My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

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My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:55 pm

I have new tenants who asked me to put in a water softener system for them. My initial response was no. That seems like a luxury item and not one of the standard items a landlord is expected to provide. I thought that would be the end of story but she persists and asked me to reconsider strongly. They just started an 18 month lease. I am a little put off considering I had just spent about 2-3K putting in/finishing a bedroom for them in the basement so that they can sublet it and get some income (which I don't benefit from). OTOH, putting in a system is probably $800-1500 and is not much to keep a tenant happy for the next 18 months.

What do you think as to whether you would do it or not and does anyone have experience with water softener systems to give me advice on what to get? My preliminary research shows salt-free systems like Pelican versus salt based systems. I don't know if at some future point if I decide not to use the system if it is easily bypassed. Are there any risks or down sides I should know about with the different systems? Thanks!

BTW- the home is a fully remodeled gorgeous house in SLC in a prime area 2 blocks from the University; 3700 sq ft, 7+ bedrooms, 3.5 baths. I had brought the rent down from $3200 per month (initial number) to $2500 per month for them. There were others who wanted it at its current price. They pay all their own utilities.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby rustymutt » Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:58 pm

Tell them OK, if they agree to a monthly increase to cover your cost.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:01 pm

That would be very reasonable but they don't want that; they want it provided. She even said she would put up the money and deduct a monthly amount from the rent to pay her back if I was short on funds.... meaning, I cover the cost ultimately.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Sheepdog » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:02 pm

rustymutt wrote:Tell them OK, if they agree to a monthly increase to cover your cost.

That is a luxury item. The tenants should pay all costs for installation, supplies and upkeep.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby bottlecap » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:03 pm

Salt free seems like it would be the better way to go. I think you might have problem tenants, though. The softness of the water seems like a little thing given the short term lease and all the other good things about the property. This might not be their last request. I'd only do this if I was thinking about doing it already. You might also consider asking for the purchase price of the system as an additional deposit. It would stink for them to break the lease three months after installing the system because your refused their next demand of a tankless water heater...

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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby bottlecap » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:16 pm

ncounty wrote:That would be very reasonable but they don't want that; they want it provided. She even said she would put up the money and deduct a monthly amount from the rent to pay her back if I was short on funds.... meaning, I cover the cost ultimately.


You, of course, have no obligation. If the water is very hard and you might get some benefit from the system, I'd propose that they pay half the purchase and install cost and all of any monthly operating costs (for salt systems, for instance) of course. They rented the place as is and now want you to improve it to their specific tastes. They should bear the expense, less any benefit you might receive once their lease is up.

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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby momar » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:19 pm

Figure out what the expected lifetime of a system is then tell them you will install it, but only if you prorate the amount onto their monthly rent. They shouldn't have to pay for the entire system if it is going to last 15 years, but it's not unreasonable that they pay for it while they are living in the house.

Alternately, give them a Brita pitcher as a move in gift.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby sportal » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:23 pm

The water in SLC is very hard. Much harder than SD. It causes problems with clean dishes, requires more soap for the clothes washer, and also takes it's toll on your plumbing. Over time toilets start to leak, faucets get hard water deposits, dishwashers and clothes washing machines get hard water deposits, etc.

If this is a higher end home, it should have a water softener. I wouldn't rent a home that didn't have one in SLC. It's a valid request of the tenant. Perhaps the tenant didn't know that the home didn't have a water softener when they rented it, or didn't understand the effects of not having one, or didn't realize how hard the water was in SLC. I would install one for them if it was my rental since it is a higher end rental property.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby retiredjg » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:29 pm

I live just south of SLC. I've lived here both with and without a water softener the difference is huge. If the water up there is like ours (and I suspect it is), a water softener is a little short of being a "necessity", but is certainly nothing near a "luxury item". It makes a big difference in a lot of things and I can see why she wants one. And your appliances (assuming they are yours) will live longer without the sludge of hard water. Also, around these parts, a water softener would pretty much be standard in the house you describe. (I gather you never lived there?)

