Compensation for Repair
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Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) May 29, 2023 1:05 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by jonny [NY]) May 29, 2023 1:15 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Jason [VA]) May 29, 2023 1:24 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by MC [PA]) May 29, 2023 1:51 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Vee [OH]) May 29, 2023 2:51 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Robin [WI]) May 29, 2023 3:05 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) May 29, 2023 3:27 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Hoosier [IN]) May 29, 2023 3:43 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Moshe [CA]) May 29, 2023 4:07 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Small potatoes [NY]) May 30, 2023 1:05 AM
       Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) May 30, 2023 8:46 AM
       Compensation for Repair (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) May 30, 2023 2:03 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by zero [IN]) May 30, 2023 5:31 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) May 30, 2023 7:08 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) May 30, 2023 7:10 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) May 30, 2023 11:25 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) May 31, 2023 2:04 PM
       Compensation for Repair (by Lana [IN]) Jun 1, 2023 5:49 PM

Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 1:05 PM

Hello All. I'd like opinions on a matter that I'm weighing. A drain line to a building in a four-plex failed requiring replacement. All tenants were offered the option of leaving without penalty, two did. One stayed during the construction because their lease was up this month and they didn't want to move for a short period of time.

Estimates on the time water would be off were high. Tenants were only without water for 1 day, but restricted their water use for 3 days because of communication gaps. While this was being repaired, ordinary (rare 1x in 10 year) maintenance of painting the exterior of the building began. Several hiccups caused that process to linger a bit longer. Tenant parking was taken up by workers and patios and balconies were shared with the workers on ladders for hours during the washing, scraping and painting and cleanup.

Now the tenants who stayed are wanting to know how much they will be compensated and they are wanting to know this before they move out.

The whole process has been very expensive (+/- $50K)...none of it covered by insurance. Their rent is $1,450/month. How much would you compensate them for their hardship?

And how do you all handle ordinary building maintenance during tenancies, do you compensate tenants during such work ? Painting exteriors? Preventative maintenance like replacing water heaters, etc.? Things that do interrupt ordinary living arrangements, but are for the upkeep of the building.

Compensation for Repair (by jonny [NY]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 1:15 PM

Who had the issue with the communication gaps? The tenants or you to the workers, etc?

If it was really only one day... I wouldn't credit/compensate. If it was three but it was intermittent times... I probably still wouldn't compensate depending on the circumstances.

The painting and not having their patio/balcony available to them? Nope. The parking probably not either but I would have most likely advised the workers they can't take up all of the parking either... but again, most likely that was only during the day so some inconvenience for sure but was there another place for anyone to park?

You offered them to leave and they chose to stay. They knew what was going to happen... that's why you offered them an early out (and I understand their predicament) but it's more of an inconvenience than anything else...

Compensation for Repair (by Jason [VA]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 1:24 PM

You gave them the ability to leave without penalty. That was their compensation (provided you gave ample notice). Those who chose to stay made that decision for themselves. I wouldn’t oy a dime.

Compensation for Repair (by MC [PA]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 1:51 PM

No compensation. Parking and painting- they need to get over it. Would they complain if the Electric Co used thier parking spots for repairs? Do they pay for thier parking spots? Absolutely nothing.

Compensation for Repair (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 2:51 PM

Zero compensation, are you raising the rent for the new tenants? Yes

Compensation for Repair (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 3:05 PM

Maintenance is a part of life. Turning off the water to swap out a water heater is a minor inconvenience that should last a few hours at the very most, and if you're strategic in where your shut-off valves are, they'll still have cold water in the meantime. Same with any other repair that's inconvenient without making the place uninhabitable.

Now, if they couldn't flush their toilets for three days--I think I'd do something for them.

Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 3:27 PM

Thanks for the replies.

This project began in late March with a drain line that was not operating correctly. The repairs to the drain line required that the plumbing company schedule a later repair and band-aided the lines until the plumbing company could fit in this major repair. Tenants were kept abreast of the progress and the plan. Initial estimates were that the repair would take 10 business days and that 2 units would be without water at all and the upper units would be on water restriction for that entire two weeks.

Plumbing company was spotty on communication but did an otherwise good job repairing the problem within time estimates. They restored water to the upper units in 1 day, but did not tell the tenant upstairs that they could freely use water again until day 3.

Because this was a major issue, inspections were required by the County and so work was done, then wait periods followed where machinery was still there, but noise was minimal, then the next stage was done and further inspections were required.

