Having been a landlord for many years, I am often asked the same few questions over and over, some of which, I find incredibly humorous.
Here are my top 20 favorite quotes from actual past tenants.
Despite their sincerity, most of my tenants are 23-28 years old, and often have difficultly understanding why a lease cannot be broken at any time or why they might be responsible for the damages caused by their roommate.
Actual Quotes from my Tenants
In my efforts to be a quality landlord, I always try to answer their questions with respect, even if the tenant should have known better.
Though these are actual quotes, their creators will remain anonymous. My actual responses (or a recap thereof) are shown below each quote.
1. “I know that my lease doesn’t start until the 1st, but can I move-in 3 days early for free?”
For liability reasons, I can’t allow you to move-in before the lease start date without modifying the lease and collecting additional rent money. If the unit is available earlier, I would be happy to modify your lease.
2. “If I back out of the lease agreement before my move-in date, can I get my deposit back?”
I will allow you to terminate the lease, but you will lose your deposit, and you will still be responsible for any rent due until a replacement tenant takes possession of the property.
3. “Why can’t I get my deposit back at the joint move-out inspection?”
I still have to make repairs, tally the rent ledger, and itemize any deductions before you get your deposit back. This state gives me 45 days to return the deposit, but I’ll try to get it to you within 2 weeks via certified mail. So, don’t forget to send me your forwarding address.
4. “I know the lease says “NO PETS”, but I’m just dog-sitting for a friend for 3 months.”
No Pets means No Pets! It doesn’t matter who it belongs to, or how long it is visiting. Please remove the pet immediately.
5. “Please use my security deposit to cover last month’s rent.”
According the lease agreement, you are required to make a rent payment, and are not allowed to dictate how the deposit is used. If you use the deposit to cover your last month’s rent, I wouldn’t have any security to cover any damages after you move out.
6. “I didn’t need my futon, so I just left it for the next tenants. It’s in great shape and really comfy!”
Please remove all your trash AND treasures. If you don’t remove all your belongings, I will consider them abandoned and will pay to have them removed, deducting the cost from your deposit.
Note: Check your State Laws regarding “abandoned personal property”
7. “I hate my roommate so I’ve moved out. Please send me my portion of the deposit.”
I’m sorry, even though you’ve moved out, you are still responsible for rent. I will not return any portion of the security deposit until after the lease has ended, and even then, I will issue it to all tenants.
8. “I’ll only sign a one year lease if I can get out of it whenever I want.”
I’m sorry, what you’re asking for is a month-to-month lease. I’m not offering that type of lease, but even if I was, it would be be more expensive.
9. “What do you mean you don’t accept cash?!?!”
It’s just policy that protect both you and I. Further, I only accept online rent payments. If you do not have a bank account, then I will accept a cashier’s check, which you can obtain at 7-11 or many other convenience stores.
10. “I found a family of mice in my pile of empty pizza boxes. I want a discount on rent.”
The fact that you have a “pile of pizza boxes” means that you are not taking out the trash. Leftover food will attract mice, which is exactly what you’ve done. Because the unit was free of mice when you moved in, you are responsible for the cost of a pest control company. I’ll schedule them as soon as possible. And no, you will not get a deduction in rent.
11. “The kitchen lights are out, when can you stop by to replace them?”
Your lease specifically says that you are responsible for purchasing and replacing basic housing items under $50 in cost, such as light bulbs and smoke detector batteries. If you need help installing them, let me know.
12. “The smoke detector kept going off whenever we cooked, so I removed the batteries.”
You need to ensure that all smoke detectors are properly working. If you remove or disable a smoke detector, you can be held liable for any excessive fire damage or personally injuries that could have been prevented if the detector was functioning properly.
13. “My rent check wouldn’t have been late if the Post Office had just delivered it on Sunday.”
You are responsible for ensuring that rent is in my possession by the deadline. I have no choice but to assign a late fee.
Note: I’ve avoid this problem altogether by collecting rent online and having it automatically deducted from their accounts.
14. “That hole in the wall totally falls under ‘normal wear and tear'”.
Holes in the wall are never “normal”. You are responsible for the cost to fix it. I will have my handyman take care of it and will deduct the cost from your deposit.
15. “Can you re-send me a copy of the lease agreement?”
Check your email, because I’ve sent it to you three times already. If you still don’t have it, let me know and I’ll resend the email.
16. “They’re not subletters, they are just friends who are staying with us for a few months.”
Anyone living in my property for more than a few days is considered a tenant rather than a guest. Tenants and subletters must go through an application process and be added to the lease. If their application is approved, I’ll need to charge you a subletting fee.
17. “It’s none of your business what my credit score is.”
A credit report or credit score is an instrumental tool in determining your ability to pay rent. Without a credit check, you will not meet the evaluation criteria, and your application will be declined.
18. “A five-day grace period means that rent is not really due until the 5th, right?”
Rent is due on the 1st. Late fees are assigned on the 5th. If you continually pay after the 1st, you will lose all good will with me.
Note: My state laws do not require a grace period, so I now charge a late fee on the 2nd day of the month.
19. “I’d prefer to be the only one with a key to my unit – may I have your keys? Don’t worry, I’ll give them back when my lease is over.”
The landlord or property owner MUST have keys to the property in order to effectively manage the rental. No exceptions!
20. “It’s not a pet, it’s a Chinchilla.”
If it’s not human, but still a living creature, then it’s a pet. Period. (Service animals excluded)