Most of my life I could always give someone the benefit of the doubt. If they told me something I could believe it and if I was wrong no real harm came to me. I am a trusting soul. If I say I am going to do something or be there I will. If you tell me that you will do something I will usually believe you. If you say you are my friend, I believe you. The very worst that might happen is you could prove me wrong.
I trust the people I surround myself with to be there. So I tried being a landlord for the first time in 1999. A friend recommended a great guy with a couple of dogs. I didn’t ask for references ….I didn’t ask about the dogs… He told me that he was dog sitting… I assumed that meant that he had 2 dogs and one would go away…. NOT… He had given his girlfriend a Rottweiler (They were all Rottweilers) and he broke up with the girl and the dog was now his… That meant I had 3 Rottweilers next door to me and 2 of them were vicious. After they killed my cat I took action. I told him the 2 dogs were going… The only question was whether he was moving or not… These dogs had scared the neighbors, the paper person and myself….
Later in 2005 I tried rentals again… I bought 2 properties… I believed what they told me but I did take applications and I always met the dogs…. I called the references but I felt sorry for them… Poor guy in the custody dispute…. Of course you can move in my lovely home. He was a BLM fire fighter… He burned my kitchen and moved without telling me. He owes me lots of money… Thank G-d for insurance… Then their was the guy who was a “painter”. His wife never said anything. If I had checked his records I would have found numerous felony arrests plead down to misdemeanors… Domestic violence, drug charges, theft…. Plus there were lots of people trying to collect money off him. He even stole the electricity from the power company (he stole an electric meter from a building site and switched it)… The power company made me update the property from 1980 standards to 2006 standards… It was expensive… To try to make up for it he told me he would paint the outside of the home. He started to do it in bright blue. Then I complained and he switched to gray. He didn’t knock off the spider webs….
I guess what I am trying to say is that as a landlord I cannot afford to trust the applicants. I check everything. The police record, the references, the previous landlord and the employer….I meet the pets (dogs)… After a careful screening (and yes sometimes I will believe a story I carefully check out) I let them in. They still have to earn my trust. I find this tiring and depressing. I cannot afford to believe in their goodwill.
I am a good landlord… I fix things when they break… I can help my clients fight the maze of bureaucracy… I listen to there troubles…I get my rent… They don’t usually hurt my places… But I still get depressed when the characters come through who want to rent. I just can’t trust them…. I reject at least 80% of those who want my places… I can’t afford to make a mistake… If you want to go into property management be aware that you have to take off the trusting hat when screening tenants. I usually advice new landlords to hire a professional. My tuition was expensive.
I wish things were differerent. I am a less trusting person in my life because I am a landlord. I might sell the homes but they are my retirement. Besides the market is down and I would lose money. I half own 5 units and manage 6 for my step mom.
So when you go into a new profession think of what the results will be to your inner you…. Mine is that I can’t assume most people will treat me correctly or with honesty. I have lost that rose colored view of the world because I am a landlord.
This post is a submission to the ActiveRain / Adobe EchoSign Trust Contest. I could possibly win a prize. You can find out about the contest by clicking here