Newbi Landlord need help ASAP to avoid Law-suit. - Posted by Val (MD)

Posted by Sandy FL on January 06, 1999 at 05:25:33:

I agree Mike, when I read this lady’s post I couldn’t help but thinking is that this tenant already has the idea that her landlady is a pushover and will continue to torment the landlady until she puts her foot down,
and shows the tenant who the boss is.

Nothing like RE to make you grow a backbone. I have grown mine as a result of dealing with contractors.

I had a handyman get paint on a neighbors car and when they came over and complained to him, he ended up agreeing to a $150 detail bill. I mean COME ON.

Be Proactive, Val, put in $50 or so for (2) super duper car wash (exterior) details and then tolerate no more nonsense from this woman.

Good Luck! We are on Your Side!

Sandy FL

Newbi Landlord need help ASAP to avoid Law-suit. - Posted by Val (MD)

Posted by Val (MD) on January 05, 1999 at 19:27:19:


I need a second opinion to this situation.

What would you do if you were in my place?

Here is the story: I have a tenant moved in to my
lower unit about two months ago. She is very picky
(pain in the but). At the beggining I had trouble to
get the stove running in her kitshen so she was without stove for a week.

Because of this I was super nice to her at the beggining so she would
be understanding with my situation. Stove got fixed,
first month went by she paid rent but deducted phone
hookup ($80 we pre agreed on that)
In a few weeks, at end of november I was staining the deck
and some how the wind blew some stain on the cars. My Mini Van was parked the closest and got some stain on it. Also the tenant’s cars (two) were parked next and got some stain
on them as well. Later on they told me about it. So I told them wat I did to get a car wash an that should take car of it. So in January she deducted $7 from the rent for car wash with out me OK any rent deduction. Today 5 days later she called me and asking me how she could get the stain of of both of her cars she wants to get an estimate on the cars.

What cours of action would you experts recommand becide the
30 day notice they will get in about a month or two.

Any thougts on this would be appreciated.


Re: Newbi Landlord need help … - Posted by Bo (GA)

Posted by Bo (GA) on January 06, 1999 at 22:36:57:

This reminds of a situation I had with a tenant, when I accidently ran over and killed their black lab with my truck during a visit to fix the furnace.

As painful as it was, I did realized that I was the one at fault, never mind that the dog had crawled in under my front tire, and offered to buy them a new dog.

I am not saying that you should buy a new car for her, but I do suggest that you should take responsibility for paint incident and get her car free from paint.

However, I did not offer my renter to buy a new dog and deduct it from the rent, as one had nothing to do with the other. When the next month came around, the full rent was still due on the 1st.

My barely 2 cents worth of thoughts;

Bo (GA)

BTW, 6 months later, I still have the same renters and they always pay the full rent on time.

for the future - Posted by Jason-DTX

Posted by Jason-DTX on January 06, 1999 at 21:55:47:

You might want to check your local laws. I had a similar situation with a stove and I found out that in Texas a stove is considered a “health and safety issue” which must be fixed in 24 hours (provided that you provided the stove when the lease was signed). Otherwise the tenant is allowed by law to fix it and deduct it from the rent (there are certain procedures the tenant must follow but it can be done). You might need to check your laws and see if there are any “must be fixed in 24 hours” items in your area.
The next time you stain a deck you might want to give the tenant a “1 day notice of staining” and make sure they park their cars on the next block! Then maybe it won’t be your fault if the wind blows the stain around.
Is’nt being a landlord GREAT! But hey, It will all be worth it the end! Right!

Here are more details for all of you who resp. me - Posted by Val (MD)

Posted by Val (MD) on January 06, 1999 at 21:28:51:

thank you all for the responses,
here it is some more info, on the situation.

1, I am a guy, but the name can be missleading.
2, I was going a bit too fast and got hit with a
vacancy so I was a bit less careful at screening.
(she moved in from out of state)
She has a PHD in Chemistry and got a job with the Naval
academy Annapolis MD so I thought she would make an ok tenant.
I new from day one that she was picky. She wanted over
12 changes to my lease, I have six tennants and it never happened before. Wanted blinds when the appartment came as is but had new carpeet and paint. ( I take pride in houses that I rent out they all look very nice)

It seems like that nothing is seems to please her.
I have problem to see her because each time we meet she will have a comlaint about something.

