Rookie Landlord Questions

2 Replies

I have a few questions about how I should handle a situation. I am a first time landlord. I made a bad investment back in 2008 with my first house and the area still hasn't completely recovered. Last year we had to move so our only option was to rent out our current house. We had what we thought were amazing tenants. At their one year mark, I decided we needed to sale the house so I told them we wouldn't renew their lease. It turned out to be a great thing because they had found a house and we're putting an offer in on it. We listed our rental house (the one they live in) on the market at the beginning of July. We agreed with the tenants that we would give 24 hour notice for any showings. Well that was just the beginning. Our tenants have become extremely difficult any time we want to show it. They always have an argument..she has to wash clothes, they want money of their rent (we did give them $50 once because they refused a Saturday morning showing and we really needed the client to see it), and yesterday she sent me a text refusing showings for the next three days because they are going to finish moving. We have always given a minimum of 24 hour notice and it's only been shown less than 10 times in 60 days.They also painted two rooms without written permission per their lease and changed out light fixtures & added dimmers. They state my lights will be back up at their final walk thru but their lease says they can't put the lights up. Yesterday I go by the house and the yard is crazy out of control. The bushes half way grown up the windows and they also let a bush grow up to the roof of the house in the back. It looks like it hasn't been touched in months. Then they leave a box of garbage out right next to where the new buyers or prospective tenants will walk in (they knew we had a showing scheduled). I just want to know how experienced landlords would handle this situation? They want to do a final walk through together next Sunday and I feel that it's a bad idea and we should not do it with them present because I know it will turn into a disagreement. Any advice is much appreciated. 

I don't see how you really do a walk through without the tenant. If you do one on your own, they will probably disagree with at least some of your issues, and you will have to go back and revisit with them anyway. I think it is difficult to deal with showing a rental with the outgoing tenants still there. If you have shown it 10 times without anyone wanting to take it, it is either overpriced for the market or doesn't show well, or both. You can't really cure the latter until you can go in and do a proper cleaning and address maintenance issues.

Always refer to the lease that the tenants signed. That's documented proof of agreement for both parties. If they violated the lease, they are to be held accountable. If the current tenants agreed on a 24 hour notice for all showings, have it in writing. Sounds like they are fighting back in a passive aggressive way making the house look undesirable for interested buyers. Remember you own the house and they rent from you; the tenants have rights but so do you. Many times, tenants will assume ownership of a property after a period of time. Changing fixtures and wall colors without approval demonstrates this. Being black and white with clear communication will eliminate any questionable areas.