When I was a newbie investor in real estate I used to have tenants mail me the rent checks to my home address. Since the majority of my properties where in middle to upper middle class neighborhoods at the time I felt the tenants would respect my privacy. Most did, a few didn’t.
Scenario # 1:
I woke up that Sunday morning like any other. I ate breakfast and then decided to sit down with my wife to decide how we were going to spend our day when the door bell rang. It was about 9 am and I was interested to see what sales pitch I was going to hear from this early door to door salesperson. Looking through the peep hole I saw one of my tenants. Whoa! I was surprised! I opened the door and he explained that he was in the neighborhood and decided to stop by to drop off the check personally. Funny, I lived about an hour away from the rental. I don’t mind the rent being paid but to drive to my house to drop it off on a Sunday morning without notice, I felt it was a bit of an intrusion.
A tenant decided to break the lease and we agreed in writing that they will give up their entire deposit as damages for breaking the lease. All parties signed the document stating such. After one week on the market the house leased out and I get a call from the former tenants explaining that because it leased out so fast I did not lose any money and I should return their full deposit back to them. Apparently, to know that information they had to have been driving by the rental after they moved out to check for activity. I paused to evaluate what was spoken and stayed silent on the phone. After a few seconds I heard an “uuuughhhh” and they suddenly hung up on me. I continued with my day, running errands, when I get a call from my wife. The conversation goes like this:
Me: Hey..whats up?
Wife: There is a lady and man on our front doorstep asking to speak with you.
Wife: I think its one of your tenants. They look stern and are talking about some type of deposit.
Me: Tell them that I will get there soon but shut the door and keep everything locked until I get there.
I get home and they were gone. I never heard from them again. But I felt intruded again.
Shortly after that last incident I got a paid alternate address, and I direct all my tenants to the new address and I moved to another home. I moved because too many tenants from the past knew where I lived. I also placed an alternate address at the County Tax Records for all the properties. Did it help? I think it did. I have not had one tenant knock on my door since then. It has been ten years and my privacy has been intact…..so far at least. But now with super search engines and this blog……who knows?