Reimburse Rent???...HELP!!

For the landlords out there…


I had a situation about a month ago where a tenant escrowed their rent due to a pest problem. They wrongfully escrowed the rent but we wont go into that now. I addressed the issue promptly with professional services. The tenant claims to have been forced to throw out food items, additional expenses in gas due to having to drive extra distant daily while staying at a friends, etc. The tenant would like to terminate the lease and if this is not possible be reimbursed for two weeks rent. They also made a claim to a smell coming from the duct work (the home inspection done in March deamed the building mold free).


I told the tenant I would pay for a professional service to come in and disinfect the unit if that was desired (this was declined). I also said that I would have the duct work cleaned (an obligation as a landlard…guess it cant be used as leverage here?).

The mortgage still has to be paid!! Two weeks rent is a lot when its just s 2 family. They are new tenants and have payed on time so far until now (two months). I offered a rent reduction program starting next month, they didnt like that idea…didnt even here me out on that one! Was going to give them $10 off a month if they pay before the 1st. They dont have that option now so I thought that would be nice (declined).

All said and done they just want two weeks for the inconvenience. Should I negotiate and settle for one week or stick to my guns and say no reimbursement???

Do I have any obligation as a Landlord to reimburse anything? Is a mild pest problem that is addressed promptly considered an inhabitable unit? How is this determined?

I want to be fair. At the same time where is the line you must draw to keep emotions and business seperate? If I give in this time, what keeps them from taking advantage of this in the future?

THanks for your replies.


“If the fear of losing stops your, you have already lost”

Good Afternoon OHLandlord,
Working with “professional victims” is always fun. You didn’t mention what type of pest the renters are complaining about, but could it be that they caused the problem by not keep the place clean, maybe leaving food out?
When you say they escrowed their rent, is it in a place they can simply take it and leave, leaving you without two months rent, or is it available to you once this situation is setteled?

Do you have a deposit you can keep to make up for some of the two weeks they are asking for?

If the rent is available to you, here is what I suggest. Remember, PV’s will never be happy unless they have someone to blame for the situation their in, so “working” with people like this generally doesn’t work. As soon as you give a little, they will smell blood and want more.
I would say this to them; (and have said this)
It’s clear we are not going to come to an agreement and after looking at the situation fairly, I believe you are trying to take advantage of me. So to help this situation go away for both of us, I will pay you the two weeks your asking for, BUT! Only if you keep the place very neat and clean and allow me to show it to prospective renters while you are here. Once I sign a new lease, you agree to leave the residence as neat and clean as you received it and move within 5 days, including weekends. I will show up on the 5th day, when I see the place is neat and clean, I will give you your two weeks rent, any cleaning I have to do will be deducted from the two weeks rent. They will want to discuss this in detail to insure you are not trying to take advantage of them, so you may need to walk the property with them right then so they can show you the nail holes, etc. that they consider “normal”, I would let them know those things won’t count, however point out and note in writing anything you see you want completed before they move out.
You keep the place rented and they get out of the lease, which is really what they are looking for.

Of course, everything from the previous offers you made them to this agreement is in writing. If you end up in court, the Judge is generally looking for the most reasonable person to side with.

I hope this helps.

Enjoy your day,
Ray Rochefort
Managing Member
Purpose Investments

rayr is crazy i would give them a notice to move because they will not tke care of the propety


I would NOT give in to the tenant’s silly demands. You have a lease and they MUST follow it. Giving in to their silly demands will result in absolute misery for you the entire time that they are in your rental. You made very reasonable offers (pest service and cleaning). Their failure to accept your offer shows that they don’t really care about the pests or the odor - they are trying to get one over on you!

I have found that you must be VERY strict as a landlord to be successful. Have a well written lease and stick to it. Do not give in to the silly nonsense that tenants try to pull. I recently had a tenant claim to have had a stroke because of the wood floors in the house. She claimed that if I put new carpet in the house, that would help her medical condition. I told her that she was a NUT and that I didn’t want to hear any more nonsense from her. I told her that we had a legally binding lease and that she had better follow it to the letter. I haven’t had any more problems from her. (Obviously, she didn’t have a stroke and she is a nut!) I had another incident just last week where a new section 8 tenant moved in and then complained that the house was roach infested and mouse infested. As it turns out, she brought in the pests in a couch that had been in her grandmother’s garage for months! NOT MY PROBLEM!

Being a landlord is not for the meek. Grow a thick skin and be proactive in dealing with the tenants. Remember - NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED! Follow the lease and don’t do anything extra without getting something in return!

