The risk of renting (a landlord’s perspective)

I’ve rented my condo since May 2005.  I’ve been fortunate.  I have had four good to excellent tenants.  The most important fact – the tenants have ALWAYS PAID THE RENT.

My mother, on the other hand, has been rather unlucky with the property she is now renting.  After the first two months of paying the rent on time, the tenants were late paying the rent last month.  For this month my mother received a telephone call from the bank stating the tenants’ check has bounced.

Landlords are small businessmen and businesswomen.  We make an effort to provide a nice, comfortable place for individuals to live.  We do our part through upkeep & maintenance.  The tenants must do their part by paying the rent on time. 

What really irritates me about my mother’s tenants was their initial grumbling about the house not been cable ready.  The house’s previous occupant was in her late 90s and she didn’t need cable!  But, what pisses me off, why are the tenants so concerned about he cable but lack a strong commitment to paying the rent on time? And shouldn’t having a roof over one’s head – not living on the street – be a priority over cable?

Too many Americans have their priorities screwed up.  Paying you rent should come before ENTERTAINMENT.  Oh, that’s right, that’s an old-fashioned viewpoint. 

My mother’s tenants formerly rented an apartment in Virginia.  They were paying $500 more per month at the location.  One would think, with a significant reduction in rent, they would be able to afford the rent as well as entertainment.

My mother now is pursuing legal action.  Yes, a small businesswoman will now have to incur more expenses because the tenants have not abided by the terms of the lease (sort of like a homeowner who fails to pay the mortgage). 

My mother and I have had two sharply contrasting experiences.  And some people fear my mother’s experience that they decline ever being a landlord.

I’ve advised my mother, once the present tenants are history, to hire a management company to handle the tenants.  There will be less money for my mother but also less headaches for her.  And that lack of stress is PRICELESS.

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