Archive for the ‘landlording’ Category

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

“Abraham Lincoln was liked by every person who knew him. He made himself useful in every way that he could. If the water-bucket was empty he filled it; if wood was needed he chopped it; he was always cheerful and in a good humor.” Caleb Carman, New Salem neighbor.

“It cannot be too often stated that cheerful friendliness was the most striking feature of his (Lincoln’s) personality.” Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809 – 1858.

_____

Treat Strangers Like Friends

I was walking my dog, Blackie, one morning. As I began to cross the street, a van suddenly appeared and was barreling towards me. The lady in a van stopped to let me cross. I thought it was my neighbor, Pat. I waved for her to go first, then I gave another wave and smile as she passed. As she went by I realized it wasn’t Pat, but rather, a complete stranger.

The remarkable point of this incident is that I can pretend that the people I meet are just like someone I already know and like. Then I find I have the same warm feelings for that stranger as I do for an old friend. If I project traits I know about a person I am acquainted with to a new person, I try harder to understand them instead viewing their actions in a negative light.

My friend, Mark, is a “type A” personality. He is capable of pushing himself to accomplish great things and he can be very kindly towards others, but he is also easily frustrated and angered when things don’t go the way he expected. When I meet someone with a personality like Mark, I know what buttons to push to make him smile and what buttons to avoid so he is not upset, based on my experience with Mark.

Forced to be Affable

As a landlord and owner of rental houses, recently my wife and I were really low on money (i.e., broke). We are always feel like we’re low on money, but this time the well was really dry. We maxed out our credit card to purchase a new air conditioner for a property.

Big Lou

On top of this, we had to pay for a hotel room for a tenant, when the old air conditioner went out and he and his family could not live in my rental house, due to the heat. This unexpected (No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!) combination of large expenditures hit us like a Lou Ferrigno-sized tsunami. I feared we might have to sell a rental house to get out of debt, something I have eluded because we are relying on the rental houses as a future source of retirement income.

We desperately needed new tenants in this house. We found two promising, albeit quirky, tenants. I was so motivated to avoid this financial cliff we were facing that I bent over backwards to keep the tenants happy. I assumed an exceptionally affable personality.

Affable Personas

My attitude was that the tenants could do no wrong, even though they did things that under normal circumstances would rub me the wrong way, such as: they had a dog in the house for a short period (no pets allowed); they paid the rent late; they didn’t transfer the utilities into their name; they were pushy in asking for minor repairs that they could easily do themselves. How hard is it to buy a $1.00 bathtub drain plug?

Yet, I maintained my amiable, easygoing attitude. Anything that happened, regardless of how shocking, I acted as if it was exactly what I had anticipated. My response was always, “No problem. We can handle that. It’s a piece of cake.”

Some typical tenant problems and my response:

“I have a leaky faucet.” No sweat. I’ll change the washer.

“The door is squeaking” I’m on it. Let me put some WD 40 on the hinge.

“I dropped a pencil on the floor.” Leave it to me. No project is too small.

Surprisingly, since I’m normally an intense worrier, this positive attitude grew on me like a barnacle on a ship. It has made me feel much more relaxed.

To Change the Present, Come Back From the Future!

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote that we should live each moment as if for the second time. We recognize that we didn’t fully appreciate our experience the first time around and now have a chance to return to the moment and do it right (as mentioned in Lynne Spreen’s “Any Shiny Thing – Life After 50” Blog.)

Marty and Doc Brown

To come back from the future, we don’t need a time machine built from a DeLorean car like Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in Back to the Future. Rather, the trick is to pretend like we are in the future, but we imagine we have traveled back to the present.

For example, I am 63 years old, but I imagine that I am really 83 and I have returned from the future to enjoy this day, as if for a second time. I take the things that happen as though it’s my last chance to see these people I love, in this stage of their lives. I imagine that I have already experienced this day once before and I focus on really treasuring the people and experiences in this second opportunity.

Putting My Affable Persona to the Test

In my adventures as a special education substitute teacher, I frequently come across kids with extreme anti-social behavior. Since all of the other teachers in the class (there can be three or four teachers in some classes) are already burned out from working with that one kid, I am usually paired up with him.

