Tenant Problems: How To Stop Spending Money When They Think You’re Santa Claus

Your tenant wants to argue about the water bill. Here’s the solution that worked for us.

A serious tenant problem is the spending of  too much money on a property because a tenant is demanding you fix things.  These tenant types think of you as Santa Claus and they can come to you with their long lists of things they want.

Case in Point:  I have an old house with several tenants.  One tenant  has been very quick to ask for things he really doesn’t need.  In fact, at times he has demanded we fix things we don’t have the budget for.  How to handle a tenant like this without him moving?

Here’s what we did and so far the psychology  is working. 

He has a little garden that has costs much higher water bills.  Unfortunately, all the tenants share the same water meter.  We can’t change that, and that is a different subject for a different post.

We explained the water bill to him and told him we had checked the entire property for any leaks.  We think the extra $150 jump in the bill was coming from his garden.

“What?  I don’t water that much.”

To summarize we had all our facts and figures to present to him.  We know exactly what the averages are for the water per unit per month.  Math is math and really isn’t easy to dispute, no matter how hard people sometimes try.

He tried to blame it on some of the other tenants, but we were ready for that argument also.  In other words, we had done our homework.  We know what they use too.  We were ready to go to “court”. 

In the end, he saw it our way, but it took some patient convincing.    He had tried to “ask” for a new kitchen floor.  We explained to him he was not in a position to negotiate anything.  Times are hard, we told him.   Besides, we reminded him, he is paying $50 less rent per month than he should be paying. 

“We may need to do up on the rents,” we said.

He is getting rid of the garden.  Case closed. 

Take Away:

1. Do your homework.  Make sure you have all your facts and figures before you approach a tenant about anything.  You will be a force to reckon with when you are armed with knowledge.  Knowledge really is power, and even your dumbest tenants will know that.

2. Be nice.  You don’t have to get rough with them.   Keep the dialogue open but let them know you won’t be bullied.  Adult bullying is no different from kid bullying.  Don’t let them take the first punch.

3. Be confident.  Let your tenants know you are running a business.  

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