Author Topic: Too nice to be a landlord  (Read 12318 times)

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Too nice to be a landlord
« on: October 22, 2014, 11:00:35 AM »
Okay..I think I'm too nice for this. 

Renter e-mailed wanting to know if he can pay late, I said sure.  It'll be 6 days late and I told him not to worry about the late fee.  He's been there a year though, always paid on time, but his wife is student teaching this semester and they are down to just his income. 


I probably set a bad precedent with this right? Be kind to me.  The thing is....I don't need the money right on the first, and they are otherwise excellent tenants.  I'm hoping my flexibility is seen as something for which to be grateful, not something to take advantage of.  We shall see. 

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1559
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 11:06:09 AM »
I'm not a landlord, but if you communicate to them that you don't expect this to be a regular occurrence then they will know not to take advantage of you.  If they do it next time, tell them that there will be late a charge.

If they are good tenants then letting them pay late once, given the fact that they let you know ahead of time, shouldn't be a big deal as long as they know next time there will be a penalty.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27757
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 11:20:46 AM »
Make it clear to them that this is a one time exception due to the fact that they've always paid on time for a year, but that if he is late again it will be ____ after day ___ (quote the lease).

Then you change it to set up the expectation for next time, instead of him expecting to get a free pass next time as well.

Quote
his wife is student teaching this semester and they are down to just his income

That's not a good excuse, as it will likely continue in that scenario for at least 6 mo.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

AJ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 11:26:39 AM »
Personally, I am terrible with this sort of thing. I am way too nice (or perhaps just mousy) to be a landlord, which is one reason a Property Manager is a good investment for me.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 11:29:03 AM »
Make it clear to them that this is a one time exception due to the fact that they've always paid on time for a year, but that if he is late again it will be ____ after day ___ (quote the lease).

Then you change it to set up the expectation for next time, instead of him expecting to get a free pass next time as well.

Quote
his wife is student teaching this semester and they are down to just his income

That's not a good excuse, as it will likely continue in that scenario for at least 6 mo.

+1,  Good Answer

Don't beat yourself up over being nice OP. Just properly set the expectations for the coming months. Since you've already given them a pass, it's up to you if you want to follow up with an email at this point to set expectations for next time, or wait until next month to see what happens.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27757
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 11:49:43 AM »
it's up to you if you want to follow up with an email at this point to set expectations for next time, or wait until next month to see what happens.

I wouldn't wait, as now the expectation is that they get a free pass.  So reset that expectation by notifying them of the one time allowance because they've been such good tenants, but what will be expected for next time.

I've allowed one time exceptions,but always set the expectation that it's one time.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 12:46:24 PM »
Okay...I did it. 

I had to get our contract out - I had totally forgotten that I had set up a grace period up til the 5th of the month - after that there is a late fee.  So I reminded him of that and told him there's an exception this time.  Our late fee is only $15 so it shouldn't be a budget buster.   Grace period was originally in there because he drops off his checks and sometimes our schedules don't work out to meet up on the first. (Yes, he could pay before the first....again...I'm way too nice!)


The whole rental experience has been very helpful for me....I'm learning how to have a bit of spine! Woot!  It's my first and only rental so I'm learning slowly along the way.

GrayGhost

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 383
  • Location: USA
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 12:54:21 PM »
Honestly, I probably wouldn't have given them even a one-time pass. Then again, this is because our tenants are, frankly, jerkish, and will and have taken advantage of every time we try to be understanding of their situations.

Anyway, as long as you make it clear that this is a one time exception, I think it's okay. Just be crystal clear that this will not be a pattern, or there will be a problem.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 01:08:15 PM »
There's only 6 more months on their lease, so if they are chronically late it will be addressed in 5 month's time when we discuss the new lease.  Or the lack thereof. 

I really like them, which probably sways me to be super nice.  But, at the same time, I need them to know I can and will have boundaries (uhhh..the ones laid out in our contract which we all agreed to uphold LOL). 


