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Common Ways Disgruntled Tenants Can Stealthily Sabotage Your House
Are you currently going through a bit of a dispute with your tenants? Don’t worry. It is not unique to you or because you are a very bad example of landlording. Almost every landlord has probably gone through the same thing. If you haven’t, don’t think that you have avoided that land mine, because it is going to happen sooner or later.
Most tenants will calm down after a while with the right amount of nurturing and pampering. But then, there are those who may fall into a different category and have a slightly ‘darker side’ though. These are the ones who will intentionally sabotage your property in order to cost you a bit of cash. And you can forget about being able to charge it to the tenants as damages. Because the problem is that these sabotages are likely to be a little bit sneaky. Meaning you will NEVER be able to tell with certainty whether it is the tenants’ fault or not. All you know is that money is going to be leaving your pocket. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Perhaps the most common ‘trick’ played by tenants is the old ‘one of our appliances has broken’ one. If you offer appliances to your tenants with their rental then you are obviously going to need to maintain them. The problem is that appliances are pretty easy to break intentionally….and nobody will ever know why they break down. Even manufacturers will say that you can fully expect their products to “expire” after some time. They would label you as crazy if you expect appliances to last forever.
If you notice a spate of repair requests coming from a disgruntled tenant then there may be an issue (or you may be a victim of coincidence, but that is highly unlikely if you have tons of repair requests coming in over a short period of time) or vengence at some level with your tenant. The thing is, sometimes you don’t even know you have offended them. Miscommunications can cause grave misunderstandings. And a simple improvement you had made could be interpreted as a downgrade by tenants. It can be hard to tell which is which.
But when things get from bad to worse, there comes a point where you think that these expenses are more than just a coincidence. Maybe taking firm action is what is required.
Looking to get rid of your tenants because the dispute is a little bit too tough to handle? Well, don’t let them in the property during showings, and make sure that the property is completely checked over before you let any ‘external’ parties in there. This is where the checklist of items when they first moved in will help you.
The last thing you want is a heap of trash or something stinking up the place. Obviously you don’t want the tenants talking to the new renters because it is highly unlikely they are going to say anything good about the place. They have no incentive to do so. They are being told that they have to leave after all.
Another common trick amongst the slightly smarter tenants is to cause problems with the plumbing system. This could be anything from a broken showerhead to blocked pipes, and even damaged pipes. The reason why this trick is so common is the fact that it is remarkably hard to spot. And you probably won’t feel the damage first hand until a new tenant moves in and the water is used more regularly.
Sabotaging your plumbing system is amazingly simple. People can just throw tampons into the pipes to clog up the water flow. They can throw away dinner leftovers into the kitchen sink. Or even worst, damage the toilet flush leaving users the inconvenience of being unable to flush.
If you suspected that there is some sort of sabotage going on then I really do suggest calling in an experienced plumber. Don’t deal with one of the ‘new’ ones. They won’t really know what they are doing. An experienced plumber who has been around the block a few times SHOULD be able to spot sabotage to your property quite easily.
If you are a hands-on person, actually many plumbing issues can be easily resolved with the right tools and a basic knowledge of how to use them. People at home don’t usually spend money on these tools as they can be quite expensive and plumbing problems are not something that occur frequently. But if you are a landlord who is managing multiple properties, maybe getting those tools can be a great expense saver over the long term.
Another sneakily damage that can easily escape your eye is vandalism of areas that are hidden. If someone is intent on causing these damages, they will do so no matter how inconvenient it can be.
Places behind the wardrobe, below the bed, behind the sofa set, etc, are places you do not look at unless there is a specific need to do so. Vandals can carve out these areas or draw their confetti on them. By the time you realise it, you are already late by a few years, totally unaware of who it might be.
If you believe that the tenant is intentionally causing sabotage then it is important that you do not confront them directly until you have conclusive proof. There is nothing that arouses more rage than being accused of being a bad person for no reason. If tenants have really not been going about with their bad deeds, an accusation like that can arouse that devil in them to do so. It really could be a coincidence. Try to gather up as much evidence as you can if you are planning to ‘evict’ them. The last thing you want is a legal case on your hands.
One of the worst things a tenant can do to you is by killing your plants in the garden. Imagine having spent thousands of dollars on landscaping to create the perfect garden so that you can charge a premium tenants. Now all the plants are mysteriously dying.
The problem with this issue is that you won’t know it is happening until your horticultural friends are dead. It can be easily done by nasty tenants by pouring acid over the plants just before they vacate the premises. As the visual effect of dying plants do not show immediately, you might only start to notice it a week later. Thinking that it is nothing, you wait to see if they would recover. By the time you can confirm it, it is too late to charge these damages to the tenants who have left with their security deposits.
The moral of the story is don’t piss off your tenants. They have the power to give you misery beyond your imagination if they choose to.