I’m in love with Logan.
Logan is a miniature chihuahua, weighing in at less than 2.5 lbs. Full grown, his entire body can fit in the palm of my hand. He belongs to a good friend and business partner of mine, and never ceases to cause every head in the room to turn when he jumps in the air, rolls over, “speaks”, or does any of his other special tricks. Thats the fun advantage dogs have over cats – their trainability.
Tenants, like Logan, need to also be trained.
Yeah, I said it. And honestly, it felt good to say. It may sound demeaning, but it is the difference between being successful in Real Estate and being miserable. Tenants are like wild animals but with cell phones, facebook, and lawyers. They need to be poked and prodded into submitting to will of the landlord.
How do you train a tenant? Despite the urge, not with a big stick. Tenants are trained the same way as Logan was: Show what good behavior is, reward good behavior, and apply punishment when it is not followed.
The easiest punishment for tenants are found in fees. Late fees, non-compliance fees, etc. Now, many landlords struggle with applying fee’s – especially when the tenant calls and says they can’t pay rent because “so-and-so” has this sickness or their vehicle broke down or they lost hours at work.
However, it is not the landlord’s job to be Santa.
You will find that when you’re policy is to not budge when it comes to rent, suddenly all those excuses disappear immediately. When I first started in Real Estate, I went through exactly this. Trying to be the nice guy screwed me over time and time again. As soon as I made the decision to enforce every fee, late payments dropped from almost a dozen a month down to none. Late fee’s are rare now, and when they occur, tenants don’t call and complain. They know the rules.
They are properly trained.