In most states, the Landlord/Tenant Law outlines what kinds of repairs a tenant can make. It depends on how long you’ve lived in the property, how many times you’ve pestered your landlord about making the repair, etc. A lot of times, you can request that the landlord pays for the repair, but depending how the law is written, they may not have to. Most of the time, even if the landlord does pay for the repair, the law states that it cannot be deducted from your monthly rent payment. You will want to be cognizant of what the law states before you go ahead with the repair. The law varies from state to state, so be sure to Google yours before proceeding.
Now maybe as the landlord you are feeling indifferent to whether or not the tenant does a repair to your investment. This is more than okay considering it’s your property and you can do whatever it is that you want with it.
However, there are a few items you should consider before giving the green light to your tenant to make the repair, improvement or enhancement to the property.
Prepare yourself for DIY-type work. Don’t expect complete professional craftsmanship, unless this is your tenant’s actual day job.
Consider the items that your tenant would like repaired and ask yourself the question “will this require a permit?” Many laws require that you file a permit (or pull a permit) with the city for any repairs or moderations made to electrical, gas, and your HVAC. This often includes a replacement of a hot water tank. If you have to pull a permit, chances are you have to use a licensed professional to perform the work.
Once you’ve agreed on what kind of work is to be performed, get it in writing. Write up an addendum agreement to your lease or some sort of affidavit that states the scope of the work to be performed, who will pay for it and what kind of time frames the work will be done in.
Whether or not you pay for it, as the landlord, the last thing you need to discuss with your tenant and put in writing is whether or not the repairs/modifications or enhancements made will remain with the home when the tenant vacates.
Remember, communication is key. If you feel like you are in a competitive game of tug o’ war in getting the repairs issues addressed, then be sure to document everything in writing. Be courteous and patient with one another and it won’t be such a war after all.
Jessica Hickok is a REALTOR® Broker and Property Manager/Landlord with Dizmang Properties, Inc. (www.getpaul.com) in Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found on Twitter as @SugarCube.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.