Right or Rich
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
Right or Rich (by razorback_tim [AR]) Aug 8, 2017 5:32 AM
       Right or Rich (by Barb [MO]) Aug 8, 2017 5:52 AM
       Right or Rich (by Dave [MO]) Aug 8, 2017 6:00 AM
       Right or Rich (by S i d [MO]) Aug 8, 2017 6:00 AM
       Right or Rich (by Amy [MO]) Aug 8, 2017 6:02 AM
       Right or Rich (by Jeff [CO]) Aug 8, 2017 6:29 AM
       Right or Rich (by Nicole [PA]) Aug 8, 2017 6:35 AM
       Right or Rich (by Jeff [CO]) Aug 8, 2017 6:41 AM
       Right or Rich (by Susan [OH]) Aug 8, 2017 6:57 AM
       Right or Rich (by Pat [VA]) Aug 8, 2017 7:18 AM
       Right or Rich (by rentON [PA]) Aug 8, 2017 7:23 AM
       Right or Rich (by Jim in O C [CA]) Aug 8, 2017 7:46 AM
       Right or Rich (by Laura [MD]) Aug 8, 2017 8:20 AM
       Right or Rich (by Ken [NY]) Aug 8, 2017 8:35 AM
       Right or Rich (by LisaFL [FL]) Aug 8, 2017 9:12 AM
       Right or Rich (by GKARL [PA]) Aug 8, 2017 9:21 AM
       Right or Rich (by Pat ? 1 or 2? [VA]) Aug 8, 2017 9:58 AM
       Right or Rich (by oregonwoodsmoke [OR]) Aug 8, 2017 10:00 AM
       Right or Rich (by Lynda [TX]) Aug 8, 2017 11:09 AM
       Right or Rich (by Vee [OH]) Aug 9, 2017 5:40 AM
       Right or Rich (by Chris [CA]) Aug 10, 2017 2:04 AM
       Right or Rich (by razorback_tim [AR]) Aug 10, 2017 6:33 PM
       Right or Rich (by bet [MA]) Aug 12, 2017 8:47 AM
       Right or Rich (by ntj [GA]) Aug 12, 2017 6:03 PM

Right or Rich (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 5:32 AM

Sorry for the long post.

Brad is always asking us if we want to be right or rich. I've got a family as a 4+ year tenant who is causing me to think about this a lot the last few weeks. Up until about 4 months ago these tenants were ones that I would have hated to lose. Today I'm not sure I want to keep them. A little background - they are one of my older leases so they are month-to-month and drop the rent at my bank. They have a grace period to pay until the 5th before late fees accrue. I have done a poor job of not raising their rent and they are currently about 20% below market rents.

In May and June they did not respond to my maintenance person's request to enter and change the HVAC filters. Strike 1. I emailed the man the first part of July and he let maintenance in the second week of July. We haven't tried to schedule the August change yet so I don't know what will happen. The lease requires that they allow access to change the filters.

Three of the last four months they have paid past the 5th. Strike 2. I did not charged the late fee the first two times but texted them last night and asked about paying. They said they would pay today. I told them to be sure to include the late fee. We will see if they do.

Two weeks ago, they had an issue with the AC. I received a text from him and a VM from her around 10:00 am. I told him that I would have HVAC repairman call him when he was on his way and that it would be repaired that day but I wasn't sure what time as the repairman had other calls ahead of ours. He texted me numerous times through the day wanting an update, wanting to call the repairman directly, and wanting to call someone else. The repair was made around 5:00. I thought getting a same-day repair during the hottest week we've had all summer was pretty good. I'm not sure if this is a strike, a ball, or even a pitch, but the multiple texts through the day after I had given the plan of action was annoying.

They submitted a maintenance request for a fence repair. The fence is actually the neighbor's fence but of course borders my yard. They have been informed of this and told that I will need to visit with the neighbor before making any repairs. This was last week. I'm willing to make the repairs but I'm not going to send my guy into the neighbors back yard without having a discussion with the neighbor first. I haven't been able to catch the neighbor yet. Last night when I texted asking about the rent, his immediate response was that the fence still needed repairs. Again, not sure if this is even a pitch, but it sure aggravated me.

Bottom line is I feel as if though the tenants feel they are entitled to bend the rules and receive preferential treatment because they have been with me awhile. I also feel as if though they are trying to take advantage of me. I know for a fact that they have bought some land and either have started or will be starting a house so I figure I've got 6-8 months at max. I'm looking at one of three choices: 1) I could leave things alone and wait it out until their house is built or finished and they move. 2) I could raise their rent to market and keep them until they move - at least I would enjoy the higher rent. Or 3) I could give them a 30-day notice and be done with them the end of September.

What would you do?


Right or Rich (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 5:52 AM

I want to be both!

I would start by sending a letter that as of October 1, their rent will be x. They can receive an auto pay discount to end up with a rent of $y if they agree to sign up for automatic debit. In that case, raise rent 5%, and if no automatic payment raise it 10%.

