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If my property mgr. replaces a toilet, (the handle was

Customer Question
broken, not the toilet itself)...
If my property mgr. replaces a toilet, (the handle was broken, not the toilet itself) without my approval at a cost of about $400.00 ( part to fix what was broken approx. $19.00, plus labor) who is ultimately responsible to pay the extra about? Property mgr. already has taken the $400.00 out of my rental check from tenant thank you
Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 14 minutes by:
3/15/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41,155
Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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That is kind of like getting a new car if you have a flat tire... So if the landlord decided to upgrade/replace the entire toilet, then if it wasn't broken, you can't be held responsible for that entire cost. You are only liable for the cost of repair. Further, the courts typically assign a depreciable life to things like fixtures. A toilet might have a 10 year depreciable life after which it is deemed to be valueless. So if the court put a 10 year life on it, and it was 11 years old, the landlord couldn't charge you anything for the replacement.

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The landlord doesn't get to upgrade his dwelling at your expense. So since this is not a legitimate charge, you would have grounds to sue the landlord for breach of contract for the return of any overage that you were charged.

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And as far as that goes, a typical toilet is around $100-150 so the $400 is extremely high if that is what was paid for the labor to remove and install the new one and the toilet.

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Barrister.... I am the landlord.... my property mgr. changed the toilet without my (landlord/owner) approval
Real Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Ok, then if you didn't give them the authority to make those kinds of decisions, then the additional cost would fall on them. But if you did give them the authority to act as you agent and make that kind of decision, you would be responsible for that cost because you are the one who is receiving the upgraded property. The tenant can only be held liable if they actually damaged the toilet to such a degree that it couldn't be repaired. Like if they had dropped something in the bowl and cracked it..

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Replacing the "guts" of the toilet or the wax seal is something that normally would just be maintenance and part of the landlord's duty to maintain.

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So bot***** *****ne here is that if the toilet wasn't damaged beyond repair, then the tenant can't be held liable for the replacement cost...

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Sorry, but I have to call them like I see them..

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I know the tenant is NOT responsible .... I am asking you if my property manager is responsible for the in-authorized upgrade. I received nothing from my property manager asking me what he should do. He just sent me a bill and paid for that bill out of the rent paid... let me also mention that there are 2 other full functioning toilets in the house.. this toilet was not leaking water into the structure, the handle needed to be jiggled .. so this was NOT an emergency
Real Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I am asking you if my property manager is responsible for the in-authorized upgrade.

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That is what I said... it depends on whether you gave the manager the authority to make those judgment calls on his own or whether he should have called you and run it by you..

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If this was something he should have consulted you over, then I would hold him liable for at least half the cost because it was not necessary. Granted you get a new toilet, but it wouldn't have been necessary had he contacted you and you told him to just wait until you could inspect it since they had other options for a commode..

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
thank you
Real Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Very welcome.. Being a landlord isn't very much fun most of the time...so I know exactly what you are dealing with..

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
first time I've used a property manager... I have been my own for the past 20 years... I am pretty well versed on landlord / tenant problems and solutions.. I have never had a problem when I was the property manager, that's why I checked with you
Real Estate Lawyer: Barrister, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Yes, to be honest, most property managers I have run across are idiots.. They would do something like this because they aren't experienced enough to take care of small problems themselves. They can only pick up the phone and call a plumber or electrician or HVAC guy... But you could do that on your own without them "managing" the place for you so you have to be really picky about setting a limit for what they can spend without your approval in the contract. I typically suggest a $50 limit so that keeps them from just spending your money by calling someone every time something goes wrong..

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Barrister
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Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years

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