On the Fence about my tenant...

2 Replies

My tenant has been with me for 3 years.  He's single, he pays regularly and he is not "high maintenance."  In fact, I've had very little maintenance requests from him.  Sometimes he pays late, but that is very infrequent.  Maybe 3 times this has happened.  Also he's a landscaper so his yard is pretty cluttered with his business stuff, i.e., equipment, plants, etc.  So...

Yesterday I had my termite guy do an annual inspection.  We went inside the house and saw that my tenant now has 2 dogs in the property.  My lease clearly states only 1 pet, AND I'm supposed to be charging pet rent for that one dog but I've waived it up until this point.  On top of this, it appears that there is bedding for a 2nd person in the house.  This is a one person lease in a 600 sq ft cabin.  Looks like my tenant has someone else living him.  Lastly, the house is dingy.  Dirty, needs some major cleaning on the inside.

I'm happy with collecting passive income and having a steady paying tenant.  In prior years I've had to do major rehab, spent a lot of time and $ on this property.  This year has been relatively "quite" and I'm enjoying it.  I'm starting to recoup my initial investment.

So what would you do?  Confront the situation?  Enforce the lease?  Leave it alone?

@Andrew Briggs You should confront the issue now. A dog and a 2nd person are pretty minor, but little lease violations can quickly turn into major problems if your tenant learns he can do as he pleases. Maybe charge 1 pet rent but allow both pets. Allow the 2nd person if they apply and get approved

Get rid of him. Here are the red flags:

1. A landscaper should have an immaculate yard. His is "cluttered" with his equipment.

2. He added an unauthorized pet. If your pet rent was $50 a month, you saved him $1,800 over the past three years and he's repaid you by moving in a second pet!

3. He added an unauthorized tenant. This is additional wear-and-tear on your property.

4. He's not clean.

You know what I think? I think you're renting below market to a below-average tenant. You think you're making money but I suspect you'll have lost thousands by the time he leaves. Just waiving pet rent has cost you a couple thousand!

Raise your standards and enforce them. Check up on your tenant at least once a year to ensure they're upholding the lease and caring for the property. It's better to rent 10% below market to an excellent tenant than to rent at market to a crappy tenant that adds pets or roommates and fails to maintain the home.