Renter wants credit for broken heater

I have a property that had a few problems with the heater this winter. Tenant sent a text message at 11pm the Friday before Christmas that his heater was broken. Didn’t see it until morning. The water was pretty warm, but cooling to the 30s at night. Got a repairman there Saturday who said the heat exchanger was cracked and locked the unit out. I was out of town, so the tenant said he would go buy some portable space heaters and I agreed to reimburse him for this.

Got three bids on Monday and the work was completed on Wednesday the 23rd.

The tenant is now throwing a fit because I won’t credit the rent for the time the heater was broken. He says the house was considered inhabitable because the heat was broken even though he stayed there during that time and he had to have been able to maintain a decent temperature with the heaters because it wasn’t that cold.

The way I see it, this is normal maintenance for an aging house and we made accommodations to help him keep his house warm. In addition, we did everything in our power to get it fixed quickly.

I had planned to drop off s gift card to a restaurant for his trouble, but am now reconsidering even that. His lease is up for renewal in a few months and I’m pretty strongly considering now renewing.

Anything you guys would do differently?

You did that exactly the right way. You’re lucky you had a tenant that wasn’t a retard.

One of my tenants called me on a Saturday night telling me her heater wouldn’t work. I was out of town, and told her that I could have it looked at the next morning; Sunday. Without hesitating, she assured me they would be warm enough overnight. I said, “OK.”

The thermocoupler had gone bad; a cheap fix.

Meantime, to keep warm, the tenant turned on the gas oven. And turned all the burners on, wide-open, and let them run all night.

The heat was so intense in the kitchen ( I still can’t figure out why the house didn’t burn down, or why she didn’t die of carbon monoxide poisoning, or something ), that it caused the ‘perimeter-glued’ vinyl flooring to pull away from the walls, and curl up like a strip of bacon. There was nearly an 8" flooring gap left around the entire room.

I could NOT believe what I was seeing. Later I discovered the vanes on the kitchen mini-blinds had warped, and wouldn’t operate correctly, from exposure to that extreme heat.

Seven hundred dollars later, I had a new floor, new window coverings, and a new tenant installed. And the retard’s deposit made it all possible.

Thanks for the reality check. He is so adamant about it I was beginning to doubt my decision.

No you handled it great! If you really want to be a stickler, check out the applicable section in his lease agreement when it comes to repairs/damage etc. Since the house was livable and the temperature not below freezing, I doubt he would be able to make a case that the house was inhabitable. Uncomfortable, maybe. Inhabitable, hardly.

Just ignore him and I bet he will cool off (no pun intended). If not, he will move out after the lease expires and problem solved. Though giving the gift card would still be a nice gesture - even if he is a jerk.