I'm wishy washy, so this firm boundary stuff is hard.  I guess what's most hard is it's not like I need the money to pay the mortgage on the property on time, so I get hung up on whether to be firm on it or not.  Sigh. 

But thanks for the responses.  I probably would've have procrastinated and just dealt with it the next time, this way the expectation has been set that if there is a next time they'll get the late fee tacked on.   Thank you!!

Edited for blatant typos.  Probably still missed a few. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 02:17:39 PM by Neustache »

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 01:19:18 PM »
I have a grace period as well.  And generally we follow it to a T.  Although I have told Tenants if they communicate with me I am far more likely to extend grace especially if they stick to the story they initially gave me.  I have waived the late fee and really have no problem doing so.  I have some long term tenants that have been great tenants and it lends me to be a little more lenient.  But Communication is key.

With Tenants that have been in the property less than a year I am more of a stickler and worry a lot more when they don't perform as they are supposed too.  It usually takes a couple years for me to fully trust a tenant. My longest standing tenant to date is 8 years in the property. 

Being a Landlord can be a lot like babysitting.

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 04:37:30 PM »
Every place I've lived has had a three-day grace period if it was run professionally, or none if it was a room in someone's house. So grace periods are standard. Five days is generous. Nothing wrong with a one-time exception, as others have said, and you certainly don't want to go back on your agreement to a one-time exception. But it can't happen again, at least not for a good long while, without the fee. By being nice this one time, if it doesn't happen again, you may well have acted in your favor.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 10:31:59 AM »
it's up to you if you want to follow up with an email at this point to set expectations for next time, or wait until next month to see what happens.

I wouldn't wait, as now the expectation is that they get a free pass.  So reset that expectation by notifying them of the one time allowance because they've been such good tenants, but what will be expected for next time.


Fair enough, I wouldn't argue with that.

Our late fee is only $15 so it shouldn't be a budget buster.

$15??!!! I seriously hope you'll raise that amount considerably on your next lease! I'd suggest 10 -15% of the rent amount for starters, depending on your rent amount. The late fee should provide a substantial incentive not to be late, and I doubt $15 would do it. I've waived the late fee in the past depending on the circumstances, but a 10% penalty puts the fear of God in them, so to speak, and makes them much less likely to repeat being late.

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 02:03:20 PM »
10-15% of rent is very high; I've never seen it so high. My current place charges $50 for 3 days late + $5/day.

Fishingmn

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 331
  • Location: Twin Cities
  • You never have to recover from a good start
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2014, 08:50:28 AM »
Better check with your state laws - in Minnesota the maximum you can charge for a late fee is 8% of the monthly rent.

I do $50 after 5 days.

I did have one tenant this month who was 15 days late but I let it slide as she said she messed up her bank bill pay. It was my daughter (a MMM reader) so I let it slide :)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 08:52:49 AM by Fishingmn »

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2014, 11:44:46 AM »
I did have one tenant this month who was 15 days late but I let it slide as she said she messed up her bank bill pay. It was my daughter (a MMM reader) so I let it slide :)

Looks like it's time to start the eviction process. "Man, I am just always kicking you out of my houses!" :)

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2014, 01:46:02 PM »
Better check with your state laws - in Minnesota the maximum you can charge for a late fee is 8% of the monthly rent.


Good point. I thought about putting that caveat in when I suggested 10-15%, but then I thought, "Whatever, hopefully a landlord is smart enough to check their own local laws." But you are right about checking, and it's probably better not to assume that people on this board realize they need to check out things like that.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 01:54:57 PM »
10-15% of rent is very high; I've never seen it so high. My current place charges $50 for 3 days late + $5/day.

That's probably relative, depending on the rent amount, local laws and what is customary for the area. For example, a $100 penalty on $1000 rent doesn't sound like much to me (I live in Virginia, which is very landlord-friendly). Personally, I would lean towards having heavier penalties spelled out in the lease, so it provides a strong incentive to pay on time. Then, you can consider giving tenants a break if circumstances warrant it.

