12th October 2008

Tenants Need To Handle Their Own Business

This past week I had a situation where a relatively new tenant was again late with the rent. The last time this happened, last month, I ended up posting a three-day notice which, in Florida, is the first stage of the eviction process.

This month, the last day of the grace period was on a Saturday, so on Monday I posted a three-day notice. Later that day I got a call from the tenant’s neighbor telling me that the tenant was really upset and that the tenant’s husband had gone to the hospital earlier in the week with a suspected heart attack. The neighbor mentioned that the tenants were really good neighbors, the whole neighborhood likes them and she would appreciate it if I could “find it in my heart” to give them a break.

After the call from the neighbor, I got a call from the tenant, probably when she got the three-day notice, telling me that I would have the check the next day but to please not deposit it until the end of the week as the funds wouldn’t be available.

What’s amazing to me is that tenants think that getting someone else to call the landlord to plead their case is acceptable, legal and effective. It’s not in all three cases.

One time I had a tenant’s mother-in-law call me to complain about something or other. I let her know that I could not discuss the situation with her and to please have the tenant call me. The mother-in-law let me know that she was calling because the daughter-in-law, my tenant, was kind of a “hot head,” was very upset and couldn’t call. I just had to laugh at that one.

Another landlord I know told me about an instance where her tenant’s father called requesting her to release deposit money back to his son after he had basically wrecked one of her rental houses.

Tenants should understand that this kind of behavior is not very adult, responsible or effective. In fact, behavior like this raises a big red flag for me and subjects them to even less “wiggle room” than I would normally offer.

I mean, I’m compassionate when it comes to family emergencies but knowing these people, the next excuse will be a “dead grandmother” or a “dead pet” or some such. Well, to them I say, “good luck with that strategy.” Live up to your responsibilities and we won’t have a problem.

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