Landlord question

#1

golfballs

Well-Known Boofer
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
59,636
Likes
26,291
#1
I’m a relatively new landlord. My tenants were complaining about low water pressure. The city came out and said it was due to a shut off valve in the basement being corroded. My usual plumber couldn’t get out there so I called Rotorooter. The guy called and said he completed the work and wanted my cc # over the phone. I asked him to send an invoice. He sent it over and It ended up being $1200! (Which My tenant signed off on). He showed up and looked at the valve, was gone 30 min getting the new valve and spent 30 min replacing it. Charged me $120 for “travel time”. I wouldn’t have signed off on it. Is a tenant able to do that? I have a call in to rotorooter to get this resolved but I have a feeling they’re going to say too bad.
 
#2

hog88

In dog beers I've only had 1
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
55,038
Likes
34,861
#2
I’m a relatively new landlord. My tenants were complaining about low water pressure. The city came out and said it was due to a shut off valve in the basement being corroded. My usual plumber couldn’t get out there so I called Rotorooter. The guy called and said he completed the work and wanted my cc # over the phone. I asked him to send an invoice. He sent it over and It ended up being $1200! (Which My tenant signed off on). He showed up and looked at the valve, was gone 30 min getting the new valve and spent 30 min replacing it. Charged me $120 for “travel time”. I wouldn’t have signed off on it. Is a tenant able to do that? I have a call in to rotorooter to get this resolved but I have a feeling they’re going to say too bad.
Unless you have it in the lease that the tenant is responsible for maintenance/repairs it's all you.

Tip: If it's not fire, flood or blood your tenants can wait a few days.
 
#3

DinkinFlicka

Erect Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
20,309
Likes
14,799
#3
I’m a relatively new landlord. My tenants were complaining about low water pressure. The city came out and said it was due to a shut off valve in the basement being corroded. My usual plumber couldn’t get out there so I called Rotorooter. The guy called and said he completed the work and wanted my cc # over the phone. I asked him to send an invoice. He sent it over and It ended up being $1200! (Which My tenant signed off on). He showed up and looked at the valve, was gone 30 min getting the new valve and spent 30 min replacing it. Charged me $120 for “travel time”. I wouldn’t have signed off on it. Is a tenant able to do that? I have a call in to rotorooter to get this resolved but I have a feeling they’re going to say too bad.
If your lease is standard then rotorooter can't have them sign off on your invoice. I ran into a similar situation and got a much better price after a long back and forth with them.
 
#4

golfballs

Well-Known Boofer
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
59,636
Likes
26,291
#4
Unless you have it in the lease that the tenant is responsible for maintenance/repairs it's all you.

Tip: If it's not fire, flood or blood your tenants can wait a few days.
I know I’m responsible for paying for the work, but can my tenant sign off on the invoice the plumber wrote? I didn’t tell the plumber or my tenant they could do that. I certainly wouldn’t have signed off on it.
 
#5

golfballs

Well-Known Boofer
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
59,636
Likes
26,291
#5
If your lease is standard then rotorooter can't have them sign off on your invoice. I ran into a similar situation and got a much better price after a long back and forth with them.
Standard lease. Nothing that would grant my tenants any special authority when it comes to authorizing work or repairs. The plumber was very weird about it too. He kept calling repeatedly asking for my cc even though I hadn’t gotten the invoice. Then I got it and haven’t heard a peep from him since.
 
#6

DinkinFlicka

Erect Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
20,309
Likes
14,799
#6
Standard lease. Nothing that would grant my tenants any special authority when it comes to authorizing work or repairs. The plumber was very weird about it too. He kept calling repeatedly asking for my cc even though I hadn’t gotten the invoice. Then I got it and haven’t heard a peep from him since.
You *might* have grounds for a civil suit if the charges stand.
 
#8

hog88

In dog beers I've only had 1
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
55,038
Likes
34,861
#8
I know I’m responsible for paying for the work, but can my tenant sign off on the invoice the plumber wrote? I didn’t tell the plumber or my tenant they could do that. I certainly wouldn’t have signed off on it.
Technically no they can't but it really doesn't matter that they did, it just gives you something to argue with RR about.
 
#9

FallCreekVols

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
Messages
275
Likes
188
#9
This is why I have a good property manager. One reason, anyway.

No, your tenant probably can’t authorize repairs or charges unless maybe a case where you were grossly negligent in having them done.

The “biggies” in the plumbing world are notorious for super-high charges and upselling. Have heard their techs earn commission based on what they can sell/charge you. I don’t really see why your tenant would be involved in the transaction at all.
 
#11

McDad

I can't brain today; I has the dumb.
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
26,805
Likes
28,736
#11
The tenant cannot act as your agent. However, under what context did you call RR out? To bid the repair or to fix the issue?
 