Either way, I think some tenants might not think twice about a measly $15 penalty, and so the "penalty" would have no effect!

fxsts12

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 09:07:30 PM »
I credit the tenant $25 per consecutive month paid on time at the end of the lease.  You might think it's crazy but after a year it will cost them $300 to pay late. If not they have money to move with and fix incidentals. I try to work with them if I can but send a pay or quit when it's late.

monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 431
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 09:43:39 PM »
Interesting. Our late fee is way too low by your indications.  We have a grace period until the 4th, then charge $10.   In recent years, we've only had to charge it once.

We call two of our sets of tenants the "overachievers". They pay the rent for the upcoming month between the 15th and 20th of the previous month. We cash it on the 1st.  Most of the rest of our tenants mail it on the first, so we get it on the 2nd or 3rd.  One, we've nicknamed the "slacker". She probably mails it on the 3rd, as we usually get it last minute, right on the 4th.   She's the one who we once charged a late fee.

That's a good idea for an incentive, fxsts12... maybe I can get our slacker to pay by the 1st with this kind of incentive.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2014, 07:41:35 AM »
Yeah, I probably need to up the penalty fee.  I do like the idea of creative ways to get them to pay on time, like fxsts12's way....creative!  So if they pay on time 6 months, but then are late the 7th, do you still give them credit for the previous 6 months or do they have to pay all 12 on time to get the credit? 

tracylayton

  • Guest
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2014, 08:26:21 AM »
I charge a $25 initial late fee payment plus $25 per day until it is rec'd.

thedayisbrave

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 700
  • Location: Raleigh, NC
  • CFO @ My Life
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2014, 05:49:39 PM »
Don't beat yourself up over it.  I'm the same way - generally too nice and sometimes it comes back to bite me in the ass.  One of my tenants a few years ago would routinely pay late (she was bad with money) but she would pay the late fee so in the end I made more money out of her. 

If they've otherwise been dream tenants, I wouldn't think twice about giving them a break.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2014, 07:17:32 PM »
Our late fee kicks in on the 5th and is $50 or $5/day whichever is higher.  We had a tenant once also paid it every month. Did not make sense to me.  I usually will waive it if the tenants call and notify me and follow through with what they promise.  It does not happen a lot.

Blindsquirrel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 656
  • Age: 1
  • Location: Flyover country
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2014, 08:42:34 AM »
   On the nice side myself but the first year a tenant is there, I always charge the late fee if it is after the 5th of the month and I tell them this is how I feed my family. After the 3rd year I will send them an email or text on about the 8th or so. After the 5th year a tenant has been there I normally will text them about the 10-15th, for tenants beyond that in duration, anytime is ok by me. I have one tenant that pays around the 15th-20th but then he pays 2 months at a time so he is way ahead half the time anyway. Long term tenants are absolutely money in the bank as I try really hard to avoid turnover costs. We have several tenants who have been kind enough to buy us houses so those I go out of my way to keep them happy. If a tenant is a pest, the late fee stays as long as they do.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1850
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Kauai & Denver
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2014, 04:56:22 AM »
I would have done the same thing. If I truly want a tenant to stay, I will bend the rules. I think the quick answer is to not bend. However, for anyone who has really owned rental proper, an important strategy is trying to keep good tenants. If you didn't think these people were good tenants then you wouldn't have been so nice.

I like playing the "broke landlord" card. I'm not even sure if this is a real thing. I tell my tenants that this is my sole rental property. It is my retirement and my childs college education so please do not abuse it. I have had a few late payments by a few days. However, the tenants just got busy and forgot. I have never had a phone call in which they ask for a 10 day grace period. Sure, I could yell at them for getting 50% of the payments on the 6th or 7th of the month instead of the 1st. However, the mortgage payment isn't due until the 15th. I don't make it an issue until it becomes an issue.   

needmyfi

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2014, 05:10:23 PM »
I am totally with Clarkefan.  I had a tenant for twelve years who almost never paid on time.  I had the luxury of getting to know my tenants really well since I lived in the house too.  Otherwise she was a great tenant-clean, quiet (we shared a wall so this was great), and best of all-she was way too broke to ever move. 