As I approach each new classroom, my thought is, “You never know what you are going to get. That’s the exciting part about life.”

Recently, I walked up to the classroom door and surprisingly, the door was locked.  I knocked. The teacher opened the door just a crack and shoved a boy at me. In an exasperated voice, she said, “This is Angel. Can you just watch him for a while? We have to get him out of this classroom. I don’t care what you do, just don’t let him hurt anyone.” The door closed and locked behind us.

10 Year Old Imp

I was alone in the school hall way with this 10-year-old imp who was just expelled from his classroom. Our eyes locked. My mind was churning with foreboding thoughts.

Suddenly, a continuous stream of expletives flew out of his mouth. He ran down the hallway ripping papers off bulletin boards and yelling insults at teachers and students he passed. I herded him into a teacher preparation room where I kept him blocked in, thinking it was be safer for everyone if I isolated from the rest of the school population. He threw papers, pencils and markers on the ground, put pens in the toilet, and taunted me with insults. His favorite name for me was “pink lips.”

Yet, I kept the Lincoln perspective firmly in mind and maintained my affable persona. I would chuckle at some of his over-the-top taunts, or reply to a particularly creative insulting name for me with, “That’s a good one.” I found a Goosebumps book in the prep room and started reading it out loud as I continued to try to neutralize Angel’s destructive efforts. He took an interest in the story and calmed down a bit.

I returned Angel to his classroom in a slightly better frame of mind than I got him, although that might have been because he just needed a rest. Yes, I was happy to be rid of him, but I was more pleased to have maintained my calm demeanor.

Later, I went home and kicked my dog. (Just kidding.)

An Affable Waiter

Let’s try to be as affable as the imperturbable waiter.

“I’m sorry, but I only have enough money for the bill. I have nothing left for a tip,” I once told a waiter.

“Let me add up that bill again, sir,” the waiter responded.

 

 

Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.

 

NEW BOOK COMIMG SOON!!!

 

 

Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Be a Generous Listener, as Abe Lincoln Was

Remove that Garbarge Disposal Now!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

 

To owners/managers of rental properties, gargbage disposals are like a hanging fingernail – they are painful to have around and the sooner they are gone the better..

What do I have against gargabe disposals?

1) they just hang below the sink waiting to break down

2) they can smell like a sewer, and

3) they are a hazard to tenants!

There is almost no upside to having garbage disposals. If tenants have leftover food,  they just throw it into the trash can.

Having just replaced garbage disposals in two of my rental houses, I can say that there is one good thing that I like about garbage disposals. They are easy to remove.

Removing the Disposal

1. Use the GD remover tool to release the garbage disposal. Remove tubing first. The GD will fall to the ground. Be ready to catch.

2. The one tricky part is that to remove the basket fron the sink opening (that was formerly connected to the GD), there is a retainer ring below  the sink that must be pried off with a screwdriver.

 

Once the garbage disposal is out, replace it with the appropriate pipes.These days,the tubing just connects togther. No need for glue.  It’s as easy as putting tinger toys together. Piece of cake.

If you need, help ask the experts at Ace Hardware. That’s what I did.

 

Upcoming Presentations:

April 18, 2015. Forum Speaker at The Association of Lincoln Presenters 2015 Convention, Vandalia, Illinois.

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

Additional Articles:

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

How I Evicted A Problem Tenant in 4 Steps

When to Hire a House Inspector – Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Getting Rid of Bad Tenants

“Turn your home into a rental” on Mark Wayne Show

7 Reasons to Live in a Fixer-Upper House While You Repair It

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

Our First Rental House Plunge

10 Most Frequent Problems Found by House Inspectors

5 Steps to Get Your House Ready to Rent by Terry Sprouse

5 Steps to take if your house is flooded

Some perfectly legal ways to maximize your rental profits

Add “Start a Rental House Business” to Your Bucket List

The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money and Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

Window Repair with #2 Son

Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses

Learn to Repair Your Fixer Upper Houses

How I Got Started In Fixer-Upper Houses

How to learn to operate a fixer upper house business

The Peaceful Warrior and Fixer-Upper Houses

How I Evicted A Problem Tenant in 4 Steps

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

I recently did my first tenant eviction. It’s something I always felt a little queasy about doing, since the procedure was kind of hazy to me. But I found the whole process fairly easy.

