Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Hypocrite

 I live in a relatively rural part of the country, although I do live in a small town. I am surrounded by miles of woods and farm land. Poverty is a problem here, with so many children living in poverty that every child has access to free lunches at school. 

Things have certainly changed since I was a child. 

As landlords, Tim and I are quite familiar with the following scenario: Someone comes to you to rent a place. The idea that tenants are 'vetted' seems to be uncommon, but we are careful to protect our current tenants, and we feel a big responsibility not to bring in shady people. Something else that we make very clear at the very first meeting is that the apartment is being rented to them and them alone, If they decide to bring in another person to live with them, that person also must pass a background check. 

This makes people angry sometimes, that we are so mindful. One young man listened and then announced that he intended to bring his girlfriend in as well as another couple. 

"If those people are not approved by us, prior to the move-in, it would be considered a violation of the lease as carefully outlined in the paper you are required to sign before you move in. Your lease would be void, and you would have to move out." we explain firmly.

His jaw jutted and he aggressively told us that once he paid his rent, the property was his.  He also told us that we didn't understand. He had the money and was prepared to give it to us on the spot and move in immediately. "No," we said, "that's not how we work." 

It amazes me the number of landlords that are so anxious to fill an apartment that they would have taken that deal. They are the ones who complain about being taken advantage of by their tenants. It doesn't make sense to us. If they were more selective about the tenants, they could avoid most of their problems. Better to have the place set empty for a month or two than to move someone in quickly and find you've got a problem. 

One of the most common problems is to have a group of people who are working together. The one with a job will apply for an apartment and then all of them move in. It is never a good situation. It's noisy, and chaotic, and the property usually takes a beating. Normally what happens is that rents get behind, and you wind up with an eviction situation which takes forever to sort out legally. Meanwhile, the property is destroyed before your very eyes and you have no recourse but to sue for damages after the fact. You will win, but you will never receive a penny. 

These thoughts are brought to mind because, on the drive home from the eastern side of the state, I drove through a lot of towns. I caught a glimpse of a ragged person with a big back pack standing at the front door of a church. At a red light in another town, a man crossed in front of my car, bundled against the cold holding a hot cup of coffee, his head down, a back pack on his back. A group of people stood out of the wind against a building in yet another place. 

We don't see that much where I live and it is a bit eye opening to me. We had a homeless woman for a while, but she moved on. We have a homeless man who lives in a place I will not name, and the local business owners seem to make sure of his wellbeing. 

It has been so very cold and I worry about the people who have no place to go.

I think of the people that we have turned down, and I feel like a hypocrite. 


16 comments:

  1. You are not. You are being responsible, and that goes both ways.
    Homelessness is a worldwide problem now, as is people needing food banks.
    I don't know the solution.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That doesn't make you a hypocrite, Debby. Just a good and responsible landlord. I sure wish we'd jad landlords like you and Tim all the years we were renting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You've been a good landlord. Best to clarify up front, even if it perturbs folks. I've rented houses and duplexes many times. All of the paperwork stated the deal, and no subletting; if another moved in, that it changed the terms or voided the lease. Such legalese kept the place and the neighborhood safe. (Most landlords love reputable nurses anyway as tenets.)
    There will always be homeless folks due to a lot of factors. Donating to the closest shelter might ease your concerns. Yep, it's too cold. Some churches and schools have opened briefly to help in K.C., beyond the usual shelters available. Linda in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
  4. We have only rented out properties we have lived in and have been unable to sell to move on. The last time, we didn't use an agent. We advertised in the nurses home and charged below the going rate. We had three lots of nurses before we eventually sold it. They caused us no difficuties at all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Not hypocritical at all. You having a busted up rental property won't help anyone at all. You may be a very generous person to charities but your rental property is not a charitable venture.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is sad, isn't it? It is difficult to know what to do. There may be shelters available for the homeless that want them and your rental is not a homeless shelter. You are providing a good service by keeping your place safe and in good shape. I don't think you are a hypocrite for managing a decent rental.
    I have been thinking of volunteering to help somewhere since I am retired but with Covid around, I haven't found the right fit yet...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm glad I'm not a land lord. I've heard so many horror stories

    ReplyDelete
  8. "I caught a glimpse of a ragged person with a big back pack standing at the front door of a church" and I can hear Ray Charles singing..."America, America may God thy gold refine/
    'Til all success be nobleness/And every gain divined..." You and Tim are not running a charity. You do right to choose your tenants with care.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Andrew, you have really made it so plain to me. You are right, of course. I will take your words to heart and consider them every time that I start feeling guilty.