Then, introduce a maintenance form they need to fill out. Remind them that they should expect 48 hours for normal repairs like AC. For the fence, a reminder that it is the neighbors fence and up to the neighbors to fix, but you are trying to catch the neighbor.

If they move out, then it is the perfect time to advertise "celebrate the holidaying your new home" and freshen the home to rent at the top of the market --64.251.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Dave [MO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:00 AM

I would post a pay or vacate notice on the door today, and if he doesn't pay follow with the eviction process.

Then, when I spoke with him the next time I would explain rent on time has nothing to do with a fence. He knows you are working with the neighbor about access to do repairs.

You can evict him if you want to just for the lease violation of not allowing access to the unit.

If no damage to the house I would probably keep what I know and let them move when they build.

To finish sometimes people just have a bad day and come across wrong, if this is your tenant I would rather be rich. --72.24.x.xxx

Right or Rich (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:00 AM

Here is one case where I'd rather be right than rich, but as Barb said why not be both?

I'd let the tenant know that his rent is going up 10% in October, and that he's still short on rent today due to the payment being applied to his late fees (including those ones we mistakenly left off a month ago due to a clerical error). If he wants to stay, I need money in the bank by tomorrow or we begin the court process. It's just the way we do business.

If he doesn't pay up, move him out and find someone else more cooperative to make you rich. I do not mess around with folks who don't want to let my guys in to do work, who are whiny, and who stick me with the late fees. In my book, this guy has struck out!

FREEDOM does not mean we become door mats. It means we have the FREEDOM to choose who lives in our houses, thereby making us rich. --173.19.xx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Amy [MO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:02 AM

Well, what are their options?

1). Continue to stay and give LL problems because "the rent is so cheap, I must live in a dump!". Meanwhile, they treat you like the dumpmaster and put away money for the house.

2). Wrestle with paying slightly higher rent or pay to try to move to an even more expensive place!

3) Try to move and get a 6-8 month lease for "less than what I'm paying now!!" Expensive and not easily done. Especially when building a house.

No the items you mentioned are not big, but it's the ATTITUDE that matters. There's no reason you need to deal with a nasty attitude from a renter if you've done your job.

Raise the rent enough so they know you value your business, but not enough to frustrate/anger them further.


Right or Rich (by Jeff [CO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:29 AM

Brad always acts as though you have to be one or the other. As others have said, both are possible. I am already rich, as are many landlords.

I focus on "right." If I am right, and it costs me money, I stick to my guns no matter what.

If a tenant sues me (VERY rare) for $500, I will spend thousands on legal fees and will go to the mat in court without a second thought - win, lose, or draw.

After all, if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything.

If your tenants see you as friendly, fair, and firm, they will respect you (which means adhering to the lease) much more than those who are pushovers.


Right or Rich (by Nicole [PA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:35 AM

I consider these type situations a lack of communication ... texting and e-mail are a means of relaying info ...not communicating. I'd bet a simple, civil phone call would have cut through the majority of this. --72.95.xx.x

Right or Rich (by Jeff [CO]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:41 AM

I strongly disagree. While I believe that texting isn't business-like, I see nothing wrong with e-mail. It is an efficient and acceptable method of business communication. Perfectly normal and used everywhere.


Right or Rich (by Susan [OH]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 6:57 AM

How or WHY are you going to repair the neighbor's fence? That isn't your problem.

I'd give then the boot, via a hefty rent increase. --76.189.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Pat [VA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 7:18 AM

If you feel they are moving in 6 months, I would raise the rent by 300 per month. I would then have them sign a new month to month lease and put a clause in it that says rent paid by the 31st of the month, for next months rent, gets a 100 dollar deduction. I did this and all my renters are calling me on the last day of the month to avoid spending 100 dollars on the first! The late fee still applies on the fifth!

If they are building a house, they sure arent going to want to move for 6 months. Also like the idea about the maintenance form that Barb added, but would have 72hours instead of 48. --70.184.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by rentON [PA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 7:23 AM

Why would your guy make repairs to a neighbor's fence? It appears as though your emotions are interfering with you running this as a business.

*Raise the rent to market rate

*Enforce 0 tolerance

*Collect late fees

*Communicate with neighbor to repair fence

*If / when they move you rent it again at market

Good luck --73.79.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Jim in O C [CA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 7:46 AM

At this stage in my life I want drama free tenants. Cause me a headache and the tenant will pay dearly. --75.22.xx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Laura [MD]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 8:20 AM

Raise the rent. Then every time they annoy you , think of the extra rent money. --108.28.xxx.xx

Right or Rich (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 8:35 AM

I would tell them there is no fence on the property and not my problem to fix the neighbors fence. --24.25.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 9:12 AM

I repair neighbor's fences ONCE. I let the tenant and the neighbor know the next time a repair is needed to a fence I don't own it will be on them.

Tenants like fences. I figured it's the least I can do being as my property benefits from their fence.

