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Truth #1: Landlording is a business and not a charity

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Truth #1: Landlording is a business and not a charity

Landlording is not for sissies. You will have to make tough decisions when things don’t work out and you have to forcibly remove a person from a house. Unfortunately, it is a financial reality that some people cannot afford to pay the rent that they agreed to pay. The tenant probably had good intentions, but life sometimes interrupts. Because rent is not a one-time payment, a person who hits hard times can rarely catch back up when things go south.

Do not go into this business thinking that you will not have to evict people because they will always pay on time. You are in the business of providing housing for persons until they can no longer afford it and/or live by the rules of the lease – no less, and no more. Sometimes people forget what landlording is or they do not want to accept the business that they are in.

It is your right as the property owner to decide not to manage your investment income like a business – perhaps you no longer wish to run a for-profit business, and have now decided to run a non-profit or a no-profit. There are some landlords who have been blessed enough to where they do not suffer financial strain when tenants do not meet their financial obligations, and these individuals enjoy being able to help others in need. If you see your role as a landlord more as a religious calling or mission, and you decide that you want to forgive unpaid rent, overlook rule-breakers, or give people second chances when they meet hard times, that is a wonderful thing.

Or is it that you don’t feel that way, but you just don’t want to deal with it? Be intellectually honest with yourself about whether your business is even a business. Don’t pretend that the tenant who pays on the 22nd of the month will have the next month’s rent on the 1st. There is no reason to whine and harass a tenant that you know will never catch up, as if you think this will cause them to pull the money out of a stuffed pillow. Also, you don’t need to complain to friends about your “deadbeat tenants,” acting like you’ve done everything imaginable to shake out the money, and then later give your tenants another year of chances to catch up.

Give your defaulting tenants as much leniency as you want, and then when you start to feel taken advantage of, admit to yourself that it isn’t working out as a business and evict them; either forgive them or force them out.


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