I have had to evict four sets of tenants to far.
One went amiably.
One went with a lot of hostility.
One went without much trouble.
And one had me wanting to gouge their eyes out with a rusty knife.
If you are looking to become a landlord or are one already, I’ve got some very opinionated, but I feel valid advice, and it could save your butt in the future. Please, learn from my mistakes. Now let’s get started.
Advice #1: Always stay diplomatic. No matter how much you want to claw their eyes out.
If it comes to court time, the more diplomatic you were, the more credible you are. In your verbal and written communications, never fall to anger and speak with elegance. Walk away the bigger person. Caution, high levels of willpower required.
Advice #2: Never trust anyone. If someone slips up once, let them know they are on thin ice.
There are plenty of good tenants out there and you can never tell about a person. I have had so many people who took the second chance into a third chance into a fourth chance.
Life is too short to be worried if you’re going to get the rent on time. If you have ANY skepticism about a person, evict. Especially if you live in the same house. I cannot tell you how horrible it is to have an iffy person living in the same house as you and wondering are they going to screw up more or are they genuinely good people who are having bad luck?
This doesn’t just go for getting rent. I’ve had people who got hopped up on drugs and tried to stab their roommate, attempt suicide, and then proceed to call me a bitch when they were the ones living there without paying rent. Sorry your free accommodation was such a nuisance.
Advice #3: High security mode: activate.
I was renting out apartments while in university. Combine that schedule with a full-time uni schedule and you get chaos. Also poor selection of tenants. I always rented to the first person to give me first and last month’s rent. But that ended with eviction #4. It just wasn’t worth it.
Do your digging around. It may seem like a pain and you think, other people get nightmare tenants, but that probably won’t happen to me. These people seem so nice and hardworking. It’s all a lie.
Ask to see EVERYTHING. Proof of employment. Credit report. References from at least 2 previous landlords (if you only ask for the last one, they may lie to get them out of their apartment), and also, if they are first time renters, get someone to co-sign their lease. And just in case, proof of residency.
You’ll know who to avoid when they refuse any of these. People who are responsible and trustworthy with a job should have no problem producing any of it.
Advice #4: Sign a lease.
This is an extension of #3, but be sure to go over the rules very carefully. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve advertised NO SMOKERS, and people smoke inside the apartment. Blatant disrespect everywhere.
This is also the part where you can list the condition of the apartment and all the appliances and have them acknowledge that everything must be in the same or better condition when they leave.
I have had people spray paint my walls. Not even art, just blobs everywhere. And they were actually confused when I got upset. I’ve had people install these hideous wall shelves (hideous because they were just splintery subpar construction boards) and leave dozens of nails in my walls where they hung their hats.
I’ve also had people who were mixed up with shady people, and said people broke in through the windows, reducing my window screens to pieces. And no, they did not reimburse me for the repairs.
Advice #5: Give receipts, whether they ask for it or not.
Keep a very organized record of who gave what on what day. Do not trust your memory. If there is a dispute, you have the record to cross reference with.
This is speaking 95% from personal experience, and 5% from reading about the horror stories other people have had to deal with. I have to be this cautious because in my area, landlords are discriminated against like nobody’s business.
It’s a risky business, and you watch your own back. There is no such thing as luck, and you make your own breaks.
If you let down your guard, you get hurt.
I’ve so far been a landlord for less than 3.5 years and I’ve already faced so many shitty tenants. This was also combined with being in university. Somehow evictions always fell in the middle of midterms and finals.
I can say that no one should have to be as stressed out as I’ve been the past three years.
Please, please, please learn from this.
One of the worst feelings in the world is going home to a stressful environment.