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I like My Tenant. But What Makes A Good Tenant?
Over the years I’ve dealt with tenants of all odd shapes and unhealthy sizes; many of whom have been a privilege to serve (as privileged as serving a tenant can be, which is woefully limited), while others have been as pleasurable as a couple of cysts, each the size of a football, swinging off on my nuts.
The other day I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have one particular tenant under my roof. He’s not the only good tenant I currently have, but he did something that triggered my overall love for him on that particular day. Perhaps I was having an off day, or moment.
He didn’t do anything profoundly groundbreaking or eventful, but he did ‘one of those small things’ that didn’t go unnoticed, and it made me contemplate the qualities of a good tenant.
I guess it’s easier to appreciate those small positives when you’ve fallen victim to the wrath of nightmare tenants, which I definitely have.
Oh, on a massive sidenote: as this cesspit blog has grown and absurdly managed to attract more eyes than it deserves, it’s birthed reason for many industry-related folk to reach out and ‘talk business’. Folk that ordinarily wouldn’t spit on on my pecker if it were on fire, let alone help me glue it back together once the flames have been stamped out. Apparently my ‘blogging style’ and general foul-mouthed tone is an acquired taste.
But as we all know, morals and ethics often get thrown out with the trash when it comes to business. Let me give you an example…
I’ve dealt with a company whereby their entire workforce only knows me by the appointed alias ‘The angry landlord’- that’s their most efficient and direct way of identifying me and my blog from anyone else.
While I’m well aware of why my good name is often dragged through mud, the reality is, I have an extraordinarily domineering sweet side that would rot your teeth out of your gob.
Today I’m going to show you that side! Today I’m going to give you a rare glimpse of ‘Candy-floss’ (that’s the nickname given to my by those that know me in-real-life, because that’s how sweet I am). Today I’m going to metaphorically hump-the-fuck out of my tenant. It’s going to be a positive day.
So what makes a good tenant?
Broadly speaking, house-proud occupants that consistently pay rent on time. That’s what we all fundamentally want, right? Anything beyond that is usually subjective, which often depends on what kind of landlord you are, or want to be. Over time, through experience, most landlords form their own blueprint for what makes an ideal tenant.
But the irony is, landlords don’t really know whether they’ve got a good tenant until the final inspection is complete, the deposit is fairly handled, and the tenant has vacated. And that’s because many healthy landlord/tenant relationships turn to a shower-of-shit at the very last moment, when it’s time to assess damages and process the deposit, because it’s so damn easy to unknowingly get lumbered with a landlord that will do everything within his power to claw back every last penny by claiming compensation for every trivial and unjustifiable bullshit blemish, or on the flip-side, a tenant that’s willing to kill before taking any responsibility, despite how bogus the circumstances:
It was like that before I got here.
Nah, mate, I think I would have noticed a hole the size of Africa in the wall.
I swear on my baby-momma’s life that hole was there when I moved in.
Why I’m metaphorically boning my tenant (a.k.a why I like my tenant)
So, while every landlord has their own set of expectations, here’s a list of why I, Candy-floss, consider my tenant awesome:
- Vacant property notification – this is that ‘small thing’ that recently triggered my hormones to overflow and spill onto my blog.
My tenant booked a holiday so he notified me of when the property would be unoccupied, and he also notified the neighbours while instructing them to contact me in the event of an emergency. Such a minuscule action, but it’s something most tenants don’t bother doing.
- Rent on time – never a day late, like clockwork!
- Good communicator – responds to every phonecall, text message and smoke signal with in good time.
- Accommodating with repairs – always allows access for repairs and maintenance, and provides several suitable days and times. The flexibility he provides is so unbelievably pragmatic, and it saves me from unbearable back-and-forths.
I hate it when tenant’s make life unnecessarily difficult and unaccommodating, “I’m only available on the 19th September, after 6:23pm.”
NO! FUCK YOU very much, dick-face! Please be practical!
What annoys me the most in this situation is the complete lack of empathy, because you can bet your bottom dollar on the fact that if they were responsible for the repairs, they’d be flexible (or at least forced to be) with their precious time, because most tradesman don’t work after 6pm without applying an ’emergency rate’.
- Reports the right repairs – I’ve had tenants neglect small leaks and mould issues simply because it wasn’t disturbing their day-to-day life, so they just blissfully skipped ignored them, as you’d expect idiots to do. But what their maggot-sized brains doesn’t realise is that those issues can quickly and effortlessly spiral out of control.
My tenant has common sense, so he reports those aspiring disasters immediately so I can deal with them. I love him. I do, I do.
- Grants access – he’s never had any issues with granting me access to the property, even when he’s not there to chaperone. This level of access is so unbelievably useful when tenant’s don’t have a flexible work-schedule while repairs need to be done. Granted, a certain level of trust is required, which is usually formed by the way you communicate. Also, a certain type of tenant is also required (i.e. some tenant’s are extremely cautious by nature). However, if you’re a nice enough person/landlord, trust is usually earned from the offset.
- House proud – he keeps the house clean and tidy. Keeps it smelling good, too. I’ve walked into some proper stink-pits before *shudders*
- Asks permission – before undertaking any work, even if it’s menial alterations that will improve the property, he asks permission.
- Isn’t workshy – he won’t expect me to resolve every piffling little issue which a donkey can resolve. For example, a couple of months ago he noticed the silicone sealant around the kitchen sink was wearing thin, so he reapplied a fresh layer to prevent future leaks. On the other side of the spectrum, I have a lazy buffoon heating up my phone because she needs help tightening the loose screw that’s holding up the bog-roll holder.
- Invests in his home – he actually treats the property like a home, so continually makes improvements to make it more comfortable, whether it be by hanging flower baskets in the garden, or applying a lick of paint.
