Micah and I are going into the Landlord business. If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, then you know we’ve been helping my parents rent out 5 townhouse/condos. My parents have had the land for about 20 or so years. There used to be a triplex they rented on it which was in need of some MAJOR repairs. Eventually they decided to demolish the triplex and put up two building which would amount to 5 units total.
When they started building, Dadtractor asked me if we would manage the property for them. He said he wasn’t very good at selecting tenants (which he wasn’t) and he knew most tenants like to communicate via email (which he doesn’t). He offered me a VERY small fee for taking on the project as he knew it would require a lot of work at first then a couple of hours every month. I agreed. I knew Dadtractor managing the property would make Momager crazy, plus the extra cash helps. Anyone else notice food prices increasing lately?
Anyway, I’ve been showing the apartment for a week and have 3 of the 5 units rented. I have 1 unit sort of spoken for (I haven’t seen an application) and 1 unit completely available. Not too bad for a rookie.
Being on the other side of the renting relationship is interesting. Renters are kind of crazy. One person asked me if we were willing to install wood floors in the bedroom (we already have the carpets) but keep the rent the same. Um, hello? The cost is over $1000 more for materials PLUS the labor? Are you smoking something? I also like the people who tell me they are looking for a place in August and would like to put an apartment on hold. The apartment is available on April 1. I asked them if they were going to pay for April-July (of course they weren’t but they made the first silly request) and they said no but they could guarantee they would sign a 1 year lease. That’s OK, I’ll pass.
Some requests are reasonable though. Can a gate be installed so the dog doesn’t run away? Sure. Can you guarantee there wouldn’t be a rent increase next year? Well, no BUT I can guarantee it won’t be more than $25 more a month. Can I have the bigger 2 bedroom for $50 less. Sorry. We do have a smaller 2 bedroom for $100 less though. All fare requests.
Now I’m putting together the contract and adding a few extra clauses like the temporary shared use of the backyard. There is a backyard that we think everyone can share. We’re giving the arrangement until the end of the summer. If we get too many complaints, we’ll revise the use of it. We’re also saying dogs HAVE to be supervised at all times and picked up after.
We’re hoping to be really good landlords. We don’t expect too much and are pretty flexible. I’m trying to think about all the really good landlords we’ve had and what made them great. All I can come up with was that they NEVER raised the rent, they we’re reasonably responsive to requests to fix things and they were understanding when we forgot to pay the rent. Rent was due the day we got married and I completely forgot until we were in Australia 3 days later. We scrambled to get our parents to call our landlord and get a check to him. He was totally great and told not to worry about the rent until we got back. So awesome.
So, for all you current and pervious renters, what advice would you give new landlords? We’re all ears.