Contrary to widespread misconceptions,  the justice system favors the landlord. If a tenant violates the contract, the law is on the side of the landlord. And, not having enough money is an unacceptable reason not to pay the rent.

I had a tenant that had a habit of paying late. I warned him that this can’t continue, yet after the warning he I still didn’t receive his payment on the due date – the first day of the month.

Here are the steps that I took to remove him:

1.)  I filled out a “Pay or Quit” form that gave him 5 days to pay up or remove himself from the premises. I taped it to the front door and mail a copy to tenant. I made a copy of this form from my copy of the Arizona Landlord’s Deskbook.

2. ) He didn’t pay or leave so I went to the County Courthouse and filled out a form to set a court date to have him evicted. I paid $42 to process the paperwork and $40 to the County Constable to hand deliver the Eviction Summons to the tenants. The Summons named the tenant as defendant, stated the date and time of the trail, and listed the amount of money they owed. It took one week before we could get a trial date.

3.) At the trial, my wife and I show up, but the tenants do not. The judge awards the judgement to my wife and I and gives us a paper ordering the tenants to leave and to pay the costs, which includes an additional $85 for Court Costs. The Judge’s Eviction Notice gives the tenant 5 more days to get out.

4.) We mail a copy of the verdict to the tenant and he is out before the 5 days is up. We don’t anticipate getting the last month’s rent, but our main goal was to remove them from the premises.

The entire process is simple enough that it can be done without a lawyer. However, in the court I saw one tenant who had hired a lawyer to represent her. The rest of the landlords that I saw did not have lawyers.

My only regret was that I waited longer then I should have to file the paperwork with the county. I negotiated with the tenant, which turned out to be futile. It wound up taking about a month to actually remove the tenant. Had I acted quicker, he could have been out in half the time.

Overall, going through the process was empowering because it gave me confidence that the government is there to assist landlords to remove problem tenants.

Excuses for not paying rent

I have found that tenants can afford to pay for cable TV, new Ipods, big screen televisions, yet they can’t afford to pay the rent. I often think to myself, “Something is wrong with this picture.”

Here are some sad but true excuses that tenants have come up with (from The Landlord Protection Agency at http://www.thelpa.com). If you hear excuses like these, it’s probably time to start the eviction process.

“I had to pay my car registration & I owed my former landlord money.”

“Oh come on. You’re gonna harass me on Valentines Day?”

“We are expecting a couch delivery in the next few days.”

“You know with Christmas gifts and parties, we’re a little short on the rent this month.”

“My last landlord had no problem with me paying late. This seems to be a real big issue with you.”

“Sorry I said I would have the rent and the late fee. I lied. So where do we go from here?”

“I would have paid the rent, but I though I needed it more than you.”

“So many things came up this month that I had to deal with. Now I don’t have the rent money. Sorry. I don’t know what to do. I’m sure not gonna borrow it.”

“I lost my cell phone with your number in it. That is why I couldn’t call you to tell you what happened!”

“We had to use the rent to pay our electric bill. They were gonna turn us off if we didn’t pay the whole bill.”

“Why you bothering me? I told you I work 2 jobs and don’t have time for this!”

“I would have paid your rent, , but I had to make the car payment.”

“I did not pay the rent when I said I could because that is the only day I can sleep late.”

The right way to handle tenants who are moving out

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Eventually, tenants experience that “feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving,” which Led Zeppelin describes, and they move away.

When this happens, you will want to make the transition of the tenant out of the house as smooth as possible. The best way to do this is by telling the tenant what you expect from them. We send a letter that clearly spells out the checkout process. This way there are no misunderstandings, we are all on the same page, wavelength, sheet of music, or stairway to heaven.

