No Rent, No Residence
September 1, 2003
No shirt, No shoes, No service! That’s the ubiquitous restaurant sign. Landlords need a sign, too.
How about “No rent, no responsibility, no residence!” or “You don’t pay rent, you disturb your neighbors, U-Haul!”
It’s easy for restaurants to tell would-be customers that they must be dressed appropriately. They get help from the health department, but they also respect their other customers–the ones who don’t want to stare at a man’s hairy chest and beer belly while they’re eating.
It’s a lot harder for landlords to take the same attitude. For one thing the stakes are a lot bigger. Once a misbehaving tenant entrenches himself in a property, getting him out requires a lot more effort than just telling an inappropriately dressed customer that you won’t serve him. There are laws governing rental housing and bad-tenant-loving lawyers eager to go to bat for a bad tenant against a greedy landlord who actually expects the rent to be paid–and on time!
Most of the responsibility, though, falls in our laps as landlords. Two cases in point are represented in emails I received today from landlords. I receive similar ones just about any day of the week.
“I have a tenant that has MULTIPLE family members whom are ‘hanging out’ at her house and taking up all the parking for my other tenants, being loud, rude, obnoxious and basically a huge nuisance. I have given her a written warning about the parking situation. But, now, I have found out through the ‘grapevine’ that this could be a potential drug source with the multiple cars and persons around all the time. It has gotten so bad that I am now unable to rent the other four units on the property due to and I quote ‘not the type of company that they want to keep, much less be living around.’
“What do I do?? Can I evict her for ‘possible illegal activities’?”
The second one:
“I own a 3 bedroom 2 bath house in Anytown, OR. The tenants paid a grand total of $120.00 of their $1164 this month. They were late last month and the month before. They do not clean the house very well and they don’t water the plants.”
Be secure in the knowledge that bad tenants have no right to live in your properties. Your first responsibility is to your investment. Bad tenants devalue that investment. Your second responsibility is to your good tenants. Bad tenants prompt them to move as demonstrated by the first question above. That also devalues your investment. Your third responsibility is to your properties’ neighbors. Bad tenants moving in bring down a neighborhood, further devaluing your investment.
We don’t have to put up with bad behavior from tenants. Taking care of our properties means keeping the good tenants who deserve to live in our rental properties, and booting out those who don’t heed the “You don’t pay rent, you disturb your neighbors, U-Haul!” sign.