Good Luck,


Thanks all for the responses!

The pests happened to be rats. The house next door was infested. The neighbors on both sides have enough junk laying around to attract them (the health dept is on them now). They got into my rental around the door frame of the basement door (which has been fixed since). I dont believe the tenants had anything to do with them coming in. If anything maybe the tenants on the first floor since they have kids but they havent complained to much.

The tenant deposited the rent with the Clerks office. They released the rent prior to the court date to meet before a majestrate (sp?). I have a receipt that shows the ext. came out before they even filed. In the note they filed with the court it says they feel they should be reimbursed and the tenant is now saying this is why they agreed to release the rent.

I was just reviewing my rental agreement and it states that if they terminate the rental the forfeit the security deposit.

So I go to the tenant and give the option of having two weeks reimbursed, given I am able to show the place and they will move out once I have it rented. Do I keep their deposit? Thats a full month so it would be silly for them to forfeit that to get two weeks back. So they decline the two weeks and look for any reason to escrow or break the lease. So now I am back in the boat with a potentially problamatic tenant? Do I offer any of the deposit back so they agree to all of this???

How does the middle of winter or being around the holidays affect my ability to rent? My primary means of advertising is in the paper since the property is on a dead end street and doesnt get much drive-by traffic. So its going to cost to rent the place.


I think I got it…

I called a local property management company to bounce the idea off of them. Under the fair housing act, its in my best interest to treat all tenants equally. The tenants in the lower unit had the same situation and seemed to deal with it while I handled the problem. It would be unfair to reimburse rent to one and not the other. The other tenants didnt feel the need to evacuate the property.

So I am taking everyones advice and sticking to my guns…NO to the reimbursement!!

I will give them the option to break the lease however they will forfeit the security deposit and will be responsible for rent until I find a new tenant. That or I hold them to the full amount due for the 12 month lease term.

You have to love the law…when it works to your advantage :slight_smile:

What do you think? I am handling this right?


stick to the terms of the lease and the law. do not cut side deals outside of the terms of the lease (tenants will eat you alive)

Thoughts from a landlord with 6 yr. experience.


After the suggestions from responses on this forum and speaking with a property management company I came to the conclusion that its in my best interest not to negotiate terms with my tenant. I handled the situation appropriately and within the guidelines of the law…PERIOD. I am under no further obligation to compensate for an issue that arose from something out of my control.

However…Rent was due on the 1st and I have not recieved it yet from this tenant. She just left me a voicemail (Dec 2nd). Stating that she wants to know if I have decided to allow her to only pay half rent, as to be compensated for the two weeks. I never told her that rent wasnt due or that she was not responsible for the full amount of the normal rent. She has stated that if I dont reimburse the two weeks that she is going to the courthouse to escrow the rent.

I have talked to the clerks office and they stated that they cant deny anyone who wants to escrow the rent. The tenant has no grounds for doing this however now I am inconvenienced with not having rent to pay bills.

Do I ignore my tenant and wait until the 6th at witch time the rent is officially late and give a “pay or quit” notice?

Once she files at the clerks office they send me a notice that the rent has been escrowed. If I dont receive that until after the 11th, am I still able to file for an eviction hearing by the 11th since I officially dont have anything in hand (only her telling me it was filed)? Basically, can I start the eviction process since she is waiting untilt he 5th or later to escow the rent?

What else can I do?


OHLandlord, what a nightmare. I’ve read every post and reply and for that very reason, I don’t ever want to be a landlord. Too many headaches from people trying to get over.

I wish you the best of luck and certainly better tenants in the future!!



Everything depends on 3 things:

  1. what your lease says
  2. what the law is
  3. how your local magistrate acts

Unfortunately, at this point you probably need to contact a LOCAL attorney who specializes in evictions. Your situation is getting a little complicated and ONLY a VERY EXPERIENCED local investor or good local attorney can tell you what you need to know. When the courts are involved, you need to do it right the first time or you will lose more time, more rent, and additional filing fees before you get this thing resolved. ASK ME HOW I KNOW???

Using a local attorney to handle your case probably won’t cost you too much. I have done several evictions recently (from buildings we purchased with tenants) and they typically cost about $500 with filing fees, attorney’s fees, etc. The most important thing is to get control of this situation by either evicting this tenant (best) or making them comply with the lease.

After this is over, tighten up your lease and insist every point is followed in the future. You must control your tenants - they can’t be allowed to control you!

Good Luck