Hello fellow BP'ers! I'm seeking some advice for living in the same building as my tenants. Next year in the spring, I plan to purchase a multifamily home, and I'm trying to think of ways to convince my possible tenants that I am not the landlord, just another tenant. I'd prefer this, that way when tenants have problems, they don't come knocking on my door, since I'm so close. Any tips or advice is appreciated!
@Lindy McConnell - Use a property management company. Make sure that they do not divulge who you are. If you want real privacy - purchase under an LLC and use a property management company.
If you hide behind the truth don't expect anything less from the tenants. Screen properly and there will be no need to hide.
@Bryan N. - Not sure that I agree that he is "hiding the truth". Rather, I suspect that he would like to maintain his privacy while investing in real estate. I would not want any of my tenants knocking at the door of my personal residence - would you?
When I graduated college I didn't want to move back to my folks house so I purchased a 6 family and rehabbed one of the units and moved in. While I was working on that unit the tenants would stop by and watch what I was doing. After I finished, I moved in and they asked questions. I told them I was a contractor and would help the landlord with carpentry on this build. Anything else they wanted I would pass it on to the owner but promised nothing more than that. However, when I had to evict a tenant I used the constable to deliver the paperwork to the tenant, I wasn't involved until I had to go to court. That's when the cat got out of the bag and all the tenants knew afterwards. I told them I purchased the building recently and I was thier landlord. Things quieted down after that and they stopped knocking on my door for petty things. So maybe I should have told them from the start. After a while, about 2 years or so with new tenants having moved in, the relationship with them was casual and rewarding in that they kept thier unit clean and they were quiet tenants. SO tell them up front, tell them when they can contact you or leave a message on the door or in a box by the door. And not to disturb you after 5:00pm, unless it is an emergency involving plumbing, electrical or gas leak. Of course I was in my 20's then but it was an enjoyable stay for those 5 years after which I purchase a home of my own.
For what its worth, I've had four different sets of tenants since I bought my duplex. I have always been upfront that I own the property. I keep the other unit in very good condition and have never had a problem with any of my tenants bothering me. If a repair is needed, they usually e-mail or call me. Sometimes they've knocked on my door or caught me while I was in our shared backyard, but even this was never at an inappropriate time (ie 1AM) or bothersome.
Of course, I suppose there is always the risk of an annoying tenant. But a thorough background check and keeping a property in good condition will greatly mitigate signing a lease with one of those.
If the tenants know that the owner lives in the building, I think they would be more respectful of the property, if not your privacy. I'd suggest setting up a system for handling maintenance requests and payments online. By concealing the fact that you are the owner living at the property, you are giving up some of the benefits of on site management and your ability to quickly address any issues.
What class of property is this? What condition is it in? Are these tenants you've inherited or did you screen them?
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