refusal to pay

How to handle a tenant refusing to pay repairs

Tenants who refuse to pay repairs

I am going to share how I deal with tenants who refuse to pay their portion of repairs.  If you are a landlord long enough, you will encounter tenants who do not want to pay for repairs.  It can be a stressful time.  We alleviate the stress because we have a system to follow when the tenant refuses to pay for repairs.

The Repairs are Completed

One night our tenant called regarding a plumbing issue. They said the toilet was backing up and they could not get it to flush properly.  The next morning we called our plumber and informed the tenant when he would arrive.  Our property manager was there to let the plumber into the house.  The toilet backed up because it was clogged with an abundance of toilet tissue.  Nothing in the piping was defective.  According to our lease in this situation, the tenant is responsible for the first $50 of the service call.  We informed the tenant of the $50 responsibility.  He said He understood was would pay his portion later that week when his rent was due.

The Tenant Refuses to Pay Repairs

The rent came but no late fee included. We reached out to the tenant.  In the meantime he had decided he ‘disagreed’ with our assessment and decided he was refusing to pay the repair.   We informed him of his responsibility.  We followed our lease. We deducted the fee from the rents paid, and sent the tenant a Notice of Late Payment. We told him the $50 was due on the next rental payment.  In the notice, we quoted the section of the lease applicable to this situation.  The next month came and no payment of the $50.  We contacted the tenant who vigorously informed us of his refusal to pay the repairs.

The Escalation and Resolution

We sent another Notice of Late Pay and we reported to the credit agency notice of late/short pay.  The next month’s rent payment came with no additional money to cover the fee.  We followed our process and sent the tenant a Three Day Notice to Vacate, citing the appropriate section of the lease.  Upon receiving the Notice to Vacate, the tenant agreed to pay the money.


If we were to do this again, we would send the Notice to Vacate earlier in the process.  There was no need to drag the process out.  Our outcome was successful because we followed our defined process.

  • Our lease clearly defines the financial responsibilities of all parties with respect to repairs.
  • We go over the lease with our tenants to ensure they understand it.
  • We sent our standard Notices of Late Payment citing the lease and we reported the late payment to the credit bureau.
  • When the tenant did not respond, we sent our standard Notice to Vacate

To be successful as a Landlord, you need the right tools and the right processes.

We use our proven leases and letters and follow a standard process.  We know every tenant is treated fairly because we use the same process for each tenant. Don’t be confused what to do when your tenant refuses to pay repairs.


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