27 Jun These Are Some Secrets To Dealing With Crap When It Happens
Crap Happens To Everyone
But It’s What You Do About It
That Really Matters
Everywhere I look I see headlines about how tenants are not going to pay rent and how they are joining forces to organize a rent strike.
I have to be honest. This scared me and all I could think about was hiding all of my cash under the bed beside all of the rolls of toilet paper
Then I reminded myself that I’ve rented to good people and that I wouldn’t expect them to do all of those scary things I kept seeing in the news.
What I Did About It:
I’ve also heard all kinds of things about being proactive and contacting your tenants right away but I feel that my tenants know that they can come to me if there is a problem. So April 1st came along and….. I didn’t hear a peep out of anyone. And all of the rents came in as usual.
Communicate With My Tenants
I swear though, that one pair of tenants read my mind. I received a phone call in the second week of April (after they had already paid their April rent) and they asked about doing some yard clean up (in a major way). I had just built the unit they are living in so there is lots of clean up to be done from the new sewer/water hookup added to the duplex out front plus the chaos behind the additional unit to the back of the building that they are living in. All of this ended at the beginning of winter last year. So you can only imagine what the front and back yards look like. I already wanted to call them about it but they called me instead. These tenants are a couple and one of them is currently unemployed and were looking to make a trade of yard clean up work in exchange for a rent reduction. I said absolutely and told them I was glad they called me. I met with them and worked out a deal that was fair to both parties and then I gave them an extra $150 for plantings on top of that.
This is what is going on in my mind with all of my tenants. I’ve been sort of rolling this in my head and asking myself what do the tenants do for a living and what could we do together if affording rent became an issue? This is a great example of where we need to protect our minds right now from all of the crap. We need to stay focused on solutions. This is not new to me. I bought two properties at the peak of 1989. I once had a tenant who lived with her mother in one of my units. After her mom passed away she called me in tears saying she couldn’t afford the place on her own. We worked out an arrangement where she painted the house and cleaned my vehicles inside and out. She was happy with the arrangement and so was I. Even as I am writing this I am making a note to truly analyze more what my tenants are good at (ie – online marketing, landscaping, etc).
See Covid-19 As A Life Test
I’m choosing to see Covid-19 as just another test for me in life. I want to look back on this two years from now and be able to say that I did the right thing, that I did the best that I could for all involved.
Next month, things might change. But that’s okay. We are going to get through that. And we are going to get through it the best way we know how if we are focusing on solutions that help both parties. Twenty years ago, a landlord of numerous properties, told me “Mike, don’t ever do a deal that is one sided” meaning that just one person gains. That really stuck with me. It was like listening to a Buddha. You can’t always look at this as just trying to collect money.
Yes, this is a business and it needs to be treated like one. I believe that compassion is what makes it a good business and why I think things go well. A lot of times in this situation we need to show people how to act and my tenants need to show me how to act as well.
It’s about communication. I would have to say that that is where I failed in my earlier years. With my construction projects, I believe a job will either be successful or will fail by how well things are communicated on the project. Maybe it works the same way with rental properties?
You reap what you sow – good tenants are attracted to good landlords. You need to cultivate those relationships and feed them. You have to make yourself approachable so your tenants won’t be afraid to reach out if they need anything. The time you spend investing in building those relationships is just as important as the time and money you have invested in the unit itself. If being a landlord is not your goal in this, make sure your property manager is doing it right.
Focus On Solutions And Not Problems
A major focus that I’ve had since Covid-19 is that we have a decent idea of the problems but what are all of the possible solutions?
I have believed for years that rental housing is going to change radically and that is why many of the projects I am doing have big and innovative solutions for that. One of the solutions, just in the last 12 months, was adding an apartment that has an internal rental suite option built in. We don’t know what the future holds but we need to make some predictions and be as prepared as possible. This internal rental suite option gives the tenants an opportunity to share the space and save money if they need to. If it’s good for the tenant, it is good for the property owner.
Inquiring minds want to know…
What you are worried about or what you are thinking about? Just drop me a quick line about anything. I hope to put out more content in the coming weeks that will answer some of your questions and ease some of your fears. In the meantime, here is a list of some of the solutions I am working on to help ease my fears:
💰Having a master list of solutions for tenants ready in case they have issues.
💰Tapping into different financing options (have you ever heard of a VTB?) for future purchases.
💰Using cutting edge design layouts to increase rental options.
💰Using creative marketing tools to get new units rented faster (We’ve done this one before. Imagine having your unit rented before the renos are even completed!).
💰Researching change of use on properties from commercial to residential.
💰Sourcing of grant and loan programs initiated as a result of Covid-19 that are designed to boost the construction industry.
💰Eating healthier to boost my immune system.
💰Exercising daily to help strengthen my immune system and bolster good mental health.
💰Focusing on the current situation in a positive way.
💰Controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t.
There will be great opportunities in the market coming our way. Are you prepared for them?