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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tenant Complaints

My first rent checks from Tulsa were actually two money orders. Before I deposited them, I noticed that the names on them were not the same as the name on the lease. Hmm.. That's not good. So I asked my property-manager-to-be to have these people sign an addendum to the lease showing they were living there as well. This is mainly for legal reasons in case I need to evict them or take other action against the tenants. They did sign, but of course, when the property manager showed up, they had a couple complaints. They said one toilet and the dishwasher leaked. Also, they said they saw some bugs.

So I've contacted a pest control company and a plumber to fix this. I've given them the tenant's phone number so they can set up an appointment.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Shaun,
Welcome to the landlord party.. Sounds like your first months cashflow is gone already.. Expenses already adding up. How do you feel so far?

Shaun said...

I knew I'd hear from you. I've been a landlord before. I know what it entails. My cashflow is perfectly fine because I have no mortgage payments for the first two months. Probably three months. If you recall, I bought this all cash using one of my own companies as the hard money source. I have not refinanced yet. Technically, I have a mortgage payment, but it's from myself to myself, so for all practical purposes, I don't have one.

Doug O said...

Shaun, I guess my question here is did you personally inspect the property thoroughly before you bought it? Not that these two complaints are a very big deal at all (virtually every landlord goes through this with the clogged toilet and bugs), but just curious if you got a chance to see firsthand the condition of the property...
Also, for smaller properties that I own (ie, 1-10 units), I always add into the lease that bugs appear seasonally and that the tenant is responsible for dealing with them. So unless it's an outbreak of hissing cockroaches or something scary, I just tell them to go buy a can of raid and keep the place cleaner so the bugs stay away... Haven't had any problems with it yet, and after move out, I just have someone go through and give it a thorough cleaning.. Wasting money on monthly pest control on a single family can eat into your profits (even if it's only $50 per visit, that's still $600 a year out of your pocket)... Call me cheap or whatever, but I like to generate as much cash as I can from my properties...

Shaun said...

I did not personally inspect it. I did get a professional appraisal and saw tons of pictures. There were no problems noted. It appears the bugs are due to the way the tenants are living. I was told there were dirty dishes on the kitchen counters. They were told to keep the place clean to help prevent bugs.

Actually, I'm glad you posted. I checked the lease (which I inherited since the place was rented when I bought it, so I wasn't totally familiar with it) and it clearly states the tenants shall be responsible for spray for pests and for repairing the plumbing.

Gotta go make some phone calls now :-) Thanks again Doug!

Doug O said...

Well, before you go tell your tenant to shove it, if you are paying someone as property manager, I would request that they go over there and take a look at the toilet... Chances are it is just something that needs a good plunging, or some drano... But left up to a tenant, they could flush a box of tampons down the toilet and clog the whole thing (hey, you never know with some people - I've had a tenant that was dropping cigarettes into the bathroom sink, and then complained about it not draining... After about $500, and having to have the pipe cut out and replaced, I learned my lesson with that)...
As for the bugs, definitely tell them to get some raid and keep the place clean... I can't be bothered when someone complains that they have flies in their apartment, go buy some flypaper!

limeade said...

Nice blog with a great topic. There's always going to be something that doesn't let your cash flow be optimal, but that's life. While realizing that it's a business, I try to keep in mind that it's real people I'm dealing with. This past Christmas I stopped by and gave the tenant a $20 gift card as a gift (granted it was to Home Depot, but the guy's a handy man by trade). It sort of let's him know that I'm not out to screw him, and in turn he treats me better.

Here's a tip though: When you have the lease signed, give the tenant a $25 break on the rent if you never have to be called for minor maintenance issues and if the rent is always on time. Also write in the lease that if he never has to call you for anything during the year, you'll give him a $100 gift certificate to the store of his choice. I'm not saying follow this exactly, but you'll have a lot less issues if you understand what I'm getting at.

Great blog though.

-limeade
http://fiscalmusings.blogspot.com

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