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My tenant is too demanding

My tenant has always been an exacting type but it’s now getting beyond a joke.

Every few weeks I seem to be getting another text or email from him requesting yet another improvement.

Now, I’m not averse to upgrading my rental properties. I realise in the long run it will be to my benefit, and let’s face it – it’s better to have a tenant who ‘gives a damn’, rather than a tenant that doesn’t. (I’ve only just finished dealing with one of those – after several months of non payment of rent and the nightmare ordeal of getting possession using a section 21 notice is now finally over)

However, my good tenants’ latest request takes hygiene to another level.

I thought it was female tenants that were supposed to be demanding and fastidious in the bath department, but apparently, not!

This is a copy of his latest text to me.

Hi chris. Bought a steam cleaner n blitzed bath. Looks lot better prob dont need new bath if you don’t want to put one in. Just needs the side panel changing n poss a shower door n then all the mould etc sorting out. Can we get mick round come sort it. Thanks. M

Now, am I being an old miserable landlord to think this is beyond the call of duty? There is nothing wrong with the bath and I’ve just spent a fortune upgrading the kitchen. However, a happy tenant is hopefully a long-term tenant and this one has been with me for over 10 years.

A landlord’s responsibilities of repair

Ok technically, what my tenant is asking for is arguably beyond a landlord’s responsibility for repair and maintenance.

However, a good landlord needs to always try to keep their tenant happy. I now have a hospitality business (my first experience at working in the sector) and it’s an eye opener. You realise the importance of customer care and customer satisfaction. I wouldn’t go as far as saying the customer is always right but…most of the time by going the extra mile you have a very satisfied customer who becomes putty in your hands.

Avoiding the rental void

A happy tenant is far more likely to stay put in a property. If the property is good tenants realise that if they have found a good rental property and they end up putting down roots. To move on is hassle for them and there is always the uncertainty of having to deal with a new landlord. If you are a responsive landlord who looks to work with the tenant to continuously improve their living environment then they are likely to stay – hopefully for a long time. Long term tenants helps me avoid rental voids that can be so costly.

So what to do about my demanding tenant?

Do I play ‘hard ball’ and refuse his requests? I’m sure that I could argue that the mould is a hygiene issue and he just needs to get out his scrubbing brush and his armoury of hi-tech janitorial equipment, or do I use the whole situation to my advantage?

Looking at his existing periodic tenancy agreement the rent has not been increased for over 5 years. I know that rents in Nottingham have not exactly rocketed during this period, but looking at the Rent Index, average rents have probably drifted up from £590 to £640 during that time.

I know that the rent I was charging was on the low side, so maybe this would be a good time to raise the rent.

Could this be a scenario where everybody wins? The tenant gets their lovely bathroom and I get extra rent to cover the costs of the work and an improved buy-to-let property into the bargain.

What would other landlords do? – ‘Penny for your thoughts’ guys and gals?

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