For the benefit of those enduring this sort of situation, here is what I learned: 1) Colorado has a Warrant of Habitability law which can be VERY costly to landlords. Basically, when you lease a unit, you are guaranteeing the tenants of a place to live for the term you promise. If the building fails (through no fault of your own) you still owe that person a place to live and you can be made to pay for it if the tenant requests you to do so. (Think hotel rates here.) 2) If you have a clause saying damages beyond your control, acts of God, etc., allow either party to end the lease, those do not apply in plumbing. Apparently, God had nothing to do with rust and disintegration beneath concrete and insurance companies therefore will not pay either. Those costs are on you. 3) If you allow the tenants to stay - do so at your own risk especially in older buildings. Contaminants in the air are a threat. If you allow the tenants not to move all of their belongings, this is also a risk. Have the tenants sign a waiver to release you from ANY damage to their items, and be clear in writing that, in allowing them to leave items, you both release the other from liability arising from this choice. In my case, I had to pay for the negligence of the tenant who refused to move all of their items out of their apartment and then claimed damage to their items after they left them exposed.

My own situation between plumbing and painting involved a month of inconvenience to the tenants. The plumbing was an intensive job that was unavoidable. The painting was done since this was the best time slot to fit it in - while most tenants were vacated and weather was favorable. The painting is necessary once every 10 years or so. Adding it to the plumbing repair made the situation all hands on deck.

Now, other tenants are wanting to know if they will be compensated. Ideally, I'd be able to buy them all a box of chocolates thanking them heartily for their patience and understanding and they would all be satisfied with the newly working drains and fresh paint job. They prefer cash and no amount will seem sufficient.

I get new tenants from landlords who have done the minimum and they are thrilled to have such care. But the existing tenants become bitter and entitled and angry that they don't get a piece of the pie. Few understand the lengths that have been gone to come up with $50K to pay for these repairs out of pocket. And the attorney bill is still unknown....oh boy.

Compensation for Repair (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 3:43 PM

No compensation...although you should check your lease for how this is handled as well as any state laws. It cracks me up how some people want repairs to make the property nicer but then want to be compensated when the repairs need to "inconvenience" them for a day or two.

I had one property where I had to use RootX every year. It was clearly stated in our lease that such maintenance may inconvenience tenants and these types of maintenance are required to keep the property in good condition and will NOT be compensated for.

Compensation for Repair (by Moshe [CA]) Posted on: May 29, 2023 4:07 PM

As a first step, I would consult with a competent attorney.

I would REALLY want to know how much compensation tenants could expect to be awarded if they went to court.

Compensation for Repair (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 1:05 AM

Can you clarify "leave without penalty", Was their lease severed? If not you should have been paying to put them up while they had no use of their unit plus a per diem for meals. How were their belongings damaged if this was a sewer line replacement, or exterior painting? Separate the two events. No compensation for a month of exterior painting and the loss of parking. Are they assigned spaces?

Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 8:46 AM

@Small Potatoes: Regarding leave without penalty - Their lease has an early lease termination clause which would have been approximately $500. That clause would have been waived, their security deposit would have been refunded in full (regardless of condition) and they would receive a great reference if they chose not to stay. Additionally, I offered all affected tenants the option to move into one of three other vacant units that I manage. Two of those were in the same building, identical in layout, but not on water restriction at all. Two of the four units chose to move to other states and did so. Two chose not to move. One of those two stayed in their unit during repair, and the other stayed with friends.

Their lease was not severed. Their living arrangement was not altered with the exception that, initially, the plumber thought they would need to restrict their water use in the daytime hours for the entire repair (2 weeks). On day 1, the plumber restructured the drain system so that their water was not restricted, but that was not communicated until day 3. The plumbing work outside their unit continued for the duration of the repair.

Their belongings were not damaged. The unit beneath them had dust from the work. One unit had to park on the street during the painting near their parking spot so that no paint might spray onto their belongings (preventative as there was no paint overspray, or spilled paint on this job). They do have assigned spaces, but there is a park with additional parking within 50' of the unit, so parking was not an issue. Their cooking was not interrupted.

As a side note, I see these sort of repairs bankrupting many landlords and ultimately, what will that prove? I was able to sustain the cost thus far, but the "fault" of the situation was not mine, nor theirs. Insurance did not cover any of it. Pipes that disintegrate beneath concrete are virtually impossible to predict or take preventative action upon. Even if the landlord wished to empty a unit at lease renewal time to make prevent such a repair (or plan for it), the laws for "just cause" will prevent doing them from ending leases - certainly not for "maintenance." Paying for tenants to stay in hotels, paying their meals and inconvenience in addition to the repairs is a major hit to any landlord. Far worse for multi-plex owners. If this had been a SFH, one tenancy would have been affected. In a larger complex, every unit is affected to an extent.

When a politician can get one vote from a landlord he makes happy, or XXX potential votes from tenants he makes happy, the system will crumble and neither land owner nor tenant will be served well.

