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When You Should Compensate Your Tenants

Virginia Beach Woman Calling Landlord about Roof Leakage ProblemMost of the time, tenants are the ones paying for the right to live in your Virginia Beach rental property. But there are certain cases when a property owner may need to compensate a tenant. When certain issues arise, you may wind up in the unusual situation of paying your tenants, rather than the other way around. In order to prevent this outcome, it is imperative to recognize 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. On the whole, this indicates that your rental home is clean and free of pests. It also means 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 certain cases, a property owner may not be able to make necessary repairs promptly. Irrespective of whether you are out of town or otherwise unavailable, if anything goes wrong and causes your tenants to lose the quiet enjoyment of the rental house, you have to 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.

Sometimes, 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. Some of justification for this is that the situation is more complex than it at first appears. Landlords often argue that a broken dishwasher, while a drawback, does not make the entire property uninhabitable. On the other side, a broken oven or refrigerator is perceived as an even bigger issue, and tenants may argue that the home is uninhabitable. If you have provided appliances with the rental house, one of them fails, 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 mentioned in your state’s landlord/tenant law. This applies perfectly if your lease documents assign responsibility for the appliances to you as the property owner.

Although these are the most ordinary, there are a variety of reasons you may need to compensate a tenant. However, if you see yourself in a situation where payment is required, it is recommended to document everything carefully and then issue the funds promptly. If you are pro-rating a rent payment, you need to record it and to notify your tenant in writing. If you like 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 aspect of maintaining good tenant relations. As a Virginia Beach 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 Hampton Roads can help you prepare a lease to cover these issues or even manage your property entirely properly. Contact us today to get more info.

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.