What lessons Have you learned while landlording?

I thought I might share some lessons and observations that I have made while being a landlord (30+ units in the “interesting” part of town), I would love to here some other lessons so that I may not need to discover them on my own. These are true and real lessons that I had to learn or have observed over time.

  1. If someone gets shot in your house, regular carpet cleaner does not work to remove the nasty stuff, that comes out when you get shot.

  2. People do not want to live in a house where the neighbors have spray painted R.I.P James Smith on the side walk

  3. If a tenant calls and begins the conversation with “I have always liked you”, or " I hope your having a blessed day" it simply means, I do not intend on paying rent this month.

  4. When a prospective tenant says “I live with my grand mother, or any other relative” they are actually saying “There is not a landlord in the world that would give me a good reference, so I will just say I live at home”

  5. If a tenant offers to paint a rental unit for there security deposit, and they say they are good painters. It really means I am an expert carpet,vinyl and window painter (but no paint on the walls). Do they make a 2000 sqft tarp?

  6. When they say they dont do drugs, they really mean than dont do a certain drug. Do you do drugs? No… What I really mean is I havent tried heroin yet, but crack, vicodin, weed, and meth dont count.

  7. If your cieling is torn down in one of your rental properties and the tenant tries to convince you that “It just Fell”, what they really mean is There was a drug bust here, and we were growing weed in the cieling.

  8. Somehow the postal system is being very discriminate to only my tenants. This is an actual quote “Eric, I know this is the third month in a row that my social security check hasnt shown up on time, but the postmaster said he fixed it” what I really know it means is “You have a lexus and a corvette and a harley, so I dont need to pay you rent this month, youll get by”, by the way I have heard that one too.

  9. Do not call a heating and cooling guy when a tenant calls and says “My furnace isnt working” because what they really mean is I have the heat set at 90 and its 95 in here, so my furnace isnt coming on.

  10. This is just a suspicion, but I think tenants are in cahoots with the gas companies, because I have walked into units where the landlord is paying the heat and I swear its 100 degrees, and they have all the windows open in the middle of winter. I asked them why the windows were open, yet the heat was so high. Another quoted response “Heats Free”.

As if they are somehow generating a profit from making the landlord go broke.

  1. A house, is just not a house, until it has what I call the “ghetto stamp of approval”, this is when I install new carpet and within 30 minutes of moving in, the tenant has burned the outline of the iron into the carpet in at least 6 spots.

  2. I have found this very interesting, I live in a nice neighborhood with very nice homes, and many of my neighbors work 60+ hrs a week, and they have yard that look like the ninth whole at a PGA event, and they do it themselves.

Many of my tenants on the other hand, work 2 hours a week depending on the length of unemployment line, so one might deduce that their yard would be drop dead gorgeous, as they have so much time to work in it. This is not the case, they have accumulated so much trash, in there hay field of a yard that I once lost my dog behind a Mcdonalds bag.

What are they doing with their time?

  1. It is possible to mow a lawn, with a push mower in one had and a 40 oz of Colt 45 in the other. I was very happy to learn this because I have been mowing my lawn for years and was always stuck wearing a beer helmut.

I would love to hear what some of the other landlords have had to go through

"You have a lexus and a corvette and a harley, so I dont need to pay you rent this month, youll get by", by the way I have heard that one too.

Here’s a lesson that you haven’t learned yet. If you keep driving your Lexus, Corvette, and Harley to your rentals, you won’t have them long. That just makes you a bigger target than you already are.


It is not a great idea to use a trusty old cordless phone in a Mobile Home Park to speak with investors about who should not have their leases renewed. It seems that most residents have scanners which will allow them to hear the conversations.

I always wondered how they knew when I was going to raise rents :deal

Richard Stephens

And the Academy for the Best online Story goes to…Eric the Helmut Medem !!
That’s a hooot !

Thanks for sharing your stories Eric. Very entertaining!

When at all possible…don’t rent to family unless you don’t like them to begin with. :argue

These are tenant quotes I got just today.

  1. “I dont know why the post office returned the rent check, I sent it to the right address.”

2.“What trash scattered all over the yard. I dont see anything.”

  1. This one is my favorite. “I have no idea how that hole got in the wall that leads to the neighbors apartment. Can I have my deposit back?”

  2. Last week. “Your Honor I know I have not paid the rent in a month, but I have no where else to go, can I stay there for another 30 days.”

I could go on, but I am trying to block some of them from my memory.

i jus wanted to tell you that i had the biggest laugh at your land lord bit.
You go threw hell with these people.
why do you continue to do it?

Got this two days ago

Tenant; I would like to sign a new lease but so you no me and my husband are getting divorced.

Me; Do you think you can pay by yourself

Tenant; I am now and without his car payment, beer, cigs and feeding his lazy ass it should all be just fine. :banghead

:biggrin :beer

Funny stuff guys. I can’t wait to start telling some of my own stories…

I had a guy bounce me a check. I told him he was now on cash or certified funds. He asked me why?

Evidently it took him more time to get the certified funds so after a week and the constable came out to serve him the eviction papers, he asked me why was I putting him out (because nobody gets to live in a house for FREE)

BUILD self storage warehouses…

YOU don’t want to pay??? Of course I understand that your mother has one leg and your husband is a drunk and spent the rent on booze. Don’t worry about a thing Honey, next Tuesday you can load up all those losers and they can watch me AUCTION OFF ALL THEIR CRAP!!!

BEAUTIFUL business that gets better when the economy gets worse.

What ??? You didn’t think all those nit wits were going to SELL all those PRICELESS BEANY babies did you??? That’s their kids future.
They put that treasure in Self Storage. The day before the foreclosure auction!!!

Hey pete how do you build self storages?? Seems like it would be a very complicated process.

They are about 400 times easier to build than a residential home.

First…no heat, no electricity, no plumbing. Before you guy’s ask…

No electricity because the one light bulb you place inside each unit will be destroyed each and every time someone moves into it. I use buildings that have semi tranparent roof panels for each unit. They let the sunlight in, so no need for interior lighting. Obviously there is exterior lighting at the facility but that’s easy.

No heat…the stuff my clients store doesn’t need heated units. Mostly household items, furniture, old cars, boats, campers ect.

No plumbing (that also means NO SEPTIC!!!) why would you have plumbing in one of these units?

These things get built on a monolithic foundation. We don’t even use 4 foot forms around the perimeter. The company I get my buildings from has engineering stamps for every state in the union for this type of foundation. Never had a problem in 5 years.

Metal buildings go up faster than anything you’ll ever see on a construction site. I hire a company that specializes in setting them up and their done on a matter of DAYS.

Ashphalt, exterior lighting, some nice signs, advertising and BINGO! The BEST rental business in the world.

Trachte Building Systems has an AWESOME web site for these buildings.
I haven’t used them yet, but my next 2 will be coming from them.

I had to laugh at #3!!!..The worst tenants I’ve EVER had are the ones who profess their religion all over the place…When anyone says “have a blessed day”, yeah, you’re right, you’re probably not going to see a lot of rent…lol