Don’t Make This Mistake, If You Want to Keep Good Tenants

Where’s the problem?

The issue of respecting tenants’ privacy is really close to my heart, based on a perplexing experience that my wife, Angy, and I had.

Shorty after we were married, Angy and I were experiencing marital bliss on a our honeymoon in Mexico. We rented a house near the beach, and after a few days we mentioned to the landlord that the kitchen sink was draining too slowly.

The next day was Saturday, and we still in bed that morning. Angy was sleeping and Terry was reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, when we heard the back door opening. It sounded like two people were entering.

A happy Spongebob-ish called out, “We’re here to fix the sink.”

Terry yelled, “Hey, why are you guys here so early? We’re still in bed.”

The Spongebob voice said, “Sorry, we have a tight schedule to keep. It’s not easy being a handyman you know.”

“What did he say?” whispered Angy.

“He said its not easy being a handyman.”

“Well, that’s his problem isn’t it?”

“I would have thought so.”

Terry shouted out, “Can you guys come back later? We’re not prepared right now. And if you could avoid unloading your burdens on us we’d really appreciate it.”

“Come on,” said the cheerful voice, “we can fix this pipe in two shakes.” We could hear random tools dropping on the floor and bouncing around, followed by an exclamation of “Oops.”

“And we are really good guys. I read poetry and I’m good at carrying on interesting conversations.”

“And, I write novels,” the other one with a goofy, Patrick-ish voice chimed in, “although I haven’t had any published yet.”

Objections to the contrary, we had our sink fixed and the handymen did turn out to be pretty good guys. They became our friends over the course of our stay.

Although this was just a light-hearted incident, it was also an example of violation of tenants’ privacy. Not only is it wrong from a courtesy perspective, but it is also against the law to enter the premises without the tenant’s permission, except in an emergency.

The more you can make the tenants feel it is their home, like keeping a handyman poet and a Pulitzer Prize wannabe from showing up unannounced to their private living space, the better your relationship with them will be.


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6 Responses to “Don’t Make This Mistake, If You Want to Keep Good Tenants”

  1. Wow. Seriously? Wow. I thought they were always supposed to knock, at least! And then to not leave and to start a conversation — dudes, JUST LEAVE! Weird. Glad you moved out!

    • admin says:


      Since we were south of the border at the time, we could have chalked it up as a cultural misunderstanding.

      But the truth is, we don’t harbor any bad feelings about Mexico. I really like the people and the culture.

  2. That’s so over the top it’s hard to believe it happened! Glad you made your message clear by moving out!

    • admin says:


      Looking back at the incident, and acknowledging that we were in a small Mexican town, maybe they thought that they were doing us a favor by quickly responding to our request to fix the sink.

      It could be a situation like where two people view the same incident, like a car accident, and each person sees the incident differently.

      I can imagine a scenario where the owner tells his hapless repairmen, “The gringo’s sink is broken. Go fix his sink!”

      And, these two guys think they’re jobs are hanging by a thread if that sink doesn’t get fixed. So, the next day they are up at the crack of dawn to save the helpless tenants and appease the boss.

      To their astonishment, they find that we are not falling all over each other with gratitude for their heroic efforts to save us from our leaky sink.

  3. Wow, even if it isn’t your house, you can’t have people just walk in. In my part of the country that would get you shot!

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