16th December 2017
Q: My tenant wants me to pay £300 for a new curtain! So, I went to perform a routine inspection in a property last month. The property was fine. While I was talking to my tenant, she mentioned that the curtain in the kitchen, which hangs in front of the sliding patio doors is filthy, and always has been, so she wondered if she could replace it. The property wasn’t furnished, but it did come with that one curtain. She didn’t insist, or even ask for me to pay for the replacement (probably because I’m not obliged to), but as a gesture of goodwill and to show appreciation, I offered to cover the cost. A few days ago, I received a phone call from my tenant, and she informed me she got a quote for £286. At first, I thought it was a joke, but it soon became clear the situation was very real when she started to enthusiastically discuss the finer details of the fabric! In the meantime, my mind was busy conjuring up ways to buy some time, in order to process what was happening; so, I asked her if I could look online to see what I thought of them.
She provided me with the details, but to be honest, I don’t care what the curtain looks or feels like, I’m just concerned that she wants me to pay £300 for one curtain. Bearing in mind that the current curtain couldn’t have cost more than £80, and I assumed a replacement would cost about £100, maybe a bit more. The property isn’t a luxury penthouse in Knightsbridge; it’s a 2-bedroom mid-terrace, situated in a small town, that’s fitted with economy household goods. I know for a fact she wouldn’t pay £300 herself for the curtains, but she clearly has no qualms with asking me to cough up the doe. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great tenant, she pays the bills and takes care of the property; and I would happily invest in the property where appropriate. What should I do?
A: Hindsight is always a wonderful thing! When you asked the tenant to get a quote, you should have discussed the budget with her. Keep this in mind for next time.
I would recommend that you either:
- Clarify that you are only willing to pay £100, as you think that’s a reasonable amount
- Offer to contribute £100 towards the curtain, and allow her to cover any differences, on condition that the curtain remains in the property after she vacates
Has anyone else ever had cheeky/ridiculous requests from tenants? We would love to hear from you.