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Being a Landlord...

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Being a Landlord...

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:40 am

So I’m an owner/landlord for a property I purchased late last year here in Omaha. Still needs some work, but it’s a large house so I thought I’d rent out the upstairs while I get the basement finished. This family showed incredible interest in the house itself. I had my doubts about them though, but they had 4 kids so I felt inclined to help. They had all been living in a one bedroom apartment with the woman’s mother before this. Anyway, the first month rolls around and they’re 10 days late with the rent. No biggie, it’s early. Second month rolls around and they beat around the bush a little bit and I go in there to pick up the rent about a week late. Instead of the rent, I get a form for me to fill out. It’s a form for me to provide a housing assistance program to help them pay the rent. I charge $700 a month for rent and it’s about a 2000 square foot house. This assistance agency was willing to provide $300 of that $700. But that’s if they get approved. Here’s the kicker. These people are currently unemployed. Their job history was sketchy at best when I had them sign the lease, and I should have paid closer attention to that. I suppose I wanted to help them more than cover my bases. When I talked to them last, they insisted they’d been looking for work, but they didn’t want to settle for a $7 per hour job. What? Take what you can get. I don’t want to settle for no rent every month. So I’ve been trying to contact them over the past week, leaving messages, and no one has returned my calls. I tried calling a short time ago and they answered…only to hang up on me. Wow. I think my hands are tied on this one. I hate to do this to those kids, but avoidance, to me, is a pretty clear indication of intent. I bought an eviction package yesterday and downloaded it for research into the process. Basically checklists to avoid legal inconveniences, legal forms, and other helpful documents to assist me in something I’m very unfamiliar with.

I just don’t get the whole job thing. Omaha is one of the top cities in the nation for job availability. While I understand it’s not ideal, there are jobs out there. The assistance programs are great, they insist on “handing up, not handing out”. Why help someone who isn’t going to help themselves? I tell you, I’d be out mowing lawns, shoveling snow, whatever to get work. I was told by the director of this assistance program that temp agencies are hiring. You just have to be one of the first there in the morning. This, after these people tried telling me they weren’t hiring at all.

Another thing that bugs me is I’ve always dealt with the husband. Until it hit the fan for them. I’m in the house, trying to talk with them and he’s completely avoiding me. Putting his wife in front to talk to me while he completely avoids me and plays his video games. Like I wasn’t even in the room, no acknowledgment whatsoever. That really rubbed me the wrong way. I understand a man’s pride, but I also understand a man’s responsibility. I tried very hard to dumb down the severity of the situation in front of their kids and I sincerely struggle with the thought of making them move again.

Just had to vent there… :-°
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby lmcjaho » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:05 pm

Cliff's Notes:
You accepted a 4-child family who'd previously been leeching off of Mom with questionable job history as tenants and now you're surprised that you are stuck holding the bag?

You should just be happy that you live somewhere that eviction is a feasible option at this point. My parents got out of the landlord side of things back in the 80s because the provincial rental board here in Quebec is so pro-tenant it was ridiculous. Tenants need to be severely behind in rent (as in a few months worth), and making absolutely no effort to catch up (even 1 month paid on back-rent can be enough to show "intent to pay") before eviction is an option here, and don't even think about trying to get any kind of security deposit and/or reasonable amount of damage costs out of them...

In your spot it seems like you're either going to have to accept the role of "mean guy putting them out on the street" or else take it in the rear because they're obviously not going to change just because you want them to...
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Guru13 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:12 pm

do whatcha gotta do man. Boot 'em.
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:40 pm

lmcjaho wrote:In your spot it seems like you're either going to have to accept the role of "mean guy putting them out on the street" or else take it in the rear because they're obviously not going to change just because you want them to...


It's a combination of both. Obviously I'll be out a couple months rent, at least $1400, plus the repairs, though those will take care of themselves. Ultimately, I think I was thinking more along the lines of helping the family out instead of the business side and covering my ass.
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby joejlitz » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:16 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:When I talked to them last, they insisted they’d been looking for work, but they didn’t want to settle for a $7 per hour job. What? Take what you can get. I don’t want to settle for no rent every month...I just don’t get the whole job thing. Omaha is one of the top cities in the nation for job availability. While I understand it’s not ideal, there are jobs out there.


