Women landlords: do men try to push you around?

37 Replies

Most of my applicants and renters have been great, but I've had a couple of guys that have tried to get me to bend my rules, and just generally been unpleasant.  I suspect they wouldn't act the same way if I was a man, instead of a small, feminine woman.  What do you think?

You're probably right.  Call them on it.   Ask open ended questions to them and make them explain why they are asking and acting the way that they are. 

I am not sure what issues you are having, but if someone wants to get out of a late fee, ask them Why the feel that they should be let out of the fee?  If they are acting rude, inform them that their negativity isn't necessary and that you're trying to come to an agreement with them as an adult and you'd appreciate if they would work with you instead of against you.  Be direct.   This takes time and practice.   I'm a small lady too... but they don't mess with me :)   You are in charge, take charge of the conversation and situation.  

I've had more female tenants than male tenants try to intimidate me ;) I've found some women use worse language then men, too. I learned from my very first tenant not to get into arguments; not so easy sometimes. If they're reasonable, so am I. If they insist on something that's not in the lease, I simply text, email, or tell them the lease agreement points, and then proceed with whatever the issue resolution is. Then I might bang my head against the wall ;)

Fortunately, most experiences have been positive.  I have had an experience where a (male) tenant was condescending and obstinate about not upholding some of the lease terms. I stood my ground on the lease, he saw I had a backbone, and it got better. This could have just as easily been a female tenant causing the problems.  The more professional and businesslike during screenings and showings, the better.   (No matter who you are showing property to).  

@Leslie A.  

I have not had a huge problem with people due to my small petite caucasian female status. On the other hand it seems like "everyone" thinks they can bargain. To remove myself from the situation I sometimes blame decisions on my husband. This mysterious 3rd party that they will never meet. That has been a huge blessing on allowing me to succeed without the "drama". I also have no quirms about bringing a lawyer into the party if needed :)

I've had women, men, and their kids try to push me around. Is it because I am a male?

I am a male and am always shocked at the boldness of people today.

Yesterday:

Me: This apartment is rented "no pets".

Female perspective tenant: I have a cat but she is a very good cat.

Me: Oh I'm sorry but it's no pets.

Her: Well I would like to take the apartment.

Me: Are you giving up the cat?

Her: No I just told you she is a very good cat.

I just shake my head.

The only problem tenant I've had was a female ... albeit a masculine one at that, if that counts.  She was extremely pleasant for the first 3 months - after that, she was nasty & difficult to work with -- consistently late with rent, when she did send me the rent check it was  for the wrong amount, refused to pay late fees, argumentative / verbally hostile / borderline violent (finger in my face yelling obscenities), complained about things out of my control as a landlord, etc.  I usually respond to phone calls & text messages out of professional courtesy even though my lease states they must communicate via writing.  With this particular tenant, I ignored her text messages & phone calls and only communicated with her in writing via certified mail & courier service.  I stood my ground and referred her back to our signed lease agreement when she tried to break the rules.   Do not deviate from your lease agreement!!!  

Finally, I refused to renew her lease after 12 months.  Good riddance!  You know someone is just down right awful when several neighbors THANKED me for not renewing her lease.  Evidently she was a headache for everyone and not just me.  

I haven't really seen a difference. I've had the daughter of a non-paying tenant yell at me that I was illegally evicting and she was going to ask a lawyer about my actions (not that I was worried--and she didn't ask any lawyer anyway). 

I've also had another male non-paying tenant say that I was committing fraud when I filed for eviction on him. He said he'd see me in court. The only "court" he saw me in was when I showed up to the property with the Constable. lol 

I've also had the female owner next door say that I owe her and other people money for a downed tree branch that some random guy helped my tenant move out of the way and only damaged my own fence. I'm not sure how that works.

Over all this time, one thing I've definitely learned is how to not get worked up/so upset over their complaints, attitudes, and so on.

On the other side, I have had a guy send his wife out to talk to me about something they wanted.  Literal batting of eyelashes ensued.

I must admit that I tried to push my landlord around but she was not having it.

Account Closed That is a classic skit! "Can I have 4 beers?"

@Leslie A.   - Despite being widespread, I do not believe misogynists are a protected class.

Account Closed - the first time your tenant misbehaved, I can understand cutting her a little slack (perhaps).  The second time you should have started the eviction process.

Rules breakers and liars are the worst tenants. They will try to manipulate the situation to their advantage whether the landlord is male or female. I work as a team with my husband. Tenants have tried to play off both of us. Our solidarity makes their efforts futile and they soon realize we are firm, but fair. We aim to be friendly (approachable) and still maintain professional boundaries. We communicate in a respectful manner and expect such in return. Personally, I think tenants who break rules or try to bend rules are more afraid of me, than my husband.

@Leslie A.  it is not your gender it is how you conduct yourself. I know in the cab business there are guys that get beat up all the time then there are those that go 35 years w/o incident. If you act like a victim or are too tough you will be attacked. 

Where I worked driving city bus the agency expected its drivers to handle situations so as to not be assaulted. If we were they wanted to know how it could have been handled differently. There are plenty of women driving tough areas at night that hold their own.

