Rent concessions for broken water heater

The water heater in one of my POH’s broke the other day on Sunday night. The manager responded later Monday and had a hard time finding a plumber to come out right away as it is the start of deer hunting season. We finally got Lowes to replace the unit on Wednesday or Thursday. The home rents for $475. The tenant sent in a money order for $300 because of the inconvenience of the broken water heater and they droped their cell phone in the water which destroyed it. I’m looking for suggestions as to how to handle this situation. Thank you. Bruce.

Take the $300.

Thank you. Do you think they would start crying about mold and other silly issues if I tried to enforce the 475 rent.?

Not worth the risk. They have too much ammo for you to be bold on the rent. If you go to court and the lady cries and says that her kids cried for four days because they did not have hot water for their bath, then you’re going to probably lose. Then they might sense weakness and file another lawsuit for damages against you for mental cruelty, etc. Not that it would definitely end up that way, but how can $175 be worth maybe $2,000+ in legal bills, not to mention losing your “good guy” reputation with the judge? If you lost your hot water, you’d probably demand more than $175, right? I think it’s a fair deal.

Do you have a landlord/tenant authority in your state that governs the rights of landlords and tenants.

If you do then there is no reason to be afraid of being sued.

I have dealt many many times with our board and although they are pro tenant they are generally very reasonable in assessing appropriate rent rebate amounts.

Being without hot water, considering the manager did respond promptly, would never warrant such a large rebate as $300 for such a short period of time (3-4 days).

In essence you are being blackmailed by your tenant. Bowing to their ridiculous demand will be a sign of fear and you do not want tenants thinking you are afraid of them.

In my opinion a fair rebate would be $50 but in your case I doubt they would get anything. I would offer the $50 as a good will gesture and if they are not satisfied I would suggest they may consider moving.

As far as their cell phone is concerned it is not relevant and I would not be surprised that they are lying about it being dropped in the water.

As long as you have taken appropriate action in replacing the heater and removing the water you should have nothing to be concerned about in my opinion.