The ideal tenant

These are mynah birds outside my home:

Rain 004-A

Talking to friends and relatives, we have heard so many horror stories, it’s unbelievable.

For instance, my aunt rented out a studio in her home to a woman who worked in a bakery. At first, this woman was able to pay the $800 rent every month. One day, she told my aunt that her hours had been cut and she could not pay the rent. My aunt could not bring herself to evict someone who was down on her luck, so she allowed this woman to pay her rent in increments. Then, the woman brought in a roommate, adding to the cost of utilities. My aunt saw the woman dry her wet laundry on lines stretched across the studio.

“It looked like a tenement,” she told me. “The $800 was simply not worth the stress. I’ll never be a landlord again.” She and her tenants parted ways, when the house was sold and my aunt moved elsewhere.

Last week, a man in Hawaii was convicted of manslaughter and arson. He had been evicted for dealing drugs in his boarding house. Apparently, he was so angry about being evicted he torched the house, killing an elderly man and injuring several others in the blaze.

Awful! What would happen to us if we evicted a tenant?  It wouldn’t be so bad if the rental were located in another building, but it is actually part of our own home!  Can you imagine our house going up in flames?

The ideal tenant would be a close relative or very close friend.  I would feel safe with such a tenant.  Wouldn’t you?

19 Responses to “The ideal tenant”

  1. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    Relatives re the worst. That’s all I’m going to say.

  2. Cathy Says:

    Hear hear to Dianne – agree 100%. Don’t even think about it Gigi
    Cathy

  3. granny annie Says:

    Close friend of both my brother and my sister opened a checking account at my bank. She was the absolute worst customer ever and wanted everything free, constantly overdrew her account, tried to defraud local merchants, then begged me to help her as an officer of the bank because she was “a friend of the family”. Yikes!!!

  4. DJan Says:

    You are already getting stressed out over this and you haven’t even begun to advertise. I do so hope that the ideal little old lady with a fixed income will move into your place. Your guardian angel is already on the lookout. 🙂

  5. Olga Says:

    My brother has owned rental properties and my sister works for a property management company and deals with the renters. I could repeat their horror stories, but I will just say that there are also delightful and success stories as well.

    In VT is illegal to evict a tenant during the winter months. My brother joined an association of rental owners that screened potential renters–background checks, credit checks included–and considered it well worth the fee. It might be worth looking into whether or not there is a similar service in Hawaii.
    My sister swears by rents that are as high as the market will bear for some self screening. Sounds snobby, but when she explains it, it sounds reasonable.

    I would think it is a good idea to talk to others who rent parts of their homes for tips about finding a good candidate.

    Finally, some old teacher advice–never smile until November, meaning set the rules and stick to them.

  6. Jeanie Says:

    I have to agree that a close friend or family member could be a problem for many reasons. I suppose there is no way to avoid the possibility of a tenants financial circumstances changing but horror stories are just that, horror stories, not necessarily the norm.

  7. Christine Says:

    Gosh Gigi, rentals can work but there is always that chance u take

  8. Grannymar Says:

    Business and friendship are not always good bedfellows. Maybe a strictly business deal with checked references and a well thought out contract might work out better in the long run. You need to list the things you are / are-not prepared to put up with…..

    Refuse left about outside,
    Loud music played late at night,
    Noise
    Access to a garden or verandah.
    Access to the driveway.
    Set a notice to quit time in case things do not work out.

    • gigihawaii Says:

      You are right. Business is business. It’s best not to rent to a friend or relative, because there’s bound to be hard feelings if things don’t work out.

  9. Suzanne Says:

    Good luck! The referrals should give you a good idea about the person. I know some people that will only do 6-month contracts so if things so south, they are not locked into a year contract.

  10. Tom Sightings Says:

    I think I mentioned this before. But I have a rental property. For years I rented it out myself and never had a problem … until I had a problem. That problem cost me several thousand dollars and untold stress and anguish. So now I’ve hired a real-estate agent to screen tenants. It did cost me one month’s rent. But so far, so good, and IMHO it’s well worth worth it.

    • gigihawaii Says:

      My sister is a realtor, but I am not sure she wants the job of screening people. I guess I should discuss it with David first before asking her to take on the job.

  11. Linda Says:

    If you have someone manage your property you could give the illusion that you and David also rent. I really think you need someone with more experience to manage (overlook) the initial stages of renting. Do you think David’s temperment will handle being a landlord?

    • gigihawaii Says:

      David and I were landlords of a condo before, but the resident manager did the screening and managing. We have decided not to hire a realtor, because that would diminish our profit by 10% per month. We’ll see how it goes. If we tire of being landlords, we will revert back to pre-landlord days.

  12. marmeladegypsy Says:

    Rick just lost one of his tenants in his adjacent duplex and is hoping to find someone good in her place. He’s had bad ones — ones who don’t pay the rent and even after they are evicted and with a court order, he couldn’t get the back rent paid. He is choosing a neighbor when he chooses a tenant so he’s pretty picky, but sometimes people make misleading impressions. I hope you get the perfect tenant.

    I’m catching up on posts and will try to comment on all of them I’ve missed, though I might miss one or two! I just wanted to thank you for your comments on Marmelade Gypsy — I always love it when you come by!

  13. DeniseinVA Says:

    I have my own horror story about renting property Gigi, but you’ve heard enough as I have read every comment here and people have given you lots of good advice. I do think you have to be very careful renting to family and friends. It’s the same about going into business with them, you love them and want to do the best for them at your own expense in some cases.

    Thanks for visiting, the garam masala in my recipe I found at our local supermarket in the herb section.

  14. dkzody Says:

    Having someone in your home is far different than having a rental somewhere else in town. We considered taking in a couple to rent our house while we were living in San Francisco. When they actually showed up to talk about, I got physically ill and had to tell Terry to get rid of them. I just couldn’t have someone in my house. California has very strict laws about tenants, even when they are in your own home. You cannot just toss them out when you feel like it.

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