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 Post subject: Landlord responsible for window screens?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:45 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Are landlords responsible for providing screens in all the
windows?

We have tenants asking for screens on all their windows.
There were no screens when they moved in a few years ago,
no screens when we bought the house a year ago, and they
just recently asked for screens. We had some but not all
screens made for them, but they want screens in all the windows.

They have been late and/or short on rent almost every month,
and I'm hesitant to put more money into something that seems
to be a courtesy, not obligation. We have fulfilled all of their
numerous repair requests otherwise.

I just filed a Landlord Tenant Complaint for these tenants for
a $395 balance on rent. If they bring the screen issue up at
the hearing, will that be a problem for me? (This is my first
Landlord tenant complaint.)


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 Post subject: Re: Landlord responsible for window screens?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:40 am
Posts: 12
Put in the screens. They improve the property, and they're custom-made for the property, so unlike furniture or appliances, the tenant has no incentive to take them when they leave.

However, there is no law that requires you to spend lots of money all at once. You could budget for it and get new screens for one window every month during the summer, for example. This would shut the tenant up, because you are actually responding to their complaint, but it would also protect you from big capital outlay. If the tenant does complain, you can point out that property maintenance costs are paid with money you get from rent. If the tenant pays their rent on time, you will be able to make repairs faster, but since they've been so far behind for so long, there is much less money available for repairs.

If you do go to court, and the tenant tries to use the lack of screens against you, you can magnanimously offer a discount on the amount due, say 5 dollars per month (a missing screen is a very minor inconvenience, not like lacking electricity). So if they've missed six months rent, you'll discount $30 bucks. The magistrate will enter a judgement against them for six months rent, and credit them $30. Problem solved. (Only do that in court, howver. Do NOT offer to do it now.)


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 Post subject: Re: Landlord responsible for window screens?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:05 pm
Posts: 22
The screens were not there when they moved in, and they were not there when you purchased the property. At this point, putting them in would be purely a courtesy to them.....a convenience.......not a requirement. They accepted the property as it was. It should not be an issue should you go to court.

Larry's suggestion to budget one per month is OK, but nothing should be done until their rent is up-to-date, and let them know it. I totally disagree with making a token discount offer should you go to court. Again, adding the screens at this point is strictly a courtesy. The fact that your tenant cannot/will not keep their rent current shows there is no justification in pleasing the tenant on an "extra."

I'm betting you're on the road to eviction with this tenant.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Landlord responsible for window screens?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:45 pm
Posts: 111
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Thank you Randy and Jim. I think I have a good argument if
it comes up in the hearing.


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