When No Repairs Requested is No Good

Over the years that I have been managing rental properties in the Glendale, Pasadena and Eagle Rock areas I have seen two extremes regarding tenants requesting repairs.

One is the tenant who requests everything possible. A tenant once asked me to send a handyman over because one of the bolts that fixes her toilet to the floor was missing the half dome plastic cap.

However, the other extreme is the tenant who never requests anything to be fixed. Owners think that is an ideal tenant but there are some reasons that tenant raises red flags.

Possibly those tenants are very handy and are doing minor fixes themselves. I once had a tenant in an old condo that often had plumbing backups who told me she had her own plumbing snake and she knew how to use it. Another reason tenants may hesitate to request repairs is because they think their rent is going to go up.

The red flag appears when tenants don’t request repairs because they don’t want the landlord or any of the landlord’s vendors to enter their unit.

Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. They are doing something illegal.
  2. They have moved in 10 additional people who are not on the lease.
  3. They are hoarders.
  4. They are sub-leasing the unit on Air BnB.

All of the above is why landlords should do periodic walk throughs of their units. Note: not to be called inspections as those can only be done by a licensed inspector.

Tenants must be given proper notice of a landlord’s visit so verify the time frame in your state: normally 24 hrs. is sufficient. In cases where a tenant is resisting the landlord’s visit be cognizant of the reasons your state will permit a landlord to enter such as emergency repairs, checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, etc.

I rarely get pushback from tenants on a visit as I ask them if there are any repairs needed and my visits are usually welcomed.

Don’t congratulate yourself on your cash flow when you have a tenant who never has a repair request. You don’t want extreme requests but you also want your property maintained. Schedule a visit and confirm that there are no lease violations.