"Broke landlord" is a real thing My note was also due on the 15th so even after I paid the house off, I would tell her I absolutely had to have the rent by then or "we'll all be out on the street".  She made okay money and usually had two jobs, but still lived paycheck to paycheck and assumed I did as well I guess.  Well worth it to have zero vacancy in that apartment for 12 years and not have to repaint, clean, vet a new tenant etc. 

Don't know if I would have been that patient if I was an absentee landlord

NoNonsenseLandlord

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 396
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Eagan, MN
    • No Nonsense Landlord
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2014, 08:07:33 PM »
See how much they can pay, and get that to start.  If you cannot take a partial rent, do not take any.

Generally, the higher the credit score, the less rent is late.

Here is a post about late rents and what they mean.

http://www.nononsenselandlord.com/2014/03/late-rents-and-what-they-mean/

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2014, 06:28:56 AM »
I'll keep that in mind if there is a next time.  Really enjoying your blog, NoNonsense!

Funny thing, after I sent the initial e-mail saying they could pay late with no late fee, and then the follow up one saying this is a one-time waiver, they never replied back - to either e-mail.  LOL.  I guess expecting some sort of recognition or thanks is being na´ve on my part!  Ha!  They may still be cross with me that I raised the rent by $50 a month, but they are still under market value, so I didn't feel too badly about it.  We got into the rental business on the fly (decided to move and wanted a tenant asap) so my rate was a really good one for their first year.  Now it's much closer to market value.  I'm learning as I go, and while I've made mistakes, they are small prices to pay for the education I'm receiving - much cheaper than a master's degree!  My hope is to work full time in a few years and pick up 2 or 3 rentals to help our FIRE plans.  I will have learned so much by then!



Practical Magic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2014, 08:28:10 PM »
Our late fee is $75 after the 5th of the month. I give all tenants one free late payment, but I don't tell them that up front. I let them know after the first late payment happens. It makes it easier to charge them the fee if it happens again. For very long term tenants I am more lenient, but also, they communicate well and don't abuse it.

monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 431
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2014, 08:34:48 PM »
It's the 5th and our slacker hasn't paid again. If not in tomorrow's mail then she gets her reminder.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2014, 08:33:27 AM »
We have one more day 'til the agreed upon late day.  I had sent him a couple e-mails about random things - one house related thing and one other that was just an FYI and I haven't heard back from him on either of those.  Not that they were ones that needed a response, but still, that makes 4 e-mails  including the two about the late rent where I've heard zilch back from him.  Hmmmm.....we'll see if he contacts me about dropping off the rent tomorrow.  If not, looks like I've got some reading on evictions to do! Just to learn...wouldn't take action quite yet, of course.  But if I don't hear from him tomorrow, I'll be prepared to file next week.  Maybe I'm not too nice! LOL. 


mooreprop

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2014, 09:55:02 AM »
We were helping a friend who lived out of state manage his properties and were shocked to find that he did not charge any late fees.  His take was that if they didn't have the rent, they couldn't afford the late fees.  We explained that in our experience, the tenant has some money - just not enough to pay all the bills.  Often, they decide who to pay by whoever will charge the most if it is late and whoever will "get in their face" about not paying.  In order for me to have priority over the gas company, electric company, and car payment, I must charge at least as much as they do for late payments and must call the tenant or show up on their doorstep if they don't pay.  This helps make me the top choice when they are paying the bills.

That being said, I give every tenant one exception per year on the late fee if they call me and pay it within a reasonable amount of time.  I don't let them know this.  Some credit card companies seem to have the same policy.  I screwed up once on my Discover card payment, and they waived the late fee when I called and explained what happened.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2014, 09:57:39 AM »
If not, looks like I've got some reading on evictions to do! Just to learn...wouldn't take action quite yet, of course.  But if I don't hear from him tomorrow, I'll be prepared to file next week.  Maybe I'm not too nice! LOL. 

