Wednesday, January 31

Moving on from Past Mistakes

Today my bad tenants are moving out of my basement. If they move out without doing any damage, then I will be short $500 in unpaid rent from one of them. He has agreed in writing to pay, but I don't think I can count on it until I see the actual money. Each day for the past month, I have been doing an unofficial countdown to today. I am looking forward to their departure so much that it has become a day of great significance to me.

I decided to reflect today on what I have learned from this experience. I still own the house, I still live upstairs, and I still believe that financially it is the best thing I can do to rent the basement out. So how can I move forward and find benefit from this so that next time I do better and have less stress?

The first thing I learned is that prospective renters are always on their best behaviour when viewing a place, so you have to really look past the politeness to see how they really are. Also, I rented to these guys long distance (I felt sorry for them being unable to find a place long distance) and I will never do that again. I learned that the number of people in a place really makes a difference to the overall peacefulness of it. I will be discouraging future renters from having a lot of friends over, and especially late at night. I also learned that a landlord is very vulnerable to bad tenants when you are sharing space with them. I would have liked to be much more hard-headed with these tenants, but I wasn't because I knew that they could make things even worse.

I am on the fence about how much of my basement to rent out now. This month I have two tenants moving out and only one moving in. I am thinking of turning it into a two bedroom suite instead of three for the forseeable future. This has the disadvantage of bringing in less rent, but the advantage of being easier to manage and likely much quieter. I can then use the third bedroom for storage or whatever I want, so I gain some benefit from this arrangement too.

In the future, I am wondering if I would prefer to try renting out a place where I do not personally live. This is more work in some ways because you are not always on site and have to make special trips, but I want to see if I have what it takes to deal with tenants once the fear of them having an impact on my life or posessions is not a factor. And for now, I will stay put and hope that I do better this time. I have a good feeling about my new tenant so I hope that my judgement was better this time!

Today's billable hours: 3.0
Today's contracted hours: 3.5