All that said, I'm not sure you should pay for it (or all of it) since you have already lowered the rent by $700 a month. If you had not lowered the rent, I would probably think differently. However, they rented a house without a softener and you have already gone out of your way to accomodate them, so I'm not sure I'd say yes.

A middle ground is always a good thing. Let them put it in and then you adjust the rent by $20 a month until half is paid? Obviously, they buy the salt. I'm thinking a no salt device may be pretty expensive. And yes, with the salt type of softeners the bypass is as easy as turning a valve so no problem there.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:05 pm

Personally, I think you're being far too nice to these renters and not thinking about your bottom line as a business person. You have already discounted the rent by $700 a month (when you had other applicants willing to pay full price) and spent another $2-3k renovating a basement for them to sublet. Why? Are these people personally known to you (family or friends) so you have a hard time telling them "no"? Because you've already lost $2-3k upfront and $12.6k over the 18 month lease in terms of lost rent. Do you really want to lose another $1500 to pay for the entire cost of a water softener?

It doesn't matter that the water in SLC is very hard. They have already negotiated significant concessions from you that are costing you very real money (nearly $15k and counting). Do not let the mentality of "it's only $1500" talk you in to footing the entire bill. The reduced rent alone (not to mention the income the tenants are getting from subletting the basement that you footed the cost of renovating) should be giving them plenty of money to help pay for this system using the prorated method suggested by momar.

I can't help but feel there's a portion of this story that we're missing.... Making all these concessions to the tenants does not compute from a business perspective. I could see being unwilling to negotiate hard with friends or family, but if that is the case, you need to hire a manager for you (who can make these tough decisions and say "no") or make a policy to never rent to friends/family again. It's hard to rent to friends and family for this reason, because you don't want to look like the "bad guy" by saying "no", but there are many people who would take advantage of this human tendency to pad their bottom line at the expense of your finances.

If you are doing this for a complete stranger, it makes even less sense. You don't need to go broke to appease your tenants. They are your customers yes, but this is also a business arrangement that should at least end up breaking even for you in the long run (and preferably turn a profit). Don't let them railroad you if it does not make financial sense (and don't let them sweet-talk you into thinking it does makes financial sense when it doesn't, at least not for you). I am particularly concerned about the "arrangement" you said was offered where the tenant would pay for the water softener and then deduct the cost from the rent. If this came from a complete stranger, this screams "smooth operator" to me... someone who is trying to milk you for all the concessions she can get until you go broke or you finally wise up and say "no, that's not in the lease".
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby camper » Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:47 pm

Like others have said, you have no obligation to install one. They signed the lease to a home without a water softener. If they wanted to rent a home with a water softener, they should have checked prior to signing the lease. I have a water softener and by no means are they maintenance free. There is the sodium or potassium cost every month. You are supposed to change the media every 5 years. I work for the local water utility where I live. I have been out on service calls where the customer has no water to the home. I bypass the softener and somehow the customer gets service back. I have gone on service calls where the media gets out of the softener and clocks up all the water fixtures inside the home. I have had high bill customer complaints where the softener sticks in the regeneration cycle for a month. This just pumps water down the sewer. This resulted in a customer's monthly bill to be over $1k.
That said, as a homeowner in Tucson, I wanted a water softener. We use much less laundry detergent. The dishes come out of the dish washer clean and streak free. When we come out of the shower we don't have the extremely dry skin we would if we didn't have one. I still flush my water heater every year. I rarely see any calcium deposits.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:36 pm

Thanks so much for your very informative responses. This is extremely helpful.

To clarify, I had other applicants very interested in the property at THIS price, not when it was 3200/month. I think the main concession has been finishing the bedroom for them which was 2-3K. I did this as a good will gesture at the very beginning but it was also because it would be of lasting benefit for me. It makes it 7 bedrooms and I thought it would make it more marketable in the future. They are not friends or family. I do tend to be a very tenant friendly landlord and have had many tenants leave with compliments and thanks.... this probably means I am less of a business minded person in this role.