Move Out Information Letter to Tenants

Some key things that we mention in our letter are:

1.) How much of their security deposit will be returned.

2.) There will need to be a review of their check in sheet (and attach a copy for them).

3.) What you expect in terms of house cleaning.

4.) Reminders to contact the utility companies to disconnect services in their name.

5.) Reminders to cancel newspaper and other subscriptions, and to provide the Postal Service with a change of address form.

6.) Reminders to contact us when they are ready for the final house inspection.

7.) A note that if keys are not returned, they will be charged.

8.) Any costs that we must pay to repair the house will be taken out of their security deposit, and we will refund the money due them within 10 days.

Download a copy of my “move-out” information letter to tenants.

(The link to my letter may not work on Internet Explorer. It seems to work fine with Google Chrome.)

Why be lenient with the damage deposit?

In general, we are pretty lenient when it comes to charging tenants for little things on the checklist. If they move out, and they have been good tenants, we are going return to them most, if not all of their security (or damage) deposit back, barring some obvious big broken item.

Our perspective is that we made a lot of money from the tenants over the years, and we don’t want them to leave on a sour note just because they thought we might have overcharged them on some ticky-tack repair.

 

Men of the World Unite!

John and Todd over at FearlessMen.com are staging a mustache and beard growing contest to help raise funds for charity.

I have confidently signed up to participate in the contest, and I have every intention of winning!

I invite you to join me.

The rules are simple:

1. Starting November 1st, start growing you mustache or beard. In the process they will encourage others who see them as they selflessly promote this great cause, to donate to the selected charities.

2.December 1-16 the contestants will have their photos posted at Fearlessmen.com so everyone can vote on said mustaches and beards. On Dec. 17th, the winner will be announced

3. The winner will receive prizes.

For complete details, charge over and read John’s article:

Fearless Men’s Beard and Mustache Competition | Movember 2012.

 

_____________________

Coming VERY Soon!

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental House, Instead of Selling It
Related Articles

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

How I Evicted A Problem Tenant in 4 Steps

When to Hire a House Inspector – Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Getting Rid of Bad Tenants

“Turn your home into a rental” on Mark Wayne Show

7 Reasons to Live in a Fixer-Upper House While You Repair It

6 Steps to Roof Maintenance (for the Home that will Turn Into a Rental House)

Our First Rental House Plunge

10 Most Frequent Problems Found by House Inspectors

5 Steps to Get Your House Ready to Rent by Terry Sprouse

5 Steps to take if your house is flooded

Some perfectly legal ways to maximize your rental profits

Add “Start a Rental House Business” to Your Bucket List

The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money and Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

Window Repair with #2 Son

Required Roof Maintenance for Fixer Upper Houses

Learn to Repair Your Fixer Upper Houses

How I Got Started In Fixer-Upper Houses

How to learn to operate a fixer upper house business

The Peaceful Warrior and Fixer-Upper Houses

The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money and Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

Friday, August 10th, 2012

The Arizona Network of Real Estate invited me to give a presentation to their group about my book “Fix em Up Rent em Out.”

I thought the video might be available to the general public but it looks as though that’s not going to happen.

However, so that no one feels left out, I am going to provide  a summary of the key points that I hit during the presentation. As someone who was regularly picked last for teams in gym class, I’m sensitive to people feeling left out. Casting modesty to the wind, I am also including exclusive photos of the event.

So here are:

The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money and Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants (based on an article by Andrew Stefanczyk)

1. Choose the Worst Possible Area

Location will determine the kinds of tenants you will attract, and how much rent you can fairly charge.

Do you want these bearded wonders as tenants?

The best approach is to identify target areas in your city where you would like to focus your purchases. I like to focus on “transition zones” (where there is a mixture of housing types) which are good for investors because we can purchase properties at lower prices, and there is high demand to live in these areas.

2. Put in the very best of things when fixing up  an investment property

Use new and expensive sinks, doors, refrigerators, light fixtures, etc. Never shop at stores that recycle construction supplies. Spare no  expense.

