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Do you charge tenants for service calls?

A member recently sent this information about a landlord in Iowa City and what they charged when the tenants moved out. Here are the details:

A newspaper was recently contacted by a professional couple who had vacated their Iowa City apartment after three years. They were not young students, and they have lived in many apartments in many locations.

They were surprised when they got their accounting of deposit back, that the landlord had kept a ledger of all maintenance calls during their occupancy, and charged them for each call. They said they were not told during their occupancy that they would be charged. Now, our youngest son did just get his first apt in Iowa City this summer, and on his rules it does say the tenant will be charged $40 an hour for maintenance calls. I was surprised to see that, but it makes sense in a student property.

As you can see by the notes below, most of the calls were frivolous, just as many of yours and mine are. And obviously the drains did not plug up on their own. Actually, I don’t really see anything on the list like a furnace that would be a landlord obligation. They intend to file a small claims action for their deposit, so it will be interesting what a judge would say. It will also be interesting to read the lease and rules…….

Date back to Aug. 07 the charges… 15 charges.

  • 2 unclogging sinks and drains
  • Storm window stuck, $9
  • Window AC, used for 6 hours, charged whole month $40
  • ANC Appliance unnesscarry trip, GFI trip
  • Light bulb changed on 10 or 12 foot ceiling $20 x 2… changed twice
  • Charged for figuring out how shower mechanism worked
  • One-shot rodent control (not even in our apartment) put mice killer in basement
  • Unclogged bathroom drain $94.34.
  • 8.90 changing light bulbs
  • Reset GFI and check outlet in the hall. $27
  • City of IC extra trash
  • Unclogged bath drain 67.84.
  • Close storm window $9

We’d like to ask our members:  What are your individual policies on these types of calls? Customer service or do you charge?

Just post a comment below and share your feedback.

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3 thoughts on “Do you charge tenants for service calls?”

  1. I feel the tenant should be informed if you are going to charge a fee for service calls. If I was going to charge to change a light bulb or something like that, I would inform the tenant at the time.
    Personally, I would rather the tenant call me if there is a problem when it is small and not waite until it does big damage. If they fear they are going to get charged, they may not call and little becomes big.

  2. No. We don’t charge for maintenance calls. We are HAPPY to have a tenant tell us they need maintenance to help us maintain our facilities!

  3. We charge tenants for maintenance if it is a direct result of the tenants action/misuse. We do however bill them immediately and provide them with proper documentation of the charge. It would not be a surprise when receiving their disposition of security deposit.

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