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When You Should Compensate Your Tenants

Barling Woman Calling Landlord about Roof Leakage ProblemMost often, tenants are the ones paying for the right to live in your Barling rental property. However, there are a not many times when a property owner may need to compensate a tenant. When certain issues arise, you may find yourself in the unusual situation of paying your tenants, instead of the other way around. To be as prepared as possible, it is important to know what type of circumstances may result in tenant compensation and when and where you should offer it.

The question of tenant compensation stems almost entirely from landlord/tenant laws. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your rental house is in a habitable condition. Generally, this implies that your rental home is clean and free of pests. It also means that your roof keeps the house dry and that the appliances and other elements work the way they are supposed to.

One of the most common reasons a property owner would need to compensate a tenant is because of repairs. In certain circumstances, a property owner may not be able to make necessary repairs promptly. Whether you are out of town or otherwise unavailable, if something collapses and causes your tenants to lose the quiet enjoyment of the rental house, you need to remedy it. If you can’t, your tenant may go ahead and have the repairs done within the confines of state law. It’s best if the tenant has your permission first, but even if they don’t, the chances are that you’ll need to reimburse your tenant for the cost of repairs if they follow the state requirements.

Sometimes compensation comes up in disagreements about the condition and functionality of appliances. Failing to take responsibility for broken appliances is one of the most common reasons a property owner winds up getting sued by their tenants. Part of the reason for this is because the situation is more complex than it at first appears. Landlords sometimes argue that a broken dishwasher, while an inconvenience, does not make the entire property uninhabitable. In the same way, a broken oven or refrigerator is seen to be an even bigger issue, and tenants may argue that the home is uninhabitable. If you have provided appliances with the rental house, one of them breaks down, and you can’t replace it right away, your tenant may be justified in repairing the machine and deducting the amount from the rent; as specified in your state’s landlord/tenant law. This is especially true if your lease documents assign responsibility for the appliances to you as the property owner.

While the most common, these are not the only grounds you may need to compensate a tenant. However, if you do find yourself in a situation where payment is required, it is essential to document everything carefully and then issue the funds promptly. If you are pro-rating a rent payment, make sure to record it and to notify your tenant in writing. If you need to send payment to your tenant directly, use a method that offers a paper trail, such as a business check.

Although landlord/tenant laws do vary from place to place, staying on top of tenant compensation is an important part of maintaining good tenant relations. As a Barling property owner, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the landlord/tenant laws that govern compensation to ensure that you are in full compliance. Real Property Management First Choice can help you prepare a lease to cover these issues or even manage your property entirely properly. Contact us today to get started.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.