Of course, the problem is that tenants will not take care of our properties as well as we would,

Habitat Store

so we end up with many broken or worn out items. The better alternative is to shop at used building supply stores, and to purchase good, inexpensive, supplies for our rental houses. One such store is the Habitat for Humanity store.

3. Make sure you have absolutely no experience in make basic repairs

Not knowing how to change electrical outlets, unclog drains & toilets, and replace broken windows will cost quite a bit down the road.

The better way is to:

A. Learn as you go, and comply with EPA regulations

B. Take construction classes at junior college

C. Learn from handymen and contractors

D. Take the Zen approach to  house repair learn to do everything yourself

5. Utilize fix-up books, investing books, & YouTube to find answers on how to make house repairs

4. Do not screen your tenants

Being as uninformed as possible about who you rent to may be the best way to lose money as a landlord. Do not ask for or check references. Do not call previous landlords and ask questions like, did they pay rent on time? How was the condition of the house or apartment when they left? Did they ever disturb neighbors with loud music or shouting matches? How often would you have to make special trips for repairs? Being as uninformed as possible about whom you rent to will make a huge difference and will increase the chances that you will get tenants that will trash your property and refuse to pay rent.

However, the better way is to:

A. Use a checklist for tenants. Decide what kind of tenant that you want ahead of time.

B. Look at their paycheck to verify income.

C. Check county records to see what illegal activities they’ve been up to.

D. Know the Fair Housing Act. Never select tenants based strictly on “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap (disability).”

E. To find new tenants, use Craiglist, put up arrow signs, and host an “open house.”

5. Make sure you have not learned about your rights as a landlord

Be completely unfamiliar with the eviction process to guarantee long, drawn out disputes with tenants. Don’t keep up to date financial records or copies of correspondence with tenants. Most states provide online information about tenant and landlord rights so avoid reading these.

The better way is:

A. Get an authoritative legal guide like  “The Arizona Landlord Deskbook” by Carlton Cassler.

B.  Copy forms and letters from your legal book to send to tenants.

C. Comply with legal ways to deal with bad tenants.

D. Use memos to communicate with tenants so you have a record of correspondence.

E. Use a month to month lease instead of long-term lease to more easily scrape off bad tenants like barnacles.

F. Reward tenants for paying on time by discounting their rent $25.  

G. Send good tenants Target  gift cards for Xmas.

In Conclusion

Share Your Knowledge

“Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

–Albert Schweitzer

Carve Out Your Niche Update

My award-winning book on self-publishing, Carve Out Your Niche, is now available in Kindle format.

The Midwest Book Review called Carve Out Your Niche,

“Invaluable for anyone seeking to successfully write, publish, and market their own work.”

 Related Posts

Remove that Garbarge Disposal Now!

Funniest Tenant Screening Stories

Monday, June 4th, 2012

This guest post is from Endre Rex-Kiss, an online marketing, social media and human resource enthusiast. He currently represents FidelisAM, a US based agency providing employment and resident screening services. Follow his occasional guest blogging activities on Twitter.

Tenant screenings is the way to go if you want quality tenants and most landlords come across potential tenants who are either not what they claim to be or have serious behavioral problems. This article takes a look at the funniest screening stories landlords have had and their aftermaths. So sit down, relax or better still grab a cold bottle of beer to nurse while you go through the experiences below.

The Estranged Wife

A couple with no kids moved into a 4 bedroom duplex in the suburbs, the house and environment provided the perfect scenery for the couple but there was only one problem and it was that of meeting up with their mortgage payments. So they decided to put a room up for rent. The necessary adverts were created and finally a prospective client came knocking, he was the perfect tenant for he claimed to be single, had no pets, did not smoke, drink, do drugs and had a well-paying job. This obviously was too good to be true so the couple decided to hire an agent to conduct a little screening on him. After two days, the agent returned to tell the couple that they had been invited to have dinner with the previous landlord of their prospective tenant. On getting there, they were told that the tenant usually preys on sympathetic landlords and if you fall into his trap by renting a room to him, he would move in, behave for some days but a week later a woman who would claim to be his estranged wife would come visiting for some time and then finally move in with a cat. They would then proceed to co-habit like pigs, steal your property and when rent is due, disappear like thieves in the middle of the night.

