questionsif a landlord charges you to replace the heat…

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Conscientious landlords keep there rentals full. As you said, you are charging for maintenance in the rent. When other places are looking to fill a unit, you will be ahead of the curve. Customer Service works in most businesses.

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It seems to me that if a renter has to pay for it then it belongs to them. When you move out take it with you. After saying that I will add "as long as there is nothing to the contrary in the lease agreement".

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As one that is currently attached to a lease with a horrible landlord I applaud those that are genuine and honest. Mine on the other hand tried to charge us for a new toilet the first week we were there. Refused to replace our stove due to "not having" the correct plug on the new one. (Apparently went through a nasty divorce and his funds were frozen.) So when our roof was damaged it took him MONTHS to repair it. Thankfully nothing burst through, nor was there mold/water damage.

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I used to manage an apartment house and did all the maintenance/renovations. Most of my tenants were very good at taking care of the apartments. When someone was moving out, I'd walk through with the tenant and check for any damages.

I always took pictures and/or videos before they moved in and after they cleaned up for the move-out, and I told them to do the same. Then there could be no mistake of damage caused by them or some damage which may have been there before they moved in. Most times the tenants got their full security deposits back, since I didn't nitpick for reasons to keep their deposits from them. Most "damage" was from normal wear and tear, and that shouldn't be charged against someone's deposit (which is actually a law in most states).

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I can understand charging extra for pets since things need to be deep cleaned or completely replaced before moving someone new in. If the pet urinated on the carpet, the odor and germs will be in the carpet pad until you change it or clean it, if you can clean it. That can be very costly. Even a tenant with a perfect, well-trained animal will still leave behind hair and dander that can be a problem for future tenants with allergies. Adding extra to the rent monthly is dishonest, but an extra non-refundable pet deposit would make sense for that.

As far as charging for appliances that come with the place or things to run the appliances, that seems shady. Every place I've rented from has provided air filters for the central air, special bulbs, (for refrigerators, ovens etc.), even batteries for the smoke detecters. I wouldn't rent from anyone who tried to charge for maintenance that they should be responsible for.

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@k4th3r1n3: I don't disagree with that.

But how about kids? Kids create much more damage than pets. And in Seattle, it seems like a bunch of places are now charging "pet rent", and a very high deposit (like $600+ per pet). And there are now stories that when move-out some crazy management company charged someone $5,000 to replace a set of crappy hardwood floors (that guy posted pictures) because it's so crappy that a cat's paw and high-heels would scratch it!

I have no idea what kind of hardwood it is, my tenants never managed to damage any floors of mine, not even with a big black (and fun) Lab. Things are just looking really weird, and I don't agree with them. But I wanted to see what kind of thoughts you guys have.

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Speaking as a landlady, I have to say I have PITA tenants. Dish towels flushed down the toilet, necessitating Roto-Rooter visits after hours at double the usual rate; damaged sprinkler system heads; and a hammer through the upstairs apartment's sewage stack are only a few of the things those people have damaged during their 10-month tenure.

On 1st March I'll be collecting their rent in person and delivering the bad news that I won't be renewing their lease and that I will be retaining their security deposit to cover the damage they've already done to the property. Then I'll have to hope they aren't spiteful on top of being inept and clueless.

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@aphroat: Ouch!

I guess I have been lucky (or in fact, my whole family has been) with very reasonable tenants. One couple has stayed in our place for 8 years already and they have not caused a single trouble. Sorry to hear!

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@aphroat: Are you required to tell them you are keeping their deposit in advance? Could you let them think it is still undecided so they won't cause any more damage before they go?

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@lll0228: The kind of hardwood floors that are easily scratched are not hardwood floors. Depending on how old the place was, it could had softwood (like fir) used on the flooring because it was much cheaper than any hardwood. The part of my 100 year old farmhouse that still has the original flooring is fir and it scratches and dents easily (as in you can see where previous couches and other furniture was placed).

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I don't really understand how a landlord can charge a move out fee of any sort. They can keep the security deposit, sure, but what can they do if they don't pay the $5000? Not let them move out? Surely if they moved out without paying, the landlord would need to pursue legal action to attempt to get any more money from them, and I can't see that going in their favor in most jurisdictions.

Better yet, the tenants should just become squatters.