9 minutes to read

The Cost of Making Your Tenants Happy

Today was an unfortunate hit against 30K Saturday.  As a landlord, there are responsibilities that need to be adhered to when people are paying you rent. 

A few weeks ago, the A/C in my rental home went out–in Georgia! I received a phone call from my tenant, and I scurried to the phone and to Google to search for HVAC companies in the area of my home (I am managing my home myself, although I am about eight states away). I immediately set an appointment, and the HVAC company showed up at the home two days later.  After checking out the AC unit, my tenants were told that though a leak was suspected, it couldn’t be found in the time that they had available to stay that day.  The next inspection is scheduled in about two weeks. Luckily my tenants have told me that the weather has been cool recently.

Though I escaped the brute of my tenants wrath for the A/C, last week I received a call from my tenants again.  They called to inform me that the microwave had unexpectedly gone out and after flipping the circuit breaker a couple of times, nothing still seemed to work.  So once again, I scurried to the phone, and to Google to search for companies that serviced appliances in the area. I called and an appointment was made.  When the troubleshooting was complete, I found that somehow the motherboard had gone bad.  So of course, it would have to be replaced.  Bummer.

 Now I have a broken A/C system AND a broken microwave.  The quote on the microwave came back as $285 to replace the part, and for labor and the service call.  But my frugal self wanted to compare and contrast replacing a part with replacing the entire microwave. I asked for this information on Monday and was told by the service representative that she would call me back within the hour with the quote.

One hour later, nothing. Three hours later, still nothing. Five hours later, I’m pretty upset. I call, but no one picks up. And by time I called again, the place was closed.

The next day I continued my calling pattern, and the company continued their pattern to not pick up the phone. I left two messages on their answering machine about five hours apart, but I still did not talk to anyone. It was Tuesday evening. 

At that point the only thing that I could think of is how many different expletives that my tenants were using to describe me. The A/C had been out for several weeks, and now they can’t even use a microwave. 

Wednesday morning the same thing, I could not get anyone to pick up the phone or even return my call. Then finally, after calling on the hour for four hours at noon, I was excited to hear a voice.  I was able to ask my question again, since the answer was never given, and it was then when I found out that a new microwave would have been $310! — the price didn’t even include the service call charges, or the price of the labor to install the over-the-range unit.  Even more startling was that it would have been a Whirlpool, though, all of my appliances are Frigidaire.

I was all ready to negotiate, but because I knew that I wouldn’t have gotten them on the phone again if they hung up, I went the least expensive route.  I was all set to order the parts, until I found out that the person over the phone was not responsible for the transactions or ordering.  Bummer!  I was assured that “Cindy” would return my call after lunch, around 1:30 p.m., to take care of the order for me.

And of course, I didn’t hear anything at 1:30. And I didn’t hear anything at 2:30.

After several calls later, “Cindy” finally picked up the phone, and I expressed my dismay.  She was really apologetic, so she won me over, and I ordered the parts — $170.11.  I will pay for the labor and initial service call when the parts come in, and according to “Cindy”, it would be about 5 – 7 days.  However, given their track record, I can say with certainty that even if the parts arrive on time, I won’t get a call until days later.

So I did what any slumlord landlord would do — I went ahead and ordered a counter-top microwave for my tenants to hold them over until the repairs are finally made — $62.33.  I won’t discuss here the fun I had trying to correct my mistake when I submitted the order to have the microwave picked up in CT, where I live, as opposed to GA, where my tenants live.

$115 more for the ultimate service charge and labor, and I will be well on my way to spend almost $350. It may not be much to some, but when I’m trying to save $30K as soon as possible, spending $350 sucks! 🙁

What I do know is that my tenants are temporarily happy.  They were appreciative of my empathy, and I was glad to provide it. In the end, $350 is probably nothing as compared to the costs that an unhappy tenant can run up if they decide to just “up and leave.” The extra microwave was what I would have wanted, so it was only right in my book.  Perhaps I sell it on eBay when it’s no longer needed. — or Craigslist.  In any case, it was a headache of an experience, and I am not looking forward to the ending.


  1. I really liked this and agree. You should make your tenants happy.

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