Landlords protect yourself from tenants

by Kristina on May 5, 2014 · 3 comments


Good morning Dinks. I rent an apartment. Yes it’s true. I am 33 years old, I live with my boyfriend Nick and we rent an apartment. I like renting because it’s carefree, hassle free and it’s easy to budget. I know a lot of people think that renting an apartment instead of buying a home is a waste of money, but it’s worth it for me. Our building is safe, we have a handyman on site 24 hours a day and we only have one monthly bill to pay – our rent.

Renting may not be for me, but owning a rental property is definitely not.

Those are all the great reasons why I love renting, but sometimes I wonder if I should buy a home. Not a house because I don’t want to deal with all the maintenance that comes along with homeownership such as shovelling snow and cutting grass. But sometimes, when I’m day dreaming, I think that I would like to have a condo to call my own.

Yesterday I was in our rental office paying my monthly rent and another tenant burst into the room in a rage because there was no hot water in the building. The only thing I thought to myself was…thank goodness I’m not the landlord. This thought is reiterated in my mind every single time I watch an episode of Judge Judy and a tenant or a landlord is being sued for money owed or property damaged.

3 things you should always do if you own a rental property

I am not sure if I want to buy a home, but I know that I don’t want to buy a home for someone else. I don’t want to be a homeowner but I also don’t want to be a landlord.   I know some Dinks pride themselves on their real estate portfolio but the hassle of dealing with tenants just seems like a headache I don’t need.

After observing how my landlord dealt with the outraged tenant, and of course from watching multiple episodes of Judge Judy, I learned a thing or two about owning a rental property:

Don’t take someone’s word for a problem. The landlord couldn’t be sure if the hot water was not working throughout the entire building or if it was in just one tenant’s apartment. Of course the landlord could not react before looking into the problem.

Keep track of everything.  When landlords keep records they can see how often a problem in the building occurs and how often a problem with a tenant occurs. This is important when trying to determine if the situation is really a problem or if maybe the tenant is just the problem. Don’t delete anything and be sure to keep records.

Always get and give a receipt. One problem I always see on Judge Judy is people not getting a receipt. I am not sure why in 2014 people accept a gentleman’s handshake as a legal contract, because it’s not legal. I would love to save money and pay cash for everything, but when it comes to paying my rent that just won’t do. As a tenant I always want a receipt for my rent and if I was a landlord I would want to give a receipt…just to protect myself.

Photo from flickr

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dee @ Color Me Frugal May 5, 2014 at 6:48 am

I have another tip for landlords: consider a property manager if you live far away from the rental property. We live in a different state from one of our rentals and we are eternally thankful to have a property manager because the tenants are a little high maintenance and are often complaining that something is wrong with the house. Having the property manager there to be able to check it out and handle it is a lifesaver.

2 Kathy May 5, 2014 at 8:34 am

Oh, Kristina, the stories I could tell about tenants. While some of our tenants were absolute jewels, living in our property for 15+ years and paying their rent timely, while not asking for hardly anything, others were the proverbial tenants from hell. One couldn’t be bothered to have trash pick up service so she just threw her garbage in the garage. When she moved there was a knee high carpet of garbage that had to be removed with scoop shovels. Another had so much dog food and poop ground into the carpet. And dogs were against the lease. One couple called at 2:00 AM because they had locked themselves out of the house.

I know that many people in the personal finance community think having rental property is the ultimate path to wealth and it is nice to receive those rent checks (when they come) but we are in the process of selling our last unit. Give me stocks and bonds any day. I’ll leave the being a landlord to someone with a stronger stomach than me.

3 James May 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I highly recommend that you buy real estate. We make several hundred dollars profit from our properties. The bottom line here is that if you’re not making that money, someone else will.

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