To most landlords (or landladies) out there the above statement is a flash of the blindingly obvious, but for some it is a very controversial statement. Heck, I was accused of giving terrible advice when I posted it in a thread in which the landlord was being given instruction by the tenant as to when the landlord could access her property!
I'm writing this post/thread because I strongly believe that letting the tenant be in charge is one of the key reasons why some landlords fail. Unless it is a true partnership someone is always in charge in a business relationship.
Yes. of course I believe in compromise and treating the tenant with a great deal of respect, they are helping you pay for the house after all. No, I don't believe it is my way or the highway except in certain cases, like the tenant not paying rent or not allowing access in a reasonable manner. But when it comes right down to it, unless the landlord is in charge at least with most things in the relationship then there are going to be a lot of needless problems. Yes, of course I will sometimes accede to the tenants wishes when they are reasonable even if it hurts my income, because I believe in keeping the tenant satisfied.
But back to the main point-Here are some of the ways, the landlord is very clearly in charge. The landlord sets the rent (using the market as a guide), the landlord selects the tenant, the landlord selects the lease, the landlord chooses who will do a repair (even if it is the tenant), the landlord decides whether or not pets are allowed, openly or tacitly, the landlord decides whether to have a monthly or yearly agreement, the landlord decides when to replace the carpet, the landlord decides on whether or not to provide appliances (again using the market as a guide), I could go on and on, but the key point is that the landlord is making the vast majority of key decisions.
I understand that some of you are not comfortable with the idea that the landlord is in charge, but you really are, despite whatever thinking you use to convince yourself that you are not. I believe it provides a disservice to new landlords for them be told that they are somehow in some kind of equal partnership with the tenant. Instead they need to learn to be flexible but firm and remember they are ultimately in charge.
Bottomline- in most instances it is the landlord making the key decisions and whenever a tenant starts dictating things to the landlord there is likely going to be trouble.
I thank Aldo (WI) for teaching me that point.
I agree. As I've said to a tenant or three, although it's their home, it's my property. I'm responsible for it's mortgage payment, it's tax payment, it's insurance, it's repairs and regular maintenance, etc. My tenants are my customers and I do whatever I can within reason to keep them happy in their home/my property, but ultimately I make the decisions. It's not a democracy. If they can't live with the terms of the lease they signed, they are free to live elsewhere.
@Cal C. So you mean to tell me the customer is not always right?! :-)
Still terrible advice.
No one is "In Charge." Neither is the customer always right.
You are engaged in a mutually beneficial business transaction. You are equals. With the equal right to end the relationship if either party is out of line.
Maybe you can get away with chest-thumping BS if you have an endless supply of potential tenants who have never heard of you. My houses are in a small population rural area, where there is rough equilibrium between supply and demand. My way or the highway crap is going to give you empty houses under those conditions.
Tenants are not children, and you can only get away with treating like children for so long before it comes back to bite you.
And since you mention your laundry list of examples, you know who is really "in charge" to the extent anyone is? The governing jurisdiction. The landlord sets the rent? News to many landlords in NYC or SF. The landlord selects the lease? Judges routinely disregard onerous terms. The landlord chooses who does repairs? More like the landlord gets first crack at it. Here, if I don't make a repair the tenant can and withhold rent to cover it. The landlord decides if pets are allowed? Don't buy property in Ontario. And so on.
You know how we end up with crazy regulations? People getting sick of landlords.
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So much for having a civil discussion.
I see too much of this nonsense. Time to call it for what it is. Someone on another thread was actually asking about evicting people by force!
For those without a sense of humor I was actually j/k! Seriously though, a tenant - landlord relationship is a 50/50 barter and the government is there to keep everything copathetic. Doesn't matter if its section 8 house, a tin hut on a marsh of Louisiana or a Miami / Manhattan high-rise condo rental. Whatever other thoughts someone may or may not have about their role in the matter is something different.
@Mary B. I've never bartered rent in my life and I doubt there are many landlords who have. When you start taking anything but cash or cash equivalents for rent you are asking for a world of problems. Do you allow your tenants to barter for their rent?
I agree with you about the government being there to keep everything copathetic in some circumstances. It took five months for me to get the Fulton County government to evict one of my tenants. Certainly was lousy or your word copathetic. However, in other counties I'd argue the government actually does a reasonable job in evicting tenants
The barter is you provide shelter in exchange for a set amount of money to be paid to you every month for the extension of the lease. I think you're going a bit off the wire here with insinuations.
Just like the property owner / landlord has rights so does the tenant, which are often not discovered until the situation enters a court of law. Its one thing if you are here to vent about whatever frustrations that you have with an unbefitting tenant, ok then, you might have put that in the OP. Yet you come off like you are the boss and the tenant is your lowly servant, NOT TRUE.
@Cal C. I do agree with you in that more times than often the government's performance isn't just when it comes to landlord - tenant disputes.
Now I think I understand. Barter means to trade goods or services (or anything basically) without using money. You meant trade or exchange.
"Yet you come off like you are the boss and the tenant is your lowly servant, NOT TRUE." Where did you come up with that? Did you read my original post? Where I said "Yes. of course I believe in compromise and treating the tenant with a great deal of respect, they are helping you pay for the house after all. No, I don't believe it is my way or the highway except in certain cases, like the tenant not paying rent or not allowing access in a reasonable manner.
@Cal C. , your title is bold and thought provoking and I agree with you. Some people will get shocked by it and let it negatively affect their understanding of rest of your post.
You clearly said :
"Yes. of course I believe in compromise and treating the tenant with a great deal of respect, they are helping you pay for the house after all. No, I don't believe it is my way or the highway except in certain cases, like the tenant not paying rent or not allowing access in a reasonable manner... Yes, of course I will sometimes accede to the tenants wishes when they are reasonable even if it hurts my income, because I believe in keeping the tenant satisfied."
From your post, there should be no misunderstanding about how you treat your tenants. The question now is why should the landlord be in charge or not? Should a 50/50 partnership be best for your business?
Instead of using the word " in charge", I would say the landlord is "responsible"! Responsible for setting the tone of the landlord/tenant relationship, responsible for providing safe and suitable housing, responsible for enforcing the lease, responsible for protecting your investment and ultimately responsible for making your tenants happy! Then again "responsible" would not bring the same passionate discussion as 'in charge"!
Originally posted by @Mary B.:
@Cal C. So you mean to tell me the customer is not always right?! :-)
The customer in not always right. However, a customer always has rights. That is something we should remember.
As a landlord, I have a great amount of responsibility, as @Victor N. mentioned. If we let a tenant manipulate us and take control of our interests, it will not bode well for our investment or for our well being.
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