Rental Case Study- What I Did Wrong as a Landlord

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Several months ago, I wrote a piece called ““How I Accidentally Bought Two of Kurt Cobain’s Former Homes and Why That’s Not Even The Best Part”” that talked about my favorite investment I own – a small duplex that was once inhabited by Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain (as a baby.) While I love this property dearly – the past several weeks I’ve been dealing with a mess and I thought I would share the story here – to perhaps help others from experiencing the same problems.

The story begins twelve months ago. The tenant in the front house (they are separate homes, on one lot) moved out at the end of December and left the place in fairly-typical disarray. I spent the month repainting and installed new carpet, along with new flooring in the kitchen and some other minor updates. The home looked presentable and I placed an ad in the local newspaper, along with a sign in the yard, a Craigslist ad, and several other marketing techniques.

So far, so good.

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The First Mistake

The problem, ironically, began with a cruise.

Yep – a cruise ship. I was setting sail for a weeklong cruise in the Bahamas during the first week of February and the right-side of my brain told me that I should try my hardest to get the unit rented before I leave. After all, if I didn’t get someone in by February 1st – I would probably not find someone for the entire month, which would cost me $625.

Remember that number- $625. I’ll come back to it later.

I showed the property to a young gal with four kids. She was very nice, and offered to pay six months of rent in advance from her tax return. Great!

I screened the tenant the same way I always do –

  • Income,
  • Background,
  • Previous landlord &
  • Job verification.

The income was borderline and the job was brand new, but the six-months advanced rent helped me to feel comfortable. She didn’t have any previous landlord references (apparently she had lived with family?) and her boyfriend was currently in jail for the next five to ten years, so I didn’t need to worry about that. Also – I have a rule (you can read all my ‘rules’ in my post How to Rent Your House) that states there can be a maximum of two people per bedroom. This, being a two bedroom home (and roughly 800 square feet,) should have maxed at four people total, but because they were kids – I let it slide. Mistake #1.

If you are an experienced landlord – you can probably see a few warning signs in there. I took some precaution and required a double security deposit from the woman – and approved her quickly. The next day I left on my cruise.

So far, so good.

Or so I thought.

Signs of Trouble

The first indication that something was wrong came a few months later – when the tenant (a sweet old lady) in the other house (remember, this is a duplex) called to complain about all the kids. They were “destroying the property.” Now, I know this lady was older and probably exaggerating. I’m sure she just didn’t like kids – and kids will be kids. After all – it was only four kids. So I added it to my lengthly list of “things to do someday” and sent the tenant at fault a nice letter asking her to control her kids . Mistake #2.

Several months later I received another call, this time from another neighbor who looked me up to complain about “all the kids causing a ruckus.” I guess they were climbing all over the neighbor’s RV and throwing rocks. This is the typical kind of complaints that landlords receive all the time, so I also put it on my list of things to get to and sent another letter.

When the third complaint came in from another neighbor – I knew I better do something about it. I called the tenant to let her know the concerns – and she said she would try to keep her kids in check – but her sister was watching them during the day while she was at work so she couldn’t guarantee it.

The Inspection

After several more calls from the sweet old lady in the other house, I decided to finally pull out my old to-do list and take care of this problem. I scheduled my manager to head over and to do an inspection of the property and, once again, talk with the tenant – but this time in person.

He reported back that yes, the house was experiencing some wear and tear, but nothing out-of-the ordinary for having six kids living at the house.

Six kids?

Apparently the tenant had moved in a relative who had a couple kids – and a dog.

At this point, corrective action should have been taken. I should have asked her to either move the new guests out or move out herself. However, the autumn was approaching and finding tenants was becoming a more difficult task. So I let it slide. Mistake #3.

After all – how much damage could six kids and a dog do? After all – I wouldn’t want the house vacant for another month. That would cost me $625.

