December 15, 2010

Things Landlords Won't Tell You

I ran across a SmartMoney article via Yahoo titled 5 Things Your Landlord Won't Tell You

Here are their 5 things:

1. "This building is in foreclosure"
2. "You should complain more." 
3. "There's more to negotiate than the rent."
4. "Your neighbor is not my problem."
5. "You may have more rights than I do."

As a landlord myself here are my thoughts on each:

1. Yes they may not tell you that.  I think it would be unethical for them to do so but it happens.   My properties are not in foreclosure or anywhere close to it so this does not apply to me.   The vast majority of rentals are not in foreclosure so this really applies to a very small % of people.  For the people it applies to it is a serious problem but there are recent new laws to help tenants.

2. My first reaction to this was that it is an asinine thing to say.  It seems like telling someone "I'd like you to waste my time and give me a headache."   But there is actually some truth to it.   As a landlord I would actually like tenants to complain more in certain situations If theres anything that can cause damage to the property then I want to know sooner rather than later.   If a tenant or other neighbor is breaking the lease terms then I'd like to know that too. If your facet is leaking then tell me.  If there are very funny chemical smells coming from the other apartment then please tell me.  If the neighbor is parking on my lawn then please tell me.

3. This one is true but I won't tell a tenant that explicitly unless they want to haggle on rent.   I mean why would I tell people that they're free to negotiate?   That just opens the door to them negotiating stuff they wouldn't otherwise.   I'm open to negotiation but I'm not going to give you a written invitation to do it.

4. This one is half true.   Sometimes I can't do a darn thing about your neighbors.   Just like I can't do much about my own neighbors.   As a landlord I don't have some sort of dictator authority to make everyone do whatever I want.  I have to obey laws and follow the rules of the lease.    If you suspect a neighbor has a dog and you hear it barking, I can't simply kick them out.  I have to prove that dog is there in violation of the terms of the lease.  Sometimes thats easier said than done.   On the other hand bad neighbors and bad tenants are always a problem for a landlord.  

5. Tenants may have a lot of rights in some places and very few in others.   It varies by state and city. You need to learn your own rights.

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