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Picky Tenants with Allergies – Landlord Forum thread

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by Anonymous on June 22, 2014

I apologize in advance for the length of my question/story! We have a 75 year old log cabin that we bought and completely renovated, (paint, new kitchen, log repair/replacement, new wood floor, tile in bath and kitchen, fixtures, doors, some new windows etc.) and turned into a rental 2.5 years ago. When we bought it there was new hvac and ductwork that had been installed within a year. We rented the house for 2 years and first tenants moved out in April. They were very happy, no issues other than squirrel in attic and needing a new thermostat for hvac. They did some pet damage to the house and left some stuff dirty but overall typical tenant damage. Rented to new tenants in May and complaints started immediately, said it wasn’t properly cleaned (I cleaned it myself really well), then several days later they reported mice living in the stove, we immediately had an exterminator out and had a handyman block some holes the exterminator had found. We also replaced the stove, it was the only appliance not replaced in the renovation. Several days later our property manager sends us a 3 page email detailing all of their issues with the house. It was never mentioned before but apparently both tenants have severe allergies. Complaints include, dirty duct work with possible mold, oily dirty steam drips in the microwave, dog hair everywhere, slow draining sink in bathroom, mice feces oozing out of the tub enclosure, dirty ducts, meat cooking odor in the kitchen,just to name a few. According to them there allergies are unbearable and they can’t run the hvac. I just want to point out, this is a really nice house, newly renovated, tons of curb appeal, the microwave was only 2 years old, hvac/ductwork less than 5, great location, great yard. My husband and I arranged for a trusted hvac person to come over and look at/perform maintenance on the system. We also took a look at all of their concerns. It was obvious that the previous tenants had run the hvac for quite some time with no filter, also they ruined the brand new 2 year old microwave, vent hood unit with something they cooked frequently,greasy steam did actually drip out. The tub was fine. We addressed each of their items and left telling them we would get back with them the next day with a plan.

The next day we bought a new microwave, and arranged for duct cleaning from a reputable company our hvac guy recommended. The woman flipped out and got really aggressive about wanting ” a licensed mold abatement company.” Anyway we have been going back and forth, we offer something, it’s not good enough, or they say their too busy to be there. They keep escalating what they want.

We finally offered to let them out of their lease, I assumed that’s what they were gunning for anyway. They came back and said they were insulted that we had suggested that. I’m at a loss, we’ve offered to spend $450 to get the ducts cleaned and if they want something beyond that they need to pay.

What should we do? I’m exhausted and frustrated and wish they would move out. I don’t think they’ll ever be happy but I just want to make sure we’re doing what we need to do legally. Based on everything I’ve read we’ve gone above and beyond. We’re kind of laying down the gauntlet because their demands are getting out of hand.

Regarding allergy complaints, previous tenants had a dog and it was no secret, we advertise that we will consider pets for all our rentals. Our property manager said the tenant had gone through this issue with allergies at a previous house so my feeling is that they should have done better due diligence. A 75 year old log cabin that has had pets in it for years is probably not an ideal choice for an allergy sufferer.

We have a property manager but she hasn’t been a huge help, I think she’s worried they’re going to do something crazy, they have talked a lot about “documenting their medical bills for allergies” etc.

Anyone been through this situation before? We have a picky tenant at another of our rentals but when we offered to let them out of the lease “if they weren’t happy” their complaints dried up pretty quickly. No such luck this time!

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