Rental Repairs: Avoid these Awkward Situations with Your Landlord


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Your landlord has a good idea why you're calling in the middle of the night. Same reason for most of the maintenance calls he receives: a toilet is clogged. Awkward? Maybe to you, but it's just business as usual for the maintenance staff. More than a quarter (28%) of calls for apartment repairs are due to a jammed john. To renters, it's the most embarrassing call to make, according to a survey by

Read More: 5 Biggest Expenses When You Take on a Renter

The second most likely reason renters call maintenance (21%) is because they've been locked out. A senior moment? Actually, it's a Millennial thing: Nearly half (46%) of those who've forgotten or lost their keys were young adults between the ages of 18 and 32. Only 18% were 67 or older.

"Sometimes you don't get locked out of your apartment, you get locked in" writes Kelly Bradley on The Shared Wall. "At about 6 a.m. one morning, my door handle decided to fall off, leaving me trapped in my bedroom. Thankfully when I called my landlord, he picked up and came to rescue me."

One in ten renters have even called maintenance to replace a light bulb.

Read More: 7 Things You Don't Want to Hear When Getting Your Future Home Inspected

And then there's that awkward moment when the repairs are completed and the maintenance man proclaims, "All done!" while standing, plunger in hand, by the door. Do you tip him or offer nothing more than a quick "thank you" while you busily rearrange a few dishes in the sink?

Don't feel bad if you're in the no-tip camp. Most (78%) renters surveyed don't tip the maintenance staff for routine repair matters. For those that do, it's usually $10 or less. Millennials are most generous. More than a third (34%) of those who do tip the maintenance staff were Gen Y renters, versus just 19% of those 33 and older.

Tips are more likely to be shelled out to the doorman or building concierge (41%) -- and only the most generous (18%) feel it's necessary to tip their landlord.

Fewer than half of respondents (44%) were completely satisfied with their current apartment maintenance. But about one quarter aren't willing to pay more for better service.

Do I hear your toilet running?

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

Show Comments

Back to Top