Case study 7 – Trading Tenants
Property managers in Warner robins run into a lot of unusual situations.
It is standard practice to screen tenants to ensure the best applicant rents our houses. In this case, the best qualified applicant became the worse tenant and an unlikely candidate took over the lease.
One of our rental properties is in a less than premium neighborhood.
It takes a little time to find a good applicant for this house. After screening all the applicant that had applied for the house, we narrowed down to a good applicant that had a good job and stable background. We were sure she would be a good addition to our rental family.
Once the tenant moved in, things changed almost immediately. She moved her boyfriend and his kids in without clearing it with the property manager. She also began paying rent late. Reports from our neighbors said she was not maintaining the yard as agreed. This was not what we expected.
We stopped by this rental house to have a talk with the tenant and see how everything was (and see if a refund in leu of eviction was in order). As it turned out, the house was clean and the yard was cut. We talked to the tenant and she (and the boyfriend) assured us that everything was under control and apologized for not asking permission before letting him move in. We agreed to let her stay and try again.
Property management is about managing a rental property for profit and productivity.
If that requires flexing on the original agreement to make things run smooth, sometimes that is what needs to be done. So, we did not have a problem receiving rent from the boyfriend, as long as it was on time (the tenant called and warned us that the check would be coming from him and ask if it was ok).
After a few months, we noticed that all our communication was with the tenant’s boyfriend and she was rarely around. The boyfriend kept paying rent on time, took care of the yard and called us whenever there were repairs that they needed done. This was a little unusual, but we didn’t see anything to be concerned about, so far.
One morning, we got a call from the Warner Robins tenant.
The tenant and her boyfriend had a falling out and was in a fight for occupancy rights to the rental house with the local police. Being the good Property managers we are, we grabbed the “blue ink” copies of the rental agreement we had on file and rushed right over.
When we got there, the police showed us the rental agreement they had gotten from the tenant. Their copy had both the tenant and the boyfriend’s name on it and the boyfriend was claiming he had the right to be there. Of course, our copy showed he was not on the lease, so he was forced to leave. Problem solved, or so we thought…
After the boyfriend moved out, we did not receive a rent payment. Much to our surprise, the boyfriend called and offered to pay the rent for her. This was highly unusual, but the tenant assured us it was a one-time thing and she would be ready next month.
At the end of the month, we received a power bill. We called to find out that the boyfriend had the power on in his name and when he moved out, he canceled his service. Under our property management agreement with the power company, this automatically reverts the power back to us (won’t do that again, she got a month of power for free without us knowing it). We immediately canceled the service and contacted the tenant to remind her of her obligation to pay her own utilities and that the power bill would be added to her rent next month.
The next month rolled around, no rent. After multiple attempts to contact her, we drove to the house to find it abandoned. We learned from the neighbors that she had not been seen at the house since the power had been cut off. The tenant that we screened so hard and showed so much promise was in the wind.
In a strange twist of fate, the boyfriend called while we were at the house.
He wanted to meet. So, we agreed. We learned that she quit her high paying job right after renting the house (that’s why she moved the boyfriend in). He was paying all the bills and she was living off him. He liked the house and knew she had left us high and dry, so he asked if he could take over the lease (officially this time) and move back in. He offered to clean the house and remove the old refrigerator (power had been off for two weeks and no one wanted to open the frig). We agreed to provide a new refrigerator and a dumpster.
The boyfriend was good to his word and stayed with us for two more years. When we decided to sell the house, he asked to move into a house that we were not selling. Unfortunately, we did not have anything available for him. He stayed as a tenant for the new owners until they raised the rent higher than the market could support. He simply declined to renew the lease. The kids were living with their mother for the summer anyway. He asked his company to give him more “runs” so he could stay on the road. He was a truck driver and could stay in his truck. We hear he recently put a down payment on a house of his own.
Tell us about your Warner Robins property manager stories in the comments below.