Nothing on that list is out of the extraordinary, but it’s amazing how many tenants fall short, and that’s mostly because they don’t give a flying shit, or worse, lack basic common sense. Any tenant can easily do everything on my list, but the point is they don’t, and that’s why it’s important for every landlord to remain grounded and appreciate those small things.
I don’t necessarily think every tenant is required to do those things in order to be deemed a ‘good tenant’, but again, the point is my tenant does, so it creates a greater contrast between the good and the dog-shit. More importantly, it sets standards.
Now, by all means, I don’t think that’s the blueprint for the perfect tenant. My tenant is definitely not the perfect tenant- he’s done a few things in the past that got right on my tits, but overall, those trivial encounters fade into the mist. I’d be happy if every tenant of mine ticked those boxes. Of course, I have other tenants which are equally as good, but in other wonderful and giving ways.
Every landlord will have their own blueprint for what makes a good tenant, and I believe mine, like many others, is largely based on the fact that I’m a good landlord. I say that because a bad landlord would not appreciate their tenant reporting those small pesky leaks, they’d only see it as an inconvenience, because those incidents may result in the landlord digging into his/her pocket and time. Oh, the horror!
Don’t get me wrong, I consider every reported repair a total and utter inconvenience. My life becomes momentarily dark when I know I have to attend to a repair. A broken appliance is landlord kryptonite- each one kills us all a little inside. But it’s not about the money, it’s just about the entire process involved to resolve the issue, it’s just, well… bloody boring and unsatisfying. But the thing is, it’s not ONLY an inconvenience to me, it’s first and foremost a call for me to fulfil my legal and/or moral obligations as a landlord.
Law of attraction
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I’m privileged enough to have such an awesome tenant.
I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction– “like attracts like.” Good tenants have high standards, just like good landlords have high standards, and they generally gravitate towards one another. If you’re a lousy landlord, you may want to consider that, especially if you’re scratching your ass in disarray, wondering why your tenants are screwing you over.
The law of attraction theory isn’t applicable on a case-by-case basis, because despite being sweet as caramel pecan pie, I’ve been screwed over by tenants multiple times, and in this life time or the next, I will burn them to the ground and then shit on their ashes. But from my experiences, those incidents become blips, and that’s because I don’t get derailed from wanting to be a good landlord despite my bad experiences.
While it can be compelling to cross over to the dark-side after being consecutively bent over and shafted, the “They fucked me, so I’m going to fuck everyone. Harder!” attitude rarely results in victory, so I’d stay clear from that path. I have no doubt that many have crossed over.
But I’m under no illusion; if I didn’t meet my tenant’s standards as a landlord, not only would I have lost him long ago, but he almost certainly wouldn’t be so respectful and courteous towards me and my property. We’ve been going strong for almost 3 years now.
How to find good tenants
The key to finding and retaining an awesome tenant is by being an awesome landlord. No real surprise there. But unfortunately, accessing that key does require a certain degree of common sense, which is why many get disqualified.
Thorough tenant referencing will significantly increase your chances, and it’s your best option, but it’s not bullet-proof. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially letting agents. I’m always baffled when letting agents justify their extortionate fees based on their ability to find ‘superior tenants’ over the average landlord. Of course, that’s a load of shit, and that’s why agents can’t guarantee their claim.
99% of letting agents would close their doors tomorrow if they were held accountable for every sloppy tenant they’ve historically provided their landlords. Don’t be won over by a letting agent just because you believe they have the tools and means to find you a better tenant than you ever could, because it’s not true. Just to clarify, I’m not attacking letting agents, they can’t be expected to prevent or foreseen every disaster. I’m just trying to make it clear that they can fail just as easily as any landlord.
However, I firmly believe that a landlord (with common sense) will be more effective at finding good tenants compared to the average letting agent if the they use the same stringent referencing steps, simply because no one will give a shit about your investment as much as you do, so you’re inherently more likely to have an extra gear grinding away.
Find an awesome tenant, and be an awesome landlord.
Too many landlords accommodate devils
While there’s no shortage of absolute dickheads in this world, there’s definitely no shortage of good people either. Every good landlord deserves good tenants, and every good tenant deserves a good home. If you’re genuinely fulfilling your landlord obligations and providing a good service, then you shouldn’t settle for garbage.
Too many good landlords settle for not only bad tenants, but tenants that actually cast unhappiness onto their lives, and it’s tolerated because the landlord is either too scared or unsure of how to make change. If that’s you, I recommend looking into ways you can legally terminate the tenancy. ASAP. The feeling of relief after removing a problematic tenant is euphoric. You’ll want to sing Lionel Richie and fuck all night… long.
I’ve put up with nightmare tenants in the past, and it’s only through experience and hindsight that I realise how difficult and stressful I made my own life. When a tenant makes a decent landlord’s life hell, the shame is on the tenant. But when a landlord sits back and allows the tenant to continue, that’s when it’s all on the landlord.
Ok, so while I’m in Candy-floss mode, let’s keep this positive vibe in motion; let’s share some good tenant experiences, particularly moments that stand-out. Needless to say, if you’re lucky enough to have good experiences of a sexual nature with your tenant, don’t feel you need to hold back. I’m not here to judge, I’m here to enjoy.
Finally, while many of you refer to me as my self-appointed alias “The Landlord”, can you please refer to me as “Candy-floss” just for this blog post, please? I’ll probably find it hilarious. I remember a blog post from a few years ago, where I referred to a troubled friend of mine as “Cheese-tits” to protect her identity, so then people in the comments section started giving her serious advice while calling her Cheese-tits. That seriously cracked me up. I’d like to rinse and repeat.
*drops the mic*
Candy-floss out! xoxo
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.