I like to believe people will improve themselves. Most of my section 8 people (and I have had 4 tenants on section 8) do there best. They have fallen on hard times. It is difficult to acquire the section 8 voucher. The waiting list is over 3 years here in Ada County and they are not accepting new applicants. When one thinks about this it is very scary. Someone needed help 3 years ago and they still need it. I would imagine that many people have solved their problems by the time they are off the wait list.
About 1.5 years ago I met a pleasant single mom of three kids who just got her voucher. She was particularly excited because the hovel she was living in was in foreclosure. I approached the landlady and it was indeed a hovel and it was in foreclosure. The landlady didn’t want to short sale so I wished her well. The single mom was a full time student with a small work study job on campus. I liked her and wanted to give her chance. I signed a lease with her. After a while the work study job disappeared… Later I found out she had quit school….I could see that she and her kids were not the easiest tenants on the home but I figured it didn’t matter when she left the home would still need painting. Then she kept getting jobs and losing them. The voucher changed in January and it has been hell ever since.
See on section 8 the government pays a portion of the rent and the tenant pays a portion of the rent. She never seemed to have her portion. This worked great when the government was paying all her rent but not so well when she had a portion to pay. I have had to chase her down every month since January. So far I get my rent but it is late and I am expending a lot of effort to get it done. She is not keeping me informed. Last March she lost another job again. I think for cause. She took weeks to follow through with the paperwork to get the full voucher back. She seems to have a “brother” living with her. Housing came back and will give her a full voucher for May but she still owes me $416 for April. I now need to collect this money from her. I am going to suggest she ask her friends and “relatives” or her church. I know I should just evict her but I do not really want to (or have time) to fix the floors (not her fault) and paint before I go to China. I also worry about the 3 kids… I know they are not my problem. If the city will pay I will wait until the next crisis on the theory I could lose 2 months rent to get the $416. Of course I cannot give her a good reference…
Mostly I am VERY ANGRY with her. These vouchers are hard to come by and she does not deserve this voucher. All she had to do is go to housing and fill out some forms. I am sad because I was rooting for her to succeed. I know that not everyone will succeed but she seemed to be trying so hard when she moved in. I am MAD that I have had to waste a lot of my time chasing her down. My time is VALUABLE. I do not know why she seems so flaky these days… I could guess but the answers are not pretty. This woman has a chance to raise her kids in a nice 3 bedroom,2 bath single family home and doesn’t seem to care. Or else she think because I am a liberal Democrat I will let her stay there forever without evicting her. She is actually wrong. I will if I have to and I will feel awful for the 3 kids in her care. I am not sure a mother who wont fill out paperwork deserves the Voucher or the kids… Maybe it would be easier being cynical… I would have expected nothing less…
Signed me Debbie Homes, depressed and annoyed landlord.
Posted in Boise, Boise real estate market, democrat, exhausted real estate agent, Personal
Tagged debbiehomesnet, democrat, government, housing, landlord, paint, rent, section 8, single mom, tenant
OK I now have spent a week on Calcudos (Dad’s research project) and very little time on my business… Some of the work is finished but there is going to be a lot of work while dad is traveling. They offered to take me but as a landlord I am loath to leave when the rent is due. It is hard to leave in this business but if they need me I could go later. My housemate and I have worked very hard with dad and the programmer. Yesterday we tested the program and came up with user suggestions. I also found an error on calculating age. We are going to be asking the doctors to use the program voluntarily and it must be as user friendly as possible…. I can only make suggestions since I do not know how to program. I am a spreadsheet whiz and a scientist but not a programmer. I did succeed in getting a lot of redundant entry gone (or at least I hope I did). I was asked why I didn’t do this 6 months ago and I said I hadn’t worked the program 6 months ago. I have until 11 AM to call my own since I am the only one involved that gets up in the morning…. OK that is an exaggeration but they are set to meet at 11 AM and I will have been to my office and kept my coffee appointment by then.
I think my housemate has some really great ideas and could be very useful if we get to the stage that the program is making a profit. She has already suggested grant writing. We just have to make sure dad has control of the project. The problem is that if something happens to dad the project will not ever move forward. With the right resources this could help in medical practice and help hold down medical costs. The work is worthy….
Well we will see what happens…. If I am going to get to my office today I sort of have to go NOW….
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