It is really helpful to hear the direct experiences of those who live in SLC and nearby; no, I have never lived there. I do own a home in Park City on well water and am now considering putting in a soft water system for my home there. My skin is very dry up there. There is also the consideration that this is good for the home overall and not an absolute luxury item like providing cable, for instance. The last post of some of the pitfalls with these systems is of concern though and very much appreciated.

I am still mulling this over....
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby retiredjg » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:07 pm

ncounty wrote:To clarify, I had other applicants very interested in the property at THIS price, not when it was 3200/month.

This does make a difference in my opinion. In that case, I think it is reasonable to just add the water softener and be done with it unless you feel this person is actually just manipulating you. I think it is pretty much standard in a house like that in that neighborhood (unless it is old and getting run down or in a dumpy neighborhood.)

In addition to the list given you by sportal, I found that keeping the toilets clean is a real issue with hard Utah water. The minerals build up and that gives mold a structure to set up housekeeping and it can just be just a bear to clean. I still have one toilet I can't get clean or keep clean. I think it is because when that bathroom was added, it was not plumbed into the soft water. The original toilets are just fine (now that I have a functioning softener). It will be easier for your tenants to keep a lot of things clean if you do it. I'm thinking of your property value here.

One thing not mentioned yet - many houses plumb the cold water in the kitchen sink to unsoftened water for better taste. Don't know if that is possible in your case, but if the contractor suggests it, it is not an off the wall idea - I'd definitely do it.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby lws6772 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:21 pm

Sheepdog wrote:
rustymutt wrote:Tell them OK, if they agree to a monthly increase to cover your cost.

That is a luxury item. The tenants should pay all costs for installation, supplies and upkeep.

+1
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby newbie_Mo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:34 pm

They knew there wasn't any water softener in the house when they sign the lease. And you are being nice to let them rent out the basement for extra money. Sounds like some hard-to-please renters.

I will say give in to their request ONLY if it is a hard to rent out area, but it sounds like a good area for finding renters. So I wouldn't give in on this one.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby stan1 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:09 pm

Water softeners require ongoing maintenance. At a minimum someone needs to add salt (sodium or potassium) as needed. They also have valves, hoses, electronics, and a pump that can fail. The warranty on the tank is typically 5 or 10 years, but everything else is often 1 year (or less). They also use water during regeneration (mine uses about 30 gallons). Less expensive units might regenerate every night; more expensive systems have sensors which measure flow and hardness of the water to determine when to regenerate (mine regenerates once every 7-8 days with two people).

The pluses for the property owner are less scale anyplace in the house that touches water (dishwasher, showers/tubs, faucets, shower heads). This should translate to longer life. We got a water softener after I spent over $1K on nice faucets for the 2 sinks in our kitchen. It does make a difference with our water.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Prokofiev » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:10 pm

ncounty wrote: They just started an 18 month lease. I am a little put off considering I had just spent about 2-3K putting in/finishing a bedroom for them in the basement so that they can sublet it and get some income (which I don't benefit from).

BTW- the home is a fully remodeled gorgeous house in SLC in a prime area 2 blocks from the University; 3700 sq ft, 7+ bedrooms, 3.5 baths. I had brought the rent down from $3200 per month (initial number) to $2500 per month for them. There were others who wanted it at its current price.


Forget about the water softener for a moment. More importantly to me would be "Why are you allowing them to sublet and control your property?" Why are are letting them re-rent your house for profit? Most leases prohibit anyone but the names on the lease to actually occupy the property. Your lease with them allows them (explicitly) to re-lease or sublet all or part of the home? How will you control the tenants? How will you control the terms of the sublet? Liability issues alone would stop me from doing that. It seems crazy, especially with a "gorgeous house" 2 blks from a university. I would re-think the entire issue.
Last edited by Prokofiev on Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:12 pm

All good points, even if they conflict with each other. This is such a tug of war for me. Thanks for the GREAT information as well! I knew very little about water softeners prior to embarking on this.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby TRC » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:38 pm

rustymutt wrote:Tell them OK, if they agree to a monthly increase to cover your cost.


