If you’ve been a landlord for awhile, you know all about them. If you haven’t, get ready because they are coming… the NEEDY tenant. There is no way around them. It’s especially awful when they are otherwise a great tenant – pays their rent on time, keeps the property in good shape. They just constantly need that hand holding and EVERYTHING repaired… NOW!
And have you noticed that it isn’t big things they need to have fixed? Stupid stuff, like it’s -2° F outside and they are complaining that the heat is CONSTANTLY running. Well, yeah, subzero temperatures will do that! Then there is the “well I thought I saw a bug so you need to get the exterminator in here IMMEDIATELY.” Yes, you guessed it, there was no bug or they let it in and it’s one measley fly.
The problem for you as the landlord is that when you are constantly calling in professionals to check on these rather stupid issues it costs you money…sometimes a lot of money.
So in order to keep your budget within the budget, set yourself up to succeed before they even move in. How? Make sure that things like the above will be covered once, then there is a service fee. Make it clear that if there is a flood, overflowing toilet or an electrical issue, that is a serious emergency will be covered.
If you don’t have something in the lease to help you and are having issues with a current tenant, try talking with your tenant, or writing to them. Make it clear to your tenant that if you are called about a repair and it turns out to be a non-emergency, the unnecessary repair or treatment will be at their expense.
If you write to them, assure them that you are taking preventative measures to forestall any issues, but that if they insist on calling about a non-issue, they will be charged. For instance, in the bug problem call the exterminator scenario, tell them “we have a standing monthly service contract with ___ Extermination and we will be happy to call a technician if you discover any pests. However, if no issue is found then the service call charge will be your responsibility.” Then spell out what will happen if the bill is not covered immediately (i.e. it will be taken out of the rent amount first, with rent second as described in the lease or however you will be handling it.)
Be friendly. Be professional. Definitely be firm. Once that tenant has to held accountable for unnecessary service calls, they will most likely stop calling and being such a needy tenant.