Charge Tenant for Repair?
Q. My tenant called the other day and said the toilet and sink had backed up. It was a Sunday and since there is only one bathroom, I had to send a plumber out. Needless to say, my bill was quite high. In fact, when I received it, I almost fainted! The bill mentioned the cause of the stoppage to be a toy car stuck in the toilet. Do I have the right to make the tenant pay this bill?
A. Absolutely! I am assuming that the tenant has lived there for a while and probably has a small child. Whenever I have this type of situation, I pay the bill first and then send a copy of the bill with a letter to the tenant requesting reimbursement. Usually, the payment comes soon after that. Occasionally, a tenant may dispute the charge, in which case, you can perhaps split the bill if it makes sense to do that. If you still feel that the tenant feels he owes the entire bill and he refuses to pay, you can issue a 3-day Pay or Quit, or simply deduct the charge from his security deposit when he moves.
**Tip: If you discuss how plumbing and other repairs are to be handled at the time your tenant moves in, you can avoid many of these problems down the road.
If you have any questions concerning your rental property, please call my office anytime at (805) 474-0100. I always enjoy hearing from you! Nancy Puder is the property manager and owner of Signature Properties, 124 S. Halcyon Rd #D, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420. Service areas are The Five Cities/Beach areas, SLO, Nipomo and Santa Maria.