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Real Estate Investing => Rehabbing, Fix and Flip, Rental Properties => Topic started by: LeadLadyMN on July 14, 2008, 11:49:33 am

Title: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: LeadLadyMN on July 14, 2008, 11:49:33 am
I have a up/down duplex...one tenant is perfect the other SUPER LAZY.

The laundry room is shared- Brand new commercial sized machines that are free (first mistake on my part).

The problem is the Lazy downstairs tenant (laundry room is connected to her unit so I cant lock her out as she needs this exit in case of an emergency) spills soap all over, never empties the lint trap, leaves garbage all over, and lets her clothes sit in there for days, literally.

The perfect, clean, always pay rent on time tenants upstairs are sick of her mess and not being able to use the laundry room when they want, so they call me and complain. I then send her a notice saying that she must keep it clean, remove clothes promptly, etc... however the problem persists. I've sent 3 notices, and posted "rules" in the laundry room.

I tell the upstairs tenants to take her clothes out and just set them on top of the dryer but this makes them feel uncomfortable. As her panties and not one's anyone would enjoy touching.

I also used the free, nice laundry room as a selling point when they moved in as that amendity is uncommon these days. So I would be letting down GOOD tenants by removing them and putting in coin op machines.

I do not know if this is enough of a reason to kick her out, or if that is something that I am interested in doing as she is on sec 8 and the rent is above market rate.

Any ideas to help solve this problem would be very appreciated! Thanks for your response!
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: Liquidity on July 14, 2008, 12:12:31 pm
Call her and tell her tht you've been getting a lot of complaints and you've sent her 3 notices already whats the deal. are you not getting these notices ?? are you ignoring these notices ??
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: longwork on July 14, 2008, 01:45:26 pm
1) hold the clothes in lost and found across town

2) wear the panties on the outside of your pants while doing yardwork

3) hold a yardsale out front with the clothes
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: j1dias on July 14, 2008, 02:20:41 pm
LeadLadyMN - I don't think charging for the laundry would change the behavior you described. I believe she would still leave the laundry room messy and leave her clothes there.

Is there anything you can do/give her to motivate her follow the rules? Maybe you could institute a fine that she would need to pay everytime she left the laundry room messy or left her clothes there. People sometimes get very motivated if there is a risk of them receiving fines for not complying... You would probably have to give both tenants notice before you could start charging it.

Another option is to give her something that she wants if she complies - maybe a discount on rent (considering that you are already renting above market rent - not sure how this would work with Section 8)...

One thing though that I believe you need to do is to show them that you are in control of the situation. You risk losing a good tenant if you don't do anything. Address the problem today!

Good luck!
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: propertymanager on July 14, 2008, 07:55:15 pm
Your lease should have a clause that says the tenant is responsible for maintaining the property in a clean, safe fashion.  If so, I would send the tenant a certified letter explaining that they are violating the lease and advising them that you are sending a copy to Section 8 also.  If that doesn't fix the problem, I would complain to Section 8 on the basis that they are causing an unsafe situation (unsanitary, tripping hazard, etc) and try to get her Section 8 voucher revoked. 

This is the reason that you want to have a good working relationship with the people at Section 8.

Good Luck,

Mike
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: tatertot on July 15, 2008, 09:32:58 am
You can't change who people are. Your lazy dirty Section 8 pig is always going to be a lazy dirty pig.

I'd probably stay out of a laundry room territorial fight, but if the conflict is going to cost you the good tenant:

Post a notice over the machines that laundry left in the machines can be remove by persons waiting to use the machines, and if management finds laundry left in the laudry room, it will be put into the lost and found. Then place a number to call to get the clothes back.

Send an identical written nothice to both tenants, including the information that lost and found items can be returned during your regular maintenance calls, or else there will be a $15 special trip charge if you have to drive over and make a special trip to give them items out of the lost and found (or have the lost and found well off site and make her drive to get her clothing.)

Then start taking the pig's abandoned laundry and locking it up. Make her wait a day to get it back after she calls you.

I'd charge a fee every time I had to clean the laundry room.  Unfortunately, you can not charge a cleaning fee unless you can prove the pig is the one who left the room dirty.

That's means a security camera system with motion detector and recording system.  A small set-up is not expensive.

Once you have her on tape spilling the soap and walking off and leaving it, then you can bill her.

Don't be surprisd to find that both tenants are pigs and are just finger pointing.

You will have to post a notice about the new video surveilance in the laundry room.

If you word that notice correctly, you can also remove items that the tenants leave in the hallways or out in the yard.

It is not a good idea to have free laundry facilities anywhere that the landlord is paying for the electricity and water. Maybe these tenants don't do it, but you will soon have a tenant who has all their friends over for free laundry, and you might even end up with a tenant who takes in laundry as a home business.

I do not keep tenants who are damaging my property ot driving away my good tenants.  When is the last time you saw the condition of the inside of the pig's apartment?
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: furnishedowner on July 15, 2008, 10:13:09 pm
I like tatertot's ideas.

I don't like shared laundries. I would rather tenants have their own washer/dryer. Can you put one in the upstairs tenant's unit? My tenants LOVE their private washer/dryers.

If it must be shared, I would post a sign over the washer with the rules:

Clean floor and washer/dryer tops after use.

Any clothes left in washer/dryer will be donated to Charity
after___days.(Check local abandoned property rules on this). You may pick up clothes in office 8-5 if they were left in machine in error.

Laundry room will be checked and cleaned by management periodically, so please observe the rules.

Then I would make a habit of frequently cleaning and policing that sparkling laundry room. Return clothes with a smile. Hit it every time you are nearby. The behavior will change or the bad tenant will move. They will see that cleanliness is next to godliness.

Furnishedowner

Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: Dave T on July 20, 2008, 07:04:46 pm

As I see it, your problem is that this tenant probably considers the washer and dryer as part of her unit.  Consequently she feels free to treat the laundry as her private laundry room.  She probably cleans her unit when she gets around to it, and the machines are just an extra "closet" for her clothes. 

Perhaps the best you can do is set a laundry room schedule for each unit.  Even numbered days for upstairs unit, odd numbered days for downstairs unit.  Require the room to be cleaned and all clothes removed at the end of the day following use.  Maybe have the laundry day start at noon and end at noon on the next day.  Failure to follow rules merits a warning.  Three warnings in a month are grounds for eviction.  Just thinking out loud here.

No matter what you do, I don't think this tenant's behavior will change unless there is some jeopardy attached.   If the tenant is evicted, she will surely lose her Section 8 eligibility. 

Consult your attorney to be sure you are on good legal grounds before you do anything.
Title: Re: Lazy tenant constantly dirties laundry room, and leaves clothes in machines!
Post by: furnishedowner on July 21, 2008, 08:57:20 pm
DaveT,

Great idea, the schedule. Both tenants sign for the new change in rules. Even/odd days. Should work. Post calendar on laundry room wall too.

Furnishedowner