+1.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:00 pm

ncounty wrote:All good points, even if they conflict with each other. This is such a tug of war for me. Thanks for the GREAT information as well! I knew very little about water softeners prior to embarking on this.

Here is my best advice. Only install the water softener if it makes sense to take on the added installation and maintenance cost of the softener vs the decreased maintenance cost of the plumbing. I'm assuming you have some local contractors and/or plumbers you used for the remodel. Get their advice on the matter (keeping in mind they could be seeing dollar signs by trying to sell you a fancy system). Don't even consider the tenants wishes. The tenants are transitory and have already gotten enough concessions from you. Only do this if it makes sense for the house, in terms of future maintenance and marketability.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby investomajic » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:14 pm

Prokofiev wrote:
ncounty wrote: They just started an 18 month lease. I am a little put off considering I had just spent about 2-3K putting in/finishing a bedroom for them in the basement so that they can sublet it and get some income (which I don't benefit from).

BTW- the home is a fully remodeled gorgeous house in SLC in a prime area 2 blocks from the University; 3700 sq ft, 7+ bedrooms, 3.5 baths. I had brought the rent down from $3200 per month (initial number) to $2500 per month for them. There were others who wanted it at its current price.


Forget about the water softener for a moment. More importantly to me would be "Why are you allowing them to sublet and control your property?" Why are are letting them re-rent your house for profit? Most leases prohibit anyone but the names on the lease to actually occupy the property. Your lease with them allows them (explicitly) to re-lease or sublet all or part of the home? How will you control the tenants? How will you control the terms of the sublet? Liability issues alone would stop me from doing that. It seems crazy, especially with a "gorgeous house" 2 blks from a university. I would re-think the entire issue.


Indeed. Who repairs the damange and pays for the wear and tear caused by the people she sublet to?. I know this wasn't on topic for your original question but I would remind her of this very generous gesture on your part if you decide to say no to the water softener system. In all honesty it seems like this tenant is trying to get as much out of you as possible (basement redone, allowed to sublet, now water softener). Say no or it will never end.

At the absolute very least, if you do decide to install the water softener system, make sure to get her to sign something (talk to an attorney) that would put her on the hook for some of the cost if she broke the lease. (1/2, 2/3, all of it, whatever it is, but she has to have skin in the game). Remind her that this system is being installed at her sole request and you probably can't increase the rent when she leaves to recover this cost.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:36 pm

I agreed to letting her rent out the two rooms in the basement, again as a goodwill gesture/concession. She lives in the main house with her family and because it is so close to the Univ., she can rent out the two rooms to female college students which makes the home more affordable for her. Although the rent seems low to me for such a big and nice house, in SLC it is on the higher end of what homes rent for so I wanted to facilitate making it affordable long term for her and hoped I would have a good long term tenant who is on the premises making things work.

My immediate reaction when first asked was no, as many of you have said. I was surprised and a little put off that she is pursuing this and has not taken no for an answer. I realize I can stand by my no legally and am on solid ground because this is not a customary provision. I am thinking, like Mudpuppy and others have said though, that if it is good for the property overall, it might be worth putting the system in. Again, it is only $800-1300. I do think she should have some skin in the game, perhaps contribute $200 to the cost which is the equivalent of cost of renting a system for the rest of her lease (although I have to verify this number). The cost of the system will not be recouped in future rents, imo.

I didn't think I had much additional liability in letting her sublet the rooms. If I am wrong, I will just have to hope for the best and not do so in the future as the lease agreement is already in place.

I do have $2500 security deposit and can apply that for excess wear and tear and any appropriate issues if needed.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby stan1 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:41 pm

Maybe you could agree to install the system if she agrees to extend the lease 6 more months (at current rent, or maybe at $2525 or $2550)?
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Prokofiev » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:55 pm

ncounty wrote:
I agreed to letting her rent out the two rooms in the basement, again as a goodwill gesture/concession.

I didn't think I had much additional liability in letting her sublet the rooms. If I am wrong, I will just have to hope for the best and not do so in the future as the lease agreement is already in place.

I do have $2500 security deposit and can apply that for excess wear and tear and any appropriate issues if needed.


What does your insurance policy say? Have you discussed your liability with your insurance agent or attorney?

I don't want to scare you, but I was in a similar situation back in graduate school. I sublet a room from some other students who had rented a professor's beautiful furnished suburban home for a year while he was on sabbatical and then split, selling their rooms to others for a profit. The owner had no idea who was actually living there and the tenants changed by the month as each person added friends or sub-sub-sublet their room to someone else. Total disaster. The home was trashed. $2500 wouldn't have paid for the ruined furniture much less the water damage, flooring/carpeting, windows etc.

But I would worry less about damage to the building and more about personal liability if someone is injured or sets up a meth lab in the basement. You screen to find tenants and then give them the right to sublet to others? I wouldn't. But at least check the liability clause on your insurance with your agent.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:16 pm

stan- that would be a good idea but it was a stretch to get her to 18 months as it was. I don't think she would go for it. Also, 18 months lands right around May or June which is a time of year that would be favorable for me to rerent it. Another 6 months puts me back in mid to late fall when all university people are already set so the timing isn't as good for me.

Thanks for the cautionary tale, Prokofiev. I will research this further with my insurance agent and online. This is a respectable middle aged couple who own a business and they have two teenage daughters so I hope they would be on guard against any negative influences like a meth lab. I have taken the precautions of having this home be a single entity LLC so the most they could get from a liability perspective is the equity I have in the home. I suspect the carpets will have to be addressed when they move out; the home is unfurnished so the potential damage is not as great. I also have high liability coverage in my home insurance.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby imgritz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:16 am

rustymutt wrote:Tell them OK, if they agree to a monthly increase to cover your cost.


I stopped reading after the first response. I have a rental. Agree to install the water system if the tentants agree to paying for it as a gift to you. I'm sure they will cancel their request in a heart-beat.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby specabecca » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:26 am

Being a good landlord means that you honor your half of the contractual agreement with as much honesty, integrity, and fairness you can. This should translate to a rapid response time to any problems with the property, a backup property manager if you must leave town, and ensuring the premises are safe, clean, and properly maintained.

Being a good landlord doesn't mean you acquiesce to requests outside of the scope of your agreement, most especially if it doesn't make good business sense.

Until you determine that a water softening system increases your bottom line or lowers your overall risk, you do yourself a disservice to install it.

Finally, by letting someone who cannot readily afford the property occupy said property, you have both increased your liability of damages (i.e. subletting to unknown parties) and increased your chances that this party will not be able to pay the rent. If/when these female students overrun the bathtub, whose problem is it? Your tenants, or yours? (btw, the answer is that it is yours). If/when these female students fail to cover their rent, which your renter depends on to pay her rent, who ends up short at the end of the month? (the answer is that you are).

I would ask to redo the lease with the tenant - even if it meant lowering the rent or whatever you have to do to get her to sign.

And finally, rent should be as low a percentage of your renters monthly income as possible. This reduces your risk of your tenants not paying on time or in full each month.

On a last note, my experience through college was that males apartments were typically messier/dirtier than females. However, the filthiest, foulest apartments I ever saw were occupied by female students.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby htdrag11 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:43 am

Do not let the tenant pushing you around; this is only the beginning.

Do consider increasing her rent by a monthly amount to offset the total cost over the 18-month period, making sure she would be paying for the salt.

GL
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Abe » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:31 pm

I've owned single family home rentals for a long time. Generally, you have to stand your ground with tenants or they will keep pushing. I had a house that I spent several thousand dollars on before the tenants moved in. At the end of their one year lease, they sent me a letter with a list of things I needed to do to the house before they would renew their lease. They paid their rent on time, but I didn't want to do all the things they wanted me to do. I worried about it for a while and finally I sent them a letter telling them that I understood their position, but I told them I had already spent a lot on the house and that I couldn't afford to do all the things they wanted me to do. There were a couple of things on their list that I told them I would do but that was it. I told them to give me thirty days notice if they wanted to move. When they got my letter they called me and were very apologetic and they told me not to worry about the repairs. They have been in the house about five years now with no problems.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback and advice.