The Aftermath

The tenant gave me notice and left at the end of December. She never missed a payment and was generally a nice tenant to deal with. Upon leaving, she left the key in the mailbox and a message on my voicemail that she had “cleaned really well.”

However – walking into the home I was shocked.

Nearly every square inch of the walls, the floor, and the trim was covered in a unique combination of grease and color crayon. The carpet had stains, the vinyl had holes, furniture was left, garbage piled all around, the siding was tore off the back of the house, and there was a strange smell that saturated the place that Colorado and Washington landlords will be getting more and more accustomed to – marijuana.

How could six kids make such a mess!?

More than Six Kids

The answer, of course, is that there were more than six kids.

Far more.

Apparently – according to the neighbors, the tenant had moved in more people, as well as running a daycare for all her family and friends. At any given point, there were 15-20 kids in that small, two bedroom, 800 square foot house with minimal to no adult supervision.

It’s a wonder the house is still standing.

My contractor is working on the home right now. It’s been vacant since January first, and I’ll be lucky to have the property rented by February 1st, costing me $625 in missed rent…

…and a $5000 bill to the contractor.

What I Did Wrong

I view every problem as a chance to improve. Let’s look at what I did wrong here – and the lessons I learned.

  1. Don’t be in a Hurry

    I didn’t want to sacrifice losing $625 in rent – only to be hit with almost 10x that in charges from the tenant. Lesson: it’s best to wait for the best tenant, rather than trying to save a buck at the beginning.

  2. Don’t Compromise on your Standards

    I have rules for a reason – because better landlords have come before me and determined that they work. Lesson: pay attention to my own rules. Even a double security deposit and six months of advanced rent wasn’t enough to justify breaking my rules.

  3. Check Up Often

    Most of the problems I experienced could have been dealt with at a much earlier stage – had I listened to the neighbors and gone and checked things out myself, rather than putting it all on a to-do list and sending an easy-to-ignore letter. A contractor can inspect – but it’s not their home. They don’t care about the things I care about – and they didn’t know the condition before.

  4. Sometimes You Just Never Know

    Honestly – sometimes a tenant will pass all (or most) of the qualifications – and still turn out a costly venture. As a landlord – it’s our job to screen the best we can in hopes that we can find the best tenants. Usually it works – sometimes it doesn’t.

The property should be up and running in a few days – and it still is my favorite property because of the great cashflow I get. But cashflow means nothing when it all gets thrown out the window to pay a contractor to fix it up every year. That’s not cashflow. That’s just a headache.

The main lesson I’ve learned, and I want you to take away from this story, is:

Even a great cashflow positive, rockstar property can turn sour if not managed correctly.

What do you think? Would you have rented to her? What would you have done differently? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat.

About Author

Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He began buying rental properties and flipping houses at age 21, discovering he didn’t need to work 40 years at a corporate job to have “the good life.” Today, with nearly 100 rental units and dozens of rehabs under his belt, he continues to invest in real estate while also showing others the power, and impact, of financial freedom. His writings have been featured on,,, Money Magazine, and numerous other publications across the web and in print media. He is the author of The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down, The Book on Rental Property Investing, and co-author of The Book on Managing Rental Properties, which he wrote alongside his wife, Heather, and How to Invest in Real Estate, which he wrote alongside Joshua Dorkin. A life-long adventurer, Brandon (along with Heather and daughter Rosie) splits his time between his home in Washington State and various destinations around the globe.


  1. Brandon,
    As soon as you said 6 months upfront I thought, Ohhhh nooooo. If you have not already watched it…. Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton. After watching that one, you will not be tempted by upfront money ever again.


  2. Very funny!!! But true. I was in the landlord business for 27 years and I can tell you every time, with the exception of once, that I compromised my qualifications I was bit. Anytime anyone said they could pay several months up front, I found a reason to turn them away. That is one of the biggest red flags I’ve come across. I would rather let units sit empty than pay out the nose to rehab after they are ruined. Stick to your guns, it’s worth it in the long run. Also, no rental reference, no renting without a perfectly clean co-signer. NEVER!

    • Katie Rogers

      Upfront money is not always a bad thing unless you do not otherwise screen well. When I came back from a long stint with obviously no landlord references, or a credit score (because I had been in a cash economy), I used the offer of upfront money.

      I do not know where you were, but in my town there is an occupancy ordinance; number or (bedrooms x 2) + 1 = the number of occupants. I would have insisted on meeting the kids. I always took my kids with me to property manager’s offices so they could observe my kids sitting quietly reading their books. Because of this a property manager let me rent in a building that had always been adults only. My kids were the first kids ever to live in the property. My kids made such a great impression during the three years we lived there, the property changed the rules and started accepting families on a case by case basis.

      If I had been your tenant, you would have found your property move-in ready for the next tenant, and probably flowers blooming if there was any dirt to plant in.

  3. Brandon I think I might have rented to this same woman! People like this are everywhere, I made the same mistake, but I am still dealing with the consequences which have cost me at least $10,000 so far.

    My mistake was not evicting my nice old lady the day I bought the place. You see she came with the property, and I had a bad feeling about her and her hoard of hang arounds.

    The former property manager pleaded with me not to follow through with removing her from the building. Instead I raised her rent $200 a month and separated all the utilities making her pay for gas heat and hot water. The nice old lady didn’t seem in the least upset.
    She paid on the time and every time, of course this should have been a warning sign as she did not actually have sufficient income to pay the higher rent.

    Like all bad things left alone they grow completely out of control, the nice lady decided I was giving her permission to take in renters, do massive amounts of laundry by installing a laundry of her own in the basement storage area, and also connecting a garden hose to her kitchen sink to run a car wash on Sunday. Her biggest money maker is selling weed and crack cocaine.

    In the end I started loosing tenants, the landlord next door complained that she had run off his nice old retired guy who was in residence for 10 years.

    I decided it was time to part ways with this nice old lady who by this time had totally destroyed the interior finishes of every surface, and broken each and every door jamb.

    What came next was a bit of a surprise, she told me that I would not have to evict her, because she was moving. Great that was easy! That is until I found the knuckle head landlord next door rented to her for $300 less per month than I was charging and he pays the heat and hot water!

    So know I have no control over this completely out of control tenant, and my unit next door has been vacant for 2 months, out of 15 units on this block I have 4 vacancies and 2 tenants who are not paying one is being evicted the other is 5 days away from having me file against her.

    All this can be traced to one mistake of not going with my gut instinct and breaking my hard learned rules.

    The only bright rays of sunshine in this dreary story is, I have a friend in the narcotics division of the local precinct, and two when her new landlord realizes that between the increase in utilities and wear and tear these folks will be adding to his bottom line he will actually be loosing money each month.

    My friend in narcotics said some times they have to break the doors off the hinges if the people inside don’t answer fast enough. They need to surprise them so the drugs don’t get hidden too well. He also said I should make sure my buildings are clearly marked as to their addresses so there is no mix up during the coming raid.

  4. I believe one of the main pieces of advice, perhaps the most important, you left out, is the need to regularly – emphasize REGULARLY, spot check your properties.
    I do not mean your annual inspection top to bottom stuff.

    I mean the occasional drop in/ checking the pilot light, or the smoke detector battery, spot check.

    These can alert you to the most common problems. – crayons, walls dings, broken glass etc That you can address with the tenant with explicit instructions to fix or repair or pay you to get it repaired by a non-negotiable HARD deadline.

    If they do not play “ball” that is your cue – you now know you have a difficult tenant – to head on over to JP Court and get them OUT ASAP.

    No one to blame but YOURSELF in these situations where through neglect, laziness, or an overscheduled and under-prioriiy business style has cost you.

    Nice narrative – interesting, smooth, and compelling.

    Next thing you – and other would-be landlords – may want to do, is to post this story by your bathroom mirror for daily reminders.

