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The Landlord Chronicles: Honoring a Tenant Tragedy

Matt Faircloth
2 min read
The Landlord Chronicles: Honoring a Tenant Tragedy

If you are an active landlord and you mention it at a dinner party, we bet you get lots of questions like, “What’s it like?” or, “Tell me a landlord story.” And if you’ve been a landlord for a long time, you’ve got plenty of inspiring and educational stories to tell.

Matt Faircloth and Chad Gallagher are working on a project called The Landlord Chronicles. It’s an immersive collection of stories told by landlords across the country, and each story will include a real-life lesson that any landlord will find useful. The lesson could be, “Here’s what I do now,” or, “Here’s the key thing to never forget that really saved me in this instance.”

Real stories, real landlords, real issues, and a real lesson!

Take a look at this sneak peek and let us know what you think.

Honoring a tenant tragedy

Michael Manthei is a syndicator who owns and manages more than 600 units in Pennsylvania and Texas. Michael was originally an international missionary before he caught the real estate investing bug and began investing in infinite return deal structures. He now uses his empathy and compassion to continue to build his business every day.

Michael was met with a unique and tricky situation when a young man was shot and murdered on the sidewalk outside of one of his buildings. The next day, the local neighbors started to honor the lost life by using graffiti to write on the sidewalks. A big front sidewalk was covered in writings likeGoodbye,” “RIP,” and, “We miss you,” in spray paint. While the intent of the neighbors was positive, it created a feeling that the neighborhood and area were not very safe.

Graffiti on sidewalk paying respects to a deceased tenant

Susan, a new tenant in his building, called up Michael and said that her mom was coming to see her new apartment that afternoon—and her mom wouldn’t be okay with a neighborhood full of graffiti. Michael asked his contractor to pressure wash it and clean it up before her mom arrived, but the neighbors saw this as a negative reaction and felt that Michael and his contractor didn’t understand their pain.

After some deep thought, Michael had an idea. He asked his contractor to stop washing the sidewalk and go to Home Depot for some boards and colored Sharpies. The contractor built a four-foot-high white cross, attached the colored markers to a string on the cross, and installed the cross in a landscaped area near the building. They then encouraged the neighbors to honor their loss through artwork and commentary on the white cross.

Once the cross and markers were set, Michael and the contractor were able to clean up the graffiti without any pushback from the neighborhood. The neighborhood was able to grieve and remember their brother and son and cousin and friend. Susan’s mom visited that afternoon and gave her approval for Susan’s new apartment.

White cross with messages of memorial on it

“I’m so grateful for [this solution] because it checked all the boxes and really helped the community, our tenants, and my property,” Michael comments.

The importance of empathy

Often, balancing all of the human beings involved in the property can feel like balancing in a high-wire act. Empathy can be a very powerful tool in working with people. In this case, Michael did what any landlord should aim to do: Understand the goals of everyone involved and create solutions that meet those goals.

Welcome to The Landlord Chronicles

Did you like what you read? Want to read more?

Do you have a crazy, inspiring, or educational landlord story?

Well, we want to hear from you! Matt Faircloth and Chad Gallagher are compiling landlord stories and the lessons learned from them. If you would be interested in hearing more or are interested in being a contributor to this project, please click here!

Learn more about being a stellar landlord

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.