Tuesday, December 1, 2015

What Do You Tell Your Tenants That Give You A Hard Luck Story?

Tenants are constantly trying to slip out of paying rent right around Christmas. I get several every year. They blame it on all kinds of things. Some say their car broke down. Others say they got a massive utility bill. And then there are the ones that will blatantly tell you that they want to get Christmas presents instead of paying rent. And they want you to essentially finance their Christmas to them at 0 percent interest with payments of X dollars per month until they are caught back up. LOL

What’s going through my mind at that point? I have a Christmas present for you.… And I’ll even pay someone to serve it on your door. EVICTION COMING SOON!!!

Obviously you can’t tell them that. There will be no benefit to you for doing so. There unfortunately is a game that you have to play from time to time with your tenants. Even if you don’t feel like playing you have to always do what’s in your businesses best interest.

I’ve found something that works very well as a reply. It typically shuts them right up and makes them realize that they better consider another bill to blow off. The rent isn’t going to be the bill that they can do that with. And if they do, you will be forced to evict them.

So here’s a version of what I write to them throughout the year when tenants give me their hard luck story or blatantly tell me they don’t want to pay their rent right now and want to make up for it later. It’s nice and makes them understand that your bill is important.

When I tell the bank, insurance company and city that I won’t be sending their payments on time they don’t care. They give me a fine anyway. And the bank will foreclose anyway. That’s exactly what they will do to me. I don’t own a single house that I have. The banks own all of them. I haven’t been doing this for long enough to have a bunch of paid off mortgages. And I’m not rich so I don’t have the ability to make all of these payments I have to make without rent. And that’s the reason there are late fees with most landlords. Ones who have been doing it for a long time a late fee is extra pocket money. Ones like me that haven’t it ends up paying my late fees and city fines I got for not paying on time. The only reason I’m telling you my personal business is I think you need to to fully understand my situation so you will know that I have to do whatever I need to do to survive by keeping regular on time paying tenants.

Most often that one long text response ends it right away. They will reply saying they will try to borrow money from a friend or relative, get a title loan, or skip some of their least important bills like the cable bill or phone bill. Even the electric bill falls below rent when you think about it. You can easily but uncomfortably live without power. But you’ve got to have shelter.

Now if they really are in a nasty situation then this opened the door for your next conversation with them when they don’t pay which will be telling them something like this.

I am going to have to file an unlawful detainer in court. Tomorrow is the day the court gave me to file my UD’s on anyone who hasn’t paid. As you guys know I like you and I want you to stay. I was hoping you guys would stay with me as your landlord for years to come. I will do everything in my power to get a continuance from the judge if you show you that you guys are serious and want to get caught back up but didn’t have it all by the first court date. But as I’ve told you before, I’m not rich. Ive got an unbelievable amount of bills to pay and I have to have consistently paying residents. That’s the only option I have.

That statement does several things. One thing is it keeps the communication positive and doesn’t get them mad at you. You don’t want your tenants mad at you as some of them will tear your house up on the way out. It’s not in your businesses best interest to end the relationship on a negative note. As I said before. There is a game you have to play. If you play it right things will be relatively easy. If you play it wrong you will have a continuous battle and you will hate being a landlord. Even if you do play it right you still from time to time will get some real bad ones. You will minimize that to a great degree though if you make the right moves.

Note that I also told them that the court gives me a date to file my UD’s. I say that because it prevents them from trying to get me to give them more time. I like to go to court the least amount of times possible. So I prefer filing all my UD’s at once. And if they think that the court gave me a date and I only get one date it’s unreasonable for them to ask me to wait another month to file.

Do yourself and all other landlords a favor and tell your tenants the order of priorities when they move in. Food is first for survival. Shelter is second. Everything else is beyond that. Don’t be an idiot and pay them in the wrong order.


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