As far as the home imrovement I had to work on the house personnally to save money and now would have
about $475 cash flow on the house but I would need to pay of the $4 - 5000 spend in material water treatment
deck etc. by the was the other tennants are very nice
and I have utilize them for some painting and some cleaning and even gave them $50 more than they have asked. So I think that we do everythink we can to
be fair with every body. But just having some bad luck
or it is just learning time in the hard way. On the top
of it my rental insurance has a deductible of $500

how much do you guys have?
what about umbrella insurance?
any more thoughts on our car paint situation?
thank for all the responses.


…who caused the problems here? - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on January 06, 1999 at 19:01:22:

I tend to agree with JP on this one.

The stove is just a normal landlording problem. Fix it and move on.

As far as the car problem, it sounds like the real pain in the bu*t is you. You damaged their car by getting stain on it and you are upset with them for wanting to get their car fixed. Give me a break. If the roles were reversed and the tenants got stain on your car wouldn’t you be upset and expect them to pay?

my .02

Not to put the fear of God in to you, but… - Posted by karp

Posted by karp on January 06, 1999 at 15:13:27:


I think you may be the “Sued Landlord’s 1999 Poster Child”.

I know if I was the tenant you had better make good and fast, we are talking I want the deluxe on your knees humble experience.

I would do whatever it takes to get her car done. Cost should almost not be an option at this point. A lawsuit from her wouldn’t even require an attorney and you would, no matter what, get crucified. I promise.

You go in with “Tough Guy” at this point and I would drop you like a bad habit. Bet I could get 25K out of ya.

Now, having said this…What in the world are you doing staining a deck. Tenants stain decks. Landlords collect checks. Repeat after me. Tenants stain decks. Landlords collect checks. You have no business doing handyman repair that is best delegated to the tenant.

Hope you survive…


Re: Newbi Landlord…, - Posted by DJ

Posted by DJ on January 06, 1999 at 08:35:56:

Val, I have to agree with JP on this one. Both situations were created by you! It is your responsibilty as a landlord to fix anything you screw up, or that screws up with the property! I also agree
with the others when it comes to tenant training. But if your by-laws are not clearly stated in your lease agreement, then again, it’s your problem. Rent is rent.
It should not change. Anything outside of rent, whether
it’s repairs, negligence on either party, reimbursements, and so on, should be done seperately.
If you don’t, it makes it awfully hard to keep your books straight! I don’t see where you have grounds to evict. If you take her to court, she’ll win! She may
even end up with some of your money. It’s kind of hard to go back and change a lease agreement after someone’s already signed it! I would look over your agreement, and see what you can change to prevent this
in the future! Do what you have to do to make the peace! In the meantime, try to be more careful with the stain!

Landlording resources - Posted by HR

Posted by HR on January 06, 1999 at 04:19:35:


There are some great landlording resources available to help you get better cash flow, control, and tenant cooperation. Specifically, I’m thinking of Jeffrey Taylor’s Mr. Landlord materials (available here and at He also sells good landlording resources from his cash flow catalogue. I think you’ll find his ideas will help you one hundredfold.


Re: Newbi Landlord need help - Posted by Mike (KCMO)

Posted by Mike (KCMO) on January 05, 1999 at 22:22:52:

I’m not an expert on cars OR landlording, but I’ll shoot from the hip. Your immediate problem may be solved with a phone call to an auto detailing shop. They’re usually pretty good about polishing out and touching up scratches and stains.

The real problem is that you’re letting your tenant get the best of you. You have to take charge from day one. My lease contains language to the effect that NO deductions will be made from the rent. Period. Any money I may owe them is paid separately, and then only if it was agreed to ahead of time in writing.

That’s good for the future, but for now take care of the car and either give notice to your “pain” or send a letter explaining the terms of the lease that are not being followed (like the amount of the rent) and treat it like any other lease violation. I sometimes play up my ability to report their performance on our lease agreement to screening services and credit bureaus.

Good tenants make landlording an easy job, but you’ve got to train them properly. If you do your own screening be sure to talk to previous landlords to help weed out the trouble makers.


Newbi Landlord need help ASAP to avoid Law-suit. - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on January 05, 1999 at 22:10:33:


Unfortunately I don’t see what you can do here. It appears to me that you are in the wrong and if you try to fight this woman you are going to come out on the losing end and she will forever be a thorn in your side. You don’t have grounds to evict her and if you try the courts in MD heavily favor the tenant. Be careful. I would call a couple of places myself, see what it would cost to take care of the damage to there cars and pay for it. Your other solution would be to have her claim it on her insurance and you pay the deductible (this would be our best bet if she agrees to it)


Horrible - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on January 07, 1999 at 11:44:56:

Bo - that’s a horrible story!

As for getting the car “free from paint” - make sure not to take that to extremes or you’ll have another problem on your hands! :wink: