When Being a Landlord is NOT Fun

>> 8.08.2012

I ended the My (Many) Thoughts on Becoming a Landlord post with a very rainbow/ unicorn view of the whole process. Things have been extremely easy for us during the past several months, but in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to share that the past month has not been easy at all!

Earning extra income is the best part of the whole thing, but it also happens to be the only good thing about being a landlord. There are tenant issues, of course, but I think the big thing that has hit us this month is the reality that we actually have to deal with 3x the regular hassles of owning a home because we have three homes (#1- my old house, #2- garage apartment, #3- our current house). Seems like something I should have expected, right?

Some readers have expressed interest in the process so here's a bunch of the real-life inconveniences that we've been faced with this past month:
  • Tenants in #1- Once of the tenants is getting transferred to another state for work and moved out this past weekend. Her roommate found someone else to move in and we had to put time into amending the lease, resigning everything, etc. With the tenant who wanted to stay put long-term gone, we don't know if the lease will be renewed again in January or if we'll need to look for someone again.
  • Tenants in #2- Our August tenants totally bailed on us last minute. In addition, after showing it to a couple of people pre-advertising, we realized that we needed to completely finish every detail of the unit before showing it to anyone again. Not having the place rented out and having spent so much to get it to this point definitely gives me a combined feeling of guilt, frustration, and disappointment.
  • Bad luck in #3-  We had both the hot water and AC go out within one week= $$$.
  • HOA in #1- I'm not sure that I've mentioned this before, but my old house was part of a very small, nontraditional HOA... which I am unfortunately still the president of [insert curse words here]. To make a long story short, my neighbor had water problems in her home and the problems affected the common areas covered by the HOA. So, on top of everything else, I'm juggling calls from contractors requesting payments, calls to the insurance agency requesting that they make payments, and random permit issues that seem to be never-ending!Oh, but best part: I get to pay my part ($500) of the deductible. Actual best part: getting to deal with the neighbor harassing me with emails because I'm apparently not doing my job (that I don't even want) well enough.
With all of that complaining, you might be surprised to hear that I'm still happy that we do not have a property management company. For some reason, I feel like they might be even more of a headache to deal with at this point based on the number of phone calls I'm fending off already! I'll keep you updated if that feeling does change in the future ;).


Kim @ NewlyWoodwards August 8, 2012 at 1:12 PM  

Interesting! We have a couple rental properties, and I agree they can be a hassle at times. We are pretty lucky with our 3 renters, but there have been some icky times. And of course, just like any home, things go wrong that need fixed. And why is it that those things happen at the most inopportune times?

Lane August 8, 2012 at 2:44 PM  

Once you get a tenant in place with your garage apt things will calm down. And even though you no longer live there you are still president? haha you would think someone else would take over.

I'm seriously wondering what property management companies do. My husbands parents own a house near us but live in another state so they rent out the house near us. They just had a change in tenants and we have been dealing with all of the complaints. They pay them 8% a month for what? We have had to deal with every issue that has come up. I'm ready for them to fire the management company and have them pay me 8% a month!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno August 8, 2012 at 3:51 PM  

While rental income is awesome, there is just no way I would ever deal with this crap. Mostly because I don't trust people to just be decent and not mess up my place, not move out with no notice or screw me over in some way. I guess you could say I'm sort of a pessimist...(ya think?!)

m @ random musings August 8, 2012 at 4:12 PM  

While your last month certainly does sound stressful; however besides the breaking lease tenant, it sounds like the water heater, ac & hoa issues would have been as much of a problem/expensive if the properties were owner-occupied. At least the rent will subsidize costs :-)

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog August 8, 2012 at 5:03 PM  

@Kim~ I would love to hear more about your experiences; you should write up a landlord post!

@Lane~ I think that property management companies are supposed to contract out work that needs to be done and get documents signed. I know someone who uses one in another city and they're happy to have things handled without having to drive out there. With most of what we're dealing with, I can't imagine how they'd even help other than to make me feel worse for paying the extra money!

@Sara~ I hear you. If you break it down by the hour, it make much more sense to go out and get a part time job. Hopefully our investment will pay off and things will settle down a bit more. We didn't even hear from the tenants in the first several months.

@m~ I agree; it's what comes along with holding multiple properties. Too bad that the problems just weren't spaced out better!

Someday I'll Learn August 11, 2012 at 1:46 AM  

Oy, what a headache! My dad owns an old town hall that's been converted into nontraditional apartment housing (read: lots of "unique" plumbing/wiring issues, etc) and manages all of the tenants on his own. I know that responsibility will fall to me one day and considering my (lack of) organizational skills, I'm totally terrified.

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