  5. I think the best lesson here along with the spot checks already memtioned is getting to know all the neighbors. Each property I own, I made a point to get to know several of the neighbors. This not only allows you as a landlord leeway with the neighbors if you are doing loud repairs or remodels but also shows them that you care about the neighborhood and are improving things which benefits everyone. The neighbors will not hesitate to call if the power goes out or something suspisious is going on or the cops are called, anything. The other added benefit is that it builds your reputation and might just lead to potential future deals. Thanks for the insightful article.

  6. Happy to read your list of rules. I have owned rentals for 10+ years – currently a triplex. Really only one bad experience. By nature, I try to and see the best in people. Hard times hit us all. So when this down and out, young mother with four kids ages 2-10, sought to rent my large 3bed/2ba unit, I was cautious but open.

    She presented herself with confidence and was quite likable. She assured me upfront she had bad credit due to her recent divorce and hospital bills from a sick child. She had just moved here from Alaska and her military ex-husband was going to pay the rent. Her friend was helping with the children while she “worked”. Her darling, well mannered children cinched the deal. I decided to give her a chance. Rent was paid on time for that year, the kids were sweet and all was well. It felt good to give a chance and make a difference in someones life – especially when they were trying so hard themselves.

    That is, until I received a call from the police asking that I meet them at the apartment to let them in. The kids had been alone for five days – something that happened a lot. They had picked the mom up and she didn’t even tell them she had kids at home alone. They found out when her friend came to visit and she mentioned them to the Police. The mom was a meth-head and a woman-of -the-night who was on her way to many months in jail. Her ex-husband flew here from Alaska to get the children (only 2 were his but he took them all), moved her belongings and settled accounts with me. He was to be deployed to Iraq in one week. Fortunately, his mother in Spokane was willing to take the kids. All could have ended a lot worse.

    In all this, It only cost me the next months rent of $675, a week of clean up and a lesson well learned.. I will still give people a chance but I listen more with my ears than my heart.

    • Brandon Turner

      That’s a really sad story Lynn! I do the same thing though – I want to see the best in everyone. I generally like everyone until they give me a reason not to, and still I usually still do. For example – I still like this tenant with the billion kids. Nice girl.

    • Katie Rogers

      When I was a tenant, I ran into a lot of landlords who refused to break their rules. It made it difficult for me to find a place to live. I am eternally grateful to landlords to did not let a past bad experience completely close their minds (see my earlier comment).

  7. Hi Brandon,
    Thanks a lot for your article! It takes guts to put yourself “out there” and share stories we can all learn from. It’s easy to ramble on about our wins and I respect that you can share costly mistakes with the rest of us. We’re all in this together!

  8. Good story to help keep us landlords on our toes. From the numerous books, articles, blog posts, forum posts, and discussions I’ve exposed myself to I have found that being friendly but stern on your rules is probably one of the most important things to remember as a landlord.

    I consider my duplex a rockstar not because of the cash flow, though it does throw decent cash flow, but because it’s a beautiful apartment that attracts great renters. This past winter a tenant got laid-off and had to move-out before his lease expired. My apartment sat empty for 3 months!! because it was a bad time to rent and I couldn’t find anyone that met all my qualifications. It hurt financially to the tune of about $2k (I also had to pay $5200 for a new sewer line and lateral during this vacancy!) but I eventually got it rented to a newly married couple that I would categorize as the “ideal” tenants.

    In summation, thanks for the good article cause it helped reinforce that not bending on my rules/policies was the right decision even though it hurt financially at the time. As an extra bonus my tenants have informed me they love living there and will likely stay 3yr-4yrs.

    • A lesson learned is the best lesson of all!!!

      As for you Mr. SteeIe, no flames; but if merely being a single mother is a disqualifier for you, I’m sure you’ve got a slew of others that you’ve managed to “justify.” Be careful what you say, it might just show who and what you really are!!!

      • You had me at 4 kids in a 2 bedroom. Haha. Seriously, why would you consider more than 2 kids in a 2 bedroom? Adults (maximum of 2) in one room, kids (maximum of 2) in the other room. You people living with more than 2 kids in a 2 bd aren’t living right, low income or not.

        • In California anti-descrimination laws say 2 people per bedroom, plus one, so in this case 5 would be allowed. Other factors (size of the house) might be defensible, and the minute other folks & unlicensed daycare moved in you could require remedy or vacate.

        • Katie Rogers

          “You people living with more than 2 kids in a 2 bd aren’t living right, low income or not.” Not so, and not fair. In Japan, for example, families of 5 routinely live in what Americans would classify as a one-bedroom apartment.

  9. Mr. Steele – I’m a single mom and I would rent to me. I would want to believe there are others just like me. I know a single guy with an 11 yr old son that I would be very cautious about. It shouldn’t be the fact that a renter might be single with children, rather we should be concerned that everything else checks out OK.

      • Dennis, I do know where you guys are coming from. I see things from a more personal perspective. My mother had a permanent husband. She worked hard and was the main provider for our family of 7. She is the one that made sure the mortgage was paid. My father was just another one of the kids living the easy life. Also, so there is no confusion or appearance of being irresponsible, I willfully adopted my daughter. We try not to be a burden on society and give back as much as we can, just saying…

        • Lynn,

          I am not speaking to women such as you and your mother, but we know there is a segment of society that is very selfish in that these women have decided they want something they should not have.

          They are figuring grand mom or society will pick up the tab, in the end grand mom gets tired of raising the child while Miss irresponsible goes on with her partly life, and the child ends up with the short end of the stick as does society in general.

          The statistics don’t lie most single mother are handed a one way ticket to poverty, their spawn fill the prisons and the ranks of the chronically unemployed.

          Don’t get me wrong i am not condemning you, as you have committed an act of charity out of love. I know what you went through to adopt your child as both of my children are also adopted. If everyone had to measure up to the standards those adopting children were put through before having children, 90% would be barred from doing so.

          The single mother in my unit came to me from her mother’s home, she is a baby welfare machine. Everything was ok with grand mom until the daughter decided party life was more important then motherhood, she had grow tired of her new toys.
          Subsequently the party girl has gotten addicted to meth, lost custody of her welfare paycheck babies. She now needs to feed he drug habit on my rent that was paid by her mother.

          When I rented to her it was with the understanding that her mother was to pay me directly, but the venom of the daughter has scared the mother into sending the rent to her drug habit.

          I am going to get a large judgement agains the mother and the daughter, the latter is worthless as will be the former as the mother to escape the daughter has moved to Nevada. Collecting a judgement from the other end of the Country is not going to cost effective.

          So here is my point; I will not make this mistake again, unless the mother can stand on her own two feet credit wise.

          It is a shame our government has selected certain folks attain the protected class category, I understand government needs crisis, they need to “save us, protect us”
          they are kept in office by zombie voters of which this mother and daughter have become.

          I am fully expecting this sweet young lady to trash my unit on her exit. The government does not care as it is no skin off their backs is it?

          Let me just leave you with a link to two Cities who have decided they have had enough of bad tenant behavior and have passed laws to correct this scourge on their communities. I would suggest all on these boards direct their efforts as I have done to contact their government officials to make change along these lines.

          Currently 44% of the licensed housing in Philadelphia, PA is rentals. This is a huge sector of folks with no regulations in place to guide their behavior in the community.

  10. Folks — Discriminating against any protected classes is not only wrong but yes, it is illegal. Don’t do it! We ABSOLUTELY DO NOT advocate this kind of behavior here at BiggerPockets and hope those people who think about doing it, think twice. You are just setting yourself up for a nice lawsuit from the next single female that you decide not to rent to.

    • Thank you, Mr. Dorkin! I joined BiggerPockets for insight on how to run my business and I am appalled at some of the things I’ve read on here…thank you for helping provide a great resource for those of us committed to being successful business owners that not only operate within the confines of the law, but do so with a sense of pride and integrity!!

