My life as a landlord was not always as easy as it now. It takes some experience, and some research to understand what kind of renter to avoid. This is a recap of one a renter horror story…
After every renter, I tried to determine what went wrong. A property manager is like a project manager. You have a project, it had a begin date and an end date. It is either a success or a failure. Even the successful projects can be improved. Here is a classical case study pf one problem renter.
This was a private market rate couple, where the wife worked. The husband floated from job to job, with more float time, than job time. This couple had poor credit scores (535), and the husband had a few criminal issues with drugs and drinking, but not serious ones. he was not a felon. They had only a $500 deposit (note to self, low quality renters need larger deposits, not smaller ones)
These pictures are from a couple that was asked to leave. They had a long term (2 months) guest, a former cop, who got into a fight with the husband. Of course this was after the husband got into a fight with his own wife. All the adults were ~40 years of age, and they were fighting over a lost video game. In the end, the former cop bit off the tip of the index finger of my tenant. Yes, bit the finger OFF. The former Gary, IN cop went to jail for a felony for ~4 months. Here is the criminal complaint.
As it turns out, the ex-cop was an ex-cop because he shot a 16 year old burglary suspect as the suspect was running away. The kid was only 16, and probably should have been shot at 14, but the cop became an ex-cop. And prior to becoming a police officer, this ex-cop shot a person, and was charged with attempted murder, but was acquitted as he testified in self-defense.
The finger biter, was a long term guest, staying over the holidays. he was there for about two months. Here is an article to avoid long term guests.
I left out the pictures of the clogged toilet, where a pencil was flushed down the toilet and then clogged with toilet paper and excrement.
There is also a 5-gallon pail in the picture with three large goldfish that were alive and left behind.
After I gave them the 30-day notice, needless to say, I was not paid the next month’s rent. I took them to court for ~$4500, and was awarded ~$1500 plus the $500 deposit. Since the wife had a decent job, I was able to garnish her wages through a collection company. I only received 55%, but I would have loved to see the look on her face when 25% of her take home pay was sent to me for two+ months.
In the end, the apartment was rented ~2 month later, after we made a few improvements (removed the kitchen wall, installed a center island and washer and dryer). It then rented for $150 more than it was previously rented for.
So new carpet (after only 2 1/2 years), paint, removal of a lot of junk, and the improvements were completed. Total cost was not that much in terms of materials and money paid to other parties. Carpet $900 (after I pulled it), paint $100 (I painted), disposal was $0 as I used my dumpster (I removed all of it), cleaning $0 (my labor), pulling toilet and removing pencil $0 (my labor), vacancy 2 months. There were also some eviction expenses, court costs $320, serving papers by sheriff $100, Writ $55, delivering writ by sheriff, $125. There were also some other smaller items that needed to be fixed or replaced.
If I would have had to pay for all of the fix ups to a third party, it would have been at least $2,500 more and the total cost well over $5,000 including vacancy. A property manger would have also changed another month’s rent to fill the unit for another $1,000.
– Low credit score people will have a high probability of failure.
– Low deposits do not cover actual court costs, let alone vacancy and damages.
– Month-to-Month leases are better than year-long leases to get people out. Use those Month-to-Month leases for marginal tenants – if you even take them at all.
– Even an ex-cop can be bad.