    Adam, we are so, so lucky with our tenants. Truly. We may be picky, but we have wonderful tenants. Every last one of them. We have a couple (and yes, Drum Major and Tasker, one of them is a nurse who swears she'll be taken out of her little house feet first) who have done so much landscaping around their homes that we deducted money from their rents! We have had some stinkers, but most of our tenants stay long term. Three young couples left when they bought their own homes and you cannot help but be thrilled for them. We felt as if we'd had a part in that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. - John Lydgate

    ReplyDelete
  11. the cold is all relative. We have many homeless here and some refuse to stay in the shelters but camp "rough" In other words they sleep in the bush with what ever shelter they can find.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We once owned a duplex and rented out the top floor. We didn’t have a bad experience, but I wouldn’t do it again.

    Could you really evict someone if they did bring in an extra occupant after the fact?

    ReplyDelete
  13. We rent my old condo and my husband's old house and I hate renting. Of course the house has been rented by family members who have trashed it and either paid no rent or far below what it's worth. We will be having an actual rent in the house now and I think I'll take your advice re: friends and more people, sounds reasonable.

    I will be glad when we can sell both properties but I am glad there are people in the world like you and Tim.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, AC, we could. Understand that we have had tenants who developed relationships while tenants and wanted to move their partners in. They come to us, we discuss it. Normally, good people run around with good people and it is not a problem. One of our last tenants lived with us for a bit over a year. She was a hard worker. The daughter of someone that Tim was familiar with. He made the decision to rent. Within days of moving in, her boyfriend had gotten out of jail. She did not mention that he had moved in, but it was plain to Tim that he had. He had a discussion with him and under duress, the boyfriend offered up his info. Turned out he was in and out of jail and had quite a drug history. We let them know that he was in on a trial basis and that the first time that there was a problem, he would be asked to leave. He was a charmer, a thief, and a drug user. They also began to fight. It got quite disruptive. She threw him out which seemed in our eyes to have solved the problem, but it soon came clear that despite her clean record and hard worker, she was a hard partier as well. She posted some pretty wild videos of herself at her parties in the apartment on facebook. Tim was called out of bed a few times in the middle of the night. It got dicier and there were signs that the apartment was being damaged and at the end of her lease, we told her that we were not renewing with her. She was shocked. She felt that because she was never late with rent, she was in good standing.

    Because it is written into the lease that tenants shall not bring additional people into the apartments, we can use that as a deal breaker if we want to. We do not always do that. We usually don't need to. The worst offender we had was a young man who moved into an efficiency. He discovered that he could get free wi-fi from the nursing home next door. The next thing you know, there were 6 or 7 of his friends moved into an efficiency. Tim offered the kid two hundred dollars cash to be out by the end of the week. He took the deal. While it may seem counter productive to pay a tenant for poor behavior, it got him out of the building quickly. There were two other apartments there, and it was a huge security issue with strangers in and out at all hours. An eviction process takes months. It was not fair to the other tenants to have this activity going on. There was no way of knowing who these people were.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My friend rents an apartment and her lease states 1 person (her) and 1 cat. If a friends wants to move in she can show her lease and say 1 person, 1 cat. It keeps lazy friends from going any further with the request. She says my landlord is to good to me to take a chance losing this place. We are like you a small farming area and know just about everyone and the landlord would probably screen and allow another person but my friend like her space and living alone as she works long hours. This lease says no without her having to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. All the others have said it, but I don't see how you're being hypocritical. There's nothing wrong with having standards (within legal limits, obviously) and holding potential tenants to them. It's your property, after all.

    ReplyDelete

I'm glad you're here!

No news

 So...no results for Tim yet.  (I need patience...and quickly.) Houdi went into hiding again for most of the afternoon. I was quite worried....