As a side note, many of my renters are hoping to own their own homes. They will suffer shock when they realize that maintaining their homes will not provide a per-diem food reimbursement, a repayment for inconvenience, and that they are expected to pay for it themselves because insurance companies are declining more and more.

Compensation for Repair (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 2:03 PM


I could barely stand to read your post - it brought back sooo many bad memories of simple projects that just went ka-fooey. It reminds to stay right ON TOP of all projects.

This is another sad case of a disease called Wimpy-Lease-itis. Fix your lease before this happens again - because it will.

My lease is clear: Resident understands and accepts that repairs may cause inconvenience and timing will be dependent on contractors, permits, inspections, weather, etc. No reimburse will be made nor hotel rooms provided. Even people in million dollar homes must work around these repair factors.

I used to be a hard-liner on rules but paid the price with irate residents. This is a people business and emotions rule their world. Play up to the emotions and keep them happy.

Now in real life, I would give them a $25 gift card to Texas Road House (people salivate at that name) or other fine eatery. NOT a boring gas or grocery card!

Or 2 days of free rent is cheaper than a court case. Stay in control by being generous and proactive - BEFORE they make this a court case.

The people who left, left. Not inconvenienced.

Next time don't be so quick to let folks out of their lease for a drain repair.

At one major bathroom remodel during summer I ordered in a porta potty.

When someone challenged "loss of use of bedroom" when storm created a roof leak, my judge took the rent, divided by the 4 bedrooms, and granted them 1/4 rent for the 2 days. Good news: I had already given them a discount LARGER than the judge's amount.

Compensation for Repair (by zero [IN]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 5:31 PM

1/4 of the rent for 2 days because one bedroom was offline? What about the rest of the house? Man that judge raked you over the coals. But you paid more before so it all worked out.

I had one room ceiling leak that was bad enough a room was out of commission for a bit. I got the roof fixed pronto. Then I went in and cleaned out the debris the tenants had stored in the room. Guess I was lucky as I gave no discounts. I just cleaned the mess, mine and theirs, and made the room whole again.

Maybe I got lucky?

Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 7:08 PM

I'm wondering are you in Denver proper? If so, there's lots of movement towards tenant concessions, even talk of having an eviction moratorium (I personally believe that's just talk, for now)

I agree with BRAD 20,000, look at your lease for help with this situation. Then try to find a way to appeal to their human side. Possibly by saying thank you for your patience in this process of these wonderful upgrades. And as a gesture of my appreciation here's a gift card. I would personally do $100. Give it to them with a kind smile on and ask them what they think if the new paint job (small talk) say thanks again and wave goodbye.

They may grumble to each other but you essentially are making it difficult for them to take action when you're being so nice.

Even if they decide to go to court, you'll have a stronger case in that you even gave them a gift card for your trouble.

To me it's well worth $100 to skip the court process.

Good luck let us know how it goes !

Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 7:10 PM

* for their trouble

Compensation for Repair (by RockyMtnLL [CO]) Posted on: May 30, 2023 11:25 PM

To BRAD 20,000: Thank you for the suggestion to sharpen my lease. I had 4 paragraphs in my lease that I was confident would cover this sort of problem:

1. DAMAGE BY FIRE, WATER, or ACTS OF GOD: In the event that the building is damaged by fire, water or any act of God disaster and through no fault of the Tenant, and cannot be restored within a reasonable time in the opinion of the Manager, this Rental Agreement shall terminate with no further liability of either party. [I'm contending that rust and disintegration of pipes is a combination act of water and acts of God. Insurance company disagrees. Attorney says this clause isn't enforceable.]

2. DESTRUCTION OF PREMISES: If the premises becomes totally or partially destroyed during the term of this Agreement so that Tenant's use is seriously impaired, Manager or Tenant may terminate this Agreement immediately upon three day written notice to the other. Should the destruction have been caused by Tenants' own action or neglect, they shall not be relieved of the responsibility for payment of rent, and they shall also bear the full responsibility for repair or damage. [Attorney said Warrant of Habitability makes this clause unenforceable.]

3. INSURANCE: Tenant acknowledges that Manager's insurance does not cover personal property damage caused by fire, theft, rain, war, acts of God, acts of others, and/or any other causes, nor shall Manager be held liable for such losses. Tenant is hereby advised to obtain his own insurance policy to cover any personal losses. [Both tenant insurance and property insurance declined coverage. Further investigation shows no insurance company will cover this - except perhaps American Family, and supposedly it is VERY expensive.]

4. ATTORNEY FEES: (paraphrased) Capped at $500 for prevailing party. [Attorney said fees are not awarded in eviction cases in Colorado, and he did not think capping the fees was enforceable. I disagree, but it remains untested.]

