Every profession has its secrets — things that those in the profession might wish to be kept quiet.
Landlording is no different.
What are we landlords potentially keeping from out tenants? Here are my top 5 things a landlord may not want their tenants to know.
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5 Things a Landlord May Not Want Their Tenants to Know
1. We Own the Place
Many landlords do not want their tenants to know that they actually own the property. They will perhaps tell their tenants that they are only the “manager” who is working for a group of “investors.” They do this because they want to put some sort of buffer between their tenants and themselves. They believe this buffer gives them an easy out if a tenant asks for something they cannot have, and it allows them to deflect blame to “those investors.”
I can understand all of that. Tenants can be pretty demanding at times. But the thing is, the internet had made finding out who owns the place pretty easy. We tell our tenants we own and manage our properties, and we find that our tenants appreciate that. We have even had some choose to rent with us because of it.
So, while I get why you are trying to hide this fact, if you are an active manager of your properties, concealing your ownership may start you off on the wrong foot with your tenants.
2. The Money Can Be Tight
As landlords, we are generally not rolling in the cash like people think we are. There are a lot of expenses associated with owning properties. We have mortgages to pay. Insurance and property taxes also take a nice chunk. We have to keep the grass cut and the utilities on, and we do all of the routine and not-so-routine maintenance.
Plus, when we finally do get a bit of cash in the bank, something big like a roof or sewer line always seems to break. Add on a couple of vacancies and rehabs, and money can easily get tight very quickly. So, while we may fix the important stuff, upgrades may be a few years down the road.
3. We Get Tired of Phone Calls
We get calls about our places for rent. We get calls about maintenance issues. We get calls about tenant squabbles. We get calls when the rent is going to be late. We get calls from neighboring property owners about this or that problem. We get calls from the city, the bank, the insurance people.
Face it; we get a lot of calls. After a while, it can be a bit tiring. So please, when you call, leave a message. Don’t call back if we do not get to you right away. Better yet, send us a text or an e-mail. Those often work just as well.
4. I Do Not Really Know What I Am Doing
This is especially true of newbies. Yes, they can buy a course from some guru or do a bunch of reading here on BiggerPockets, but there is a lot to learn about this business. Plus, all markets and properties are somewhat different, so there is no one size fits all solution.
Laws around the country are definitely different, and if you run afoul of them, you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit or worse. There is no substitute for experience in this business. And even when you have some experience, there is always some new and unexpected wrinkle that you have never dealt with before.
5. We Do Not Need to Hear the Backstory
Anytime a tenant is going to be late with the rent, or may not quite meet your rental qualifications, you should get ready to hear the backstory. This backstory will supposedly explain any and all issues away and make everything all right. It won’t.
While we may listen to your story and may even sympathize with you, we really do not need to hear it. Rent is due when rent is due, and my rental criteria are in place for a reason. So, sorry, there are no exceptions.
It’s not that I am cold hearted, but like I explained previously, I have bills to pay. The bank does not want to hear my backstory about my car breaking down; they simply want to get paid on time without any hassle. So do I.
Well, there you have it, my top five things a landlord may not want their tenants to know. Is the above true for all landlords? No, of course not! There will be exceptions. Some days even I might just listen to the backstory. But I bet most of you experienced landlords (and even a few new ones) will agree with what I say.
If not, what is your secret? Care to share?
Let us know with your comments.