It would be great if tenants paid on time, they stayed forever and if anything broke, the tenant fixed it (and paid for it) themselves. Unfortunately, none of those are really true! Over the years, I have seen a few leases state that the tenant is responsible for making repairs up to some amount such as $50. The theory being that small stuff should be handled by the tenant and maybe they broke it anyway.
The second (even more interesting) and less common one I have seen is that tenants also pay the first $250 of any repair in the house regardless. Almost like a deductible. So if the furnace goes out or an appliance dies, the tenant pays $250 toward the repair/replacement.
I can see how this theory may be appealing, but in practice, it is bound to fail (and I am not sure it is even legal). This really discourages your tenant from calling you to keep your house in repair. If the drain is leaking, do you really want the tenant fixing that leak? Many will just put a bucket under the sink. That will eventually spill, rot out the cabinet and/or floor and you have a larger repair. If the furnace stops working and the tenant is behind in their rent, do you think they are willing/able to pay $250 toward fixing it?
Do you want your tenant fixing electrical, plumbing, or HVAC issues? How about fixing a leaking roof?
On the $250 deductible issue, would you sign up for that if you were a tenant? I would not. How do I know if the furnace, appliances and roof have been properly installed and maintained? Is the tenant expected to get a home inspection prior to signing a lease, like you would when you purchase? Seems unreasonable and somewhat unethical. They are renting because they don’t want the issues of owning a house such as repairs.
Repairs by tenants sounds great in theory, but is not practical. While I understand that it is frustrating to repair items in the house such as the handrail that mysteriously fell off the wall by itself, this is your asset. Don’t you want to maintain it to your standards to keep in rentable and eventually saleable condition?
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