I offer to share the cost of a new fence if ever needed. I've only had one neighbor take me up on the offer but I always offer anyway. The stipulation being I chose the fence contractor. Why? Because he's licensed and insured and does great work for a good price. The neighbor who took me up on the offer had my fence contractor do her whole yard in the end. --173.170.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 9:21 AM

I think all tenants have a shelf life and this one has reached the end of his. --64.121.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Pat ? 1 or 2? [VA]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 9:58 AM

If they have property, that is great, you can attach a lien on it for unpaid rent/fees. I always believe in being nice until it's time to not be nice.

E-mail is a great tool for me because it is difficult for me to contain my sarcasm, etc., in person or on phone.

E-mail or FB messenger is easier for me to weigh my words carefully. --76.4.xx.xx

Right or Rich (by oregonwoodsmoke [OR]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 10:00 AM

I don't know that I would kick this tenant out, but the tenant needs a couple of sharp jerks on his leash to bring him back to heel.

Right or rich? My experience with tenants that refuse to follow the rules is that they always end up costing me a lot of money.

If your tenant has started to think about moving, the tenant has decided he doesn't need you any more and that is the end of nice manners. The tenant no longer cares about keeping the landlord happy.

I've had problem with long term tenants who have lived there so long that they forget who owns the house, but in this case, I think your issues are that the tenant has plans to move.

I don't like winter vacancies so I will kick out a tenant in the summer if I know for sure they plan to move in the middle of winter. Maybe that is not a problem in AR? --72.35.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Lynda [TX]) Posted on: Aug 8, 2017 11:09 AM

Well, EXPECTING to move into the house they are building in 6-8 months is a false expectation. Houses being built almost NEVER are ready for occupation on time. They will prob still be with you for another YEAR, *IF* you decide to keep them. They really have no place to go in the interim, and they sure won't want to move twice (with all that entails). They will just have to wait it out where they are. Wallet training is the best type of tenant training. They are month to month. Immediately raise the rent several hundred as of 1 Oct. Kids are back to school soon (if not already), I doubt they'll go anywhere. Send them the 30 day notice of the increase. They will soon realize what negative behavior just cost them. --108.87.xx.xxx

Right or Rich (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Aug 9, 2017 5:40 AM

I also want both but you know the scales of justice are always moving, so I too would raise the rent - get this started before the holidays )This Goes For Everyone(, something is gonna happen in the springtime and you will raise the rent again to ensure this, they are either gonna hold up during the winter or leave forcing you to keep heat alive so the pipes don't freeze or you may get someone but holiday moving is not a good time and you already know this. Or they will end up staying and paying prevailing rent which takes away the cost of winter heating and time to show the unit... --76.188.xxx.xx

Right or Rich (by Chris [CA]) Posted on: Aug 10, 2017 2:04 AM

They will n o t want to move out early. OTOH, they are on a roll and will likely bother you more.

Take the fence - why should you fix a neighbor's?!? --78.43.xx.xx

Right or Rich (by razorback_tim [AR]) Posted on: Aug 10, 2017 6:33 PM

Thank you to everyone who responded.

Several of you asked why I would fix the neighbors fence. Lisa(FL) nailed it. Because that fence benefits my property. I was able to butt my fence up against theirs and benefit from effectively having that side of the yard fenced even though the fence is theirs and on their property.

The tenant did pay the rent on Tuesday as promised. However, they did not pay the late fee.

After receiving advice here and calming down a bit (see Brad's post on LL drama), I have a clear plan of action going forward. I left a VM earlier this evening asking the tenant to call me back. He has not yet, but if he does, I'm going to ask him politely to pay the late fee that he did not pay on Tuesday. If he doesn't call me back or refuses to pay the late fee, I will not argue, but they will be sent a letter terminating the month-to-month agreement effective September 30, end of story. If they do pay, they will be sent a letter terminating the current agreement with an offer to enter into a new agreement at the current market rate with payment via ACH. If they want to do that fine, and if not fine, at this point, I'm indifferent to having them as tenants. The home is in a great area within walking distance to one of the most desirable elementary schools here, so I'm confident I will have no trouble re-renting the house. --70.178.x.xx

Right or Rich (by bet [MA]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2017 8:47 AM

In my opinion tenants are like little kids seeing how much they can get away with and every time they do, they lose a bit more respect for the relationship. I would not call tenant. I would put it in writing with a deadline of response. Then continue with your plan of raising rents. Too many landlord put emotion into these relationships. I like to operate like we are just the cable/ At &T co. --96.233.xxx.xxx

Right or Rich (by ntj [GA]) Posted on: Aug 12, 2017 6:03 PM

With all due respect, the problems you are describing are your fault.

- If you haven't been raising the rent to market, that's your fault

- If you have been letting them pay late without late fees, that is your fault

- If you let them dictate the maintenance policy, that is your fault

Raise the rent to market, move to a zero tolerance policy for late rent and put out a maintenance policy in writing. You can be rich and right, but you can't let someone else run your business. --24.98.xxx.xx

Subject: RE: Right or Rich
Your Name:
Your State:

Right or Rich
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from Mrlandlord.com every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: