Dogs: A Landlord’s Perspective

Dogs, doggy, scooby doo. They are cute and mean. The are lovable and smell. They keep us mentally healthy but need a lot from us. They shit and pee. I have a doggy. She shits and pees all the time. When they are young sometimes they poo and pee on you! On a rental property its a gamble, a crap shoot, a roll of the dice. Should I accept a doggy or not? Continue reading “Dogs: A Landlord’s Perspective”

Case File 2: You Can’t Park There

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Above is an HOA (Homeowner’s Association) ordinance. Checkout the underlined statement. It says “no automobiles or other vehicles may be parked overnight on any roadway within the property.” The tenants refused to abide by the ordinance for a few months. What happens? You get a big fat bill for the violations accrued and you have to pay it. Ultimately, you as the owner are responsible for your tenants actions within an HOA. This issues can be costly. In this scenario it was hovering at around $350. It could have been worse. A lot worse.

Many subdivisions and condos have some type of HOA arrangement nowadays. The arrangement pretty much is as follows. You are paying them to maintain common areas and to also police you and your neighbors to preserve property values and provide quiet enjoyment. It is quite a trade off. Whether HOA’s are good or bad is a debate on its own and we are not going there in this article. My only concern was the issue at hand, that $350 in violations that could easily become $1000 in violations. I hate fines. I hate fines that are close to $350 even more. When they reach $1000…my hate for fines reaches its monetary limit.

I worked out a deal with the tenants. I asked them to move out in 60 days with the promise that I would be fair with their deposit and not blankly keep it all due to the issues that were transpiring . Then I emailed the HOA inspector at the end of October 2016, asking him to give me a two month grace period to solve the problem. He agreed! About 2 weeks from the time they moved out in January 2017 I sent an email to the HOA manager stating that their will be no more cars parked on the street overnight. Problem solved. They had moved out. I also requested for all the violation fees to be waived. Did they waive them off? Here is there response:

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All the violations were waived! Communication was key. I communicated with the HOA inspector about giving me a grace period. I communicated with the tenants, explaining that it would be better off if they moved due to the amount of violations that they were receiving. I then communicated with the manager and asked for the violations to be waived. More importantly, I also did not pay any of the violations until I solved the problem. Then, at least, you can negotiate the fines down or in my case, waived! Hope this helps anybody who has had an issue with an HOA!

Case File 1: Lime Made Me Sick

I am a little paranoid sometimes. Are those people talking about me? Are parasites controlling my brain? Are there aliens among us humans? Are my tenants sabotaging my properties? Am I going too far? Most of the time I shove those thoughts to the side and say “nah, it can’t be possible.” What happens when the paranoid thought becomes true? My mind blows up, that’s what happens. Of course not literally, but maybe it will. Remember, I am a little paranoid.

Last year I had an engineer as a tenant. I became suspicious of him. There are reasons why of course! He would call almost every week about an issue on the property. About half the time the issue was a non-issue and the other half the issues were minor. There were a few calls that were legitimate.But then I would begin to wonder. Did he sabotage? Did he cause them? Of course, with my dominant rational side, I shoved those negative thoughts to the side…until that one dreadful day.

It was about 1o pm, in my bed, when I get an email stating that water was not passing through in the kitchen sink. I follow up the next evening, turn on the faucet and sure enough water is not going down. There is a clog. I open up the piping below the sink and what do I find? This:

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Limes. A bunch of cut limes stuck in the pipe. What the heck? How could large pieces of lime get through the garbage disposal? I check to see if there is a hole in the garbage disposal and there isn’t. The limes couldn’t have passed through there unless they were grounded into tiny bits but these are whole pieces if lime! I feel sick. The only other way those limes could have ended up in the pipe was through here:

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ACTUAL PICTURE

You see those tiny holes. The limes had to be squeezed through there! I was sabotaged. My paranoid thought became a reality. My tenant was sabotaging my property! Now what do I do? Do I get angry? Call him up and say I caught you! Nope. I simply sent the picture of the limes stating that that was cause of the problem. I never blamed them. I never asked why they did it. I simply texted them the evidence. They knew that I knew. Surprisingly and not surprisingly I never got a call, email, or text since then, only when they gave 30 days notice to leave a few months later. Phew!

Now to tackle the veracity of my next paranoid thought. Are there parasites in my brain?

Alternate Address For All

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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.

Scenario #2:

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.

Me: Who?

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.

Solution

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?