@Jeff S.  

So, how do I do that?  Details, please!

@Leslie A.  

Get a tattoo (not a butterfly) and look MEAN! 

@Roy N.  

 An eviction crossed my mind, but I didn't want to spend the time or money on an eviction.  I've never had to evict anyone before, but I understand it's lengthy and can cost several hundreds of dollars.  I knew I had her security deposit to deduct late fees and rent balance ... and my mind was made up not to renew her lease 6 months into her term.  

@Leslie A.  my examples are extreme but you are talking about people pushing their limits. There are those that will do that when they sense someone is an authority figure. If you are a guy and wear a uniform they will do the same thing and see you as an authority figure just like they will if you are a male/female landlord. They will push just like kids test their limits. You are the one with the power because you set the rules. Keep that in mind.

What type of tenants are you dealing with? Qualifying your tenants is more important than anything because at the end of the day the best tenants are compliant. Use your radar (intuition) and weed out those that have those tendencies. My experience is if they have good credit they follow rules. If you deal with a less savory character then that is another story.

You also know not to put yourself in dangerous situations. There are people that will hurt others and there isn't much one can do.

@Leslie A.  

May I ask, how have you been handling your unpleasant tenants thus far?

As @Marcia Maynard  stated, maintaining professional boundaries is key.  Once you become their friend or an overly accommodating landlord, guaranteed it'll be an up hill battle for the remainder of their lease.  

Good luck!

My first tenant was by far my worst tenant and looking back they pushed me around because I believed they knew more about the "Landlord/Tenant laws" (Her father had been in construction and rentals) than I did. Once I educated myself things changed.

@Leslie A.   When you carry yourself with a calm confidence that says "I know the laws, I have done this before, nothing new here". They will have no choice but to see you as in control.  Like a animal if they see fear or see that they have rattled you they will grow in confidence. You are the owner. Short term or long term you win. 

I love to drive by on moving day to watch a bully tenant putting there stuff in the truck.

I laugh at Mark's example regarding the cat, but the reality is that people are very, very entitled.  I would say that all of us have that inclination on some level, but a majority of us (hopefully) have risen above that type of behavior.

I would agree that how you handle yourself makes more of a difference than whether you are a man or a woman.  While we all like to be accommodating, how you handle small things can impact how they handle bigger things.  If you let little things slide, they will push bigger things.  If you're a "tough" (but fair) landlord, you set the appropriate boundaries.

People say that friends are the worst tenants. I truly think that's because people take advantage of that friendship and perceive you to be an easier "mark" than the auto finance provider, for example.  "I'm friends with Sam, so he will understand if I make the car payment first and the rent payment late."

For me, having a third party involved has always helped, especially with friends that become tenants. I tell people right upfront that xxx (actually my LLC) handles the maintenance and rents, and having that "separation" is invaluable.

I manage properties for my parents who are long time investors. Most of the tenants haven't even met the landlords. It's great being a property manager because the rules are set by a third party and they are not flexible because of that third party. I'm a Realtor and work with my parents to find tenants and draft leases. Realistically they would probably be more flexible in some of the issues than I but I think it's important to have consistency, that way you don't have tenants trying to bend the rules more and more each month. The sooner you put your foot down the earlier they realize they can't push you around, that being said, keep it reasonable and in perspective. 

If you're the landlord and your property is in an LLC, interface with the tenants as a property manager if possible. Then you can communicate to them that you're just the property manager, you can't override the decisions of the owners, and their decisions are final. Which is technically true because an LLC is a seperate legal entity, even if you established the LLC.

Well, a really creepy 'project manager' at Home Depot hugged me today when a handshake would have been vastly more appropriate but generally, No.  If tenants of any gender are inappropriate, they get screened out.

Originally posted by @Lacey Russell :

I manage properties for my parents who are long time investors. Most of the tenants haven't even met the landlords. It's great being a property manager because the rules are set by a third party and they are not flexible because of that third party. I'm a Realtor and work with my parents to find tenants and draft leases. Realistically they would probably be more flexible in some of the issues than I but I think it's important to have consistency, that way you don't have tenants trying to bend the rules more and more each month. The sooner you put your foot down the earlier they realize they can't push you around, that being said, keep it reasonable and in perspective. 

If you're the landlord and your property is in an LLC, interface with the tenants as a property manager if possible. Then you can communicate to them that you're just the property manager, you can't override the decisions of the owners, and their decisions are final. Which is technically true because an LLC is a seperate legal entity, even if you established the LLC.

@Lacey Russell.  I agree with your first paragraph. My opinion differs from yours regarding what you say in your second paragraph.  We prefer to be open and honest with our tenants. We own and manage our own properties and hold them under two LLCs. We are the owners and we make the decisions. We have no problems letting our tenants know this. The key is being clear in your communications, firm, fair, respectful and honest. The topic of whether to let tenants know if you are the owner or not is well covered in other forum posts, so I don't want to go off topic here. You can search for that topic in the BP landlord forums if you're interested.... good discussions there... both pro and con.

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