#12

golfballs

Well-Known Boofer
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
59,636
Likes
26,291
#12
The tenant cannot act as your agent. However, under what context did you call RR out? To bid the repair or to fix the issue?
I asked them to investigate the low pressure issue. The city came out and said they thought it was the shut off valve and for some reason they cut the water to the house entirely. I asked RR to turn the water back on and confirm if it was the shut off valve. These city water workers are probably in cahoots with the local plumbers. Getting kickbacks
 
#14

McDad

I can't brain today; I has the dumb.
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
26,805
Likes
28,736
#14
I asked them to investigate the low pressure issue. The city came out and said they thought it was the shut off valve and for some reason they cut the water to the house entirely. I asked RR to turn the water back on and confirm if it was the shut off valve. These city water workers are probably in cahoots with the local plumbers. Getting kickbacks
If you didn't ask for them to fix, and the tenant cannot act as your agent in a non emergency situation, tell them to reduce the fee or comeback and remove the install.
Also, get to know other landlords. Ask who they use for trades. Might be a big help if your go-to person is unavailable.
Good luck, bro.
 
#15

Toujours Pret

Still on the Lane Train
Joined
May 6, 2012
Messages
13,125
Likes
2,347
#15
The “biggies” in the plumbing world are notorious for super-high charges and lupselling. Have heard their techs earn commission based on what they can sell/charge you.
This is accurate, had an acquaintance who worked with them in the past. Likened it to the Valvoline oil change centers where they recommend 47 unnecessary add ons in addition to the needed service.

Find a local guy as a standby and develop a good relationship.
 
#17

Coug

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2012
Messages
19,307
Likes
10,360
#17
If you didn't ask for them to fix, and the tenant cannot act as your agent in a non emergency situation, tell them to reduce the fee or comeback and remove the install.
Also, get to know other landlords. Ask who they use for trades. Might be a big help if your go-to person is unavailable.
Good luck, bro.
This right here. You never OK'd repairs, you were never offered an estimate BEFORE the repairs, the tenant can't just give consent.

We had a similar shut off valve in our basement replaced with a larger one. Not cheap but it's less than half what you are being charged. I think it was around 400 to 500. It's caused from the larger lines along the street, those lines over time can carry debris into your house line ultimately clogging the valve.
 
Last edited:
#20

hmanvolfan

Volmeister extraordinaire
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Messages
85,248
Likes
13,884
#20
I asked them to investigate the low pressure issue. The city came out and said they thought it was the shut off valve and for some reason they cut the water to the house entirely. I asked RR to turn the water back on and confirm if it was the shut off valve. These city water workers are probably in cahoots with the local plumbers. Getting kickbacks
First of all I would’ve gone out and turned the water back on. Second, since they told you what was wrong I would’ve called around to get the best estimate to replace. Don’t ever send a repair person out there without knowing what the problem is and how much it will cost to repair. After a while of checking for the most honest tradesmen you will find some you can rely on to be honest. Also if you know any other people with rental property ask them who they would recommend and let them bid.
 
#21

Tin Man

Dirt's Childhood Playmate
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
15,178
Likes
6,733
#21
I am a former landlord. It is imperative that you have a cadre of professional service providers - plumber, electrician, HVAC, handyman - on whom you can rely. Begin cultivating the relationships, now. Avoid advertising nameplates. Small, independent providers who rely upon word of mouth referrals to get the business they need are your best bets.

I believe that you have a case for dispute and mitigation of the RotoRooter bill. Press the issue. Whatever you work out, learn the lesson and begin networking (realtors, neighbors, coworkers, et al) to find & build your cadre of service providers (It's a never-ending process - some will get big, some will move on, some will retire).

I stated that I am a former landlord, emphasis on former. A longtime tenant of a single-family rental property moved out and left me with ~$8K in repairs, well in excess of their age-old security deposit. They'd fallen on hard times and had no means from which to seek recovery. I sold my existing home, sunk another $10k into the place, lived in it for two full tax years, and sold it. I've no desire to be a landlord again, and when my wife laments missed real estate investment opportunities, I remind her of this place.

May your experience as a landlord be a profitable one. Good luck.
 
#22

volfannbama

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2010
Messages
14,432
Likes
16,623
#22
Standard lease. Nothing that would grant my tenants any special authority when it comes to authorizing work or repairs. The plumber was very weird about it too. He kept calling repeatedly asking for my cc even though I hadn’t gotten the invoice. Then I got it and haven’t heard a peep from him since.
Yeah, they shouldnt be able to sign off and if you have a lawyer, you might can work it that they are responsible for that bill.
 

VN Store



Sponsors
 

Top