Reasonable repair

Hello all. I recently moved out of an apartment, and my landlord did a walkthrough of the premises. She wants to replace the bathroom sink because of a small stain in the cabinet beneath the sink. Specifically, there is a 4 inch x 2 inch stain that is discoloring the original wood (particle board) that comprises the bottom wooden surface of the cabinet. It is most likely from a cleaner (formula 409, windex) kept beneath the sink. There is no warping, cracking, mildew, or other damage to the wood. There are no other outstanding damages to the apartment.

My question is what constitutes a reasonable repair, or is any repair at all warranted?

Any repair is fair game above normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear is time dependant. How long were you in the apartment?

I figured it would be since it’s above normal wear and tear. We were there for 1 year. What I meant by my original question was to what length is it appropriate for the landlord to go to fix the stain? I would think ripping out a sink for a 4"x2" stain is unreasonable for a cosmetic vs a structural defect. My landlord has accused me of breaking things that were not broken and demanding ridiculous repairs in the past.

She wants a new sink and your deposit is what she wants to use to get it. If I were renting I would make sure my landlord is not short on money but tenants are always in a position of weakness to the landlord. That is why I am in real estate. You are alwyas on top.

She is clearly motivated by greed. I would think that if such a thing happened to my own sink, that replacing the sink is not the first step I would take. Any idea whether, if she proceeded to take part of the deposit, and we took it to small claims, that her action would be upheld? It just seems so outrageous for a small cosmetic defect in an out of the way place.

I don’t know where you are but small claims will cost you $90 and it is not a sure thing that you would win. 1 year leases almost anything the landlord asks is probably going to be win. The judge is going to take the word of a real estate professional (your landlord) as to what it takes to fix the damage over a tenant.

If you were a good tenant (paid rent on time, made reasonable repair requests and weren’t mean about it, gave proper move out notice, and cleaned the premises to a move-in condition) and the LL is making a big deal out of this, your LL is a witch. Throw some paint over it or contact paper and move on. If you were not a good tenant, this could be a way to get something out of you. I don’t make it my business to keep people’s deposits, but if people don’t do right by our signed contract I’ll get mine at the end. Very few people I deal with as low income renters actually provide proper notice and turn over the keys to me at the end. Most of them decide at some point to quit paying and either abandon the place or stay around and I have to kick them out. In those cases, I’ll itemize all damages down to light bulbs.

We’ll try to settle this out of court in that case. The apartment is just the 2nd floor of her home, though it’s entirely separate with its own bath and kitchen. I don’t know if that qualifies her as a real estate professional. She is in general a witch. Fortunately, her husband is more reasonable (when she’s not around). I guess we will try to parlay with him to our best abilities. Hopefully she hasn’t told him a story about a gaping hole to Hades in our bathroom before he’s even looked at it (not the first time). Rent has always been on time, we cleaned everything spotless, moved out a little early, and made very few repair requests in contrast to the former tenants which were quite the opposite. Meanwhile, she’s belaboring this ridiculous point. Thank you for your input!

I won’t pass judgement on this without a picture. Every tenant I’ve ever met that has problems with a landlord tells me that they were not even a little bit at fault.

I had a tenant skip out on me a few weeks ago and leave the place a mess. I charged them every fee imaginable under the lease and was ready to send a bill for $800 above the deposit for skipping. I think word got back to them that I was pissed because I called their current landlord to rescind my recommendation that they were good tenants. The rent arrived three weeks late. I billed them a late fee and cleaning fee and waived the rest - improper lease termination fee and pet fee. Their paying of $354 in rent three weeks late took them from owing me $800 to me sending them a $250 deposit back minus $100 in cleaning (it was a very small house).

What particularly irritates me is that the new landlord is the parents of the owner of this house (I manage the unit). They called me when they recognized the address on the rental application. They used to own the house, sold it to their son. I gave them the payment history and siad she had been a decent tenant. I called her and explained the rules for proper notice in a lease and she said she understood and intended to give me notice - then skipped. I went out of my way to do this and she still tried to screw me.

One of my HUGE red flags on someone is when they say they’re moving because the LL just won’t fix anything. Often these are the same people who complain over and over about things and the LL couldn’t make them happy if they provided the tenant with a brand new house for free.

Well, nothing ever broke, so we had no repair requests. We owe no money to them for unpaid rent. The apartment has been vacuumed, mopped with cleaner, and hand scrubbed in any leftover dirty places. Tub was hand washed including tiling. Sinks were all scrubbed out. I feel as if nothing I did could please the landlord, as they were always asking things of me and not the other way around.

My tenants and I have a relationship. But it is a financial relationship. The tenant pays me and I provide them with a safe functional place to live. Now when the tenant gives me notice, I make sure that we leave with me on top. I don’t steal from my tenants but I also make sure I get the property back in good shape. It is all about the money. Your landlord may not be professional about this and it is hard to tell if they are professional when you sign the lease.

It’s probably that both the landlord and tenant in this case weren’t professional about this and that led to the problem. I have not yet found a way to mix business and personal relationships. It was a big deal for me to ask the summer intern at work if she was interested in doing some babysitting for me. I knew she did babysitting and would be good at it, but the only reason I did this was that there was a definite end to our business relationship in two weeks when she goes back to high school.