Charge tenant for furniture removal?

Rent it Right

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Q: We advertised our rental home as furnished, and we made sure that the furnishings were in good shape and attractive. The tenant we chose said nothing about the furniture when he toured the house, but upon moving in he began asking us to remove many items, because he said he had his own stuff.

We ended up having to rent a storage facility in order to store everything, which is costing us $60 each month. I think this cost should be paid by the renter — what do you think? –Linda F.

A: I’m with you. Your renter knew that the home was furnished and he had ample opportunity to raise the issue with you when he saw the house. Had he done so, you could have raised the problem right then, pointing out that not only have you spent money to buy and maintain the furnishings, but you’ll also incur additional expenses if you have to store them.

You’ve factored the furnishing costs into the rent; now, you intend to factor in your storage costs, too. You could have fairly told him that if storage was necessary, he’d have to foot the bill (or, more practically, pay more rent).

It’s not too late to discuss the matter now. Point out that the additional expense for the storage unit was not "part of the bargain" when the two of you signed the lease. You might point out that if you had refused to remove the items, your tenant would have had to rent a unit to store his stuff. Either way, it’s his responsibility because he’s the one who introduced the unneeded items in the first place.