Profile picture for jessiema

Garage chain question

I have a question. As owner of the property, when I rent the property to renter, the garage chain worked perfectly fine. After 6 months of rental, renter told me the garage chain broke, the repair fee of the chain should be paid by renter or me?

To me, this clearly seems to be renter's fault and it is a result of normal wear and tear. So it should be repaired by renter, not me.

I want to have your advise on this. Thanks!

Jessica
  • March 08 2011 - Fremont
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Answers (10)

The example Chris gave about a plugged toilet is a perfect example. What if the tenant claims that the property has sub standard plumbing which created a condition of poor pressure? Do you want to risk having to pay a plumber to evaluate the root cause of a plugged toilet?

I call a plugged toilet obvious negligence if it's full of their children's toys! 
  • March 25 2011
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Hi Jessica,
Nothing matters but what is stipulated in the rental agreement. Imaging how much money you will waste trying to prove negligence. I have spent a considerable amount of time in real property courts and absent a clear language contract, they almost always side with the tenant and rule against the big, bad landlord. To prove negligence, you may have to hire experts and/or professionals in the field to make a determination. Don't bother.

Unfortunately, not all things that appear to be tenant negligence are truly tenant negligence (or at least they cannot be shown to be tenant negligence). The example Chris gave about a plugged toilet is a perfect example. What if the tenant claims that the property has sub standard plumbing which created a condition of poor pressure? Do you want to risk having to pay a plumber to evaluate the root cause of a plugged toilet? Do you want to be held liable for medical bills because as a result of the toilet overflow, their family is sick? Not worth the effort.

Although some things are obvious negligence (and they should be obvious to a reasonable person), take care of questionable items.
  • March 25 2011
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Like others have said, it depends on your lease. There are many landlords who require that the tenant be responsible for the first $xx of repairs. Not only is this because many minor repairs such as a plugged toilet is the result of the renter's negligence, or the repair could be easily fixed without sending out a repairman (such as shortening the chain on the toilet to make it quit running) but many owners carry a home warranty, and the renter can call directly for service without having to wait for the landlord to acquire someone to do the service.

In our case as landlords, we would pay to repair the chain unless it was due to the tenant's negligence, in which case we would still have it repaired but charge to the tenant.
  • March 24 2011
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I would unfortunately say that the chain needs to be repaired by the home owner UNLESS the chain was obviously broken due to the fault of the renter.  Say for instance if they were being rough with the garage door or they had things hanging from it.  Best guess, to keep faith with the Renter, I would go ahead and replace the chain.  It's only going to cost a few hundred dollars at most.  I always like to remind my clients that the Renter is the one in possession of your home; they are the ones who are in charge of keeping the day to day stuff in working order.  The last thing you would want is for the Renters to begin to neglect the house due to a disagreement between renter and landlord. 
  • March 08 2011
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Nick, remind me not to rent from you. You make the tenant pay the first $100 for each repair. A dripping faucet, a furnace not working, plugged up plumbing, all kinds of things would go wrong that would not cost over $100 each.

I can not afford you as a landlord.

Or am, I supposed to wait until the place is falling down as I move out to make you aware of roof leaks, water leaks from the plumbing and more? Your policy sure suggests that approach.
  • March 08 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
In most states landlord/tenant laws, normal wear and tear items are the landlord's responsibility.   This is true of plumbing, carpets, paint, garage chains, and every other feature of the house.
  • March 08 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I would say that the repair is your responsibility. Garage chains wear and unless you can prove that the tenant did proveable damage causing it to break, you are on the hook. The cost should be small so it is worth keeping your tenant happy as long as they are current on the rent.
  • March 08 2011
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Profile picture for Mills Realty
The answer is in your lease, but as a landlord this would be something I would take care of no matter what my lease said.  I want to keep my tenant happy as they make me happy once every month!
  • March 08 2011
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Profile picture for Sharon Lewis
Jessica
My advice:
I rent a home out and if the garage chain broke, its on me to fix it. That chain would have broken had you lived there right? Its not like they were swinging from it, its normal wear and tear. If however you find out that for some reason they physically broke it, then yes, charge them, but otherwise you need to pay to maintain it. Sorry,I am sure its not what you hear. If the house is relatively new the chain might still be under warranty.
  • March 08 2011
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Jessica your answer really depends on what your lease says about repairs. I typically draft a lease that says repairs for the first $100 is on the tenant, repairs above that are on the landlord. This stops the tenant nickel and diming you for every little thing.

form your description, if it was normal wear and tear, then that would still be on the landlord. ut it really all depends what your lease says.
  • March 08 2011
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