Alicia and I are no long slum lords. After 10 years of renting out properties, I have some insight into the dark minds of renters. The following events are real.
If you are thinking of renting out a property, here is what you will face:
A renter blaming you that they are locked out of the house at 2 AM drunk and it is your fault. Never mind that the renter gave one key to a neighbor, the other to their girlfriend, and broke the back doorknob off in a fit of rage. This is all your fault as the landlord and you listen to a 3 minute voice mail from the renter specifying all the species you have sex with.
A potential renter showing up to inquire about your place. He has no job or references, but does have a tricked out Dodge Charger with 20 inch rims and wants to pay 12 months in cash right now. He shows you the 7 grand in cash on his person.
Renters who make $35K per year combined getting 2 new cars, all new furniture and beds, and new TV’s and computers in a single year. Then they somehow have problems making payments on time. This is also your fault for not being sympathetic to their lifestyle.
Charging $100/month for a cat or dog in addition to a $500 pet deposit will not even BEGIN to cover the costs for the damage those little monsters do. Your yard will be bare dirt with holes and your carpets will reek of urine.
A LOT of people use Craigslist to find housing.
A 330 pound man will slam himself on the toilet so hard that he rips it from the floor. This is somehow also your fault as a landlord.
The city doesn’t care that something is a health hazard as long as you don’t try to fix it. It’s perfectly OK to keep power lines dangerously close to the ground for eternity, but if you want to upgrade your house then EVERYTHING has to be brought up to code. No thanks, we’ll just keep all of it unsafe instead of spending $30K. City regulations actively punish you for trying to improve the home.
An 80 year old lady will trip on the sewer main on the city sidewalk in front of your place. She will sue you because it rises 1 inch above the sidewalk. The city will then tell you that it was your responsibility to take a sledgehammer to city property to smash it back down. “Use a sledgehammer on city property” isn’t something you’ll find in any of the real estate books.
Tenants will sign the contract and then immediately request a bunch of upgrades to the property and threaten to call the city if you don’t. Since there’s no reason to upgrade other than the new tenants want a different stove, you refuse. They will call the city. The city inspector will walk in the door, wonder aloud why they are here since everything is so nice and new, and then give a minor citation for the wrong type of valve on the gas furnace. Your tenants will be super pissed at you because it’s somehow your fault for keeping the place fixed so the government won’t shut you down. They will then proceed to be late with the rent for the next year as a petty way of getting back at you for… keeping the rental in good condition?
You will have people cry and tell sob stories to get a lower rate. For example, they will tell you that their husband kicked them out and she has two kids, nowhere to go, and can only afford 80% of the rent you’re charging. You’ll sign her up and later learn that she cheated on her husband for years, he got the kids as well as the house and alimony, and she has a job making $400,000 per year.
You will lose faith in humanity. Your renters will call the city to complain about spots on the dishes in a $700,000 home. They will need a mechanic to fix the garage door, only to find out it was unplugged by their child who didn’t want to go to school that day.
All of these things will happen to you, just as they happened to me.
(Do yourself a favor and invest with RealtyShares.com instead of becoming a landlord) UPDATE: RealtyShares is no longer accepting new investments