Q: I rent out the home that I inherited from my aunt. I cleaned the place after she passed and rented it out right away, but after a few months into a yearlong lease, the tenant told me about a serious roof leak. It's true, the roof needs to be replaced, but I can't afford it. I know that the leak makes the rental unfit, but can't I tell the tenant that I'll have to let the place remain vacant for a while until I can afford to fix it? He's refusing to move, and says I have to fix it. –Glen R. A: Your predicament illustrates the wisdom of the experienced landlord's rule to never rent out a property unless you're familiar with its existing "issues" and certain that it doesn't contain problems waiting to happen.Your circumstances inspire empathy -- you don't sound like a slumlord, and you recognize that the problem is serious and renders the house unlivable -- but from your tenant's point of view, a deal is a deal. Just as you can hold your tenant to the letter ...
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