Ghost Tenants

A couple responded to a landlord’s accommodation advert, they came to see the Landlord and professed that they loved the apartment and would be willing to rent it for the long term. The landlord was convinced that they were the perfect tenants so when the wife came calling the next day without her husband (due to the supposed fact that he works late) to ask for the keys to the apartment so she could look through it, the landlord duly obliged. A day passed, the lady did not return, two passed and she was still missing. The landlord quickly called his agent who conducted a quick search only to find out that the woman and her husband had already moved into the apartment. The police was called and the couple quickly evicted.

Dead beat Prospective Tenant

An agent once recommended a tenant who had the best recommendations ever; he had a good job, perfect credit and good relationships with his previous landlords. A meeting day was fixed and the prospective client shows up with a dead beat car and the attitude of someone who was one step ahead of the law. The landlord who needed to rent his facility out as soon as possible, overlooked this tell-tale signs and had agreed to lease the apartment to the tenant. The recommended signatures had already been traded and an upfront deposit had been made but as luck would have it, a police officer who was driving randomly through the neighborhood spotted the prospective tenant, felt his face was familiar and got down to trade some questions. Suddenly, the tenant bolted and a foot race began. The tenant was finally apprehended and the landlord discovered that the name, details and personal information given by his perfect tenant had nothing in common with the tenant.

The Thief

A couple came with an agent to view a landlords property, after going through it, they decided it was perfect and would be signing the necessary papers the following day but there was just one issue, they needed the house repainted. The landlord obliged, carried the necessary equipment to the house and started painting. He painted into the night and decided to spend the night there instead of returning home late. In the middle of the night, he began to hear strange noises at the side of the house, quickly he got up to investigate and on getting there, he found his prospective tenant trying to detach an A/C unit.

These stories show that conducting an in-depth screening which should include: former landlord credit checks, recommendations and past criminal activities are highly recommended.

Upcoming Speaking Engagement – Terry Sprouse (author of Fix em Up Rent em Out)

I will be making a presentation to the Arizona Network of Real Estate Investors. Mark your calendars.

Where:
Fidelity National Title, 6760 N. Oracle Road, Suite 100, Tucson, AZ

When:
June 7th, 2012

Time:
Meeting begins at 5:30 pm, presentation at 6:00 pm

Title: The 5 Rules on How to Lose Money & Get Your Rental Property Trashed by Tenants

How to Turn Your Home into a Rental Property – Radio Interview with Ron Ross

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I was interviewed by the engaging, master radio host, Ron Ross of WJBC 1230 AM in Bloomington, Illinois this morning.

I talked about how to turn a home into a rental property, including:

– how to do the financing

– getting good tenants

– taking advantage of tax breaks

– and preparing the old house to rent.

Before the show I heard Ron going through the news and he said that ratings were so bad at CBS that Katie Couric was showing up to work in sweat pants, a tank top and a ball cap too.

So, during the interview, I mentioned that one of the advantages of working with rental properties was, like Katie Couric, I can show up to work in sweat pants and a ball cap.

Listen to the entire radio interview.

Upcoming radio interviews

September 2 at 7:40 am, Good Morning Rochester with Rich Peterson, KROC 1340 AM, Rochester, Minnesota.

September 2 at 11:25 am, John Brown’s Mindset, KTRS 550 AM, St. Louis, Missouri.

September 15 at 8:05 am, the Dan and Mike Show with Dan Ramey, WBEX 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio.

Creepy tenants and landlord/tenant rights

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Gary Sutton of Newsradio 910 WSBA, York, PA asked me, “What if you have a creepy tenant like the one in the movie Pacific Heights?  What are the rights of tenants?

Michael Keaton in Pacific Heights represented a new landlord’s worst nightmare. He was a master at manipulation of landlords, and pushed the boundaries of the law without actually breaking them.

Laws Favor Tenants

Of course, there is a lot of gratuitous Tinseltown nail-bitting tension in the film, but it does faithfully present one fact that all landlords must face. The laws generally favor the tenant.