I got a call from my plumber today that these tenants had called him directly. They said they have had a leak since he did a repair, 2 months ago. He was very disturbed and upset by this and wondered why they waited 2 months. There are other minor issues with these tenants but it is all adding up to a bit of a headache.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby Mudpuppy » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:53 pm

ncounty wrote:Thanks for the feedback and advice.

I got a call from my plumber today that these tenants had called him directly. They said they have had a leak since he did a repair, 2 months ago. He was very disturbed and upset by this and wondered why they waited 2 months. There are other minor issues with these tenants but it is all adding up to a bit of a headache.

You might use this as a reason to schedule an inspection, at least of the entire plumbing system and to check for any water damage from the leak, if not an inspection of the whole house. Check the laws in Utah, but in most states a landlord can schedule a full unit/house inspection with 1-3 days of advance notice to the tenants, even if they protest or are not at home. This might be something you want to do on a regular basis (say twice a year), particularly to check the functionality of major appliances, plumbing and safety equipment (smoke and CO detectors).

If you're worried about headache tenants, this is one way to keep tabs on them and try to limit the damage they might cause. And in a college area, this might just be something that you'll need to do regularly with any tenants. I know when I was at graduate school, twice annual inspections were par for the course for any unit that was near the campus.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby HardKnocker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:23 am

Tell them no way.

Put in writing too so they don't later install it and say you said you would pay for it.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby htdrag11 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:32 am

ncounty wrote:Thanks for the feedback and advice.

I got a call from my plumber today that these tenants had called him directly. They said they have had a leak since he did a repair, 2 months ago. He was very disturbed and upset by this and wondered why they waited 2 months. There are other minor issues with these tenants but it is all adding up to a bit of a headache.


Yes, there is a pattern here. I definitely would not budge on the water softener system. Stand firm or they'll push you around further.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby norookie » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:09 pm

ncounty wrote:Thanks for the feedback and advice.

I got a call from my plumber today that these tenants had called him directly. They said they have had a leak since he did a repair, 2 months ago. He was very disturbed and upset by this and wondered why they waited 2 months. There are other minor issues with these tenants but it is all adding up to a bit of a headache.
They might have created the leak, to pursue the water softener "want". I second Abe's post. Letting them sublet,(to be able to better afford?) with no extra benefit to you? :annoyed JMO GOOD LUCK!
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby MWCA » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:49 pm

ncounty wrote:That would be very reasonable but they don't want that; they want it provided. She even said she would put up the money and deduct a monthly amount from the rent to pay her back if I was short on funds.... meaning, I cover the cost ultimately.


How hard is it to get renters in your area? If its not hard. Then say no.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:05 pm

Thanks, my last response to her was to ask her to look into what the price would be and then formulate a reply. I haven't heard back from her. Maybe she will drop it.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby harrychan » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:13 pm

Do not even consider having them pay for it. They will feel entitled to what brand you select and will open the door to further complaints about the performance of the water softener. Just say after further consideration, a water softener is not in your plans and this is your final decision. Put it in a writing and send it with a delivery confirmation and put an end to it.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:47 pm

Thanks Harry.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby OAG » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:31 pm

Is this bedroom in the basement legal? Is there appropriate egress to the outside on that level? Is it permitted as a bedroom? If required and not done you could have some potential legal problems if there is a fire with casualties.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby rob » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:03 pm

ncounty wrote:I had brought the rent down from $3200 per month (initial number) to $2500 per month for them. There were others who wanted it at its current price.

I'm confused by this part..... Seems your giving them a $700/mth break from the going rate?? You sure the IRS would be fine with what seems like under market rent? Not sure they would ever get that detailed but something to run past your tax preparer (or the mirror :? ).

