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Vacancy – First one in a while for us…

August 19, 2012

Well, I knew I should not have printed that post a couple weeks ago about tenant retention. Not even 10 days after making that post – I now have a vacancy. This is one of my Class C properties and this is now the third time I will be putting someone in there after purchasing this property in late 2009. I am still trying to determine if it’s the price range, age of the home, neighborhood, condition of the property, or just poor tenant selection. Both tenants were there just over a year, but I want to do better than that. The condition of my home is above average for the neighborhood.

It started with the tenant texting me a week before rent was due that he would be late this month. I like when they tell me up-front, but I did not push for more info or call him for additional details. I texted him back with the appropriate total after late charges and agreed to his date of the 9th. This is really late, I should have called. Either way, he was sunk. He called me before the 9th and said he was in trouble. He was going to have to break the lease. His wife lost her job and was not able to get unemployment. This apparently happened around a month ago. He had been getting payday loans and borrowing money at very high rates for some time. Long story – short: He was grossly over leveraged.

I immediately did a quick interrogation on whether this situation could be saved – it couldn’t he would not be able to catch up.  I then went into “you need to move mode”. I started asking – “Do you have some family you can move in with?” “when can you be out?”, “I am putting my sign in the yard”,  etc.  He was very apologetic and willing to work with me.  We got the following in writing for whatever that is worth…

He paid me $125 dollars on the 9th and we agreed to 3 things:

  • he would pay another $250 on Thursday, 16th
  • he would be moved out by Friday, 17th
  • he would remove all furniture and belongings and clean the house

Here is what actually happened. He only came up with $125 on the 16th. He moved out on the 17th as agreed and he cleaned up the property, but he did leave a few belongings in the garage. He got those on Saturday, 18th. He then told me he would pay me the other $125 on Thursday, 23rd.  I would fall out of my chair if he did this. I did really talk to him about how important it is that he goes ahead and moves out and agrees to my terms – that he does not want an eviction on his record.

I spent all day Saturday and most of Sunday on make ready. Given the good condition of the property – I put my signs in the yard and started showing it right away. After this weekend, I have 3 applications, but I am not impressed with my candidates so far. I usually find the first ones through are typically the desperate movers and you have to be patient to find the good ones.

This is not bad for an unexpected vacancy and could certainly have gone much worse. I will obviously keep the deposit, but the real win is possession of the house and no “Pay or Quit posting” and all the junk that goes with the formal eviction route (which I have still never had to go through).

From → Landlord

  1. It’s nice when tenants leave without stirring up too much trouble.

    Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the clues that they slowly sinking.

    One time I didn’t catch wind that some tenants were on the verge of leaving until we got a call from a neighbor/friend who told us they were having a big yard sale in front on the house.

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