On being a landlord

orchid, chinese lanterns, sunroom, saint john, NB, geranium, windows, sunnny

One meets all kinds of people when renting rooms in their home; pipefitters, programmers, boilermakers, university students, ESL students, vacationers, web designers, carpenters, mothers, fathers, safety inspectors, labourers, painters etc…

For the most part (99%), people are kind, pay the rent on time and do offer a smile and conversation when you meet them in the common areas of the household such as the kitchen, living room or hallways. But, occasionally, things go awry and people aren’t so kind and you begin catching them in lies and then you are left being owed $600.00.

More than anything, renting rooms in one’s home teaches you tolerance. It forces you to respect other people’s privacy and beliefs.

And every so often your spirit is tested and you are placed precariously close to losing everything you worked so hard for, to achieve.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I do love having people around in this big ole house but at times when the rent is late or the rules are not being followed, it tests my ability to make decisions and stick with those decisions.

I spent the day yesterday talking with Police, talking with a missing tenants mother and packing this tenants belongings to give to his mother. I’m exhausted and there is nothing else I can do for this person. I’ve said my prayers.

Another ex tenant is also in debt to me for two weeks rent. Both of these men have depression and I’m all too aware what depression can do to a person after having lived with a depressed man for four years.

Can I say how disgusted I am and not in an angry way but in a sad, I don’t understand why you took advantage of my kindness sort of way.

I have rules in the household that must be adhered to so that the household runs smoothly so that everyone that is living here is on the same level. There is no smoking, no heavy drinking, scented products are forbidden, no loud music, no food permitted in the bedrooms and rent is due each Sunday.

It used to be that the Rentalsman had jurisdiction over room rental but now it is the Court of Queens Bench and I’m truly beginning to believe that insurance and law both only exist for and are easily accessed by the wealthy.

I’m letting this all go today in order to move on. I will shed no more tears and mop up no more messes…

The tenants I have now are working folks or are studying. They have focus in their lives and honestly that makes for great tenants. They respect my property and put trash in the trash and don’t abuse the privilege of being able to live here.

And one day soon, I’ll earn enough with my art and meet a nice man, who isn’t mentally deranged, who is not married, is not an active gambler or addict, is family and goal oriented, whom has a love for human beings and the planet earth, who does not have children but would like children, who is kind hearted and like minded and challenges me to be a better person but that is another blog post for another day someday soon…

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10 thoughts on “On being a landlord”

  1. Jess I am sorry you have been taken advantage of, you are the sweetest most kindest person I have ever met. You have a heart of gold, you see the good in everybody and for someone to take advantage of that just isn’t right. I hope you can move on from this experience and hopefully in the future you will find that happiness you deserve more then anything. I know it is out there waiting for you, one day soon you will find it. You know I love you and am always here for you. We may not talk often but our friendship remains the same it was 30 years ago. Always and forever your friend…Shy

  2. Well, you’re more understanding that I might be. :) I admire you for all of your hard work and for your willingness to open your home to rent to others so that they have a place to live. Sorry to hear about the trouble and will be hoping and praying that when the time is right. . . .you’ll find that wonderful man! 😉

  3. I hope things change for you soon. We have three rentals and it seems thing are always fantastic or disaster, no in between. I think we are good, honest, helpful landlords. I often let tenants work off their rent if they have a bad month, but it feels like that favor is rarely returned. It’s hard to be a landlord I know, here’s wishing you have nothing but good tenants!

  4. Ouch… do you suspect foul play was involved in this guy’s disappearance? Or did he bail on his rent and decide to hide out somewhere else?

    I know you are renting rooms out of neccessity, but it takes strength and patience to deal with renters… it’s not an easy way to earn money, that’s for sure.
    So I admire you for your willingness to put up with strangers coming and going in your personal space.

    Although I briefly owned a home (with my ex), I’ve lived in rentals for most of my adult life… there are some truly terrible, immoral people out there. It pains me to say it, but my former neighbors were monsters summoned from the bowels of hell that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
    I took extra precautions to be a respectful and understanding tenant, because I pitied my (former) landlord for the nightmares living upstairs.

