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When You Should Compensate Your Tenants

Blackfoot Woman Calling Landlord about Roof Leakage ProblemIn general, tenants are the ones paying for the right to live in your Blackfoot rental property. But there are some situations when a property owner may need to compensate a tenant. When certain issues arise, you may end up in the unusual situation of paying your tenants, as opposed to the other way around. In order to avoid this scenario, it is imperative to identify what type of circumstances may result in tenant compensation and when and where you should offer it.

The question of tenant compensation stems almost entirely from landlord/tenant laws. As a property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your rental house is in a habitable condition. In other words, this indicates that your rental home is clean and free of pests. It also suggests that your roof keeps the house dry and that the appliances and other elements work the way they are supposed to.

One of the most common reasons for the property owner to compensate a tenant is because of repairs. In some circumstances, a property owner may not be able to make necessary repairs promptly. Irrespective of whether you are out of town or otherwise unavailable, if something wrong happens and causes your tenants to lose the quiet enjoyment of the rental house, you should fix it. If you can’t, your tenant may go ahead and have the repairs done within the confines of state law. It’s best if the tenant has your permission first, but even if they don’t, the chances are that you’ll need to reimburse your tenant for the cost of repairs if they follow the state requirements.

On some occasions, compensation comes up in disagreements about the condition and functionality of appliances. Failing to take responsibility for broken appliances is one of the most common reasons a property owner winds up getting sued by their tenants. One of the reasons for this is that the situation is more complex than it at first appears. Landlords often argue that a broken dishwasher, while a burden, does not make the entire property uninhabitable. On the other side, a broken oven or refrigerator is considered an even bigger issue, and tenants may argue that the home is uninhabitable. If you have provided appliances with the rental house, and suddenly one of them breaks, and you can’t replace it right away, your tenant may be justified in repairing the machine and deducting the amount from the rent; as stated in your state’s landlord/tenant law. This is especially true if your lease documents assigns responsibility for the appliances to you as the property owner.

While the most common, there are a lot of reasons you may need to compensate a tenant. However, if you are in a situation where payment is required, it is imperative to document everything carefully and then issue the funds promptly. If you are pro-rating a rent payment, remember to record it and to notify your tenant in writing. If you need to send payment to your tenant directly, use a method that offers a paper trail, such as a business check.

Though landlord/tenant laws do vary from place to place, staying on top of tenant compensation is an essential element of maintaining good tenant relations. As a Blackfoot property owner, you’ll need a thorough understanding of the landlord/tenant laws that govern compensation to ensure that you are in full compliance. Real Property Management Pocatello can help you prepare a lease to cover these issues or even manage your property entirely properly. Contact us today to get started.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.