Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A word to renters

In the local daily yesterday, the pet columnist wrote about getting her cat declawed. What irked me was her nonchalant attitude toward her landlord.

This "mean" landlord had a no pet policy so the writer was forced, she said, to get her cat declawed in hopes of keeping the landlord from finding out she had a pet.

What part of "no pets" do people not understand? How was her breaking the rules the landlord's fault? She obviously lied about the cat to get in the place and then was unhappy because the landlord eventually found out about the cat and asked her to leave, in spite of the declawing. I'd have asked her to leave, too.

I have been a landlord through no fault of my own for about 10 years now. It is not a job I am particularly happy to have, but I deal with it.

Being a landlord means dealing with people who have absolutely no concern for your property. This is the house I grew up in. It is a valuable asset. I don't want to see it destroyed.

When I say "no pets" or even "one outside pet" or no smoking or don't park your car atop the septic tank, it is said for a reason.

Pets are hard on a place. They pee on the floor, they scratch things. They stink. But most important for me, I am highly allergic to them and when a renter has a pet in there and leaves, I have to hire someone to clear the place out because it will make me sick. It costs me money.

People who rent seem to have no regard for their landlord. This is a generalized and sweeping statement, I know, but it has been the truth so far in my experience with renters. Either they let the place fall down around them and don't call if the roof leaks or they call every time they need a light bulb changed, and they do that at 11 p.m. at night.

I guess renters make generalized and sweeping statements about landlords, as in, they're all bad and it's okay to try to outsmart them. But this is untrue as well.

My little old farmhouse is currently available to rent. I am a good landlord. If something breaks, I fix it. I do that within days, not in months. If you're late on the rent, I'm understanding until it becomes a monthly habit. I pay to have the house sprayed for bugs and rodents to be sure you're living in a clean environment (if the renter is a pig who doesn't know what a trash can is for I can't do much about that except ask them to leave).

I do ask my renters not to smoke inside. I prefer no pets but have given up trying to enforce that policy so I will allow a small animal with a $200 non-refundable deposit. Actually, at the moment if a no-smoking, no pet person wanted to rent the house right now, I might even cut a little off the monthly rent.

But don't lie to me because I'm your landlord. Don't tell me you have no pets and then bring in a dog. And certainly, don't blame me because you disobey the rules and have your cat declawed. In no way is that the landlord's fault. Look at yourself for that, dearie.

This house is for rent. It can be your home for $750 a month. Wonderful, caring landlord comes free.


  1. I was a landlord for a while and it is a lot harder than people think. I was amazed at the stories people came up with that they expected me to believe. That was the funniest part. The rest wasn't funny at all :)

  2. There is a country song out right now that just cracks me up. It's by Billy Currington and the main chorus says, God is great, beer is good, and people are CRAZY!
    I sure hope you get a renter as respectful and kind as you!

  3. I don't think I could ever be a landlord. If I was I would have thrown my brother and his two stinking cats, that have destroyed the original wood banisters, floors and God knows what else by now of our Brooklyn home, out!

    Good luck trying to find a decent renter.


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