  11. Hi,

    I loved your article and know firsthand the pain you went through. I’ve been landlording for over 10 years and I honestly do love real estate as an investment, but I’ve learned my lessons with blood sweat and tears, trust me!! Here’s my thoughts:

    1. The second anyone tells me they want to pay multiple month’s advance I cut them from the list! Reason: They cant handle their finances, and most likely have a lump sum and are desperate to get a place quick. That usually means bad news for the new landlord because they just screwed over their last landlord.
    2. Real estate is a hands on, face to face business. I personally am not a fan of using a 3rd party in between myself and the tenant like a management company (my opinion a waste of money), and if I thought there was a problem with kids and neighbors I would have went over there or at least called and tried to get the story straight, then drive by to look around the property. You have to see with your own eyes.

    The other thing…always try to avoid putting carpet in a rental if at all possible. The biggest waste of money there is!! If there’s hardwood floors or even nice pine floors, sand and stain and seal them with poly and you’ll be good to go for many many years. After they’re scratched and ruined…just refinish them again!! Tell the tenants to put down area rugs so it’s their expense not yours when they trash them.

    Other than that I think it’s great that you’re in the R.E. game! Hang on for the ride and reap the benefits!! I love real estate but it has to be treated more like a “place of business” rather than a stock. Hands on and face to face. Btw I do love stocks too because you bypass all the nonsense listed above lol! Thanks for the article!


    • Brandon Turner

      Great comment Dave and great advice. I also don’t like have an inbetween, but I finally reached the tipping point where I couldn’t do it anymore so I have a ‘resident manager’ as a go-between. It makes things tough sometimes though!

  12. 1. If it wasn’t for single mom tenants, I wouldn’t have the successful business that I have. I was a single mom for a long time. Some of my worst and most obnoxious tenants have actually been single men. Nope, you can’t tell a thing by looking at the outside.
    which brings me to:

    2. Have a screening system in place and use EXACTLY the same process for every applicant. There are a number of great online screening processes to choose from. We started with National Tenant Network ( We no longer use them but did for many years.

    3. Never discriminate – protected class or not. Have a system in place. Use it. Not only do Consumer Protection Agencies want to know that you treat everyone the same, but it’s by far the easiest and most effective way for a Landlord to make sure they’re putting the right tenant in their property.

    To your landlording success!

    • Absolutely @Karen Rittenhouse.

      To say that single women are “bad tenants” and not to rent to them is beyond my comprehension. No one segment of the population is “bad”.

      Personally my biggest offenders were men that tore up my houses after bouts of getting drunk, pulled their motorcycles onto the living room carpet to work on them, and were crappy, dirty tenants in general.

      Does that mean that ALL men are bad tenants? No. Does that mean I didn’t rent to single men? No. It’s against the law.

      Folks; you do know that those fair housing employees go around town and “pretend” to be tenants and appy for housing right? You never know who is standing before you asking for that application.

      Every landlord had better get a copy of the landlord tenant regulations and know them.

  13. Sorry, but I don’t understand why upfront money is a red flag? It seems like it would just reduce your risk by having that many months of rent guaranteed up front? I’m sure there is a reason it’s bad, can someone fill me in?

    • Upfront money is a red flag because the source of the money is usually their existing landlord who has not as yet filed a eviction for non payment of rent.

      You have to determine how they came up with more then 3 months rent, considering their income. I am speaking to low income tenants, who most all live paycheck to paycheck with no savings.

      In PA if we are smart landlords we collect 1st, last, and one month security deposit on a one year lease. The first month is gone with the move in, the last is used on the last month of the lease if not renewed, this leaves the tenant a month to put towards the next apartment if they move.

