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17.4.09

To Rental Property Owners (Landlords)

I know that there are wonderful landlords out there. Landlords who have actually met there tenants in person. Landlords who have actually seen their rental properties once in the past few years. Even landlords who pay attention to requests from their tenants to repair things.

This post isn't for you. You're doing well.

As for the rest of you? Listen up.

The thing is, we tenants know what the whole real estate 'game' is all about. Heck, we'd like to be in it if we could. A steady stream of income with relatively few expenses over the years is definitely a good thing.However, unless you want pissed off tenants, there is a smidge of work involved on your part.

I'll break it down in sections for you.

1. Sparing a Thought

One thing that will help make your relationship with your tenants better - and just plain make the world a better place - is sparing a thought for your fellow human being.

For instance, take a moment to think about why your tenant is renting. Perhaps it's because s/he/they can't afford a home loan. There are plenty of reasons to rent, but dare I suggest that's a big one?

Putting yourself in their possible situation - even if for a moment - can help open your eyes.

2. Rent Rises

Continuing on sparing a thought, let's expand on the 'renting because they can't afford a home loan' point, shall we?

Rent rises are a necessity of life and we all understand this. The market and times change. However, there is a way to raise the rent without sending your tenants into an "ohgodwhatarewegoingtodowecan'taffordthis" spiral.

If a tenant (single, couple, or family) cannot afford a house of their own, then affording large rent rises is equally hard. Think of it this way:

$10 a week more - a pain but should be doable
$20 a week more - a major pain, but should be able to scrounge by

A rise of $140 a month more? Well. That's the kind of rent rise that sends people into tears. Into panic

3. Repairs

When your tenant gives you a list of things that need repairs, no matter how long the list is, switching real estate agents isn't the appropriate move. The broken things still need fixing and your tenants just get angry that you're delaying.

Fixing one thing on the list doesn't make the rest of the list go away, either.

Some tenants are a pain in the bum. That happens. However, most of us request repairs because we feel they are necessary. So when things like the fan on the heater start playing up, we want you to know. Especially if it's almost winter and has been getting quite cold on some days. Or when the wall is collapsing. Or when the wooden door is rotting to the point we don't feel safe because people could easily break in.

People want shelter that is habitable and safe. Is that really so much to ask for?

4. Spare Another Thought

Just because most of us humans don't spend enough time thinking about each other, I thought I'd put this one in.

Now that we've established that your tenants who have lived in your run down rental property with no complaints and just lists of necessary repairs needed, your nice tenants who have never done anything wrong or called police (or even civilian) negative attention to your property, your tenants who even got a compliment about the upkeep of the property from the real estate property inspector, the tenants who can't afford to live anywhere else are run of the mill nice people...

How about we talk about the worst move you can make?

You decide to go ahead with the proposed rent rise. And why not? An extra $140 a month in your pocket isn't too shabby at all. But it's not only the rent rise, is it?

If you want to avoid pissing your tenants off even more to the point where s/he/they are beyond tears and to the 'increasingly large ball of stress' stage, then don't even consider sending another letter after the rent rise letter. What kind of letter? The kind of letter that tells your tenants that they will be getting billed from now on for something you previously took care of.

Because you realise what that means, don't you? It means s/he/they will look at that letter and likely flip. What you are saying with that additional letter is that not only do you not care about the massive increase you're giving them, you're also such a 'nice' human being you've decided to give them another bill to pay.

Spare a thought to how you would feel if you were living in a falling apart flat that is pretty much the only thing you can afford and not only do you have a massive increase to your rent but another bill to tack on as well.

Just spare a thought.

In closing...

In an ideal world, renting is what we would do until we could save up to buy a house of our own. In reality, rent is turning into something a lot of us can barely pay, forcing us into a cycle of constant debt we can't afford to get out of. Take some time to think about people who don't have it as well as you. I do and it makes me grateful - but it also makes me sad when decent, hard working people are forced out of their expensive dingy holes because someone else 'needs' to make another dollar.

One more note...

Just because I'm feeling extra sunshiny today, here's a note for you self-righteous bastard property inspectors, too. When you're going to inspect a property, you're there to inspect the property, okay? If the wall has started to collapse, you should take a look at it. If there are other structural problems, you should take a look at them.

Especially if the tenant is a woman. We ladies don't like that 'little woman' bullshit treatment, okay? It doesn't take a genius - male or female - to figure out that slowly collapsing walls are a bad thing.

Thank you and have a nice day.

A Renter

12 comments:

J.W. Nicklaus said...

That . . . was . . . AWESOME!I assure you, I know a good rant when I see one, and this gets my full-throated, two-thumbs-up stamp of Rant Approval!
Not only do I think righteous indignation is healthy every so often, I also happen to believe you are absolutely in the right. Good on you!

Morgan Mandel said...

Goes to show how people can be mean with little effort to people who are not as fortunate as they are.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

JM said...

JW - Thank you so much. I really appreciate you saying that. I didn't want to rant, but the second letter today just pushed me over the edge. Thank you again.

Morgan - Too true. Sometimes the world can be a sad, sad place.

Boomer Chick said...

The problem with landlords is that they let things go and when they let things go, it gets to the point where there's just no fixing it short of tearing it down and starting over. I've had different kinds of landlords. So far, the one I have now has been the best. We've been here over a year now and we've not seen him ever. If something needs fixing, we call his middle man guy and he sends someone out to fix it. Perfect relationship. The last guy we rented from was great...he left us alone and didn't tell us to get out even though we had 3 dogs...but...he never fixed anything. That house should be condemned. Someone else moved in and I ride by every now and then and it looks to me like there's a big blue tarp over one one of the house on the roof so like I said, you let something go and it gets so bad, the house caves in. I prefer to rent because I don't like something holding me down to one place...if I want to go, I can go and even though they say I'm losing money by not buying, it doesn't matter to me. However, on the downside, you're going to get shitty landlords and a good one are a dime a dozen. I hope you get things worked out, Tracee, I'm pulling for you!

JM said...

Thanks, Dorothy.

Boomer Chick said...

Crap, I mean JM...it's part of that over the hill thing I have going on...sheesh....

JM said...

Hehe. No worries. I'm getting used to it.

JM said...

Hehe. No worries. I'm getting used to it.

BronzeWord said...

Thank goodness I use to be a landlord on the good side of this letter. Remind me never to make you angry with me. ha ha You were clear, concise, and most of all, practical in how things apply. As in the golden rule: Do unto others... I hope this helps and things are resolved in a positive manner. Good work
Jo Ann Hernandez
http://bronzeword.wordpress.com

JM said...

There are a lot of fabulous landlords out there, so I didn't want this to come off as an attack on all of them. I know that tenants can be a right bit of crazy too. It's just sad when good ones get paired up with bad ones.

Jenera said...

Oh we have been there with the terrible landlords. Many times the hubby has almost come to blows with 'em. Luckily we have a great one now.

JM said...

I'm glad you have a better one now, Jenera. Ours wasn't bad at all despite ignoring maintenance requests.