Good, that's wise to read up on the process now, and it would definitely be wise to start proceedings immediately if they're late with the rent again. In your shoes, if he doesn't pay on time, I'd send a proper legal notice the very next day letting them know they're late and will be evicted if the rent plus late fee is not received immediately (customarily 5 days where I live, but check your jurisdiction). Like Arebelspy said, once a tenant has demonstrated a capacity to be late or having financial difficulties, it's likely to continue.

escolegrove

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 164
    • Reluctant Landlord
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2014, 05:24:25 PM »
You were fine. We usually let the first time pass with the cavout this is the only "pass" after that late fees apply per the lease. We do 10% late fee with the attitude of don't be late ;)

monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 431
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2014, 08:32:20 PM »
Slacker responded to her reminder email today.  She obviously forgot. Check is in the mail, along with December's rent postdated, so "at least that one will be on time" (her idea).  Not a slacker, just needs a reminder, I guess.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2014, 05:23:36 AM »
Got ours after 8pm last night.   I waited until 5:30pm and then e-mailed to ask when he'd be here.  I have it now, depositing asap! 

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27757
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2014, 07:08:23 AM »
The thing is, you guys have to keep dealing with this over and over.

Set the expectations right, and you won't have to.

Up front is ideal, but even right now.  Clearly the person has the money, there's no excuse for you to be waiting around, contacting them, etc.

It's their responsibility to pay you.  If you miss your electric bill, do they chase you down?  No, they send you a new one with late fees.  Treat it like a business and do the same.

Forgetting once happens (though not usually to good tenants).  Continually making you have to work to get the rent?  Not acceptable in my book.  And you're just adding more stress and work to your landlording, why would you want to do that?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

KevDolan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2014, 07:08:45 AM »
I may be too nice as I allow my tenants to pay late if they communicate in advance. However, after 7 years and three different tenants, I have never had to evict a tenant. I have never had problems with tenants treating our one rental poorly. And I have always received the monthly rent.

Yes, I may be setting myself up for problems in the future. But I may also be creating goodwill be allowing the occasional late payment without a late fee.

DoubleDown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1989
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2014, 09:39:54 AM »
I may be too nice as I allow my tenants to pay late if they communicate in advance. However, after 7 years and three different tenants, I have never had to evict a tenant. I have never had problems with tenants treating our one rental poorly. And I have always received the monthly rent.

Yes, I may be setting myself up for problems in the future. But I may also be creating goodwill be allowing the occasional late payment without a late fee.

I once had a tenant that I extended goodwill to, showing them grace when they were late and forgiving late penalties, etc. My kids went to school with their kids, they lived next to my former neighbors, etc. They pretty much shit on it and used it as an excuse to continue to be late and expect more nice treatment. Then I put my foot down and they acted doubly indignant, literally asking me, "What happened to 'Mr. Nice Guy', was that all an act?"

Like Arebelspy said above, I treat it strictly as a business now.

Ymmv.

monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 431
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2014, 11:02:56 AM »
We're definitely set up strictly as a business. 

Our slacker emailed and said this happens because she pays all her other bills by online automatic-billpay except rent, and said that's why she sometimes is late. I really don't think she's taking advantage of us at all. Happy to set up an automated reminder email for her (to "bill her") if we can figure out how to do that. Or better yet, figure out how to receive rent by online auto-pay. (sunshine girl had a post about that a while ago as I recall)

GrayGhost

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 383
  • Location: USA
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2014, 11:16:34 AM »
Dwolla is something you might consider looking into. Squarecash is also great, but I believe there are limits on how much you can send/receive in a month, so if you do large scale RE, it might not work.

Anyway, I think this is a business where you have to be polite and courteous and willing to listen to tenants problems, as longs as they're holding up their side of the bargain. That means that if they call you and give you a litany of reasons why they can't pay rent on time, you ignore pretty much all of it and say, "Give me a date that I can expect it from you with the late fee. If I don't have it in my hands on that date, I'll have to call my attorney."

