My tenant complained of a smell coming from the septic pump which is in the backyard. I had the septic company out to the property. This is the same company I've used since I purchased the house. The company informed me that the 3 plugs were moved as they are in the outlet incorrectly. These plugs have to be put into the outlet in a specific way. Since they were moved, it caused the pump to burn out. I had to replace the pump and I will be looking at a cost of approximately $1200.00 or more (I have not received the final invoice yet). My tenant states she nor her children moved the plugs. Obviously someone did. Can I pass the cost along to her?
As the landlord, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that the septic pump is functioning properly and to maintain it. In this case, it seems that the pump was damaged due to the plugs being moved incorrectly, and it is unclear who moved them.
While it may be tempting to pass the cost along to your tenant, you would need to have evidence that they were the ones who moved the plugs in order to hold them responsible. Without proof, it would be unfair to charge them for the cost of the repairs.
You may want to review the lease agreement with your tenant to see if there are any provisions that address maintenance and repairs. If the lease places responsibility for maintenance and repairs on the tenant, and you can prove that they were the ones who moved the plugs, then you may be able to charge them for the cost of the repairs.
However, if the lease does not address this issue or if you cannot prove that the tenant was responsible for the damage, it would be best to assume the cost of the repairs as the landlord.