Tenant problems plague landlords every day. Last month I learned my first real lesson as a landlord.
I’ve been a landlord now for 14 months, I must admit I’ve had pretty decent tenants, but, these last tenants though have had me scratching my head and have me wondering what I got myself into 🤷🏻♀️.
As a first time landlady I opted to go small and with something with less of a financial burden just in case this didn’t work out. I opted for a mobile home, it was a bit outdated and needed some love but it was structurally sound and I would make a cute little home for someone.
I’m always keen to expand my wings and into trying something new, which means at times I’m bound to get burned. They say you learn by trial and error. Fact.
I’m not naive, in this situation I just followed my heart, not my head.
Lesson 1: Rent wisely – we all know what we should do. We read the regulations and laws and we say we won’t to it, but then we do, we are human after all … don’t get sucked in by personal stories. Stick to facts, employment and references. I felt sorry for this prospective tenant and her situation. Her grand children were taken away from their mother and she needed a place to live so they could stay together and not be put in foster care. So, I opted to forgo all rational reasoning and rented to her because I felt bad for HER situation. DON’T!
Lesson 2: Get your tenant to sign the lease agreement BEFORE they even move in one piece of furniture – you take for granted that most folk are like minded and salt of the earth people, of course they’ll sign the agreement cause they said they will. No, they always won’t, because not everyone is like you. Do not allow them so move in anything before they are in agreement with your rules as a landlord and sign off on the rental agreement and inspection report. I let my tenant move in without signing the Residential tenancy agreement FIRST. To this day she hasn’t, which lead to me having to follow up with her repeatedly and serve her with a notice to vacate. All of this after 4 months.
Lesson 3: Rent to those who will respect your property – whether you are renting your castle in the woods, your pop up tent or your mobile home …. it’s still YOUR property and they are renting it from you. Make sure to rent to someone who will respect your property. I get that things break from time to time, of course they do. But, it’s not mere coincidence that for 13 months you hear nothing from other tenants and all of a sudden with new tenants – handles which were previously affixed with no problems are all broken off, air vents are caved in, kitchen cabinet doors are “falling off” and door handles are broken … Things happen but they don’t always “just happen”. Handles WILL break when kids are left to climb up on them, cabinet doors WILL come off their hinges if kids yank on them, air vents will cave in if kids are allowed to jump on them.
Lesson 4: Move-in inspection report – This is the second-most important document in the landlord-tenant relationship. This tenant refused to even go over the move in inspection report. The report quantifies and documents the condition of a property so that, when the tenant leaves, any damage caused is clear. A thorough and concise move-in report card is a sure-fire way of avoiding significant disputes over tenant-related damage. This should be interesting when the tenant vacates at the end of the month and the inspection wasn’t completed. It’s a good thing I took photos beforehand!
Some photos of the damage this particular tenant caused:
I know some of you are like “well like c’mon you made obvious mistakes” to which I’d say “correct, lesson learned and you can be sure I won’t make them again”.
Have any of you guys had any stories of places that you’ve rented or been the landlord?