the construction in the area and the fact that "critters" * in the winter * would like a nice, warm place to sleep and the UNprotected opening of a dryer vent (the original plastic covering having disintegrated after the first year's warranty expired) was 5-star to them with the accumulated vent lint being better than maid-turn-down service.


When the dryer turned off completely, I had an appliance firm check it and they found a bad breaker for the dryer which my electrician will change out early next week.


I'll leave the issue of their "alteration" of the property in violation of their lease until they move out and then I will request that they have the critter guard re-installed at their expense.

Posted by

Wallace S. Gibson is a Certified Property Manager with over 50 years of property management experience and expertise.  She maintains a specialized property management business in Central Virginia serving Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Louisa counties  


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Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The improvements are not always needed. Or because the tenant was hard on something that broke.

Jan 09, 2015 05:44 AM #1
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

Key word is "tenant" and not owner. I am a firm believer that the owner should be informed and there needs to be approval in these cases to avoid complications later. As you stated there are many easy and less costly fixes that can be overlooked. Having a operational living space is paramount but having the idea of losing 100,000 because of "improvements" done by tenants is horrible!

Jan 09, 2015 06:32 AM #2
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

The OWNER overimproved when she thought she would be living in the unit for a long time....So far, TENANT has spent his own money needlessly...HeHeHe!

Jan 09, 2015 06:39 AM #3
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

Good advice from one experienced Landlord Whisperer!

have a great night


Jan 09, 2015 09:10 AM #4
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Wallace, yuo are the bomb!  You can tell you have experience in managing rental property just by the answers you give!  Well done!

Jan 09, 2015 12:36 PM #5
Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Wallace.  It is amazing how nervy tenants become with their demands.

Jan 09, 2015 07:53 PM #6
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Wow!  I hope they don't get any critters in the dryer vent or they'll have another issue, one that they caused.

Jan 11, 2015 06:45 AM #7
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