Tenants and Renovations - Does the tenant need to move out? | Project38LB


Yesterday, I finished an apartment renovation with the tenant residing in the unit. It was not an easy two week renovation. Extra care scheduling contractors, extra set up , daily clean up and securing the unit each night so the tenant felt safe. Fortunately, it is a two story unit and restricting the tenants living space to the second floor was doable.


I also finished reading the last chapter of the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond. I was convinced that landlords and tenants working together for better living created a better community.


The renovation was prompted by a potential slab leak and the best preventative action was to run new PEX pipe above ground. It was a good time to up date the unit with textured ceilings, paint, new baseboards, faucets, toilets, fixtures, outlets and carpet. It was much more than new plumbing lines is was on the expensive side @ $ 8 per sqft. The tenant was also 24% below market rent. The financially responsible thing to do was evict the tenant, renovate the apartment, and advertise the property at current market rent. Did I not learn a thing from the book Evicted? Perhaps, it was time to break new ground and work with the existing tenant.


We discussed eviction but units available for rent is zero. Also, the 60 day move period ended September 1st. The tenant had elementary school children and is very involved with the school. The timing is absolutely awful. We struck a fair balance of responsibility. The tenant would move out all their belongings from the first floor and their living space was restricted to the second floor only for 14 days including weekends. Also, their rent would increase by 5% in the next 6 months. I have been fortunate with a majority of my tenants, they are part of the community and responsible. I prefer to work with a stable tenant and keep rental to a minimum. Usually to cover rate increase in water or insurance.


The tenant has a wonderful living space that both of us feel good about. In six months, their rent will be only 15% below market rent for the neighborhood. I do not think an extra few dollars can replace the better living space and relationship we have.


How to spot interior decay


As a manager of pre 1980's properties, the need for repair and improvements is never ending. In 25 years, I have evicted 5 tenants for interior improvements. All of these evictions were caused by interior decay by the tenant or triggered by extensive repair leading to a renovation.


A tenant hoarding items, poorly cleaning habits or mistreating the property with never see the living conditions deteriorate. After 3 or 4 years the interior decay first at the plumbing areas. The calcium, toothpaste and soap build up stain drain stoppers, faucets, sinks and counters prematurely cause rust or valve inoperability. Uncleaned dishwashers will clog and spray jets will freeze. Stoves and hoods become a fire hazard with grease. Do not risk fire or flood damage to your property spot the signs. Keep and eye out for the following


1) Bad smell in bathroom or around sink vanity

2) Excessive rust or calcium deposits on tub and sink faucets

3) Off stains on floor

4) Rough wear on switches and door knobs

5) Always start with a clean fresh unit with all fixtures in excellent order and smelling great

6) Find good tenant who appreciate a beautiful well maintained interior and exterior


The last two are the most important


A new galley kitchen without the move!




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