Laws may vary from state to state, but in general tenants are required to:

– maintain dewlling units
-dispose of trash
-use in a reasonable manner the electrical , plumbing, heating, AC,
etc., and all appliances
– not destroy, deface, or damage the premises
– not disturb the beighbor
– allow landlord access to the property

Landlords are required to:

-supply a written copy of the lease to the tenants
– comply with all building codes
– make requied repairs so that the property is clean and safe
– maintain in safe working order all electrical plumbing, AC, etc.
– provide recepticles for waste removal

“Practical” vs “Legal” Remedies

As Carlton Casler points out in his book “Arizona Landlord’s Deskbook,” the best remedy to problems with tenants is often by utilizing the “practical” approach rather than the “legal” approach.

For example, instead of incurring all the costs of time and money to legally remove a deadbeat tenant, by telling the tenant that if he is out at the end of the month and the property is reasonably clean that you will refund allow his deposits. Or, if he has no deposits, you give him $100.

Would that solution work for a tenant like Michael Keaton?

He’d probably prefer a fist fight with the landlord or a shootout with the cops.

However, outside of Hollywood the practical solution works pretty well.

Upcoming radio interviews

August 25 at 8:08 am, I will be on Jeff Anderson’s show, KSDR 1480 am, Watertown, South Dakota.

August 26 at 11:05 am, the Ron Ross Show, WJBC 1230 am, Bloomington, Illinois.

September 15 at 8:05 am, the Dan Ramey show, WBEX 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio.

Welcome to my new ‘fixer upper and rental house’ blog home!

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Welcome to my new website.

Make yourself right at home. Pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee, and check out some of my articles, useful links, or previous posts. Hopefully, you’ll discover some useful investing information.

To keep you in the loop, I am developing some new resource materials to help you get started in the house fixer-upper and rental business.

First and foremost, I am putting the finishing touches on my new book entitled “Never Sell Your Home! How to turn your home into a rental house.” Watch this space for further developments.

Even with rising interest rates, now is still a good time for do-it-yourselfers to start a new income stream with a rental house or two. House prices are still at rock bottom lows, but before too long they will start moving up again.

The key is to find a good fixer-upper house in a location where people like to rent. It’s still the best way to start your own business, and establish some long-term economic security!

Sometimes going through tough economic times is just the push that we need to start on a new path.

When tough times hit, I like to reflect on Lincoln’s saying, “We can complain that the rose bushes have thorns, or we can rejoice that the thorn bushes have roses.”

How to Find Tenants

Thursday, April 8th, 2010


Here is a recent email that I received from someone who is taking my 7-Week email course, and my response:

Dear Terry,

We bought one fixer upper but are having trouble renting it — any ideas of good places to advertise for a tenant?

Thanks in advance,

Jean xxxx

Hi Jean,

Let me suggest a few techniques that that have worked for me:

1. Place several small For Rent signs on all nearby streets, especially the major intersections. If you get a sign with an arrow on it, you can point the arrow in the direction of your house. I buy the signs at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
2. Hold an “open house” on Saturday and Sunday. People driving by can come in and look around.
3. Contact companies that help people find rental properties. Some will list your property for free. These companies usually contact me.
4. Run an ad on craigslist.org. You can upload photos and describe the qualities of your rental property. The ads are free & I usually get a great response.

I hope you find a tenant soon.

Let me know if you come up with a good technique that I haven’t thought of.

Good luck!

Best regards,

Terry Sprouse

Location, Location, …

One thing I didn’t mention in the letter, but which is perhaps the most important consideration of all in attracting good tenants, is the location of your property. Properties located where people really like to rent are called “opportunity zones” (or “transition zones”).  Just as Baskin-Robbins must offer the flavors of ice cream that the public likes, so you must offer rental properties in the areas of town where people want to live.

If your property is located in an area where people don’t like to rent, you will always have trouble finding tenants. For more information about my philosophy on where to invest, check out my EzineArticles.com article The Secret to Increasing Cash Flow – Invest in Opportunity Zones .