One of the very important clauses in my lease state, “Tenant will make no changes (i.e. painting, etc.) without landlord’s written permission.” This wasn’t part of my lease when I began my business. Again, something I learned the hard way. Here’s an excerpt from my book, The Landord Chronicles: Investing in Low and Middle Income Rentals.
” My forty-year-old tenant decided he’d give his apartment a face-lift, and repainted the entire apartment one weekend. He loved the results, told me it looked more like a bachelor pad now, and encouraged me to come take a look. I feared the worst, with good reason. The dining room was bright aqua, the bedroom was muddy brown, and the kitchen was yellow-orange with a shocking green rooster-adorned border pasted haphazardly along the ceiling. He was so proud. I was so appalled. He wasn’t even a good painter; he’d slopped paint all over the baseboards, drips had gotten on the carpet, and he’d bumped the ceilings several times as well. Even if a tenant gets your okay on the color, you can’t trust they’ll do a decent job of it, so don’t go there at all.”
Bobby, my well-intentioned bachelor in the story above, is only one example. I’ve had applicants and tenants volunteer to do work for me in exchange for deposit money and rent. They claim they’re experts in drywall repair, plumbing, electrical work, carpet installation, painting . . . you name it, they’re experts and will do the work. Believe me, it’s not worth the hassle, unless they’re employed by a legitimate contractor, and are licensed contractors themselves.
This advice also applies for any work needed throughout someone’s tenancy. “Hey Ms. Barb, my brother can roof this house for you for cheap” and other such offers never instill confidence. I don’t go there. Ever.
Of course, sometimes I’m still blind sided by “upgrades” provided by my tenants unbeknowst to me, such as painting nightmares, stubborn wall decals, and botched-up flooring installations, but those items fall under the category of things I can’t control. And, I don’t worry about stuff I can’t control; I let those things go, and just move on . . .
Onward and upward!