When these paragraphs were shared with the attorney, he said they would not hold up due to the Warrant of Habitability laws that are not in place in Colorado. In other words, Buckle up...You're about to be taken on a ride.

His response makes me wonder if I had a clause which offered the tenant the ability to waive their right to habitability - for instance in exchange for pet rent, or for a rental discount, would the waiver be enforceable? (It'll only cost me another $800-$1000 to find out this answer...) In criminal law, you "have the right to remain silent." But, if you waive that right - which is a substantial right - they certainly allow you to waive it - and use whatever you say against you. Even if it is to your own detriment. Why would it not be similar if tenants waive a right of Habitability? (I can hear some of you say that they never would sign off on that, but I'm thinking many of mine might have.)

To all who suggested paying "to be nice": Legalman said doing so opens the gate for ALL tenants to demand the same treatment. This is not a SFH - this is in a multi-plex. He said, in his opinion, I might reduce liability if I deny it outright than to offer a small amount and get taken to court over it - as doing so is a gesture that could show that management agreed with accepting blame and compensation. (Please know - personally, I'd like to pay all the tenants in this complex a check of $100. But then the tenants who were more inconvenienced would argue that their stipend should be greater and the whole can of worms unravels anew.)

To Sandy: This is not in Denver proper. This is in a much smaller city, but still in Colorado. LL's are scrambling to increase fees and costs, which will likely lead to rent controls. Late payment legislation limiting late penalties to $50 are also making it difficult, as is the whole concept of "just cause."

For those LL's who are dealing with the Warrant of Habitability rules, I'd be very interested in your opinions on how you are dealing with this legislation that basically nullifies clauses in a lease that say "if it becomes uninhabitable, we can each call it quits with 3 days notice." I truly feel sorry for those landlords who have a any uninsurable catastrophe that occurs. It's a game changer.

Compensation for Repair (by Sandy [CO]) Posted on: May 31, 2023 2:04 PM

Hi Rocky- You make good points. Especially for multi's (we have sfr's) From what you've said it sounds like you acted promptly, that's all that can be expected. To answer your question on how we deal with habitability issues. We first try to mitigate as many problems as possible by

1. Maintenance-We do our best to keep our properties in top shape as you probably do as well.

2. Tenant Selection- we try to pick qualified tenants that seem easy to work with and are cooperative. Our props are sfr in class B neighborhoods, so we maybe also are getting a different level of tenant than what you have in the mutis.

3. Lease language - A strong lease that states that the tenant is responsible for maintaining the property in a safe and sanitary manner. As laws change some of the wording may not be enforceable, but it sets the expectation and since very few go to court I feel comfortable with this approach.

4. Tenant Relations-This is really key. The lease is the backstop tenant relations can take care of issues before they go to the courts. So I put a lot of focus on that. I will say we've had some really bad tenants but have learned from them. There seemed to be nothing I could do to get them into a reasonable relationship. So for those we offer early lease termination by nicely pointing out that they don't seem happy here and offer for them to be able to move on. I'm careful to say this in a neutral not spiteful way, just problem solving.

The next area is the uncontrolled mishaps like water heaters, furnaces, a/c units, roofing, plumbing. When these things happen we work with the tenant and go out to inspect as soon as is convenient for the tenant. Since this is an inconvenience for the tenant we try to accommodate them on their time line as much as possible. At the end of the day I want this to be a team effort and win-win for both of us.

You can't always take care of it immediately as contractors may be busy, but keep communication open, through texting to document it, and show that you're taking action to take care of it.

In your case you offered them to move out and you could explain that you did everything possible to accommodate them and things are not always perfect, such as contractor communication of a couple extra days. The effort was there on your part. Now you need to decide if you're willing to call their bluff and possibly settle it in court or try and head it off by giving something to satisfy.

I will say the landscape for rental housing in Colorado has become more contentious. And I do have to work harder to gain the tenants trust. Once we get to know one another there are usually few problems we can't all figure out together.

I'm sorry for the plumbing issue you had. These costs are not fun but it's figured into the cost of doing business.

As costs rise with inflation and new tenant rights laws, it costs more to do business. The eviction process is now more drawn out, from about 30 days to now about 2-3 months. I have only had to do a full eviction one time. But these higher fees need to be taken into account and higher reserves must be held to cover this possibility.

It's a more expensive game now, but as long as the numbers still work I'll continue on.

Sorry for the long post. I hope this helps. At least now you know your building has solid plumbing for years to come. Good luck!

Compensation for Repair (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Jun 1, 2023 5:49 PM

In my state, you did nothing wrong. I find it's an unwritten law of Landlording that most LL/Tenant relationships get contentious at the end. That's when they believe you owe them money and they start charging their anger.

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