What can I do about a tenant who is making unauthorized repairs and then deducting the cost off their rent?

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What can I do about a tenant who is making unauthorized repairs and then deducting the cost off their rent?

I need advise about a tenant who is doing repairs without written permission and deducting it from the rent. I sent him a landlord/tenant code book and highlighted certain things that is pertaining to him being late with the rent and deducting for repairs and especially without submitting receipts for work done. He called me and chewed me out when he received the book and said that he was not going to pay any rent this month. I have called him numerous times to do some repairs but he doesn’t return my calls and he has a pit bull so I can’t even get in house to check repairs.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Delaware

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It sounds that you have a problem tenant. You need to write the tenant a letter stating you need access to the home to review the repairs he made and that he needs to contact you as soon as possible for dates and times to show.

Assuming you obtain access, bring a friend and take photographs of what was repaired. At this time, advise the tenant that in the future he needs to advise you in writing of requested repairs before they are even made unless the problem requires immediate repairs. In such a situation, you need immediate notice of the situation.

If you get no response to the requested access, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney and have him or her write a letter to the tenant requesting access. It appears that the tenant has a little bit of knowledge from the landlord tenant code book and will most likely become more difficult as the tenancy continues.

In the interim, write the tenant a letter advsing him that he cannot make any more repairs to the home without first advising you of the problem and giving you an opportunity to inspect and repair if need be. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference.

Good luck.


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