    *throws salt over her shoulder and prays they don’t follow us here*

  5. hi jessica omg what happened where these men working at the refinery i have also rented rooms in my home for over seven yrs being a single mom of 2 teenage boys that both play triple a hockey it allows me to let my children play the sport of hockey that i would not be able to afford on a regular basis,,,,the reason that i started to rent rooms after many yrs of travelling and living away from saint john i wanted to teach my boys that ppl dont have to have the same colour skin or shaped eyes to be family i wanted to open their minds to giving and being kind i have had only one bad experience during all these yrs in not getting my rent and from someone stealing my kindness and my money but i didnt give into this creature i stood up and moved forward ….pls if you can give me any information or a name that would be greatly appreciated since we do live in the same area and once again i will be renting a room this week i do understand that you can not give out much info so maybe i could email the new name to you and you could give me a heads up ……..take care

  6. Oh Jess! I feel your pain! I too have been there…hated that!!
    But the beautiful pic above…& all of your wonderful artistic talent… is what keeps you from not “jumping the bridge” as you go through your trials & tribulations!!

  7. Asian students are not a failsafe option. I’ve heard horror stories where they just go crazy being away from their strict parents, even crapping in their room and peeing on the walls just because. Some of them are fine I am sure, but as a group they arent a savior to avoid bad tenants.

    I hear you on the frustration renting rooms in one’s home. I have rented as many as three and I rent two now. I’ve gotten incrementally better and smarter about it all over the past three years of doing this and now I tend to by and large, get good tenants in my place. I, like you, started out with a kind heart and rented rooms to people on disability for PTSD and people who were trying to get their start after living on the streets for a while; it was a nightmare and I felt like I was living amongst ghosts. Now I only rent to full time students or those working full time.

    I totally hear you on the not following house rules. Mine arent as strict as yours; yet they still dont get followed. I ask that all tenants clean the floors, kitchen and bathroom once per week; if everyone did that each would be cleaned more often than once every second day – and the total amount of weekly work is less than 35 minutes, I do it too!

    Yet I still find tenants try everything in their power to get out of it, so I introduced a series of small fines for breaching the rules. That tends to work, but periodically I get a tenant who goes sour and starts poisioning the well water causing everyone to find a reason to not do their weekly duties. Whether it’s someone who is trying to fight my authority in my own home and convinces other tenants that they dont have to do it, or one occupant who isnt doing their dishes causing everyone else to stop doing everything or anything at all, or the one silly person who decides they dont need to do kitchen duty because they wash each dish one at a time by hand rather than using the dishwasher (and they dont do their other duties either – like they dont ever use the bathroom or the floors!) I find I am constantly trying to find tenants that just, well, “get it”.

    It’s easy enough to live in someone else’s house; they get to use your dishes, your couches, your table, your chairs, your cookware, your towels, your laundry facilities, your yard and yard furniture, yet after month two a certain percentage of them start to think that all this stuff is theirs to use as they please and they forget the daily unspoken kindness they receive as they move through your house. Then they start to complain, and complain, and complain, like somehow by complaining about something that you are ever so lucky to have them living in your home using all of your stuff.

    I was drawn to your page here because I am in the process of evicting a tenant right now. She asked if she could bring her two cats to live here because they were spraying at the temporary place she had them, I said no because indoor cats are not going to work out, she brought them here for a “few days” which has turned into a few months and the spraying has continued. She leaves as many as thirty dirty dishes in her room including cups, pots, pans, with mouldy food, and when she finally cleans her room she just leaves all the dishes on the counter and in the sink; then has the nerve to complain loudly to me because she has attracted cockroaches to my house yet refuses to clean up after herself. The last straw was that she started complaining about how my 6 year old daughter is home all the time during summer vacation; because she can’t spend the day in the backyard smoking pot anymore because the kid keeps coming and going at random intervals like kids do. My original communication on the pot was once in a while when the kid was sleeping outside; now she has the nerve to complain that the kid is home at all; she never told me she wanted to smoke it once an hour. She even told my girlfriend that I am a bad boyfriend and that she should leave me, that my friends are loud mouthed jerks, that I do everything around the house wrong, and told me that if I had a friend come to look after the place while we were away she would invite her friends over and be mean to him to send him packing.

    Why do some people feel justified in being so foul? I dont know. However in the room rental game; we see it all. I am a nice person. I hate evicting people and putting my foot down; and I get more angry at the fact that I have been forced to do that than at the actual reasons for evicting them in the first place.

    I empathize that in the UK there you need to go through all of the protections of protected tenants. At least here in BC Canada, if you share a bathroom and kitchen with the tenant they have no rights. If they granted rights to room renters, I would probably stop renting rooms – 2 months to get rid of someone who is poisioning your home is just too long. It should be two days! Get along with the people in who’s house your living, or you will suffer the consequences of having to move to someplace else!


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