Laziness.
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Another thing that bugs me is I’ve always dealt with the husband. Until it hit the fan for them. I’m in the house, trying to talk with them and he’s completely avoiding me. Putting his wife in front to talk to me while he completely avoids me and plays his video games. Like I wasn’t even in the room, no acknowledgment whatsoever. That really rubbed me the wrong way. I understand a man’s pride, but I also understand a man’s responsibility.

Dad has 4 kids and still prioritizes video games. Red flags are going off everywhere!

I am a landlord for a property I own in Maryland. Out of necessity, I have a property manager to which I pay 10% of my monthly rent, plus a one-time full rent fee for every tenant they bring in. So I charge $1275, I paid the landlord $1275 when my current tenants first moved in two years ago and 10% (127.50) each month thereafter - in many states they do not have the initial full rent fee.

I understand it costs $$ to pay a property manager to do this, but it is worth it.
1) You don't have to deal with the tenants. Ever.
2) The PM advertises the property for you and finds potential renters.
3) The PM tells you what you could/should be charging per month based on recent trends in the area.
4) The PM runs credit checks on all potential tenants and verifies employment (you could'a really used that one).
5) The PM collects the rent each month and puts it in your bank account for you. He/she also provides you with a 1099-MISC each year for tax time.
6) The PM hounds the tenants when they don't pay on time.
7) The PM takes tenants to court for you when they don't pay. I had this done for me as well. I lost about $1700 in rent and repairs, but I had zero hassle. I only had to pay about $75 in court fees. The PM goes to court for you and does all of the paperwork. The court then gave me a judgment for my money. I never saw a dime of it, but it goes on those tenants credit record and they got the heck out of my town home where I now have reliable renters.

If you're serious about being a landlord and don't want all of this hassle, look into it. In Omaha ("somewhere in Middle America") you might only have to pay the 10%.

Also - if you don't have insurance on your appliances, hot water heater, A/C, etc., get it. I pay about $325 a year for it. When something breaks, my tenant pays the $55 deductible (it's written in their contract that way). It encourages them to be careful with your stuff and it saves you from huge bills, like me avoiding a $2,000 charge for my hot water heater.

If you have other questions, just PM me. I've only been doing this for about 3 years, so I don't know everything, but I've learned a lot.
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:34 pm

Awesome Joe, I'll definitely look into that. I haven't completely dove in yet with everything I should be knowing and doing yet. Kind of playing it by ear at this point still. Obviously that hasn't work out too well for me yet. :-b

I may hit you up with some questions in the future. ;-D
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:35 pm

Served a 3-day notice yesterday and what do you know, they call. Shocker. Well, Jerkface answered the phone today and she's got till Monday or a sheriff will be knocking on their door. :-C
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby joejlitz » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:49 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:Served a 3-day notice yesterday and what do you know, they call. Shocker. Well, Jerkface answered the phone today and she's got till Monday or a sheriff will be knocking on their door. :-C

Nice. Homelessness is a good motivator.
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Omaha Red Sox » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:08 pm

joejlitz wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Served a 3-day notice yesterday and what do you know, they call. Shocker. Well, Jerkface answered the phone today and she's got till Monday or a sheriff will be knocking on their door. :-C

Nice. Homelessness is a good motivator.


Please don't call it that. :-° !+)
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Re: Being a Landlord...

Postby Nfl Fan » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:37 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:
joejlitz wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Served a 3-day notice yesterday and what do you know, they call. Shocker. Well, Jerkface answered the phone today and she's got till Monday or a sheriff will be knocking on their door. :-C

Nice. Homelessness is a good motivator.


Please don't call it that. :-° !+)


Hey...
Jerkface has a responsibility to get off his lazy butt, get a job, and take care of those kids of his. YOU ARE NOT THE BAD GUY! I know you well enough to know that you would give a guy the shirt off your back.** I know that you are kindhearted enough that if jerky-boy was making any effort to, um... like, get a job... then you'd be doing whatever you needed to do to help him out. Fact is, he's not. He's intentionally screwing you and expecting you to pay his way when, quite probably, you're struggling like the rest of us.

You've been more than patient, IMHO.









** I got a nasty visual, so let's hope you dress in layers. :-D
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