To the question.... Um... No. I agree with whoever said it earlier - seems like problem tenants in the making :x . I have had them in the long past and they just add maintenance and issues from my experience.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby norookie » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:12 pm

Looks like my post has been memorialized, I'd intended to delete it, for your sake. :peace
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby paddyshack » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:27 pm

I had tenants that sounds like these. They moved from a high-end condo to my home which was a beautiful old craftsman, with all the charm and warts. They had all kinds of complaints which were mostly legitimate, but obvious up front (lacked window screens in most areas, some windows difficult to open, not well insulated, etc). After accommodating them on various things initially, I finally just had a frank coversation with them that the house was not a good fit for them, and offered for them to break the lease with no penalty. They took me up on it and we both moved on.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby nhdean » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:28 pm

norookie wrote:
OAG wrote:Is this bedroom in the basement legal? Is there appropriate egress to the outside on that level? Is it permitted as a bedroom? If required and not done you could have some potential legal problems if there is a fire with casualties.
:annoyed Co2 alarms? Bld code compliant fire alarms? 2 entrances? 2 bedrooms built with permits? This all seems "odd" from a seasoned landlord, as pointed out above. I'm going to delete this when you respond because I do not tell anyone what to do, but you might be a mark (TO SUE) for theses "folks", when they exit. :?


I am not a landlord, but I agree. This seems to be a mess in the making. I would try to get them out and find new tenants.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:10 pm

Thanks for having my back, guys. I had just bought this house and everything was done to code and it passed inspection. Lots to ponder and I appreciate the advice.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby umfundi » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:23 pm

I have no advice on your rental situation. But:

You may want to consider the entire issue of water conditioning.Get the annual water quality report from the local municipality, or whoever provides the water. Is it particularly hard? Are there other concerns like iron, chlorine, sodium (whatever bothers you)?

Water softeners are not expensive. I would add a whole-house filter whose element is likely much cheaper to replace than the one in the refrigerator or in any purification appliance. With a little bit of planning and a couple of valves, it is easy to install the filter and softener so they can be bypassed (not used).

If the water is very hard, you will be doing yourself a favor in terms of maintenance of toilet valves, shower heads and lime stains.

If there is a problem to fix, it is not expensive to address. But, some people seem to be paranoid about the water that comes out of their faucets. In fact, the water from your faucet is usually held to higher quality standards and accountability than the bottled water at your grocery store.

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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby ilmartello » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:57 pm

Regardless of this tenant, perhaps as others have suggested a water softener system is reasonable in your area.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby retiredjg » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:12 pm

ilmartello wrote:Regardless of this tenant, perhaps as others have suggested a water softener system is reasonable in your area.

I agree. This house deserves a water softener. Even if he tenants don't. :wink:
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby travellight » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:14 am

Well put!
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby ilmartello » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:59 am

As a matter of principle even if the area deserves a water softener,
here is what you could say.
If the 10 year cost of maintenance and installation and purchase of this unit estimating reasonable lifespan is X dollars over 10 years, see what their reaction is if you ask them to to pay x/20 dollars annually.
I.e. you split the cost.
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Re: My tenants want me to put in a water softener system

Postby TRC » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:14 pm

It's threads like this that remind me how happy I am to longer be dealing with my old 3 family rental property.

To the OP, you need to stand your ground. I remember dealing with tenants like this. I was the same way...you want to appease them to not make waves and hopefully keep them. I found that with the tenants I "caved in" with and made some requested improvements, the requests just kept coming. No matter what I did, they were never happy. Eventually they moved out and I questioned why I did the improvements to begin with. You should probably have a conversation with your tenants to the effect of "I understand you want the water softener system. Currently my budget doesn't have sufficient funds to cover this. If you'd agree to a rent increase of X, I could probably swing it. Otherwise the apartment is "as is" condition. If you'd like to get out the lease now and find another apartment, I'm okay with that. In looking at the market, I realized I underpriced the rent, so I'm confident I can re-rent this place very quickly. Let me know what you decide

For future tenants, have the discussion with them before they sign that you'll maintain the property, promptly fix broken things, etc., but the house is "as is" and you 're not planning to make any extra unnecessary improvements while they're their.

You need to manage the tenant. Don't let the tenant manage you.
Last edited by TRC on Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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