They are all paid for. It can be pricy to fix things and a shock to your system if you are dependent on the rent for living if they become vacant. After 20 years of doing this, we have finally learned how to manage tenants. We don’t allow pets or smoking. We have small houses(only 1 bedroom and 1 bath) so we don’t rent to people with children. With the smallest 2 houses (less than 1000 square feet), we won’t rent to couples. We also try not to rent to people we know. It is easier if we have to kick them out. I am very straight forward with them. If they don’t pay the rent, they have 30 days to leave. I am sorry for what ever they are going through, but this is a business not a ministry. We have bills to pay too.
We also have one that is an hour away and my son lives in that one. It is not paid for, but he pays the mortgage. I’m not sure that I would do that again, because his dogs have torn a lot of things up. I think pets tear up more stuff than people.
I do have a reputation that I am kind of proud of. It is pretty well know that I can be extremely fair. If I say I am going to do something I do it…. Good or bad. If we discuss your financial difficulties I can work with you. If you like to stick me like you do your other creditors, they know me by name in dispossessory office of the local county courthouses. I had one tenant stay with me for almost a year because he communicated with me a few years back. He lost his job and he told me that he wouldn’t have it all, it was just his wife working and they had 3children. Then she lost her job and with unemployment it was difficult to make rent. Then it became virtually impossible, but all the way, he was telling me what was up. Having previously lived in the house, I knew the cost of utilities…so he wasn’t exaggerating his costs, and expenses and every month we talked. I didn’t put his family out, but then I didn’t have any costs except insurance and taxes on the property so I could afford to let them stay. When they finally both obtained jobs, they are still there, and every so often I get a double rent payment which I have never even asked for.
During the same time period I put several other tenants out of other properties because they didn’t communicate with me.