      Foolish landlords who believe a tenant is actually going to pay 2 months at the upcoming 1st of the month, basically gift the tenant 2 months rent before they even have a chance to file. In Philadelphia, PA we have to give at least 3 days notice just in case the tenant does not realize not paying rent will start an eviction, the court however likes to see 50=-10 days. Then it takes 2 or 3 weeks to get a court date, the tenant no matter what is granted 30 days to find a new fool to rent from. At the end of 30 days if they have not as yet moved (then never do) we have to wait an additional 11 days before the Sheriff can be contacted, usually 2 weeks after this time the Sheriff will come out and do the actual eviction of the tenant if they are still in place (many of them are).

      So in low income when a tenant walks in with 4-6 months rent they are willing to give you up front, they are hoping against all hope that your greed factor kicks in and you dispense with a background check.

      Recently I had a tenant call me directly for a unit wanting to hand me near a years rent up front. I asked why they didn’t call the number posted on the building. Their reply was a bit shocking, it seems they didn’t want to go through a Realtor but were only interested in properties in the Craigslist. I guess their are a lot more suckers in the Craigslist.

      So the math indicates

      • Katie Rogers

        Personally, when I was a tenant, I much preferred working directly with the landlord, not a realtor or property manager. Upfront money is not necessarily a deal breaker. There are a lot of legitimate reasons why a tenant might offer upfront money. For example, my son rents. When he was looking for his apartment, most landlords required a lot of personal information that as an information security expert he was not willing to provide. He offered great references and a one-year upfront payment. Most landlords refused him. He has been with the landlord who accepted him for three years now.

  14. I’ll take a different approach on thoughts from this.

    Reading this makes me happier I am moving my rental portfolio out of my home market.
    You can collect 6 months rent up front and a double security deposit???
    That is SOOOOOOOO illegal here!

    I would guess that I would be more likely to go to jail for doing that then if I stabbed you in the eye with an ice-pick. 🙂

  15. I am in a similar situation. Tenant was vetted by a professional company. Single Dad 2 kids. Within 4 mos carlpet was ruined, baby mama moved in. Older daughter and her kid moved in. Pets, broken windows, broken faucets, the list goes on. He kept telling me he was going to fix it and apologized for his kids. I am now giving him his 60 days notice that his lease expires.

  16. Jerry Kaidor on

    My next door neighbor got a doozie. He rented his house – the house next door to mine – to a nice couple. They were very very quiet people. You never saw them around. Once and a while I would meet the man on the street and he’d say hello, but not much more than that.

    Turns out that the tenant had turned my neighbor’s house into a “grow house”, and had
    dedicated the entire second floor to growing marijuana. He got caught, the police raided the house and removed the plants.

    The house suffered extensive damage. Carpets toast, mold on the walls, water damage, sheetrock damage, illegal electrical modifications ( for the giant grow lights ). Etc.

    Interestingly, the tenant had applied with his real name…. and this turkey owns a house in San Francisco! I advised my neighbor to sue him in Superior Court.

    The police said that he would probably not be punished much for growing the pot – probably just a slap on the wrist. What he was REALLY going to get nailed for would be grand theft from the power company.

  17. Nolo Press has a GREAT land-lording book package. It covers evictions, tenants rights, landlord obligations, discrimination,& even has boiler-plate lease forms on a DVD that can be modified — WELL worth the $.
    I purchased it when I had to ask my first tenant to leave. The $ spend on this was worth 10x what I spend, while the $ spent on the local lawyer was worth 1/10th (he re-wrote my draft letter putting my name as “tenant”, and hers as “owner” — ARGH!).

  18. John D.

    I read in the comments about spot checking the property regularly. When I was renting in an apartment community I did not have anyone spot check me and I am sure I would not have liked it as a tenant.

    As a landlord how do you then legally spot check and ensure that your tenant does not take offense?

    • Katie Rogers

      Good question, which I asked on another post. Nevertheless, you can at least drive by, and get some indication. I have never been spot checked (unless I count the one landlord who peered in the windows almost every day. That was unnerving to look up and there she was.

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