I'm willing to be friendly and chat with good tenants and all that, but this is a business relationship, so the moment you start to get into their personal struggles and make exceptions for them, there's a problem.

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2014, 01:45:53 PM »
This definitely didn't start off as a business relationship - so I'm kind of having to make it into one.  It was more of "you need a place, I'd like to move, let's talk" and it's morphed into me really enjoying rentals, finding MMM, and thinking long-term about incorporating 2 or 3 rentals into our retirement strategy. 

I agree that I shouldn't have had to approach him to find out when he's coming by with the check.  But....then I get into a strange scenario where I've already said he can be late, but then if he's later than the already agreed upon late date....do I then charge him a late fee?  I just wanted to avoid that scenario and as this is my one rental (and my only job) it's not too much of a hassle to send out an e-mail.  In the future I will have tenants pay online with some of the free ACH places for rental payments, and then not only do I not have to meet up to receive payment, but then I think reminders can be set up through those. 

I did get....strangely....excited (?) about the potential for needing to evict.  I realized I'm not afraid of it, or learning the process, which is good for me to know about myself.  I think if we ever get there, I'll be ready to do what needs to be done. 

KevDolan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2014, 01:53:20 PM »
I am learning a lot on this thread, Neustache. I am in a similar situation. I have one rental. And I didn't expect to enjoy land lording, but I really do like it.

Also I truly appreciate Grayghost, Monarda and DoubleDown all giving their perspective without any condescension or attitude about my naive perspective. Most of the internet isn't as gentle when sharing information.

Practical Magic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2014, 09:58:19 PM »
We're definitely set up strictly as a business. 

Our slacker emailed and said this happens because she pays all her other bills by online automatic-billpay except rent, and said that's why she sometimes is late. I really don't think she's taking advantage of us at all. Happy to set up an automated reminder email for her (to "bill her") if we can figure out how to do that. Or better yet, figure out how to receive rent by online auto-pay. (sunshine girl had a post about that a while ago as I recall)

We have a slacker tenant too. She's spacey about paying bills and seems to have a very hard time finding an envelope and stamp (let alone actually mailing it). She and I worked it out so that she writes checks for 4-6 months in advance and I pick them up from her all at once. Then every month by the 5th she calls or emails to tell me when enough money is in the account and I can deposit the check. It's not ideal, but it works.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 10:01:53 PM by Practical Magic »

Neustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1175
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #44 on: November 09, 2014, 04:51:04 AM »
Hahaha...I never paid my rent late, but I'd be a slacker payer for utilities if it weren't for auto pay.  Especially when I'm pregnant or right after a baby is born.  I get major mommy brain.  I've received shut off notices but we always had the money to pay. 

I only have one bill that I have to mail each month, and I try so hard not to be late but I'm usually late.  It's for music lessons and I just can't seem to get it mailed on time.  No late fee, there, but I hate thinking they are waiting on us to pay bills so if I am late I usually try to pay extra for the next month's lessons. 

KevDolan - I am learning a lot, too!  Probably should have learned all of this before becoming a landlord, though! Ha!

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2348
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2014, 03:17:46 PM »
There are many services that can let you send automated emails. Many are free and work right with eg gmail. There's no need to pay anything.


monarda

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 431
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2014, 07:46:33 PM »
Hahaha...I never paid my rent late, but I'd be a slacker payer for utilities if it weren't for auto pay.  Especially when I'm pregnant or right after a baby is born.  I get major mommy brain.


I think this is definitely looking like a case of mommy brain. She put her own late fee on the November rent. We didn't need to remind her of that.

gimp - I've got gmail, I'll look into how to do the auto-reminder from there. Thanks.

Weedy Acres

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 278
Re: Too nice to be a landlord
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2014, 05:40:37 AM »
Neustache:
I highly recommend you head over to mrlandlord.com.  It's a great resource for landlords, has state-specific landlord/tenant laws, and some very active and helpful forums.