Why being a landlord sucks

As a long-time landlord I’ve had my share of great, and not-so-great, tenants.  (Current husband/wife tenants are awesome sauce.  Unfortunately, their family is about to expand and they need more space.  God speed.  They’ve earned themselves a great referral into perpetuity.)

Unfortunately for me, this means I have to start the tenant courtship/screening process all over again.  Kind of like starting a new dating relationship except that a credit check, criminal screening and a lot of cash is involved.

Then, again, I’ve been known to put prospective boyfriends through the same thing. I just feel that Google stalking is pretty much mandatory if you are going to impact my life in any fiduciary manner.

Brand new bathroom with floor to ceiling marble just completed.

Being that this is a one-bedroom apartment and located on Chicago’s lakefront, it usually attracts late-twenty-something, up-and-coming middle managers.  Typically, ones who have been educated at prestigious universities.

Unfortunately, their educational pedigree is not always a good indicator of their character.  May I share with you my first three experiences from this cycle?

Prospective tenant A.  Mom and dad live in a well-heeled Chicago north shore suburb.

Their little princess is a fairly recent graduate of the University of North Carolina.  She emailed me last Sunday to arrange for a viewing.  By Wednesday, I had not gotten a reply to my email back to her.  I sent her another one from a different address just on the outside chance it ended up in the spam folder.

Twenty-four hours later I heard back.  She was interested in setting up an appointment for either Sunday or Monday.  I emailed her back within in minutes trying to get specifics from her.  As of this writing, no reply.

Prospective tenant B.  Late 20s, Gonzaga U graduate who is relocating from the West Coast.  I called her within minutes of her email on Thursday.  She was only in town for a couple of days and wanted to secure an apartment for an April 1st move in.  She wanted to see the apartment the next day.

I call my current tenant to nail down a mutually convenient time and call “B” back within five minutes.   We confirm a 2 pm showing on Friday.  I shuffle around my business appointments to accommodate her.

The appointed time comes and goes.  I call her at 2:15 pm.  The call goes into vmail.  She is a no show.  Needless to say, she didn’t even return my call to apologize or explain.

Prospective tenant C.  She called me yesterday and set up an appointment for this afternoon for her and her fiance.  She makes it, he doesn’t.  Lovely young lady who tells me that she really likes the apartment, but that they have already been approved for a different one.  She asks to take an application and discuss with her fiance.  I receive a polite email an hour ago that her fiance has decided to go with the other apartment.

So, as a public service to 20-something young professionals looking for apartments, here are some tips.

1.  There’s this thing called the internet.  That means that prospective employers and even landlords are going to search your shit out.   We will track down your work history and connections on LinkedIn, check your vapid tweets on Twitter and reverse search your phone number.  And that’s just for starters.

2.  As landlords, we are likely to be older and better connected.  As in, we actually may know people in top management in the company for which you just accepted an entry level assignment.  It’s not a smart idea to piss us off.  (I’m speaking directly to you, Ms. Gonzaga.)

3.  If your Twitter profile professes your love of martinis and partying, you aren’t even going to get to the credit check phase with me.  The last person I want living next door to me is a drunk who may end up puking in the hallway.

4.  If you make an appointment with me and don’t show, I will check your Twitter or Facebook.  (It’s because I care so much and want to make sure you didn’t have an accident and are in the emergency room.  You get that I’m being sarcastic, right?)

If you are posting away about your adorable Tar Heels, I’m going to take that as a sign that you are still alive and you are a rude piece of crap for not keeping your appointment or calling to cancel.

5. To Applicant C.  Thank you for being classy enough to send me an email informing me of your decision.  Common courtesy will get you far in life.  Oh, and your engagement ring was gorgeous.  Just sayin’.

I will eventually rent this apartment.  Probably sooner rather than later.  I will likely get an amazing tenant (reread the part about my ability to conduct thorough background checks).  But in the meantime, I’m also likely to deal with several more spoiled private school, trust fund babies who were never taught the importance of courteous behavior.

Categories: Chicago style , Rude people , The high rise files


1 debz { 03.04.12 at 8:22 pm }

how much?

2 Sophia { 03.04.12 at 8:24 pm }

Posted a link with details on your Facebook wall.

3 Polly { 03.05.12 at 10:40 am }

OMG and they say the customer is always right?