Prioritize rental repair requests

How to handle landlord who ignores roof leak, broken heater

By Inman News Feed
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted May. 5, 2011

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I often hear from tenants with a broken central heating system or furnace that the landlords will provide an electric space heater, but the tenants are concerned about the impact of such a device on their monthly electric bill.

This is a legitimate concern and it is reasonable for the tenant to expect the landlord to reimburse the tenant either in cash or through a rent credit for the increased electricity usage necessitated by these effective but often inefficient electric space heaters.

A reasonable tenant and landlord should be able to agree that they will determine the appropriate reimbursement when the tenant receives her utility billing and the cost of electricity exceeds the expected or historical usage.

But I also would caution tenants that they need to be reasonable and willing to except some inconvenience or modestly higher cost of electricity especially if the landlord acted promptly and in good faith.

The broken dishwasher is certainly an important convenience item for most people and you are paying rent for that feature in your rental unit. So it should be in proper working order.

However, an inoperative dishwasher is not a life-safety issue. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that a good landlord will take steps to address this complaint as soon as possible.

This column on issues confronting tenants and landlords is written by property manager Robert Griswold, author of "Property Management for Dummies" and "Property Management Kit for Dummies" and co-author of "Real Estate Investing for Dummies."

Email your questions to Rental Q&A at rgriswold.inman@retodayradio.com. Questions should be brief and cannot be answered individually.

Contact Robert Griswold:
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