Recently, I was going through some receipts from our rental property sent from our rental tenants and scanning them in for our property in San Diego, California. As we were strapped for cash, due to our wedding and major medical bills, and we lacked time and had health issues, our original tenants moved out causing us to find a new renter. The positive thing was that we increased the rent to $1850 a month, $350 more. Within a week, we had tenants! We look back now and realize we could have increased the rent even more since we had several prospective rental tenants fighting to rent the property.
My kind, trusting husband who thinks people only have good intentions, as often I think they do until I see red flags, proudly made a deal with the new tenants. They came up with a great idea, as they are price conscious, good folks! Or so we thought! They said they can paint the house, get new carpets, and a new washer, saving us the 60 minute drive from Orange County several times as we were going to do it ourselves.
My husband was constantly raving how great the new rental tenants are. He said they are hard working, they have good credit, a new baby and are religious, which would make them honest people (if the world was ideal). He was proud of who moved in, telling me how the wife sends all these friendly emails, asking about our wedding, my health and explaining their plans for the place that sounded like she was just as kind as my husband was, a win-win situation for both, right?
Well…two months went by and then he told me that the rental tenants are sending more and more receipts over. Finally, he got all the receipts scanned in an email from the tenants. With smiles, he showed me the receipts. My jaw dropped! I have rented several places from low-end to high-end and renovated many rental homes for landlords or my own and was completely shocked how he was taken advantage of. Now we have lost three almost four months of rental income because of the expenses they felt were justified and my husband didn’t know how to be a mean landlord fearing he would start off on the wrong foot with the new tenants.
Below are some examples of their expenses. Now mind you, there were about 20 receipts. When I started questioning them, my blood began to boil. That is when my husband said he better not show me the rest. The little that I did see was enough.
Shower head $49.00
– A $10 shower head is adequate even in a high-end rental. In my opinion, if a tenant wants something better, they can pay for it out of their pocket. She never asked us to replace the old one or explained why it had to be replaced. Even Irvine Rental Company in Orange County, which are high-end rental units, uses an $8 shower head from Home Depot that they probably buy for $5 wholesale.
Gas Logs for the Fireplace $170.00
– What was wrong with the last ones? She never said she was going to replace these and we never agreed to have her replace them.
– Our washer in our home is only $175. It was miserable to use; however, the washer in the rental property only needed new knobs to run correctly. My last home, I bought a high-end washer and dryer for $270 each from Sears Outlet. You can get a brand new washer and dryer from Home Depot for $325. My own wedding dress was $5000 originally but got it on sale for $250.00 and shoes for the wedding were once $160.00 but got them on discount for $4.25, but yet she didn’t feel bad to buy a $570 washer and stiff us with the bill.
New Blinds $1000
– What was wrong with the old blinds? Trust me, they were fine. To save money for our wedding, I went from one discount store to another to find curtains for $7.25 to cover 15 plus windows in our house because we couldn’t afford blinds due to expenses of the rental property turn over, medical bills and our wedding. Ironically, had the curtains but couldn’t afford to buy curtain rods because of the tenant’s greed so we will have no window coverings for awhile. A great way for my husband to learn where our money went every time he complains he can’t watch his favorite show because there is sun shining on the television.
New Carpet and painting $4000.00
– New carpet and paint are justified; however, when I a pregnant woman with health complications and a friend paint our 2000 square foot house from top to bottom because we didn’t have the money to hire someone and our carpets badly need to be replaced but we now have to wait 6 months to year to get new carpets from tenant over spending. Our rental, 1200 sq foot townhouse, could have been painted and carpeted for less if when I got our house quoted it was only $2,300 (price includes materials) to paint the entire place with a high ceiling by a professional painter and only $300 to paint it myself.
Who is at fault
Now I am not faulting one party more than the other. This is both parties’ fault. My husband, the landlord, for not making better rules and understanding how much can be expensed now feels scared to make the tenant unhappy by putting his foot down and saying he will not pay for unexpected expenses that the rental tenants turned in saying he fears looking like a slumlord.
The rental tenant who comes from the entitlement generation which felt they could push the limits with lack of guilt but yet stands behind the Bible saying she is a good moral person and did not feel it was wrong to purchasing items that most other landlords would never have approved of in the first place? They never got approval to do, knowing my husband’s kindness and knowing it can be taken advantage of while knowing we are under a lot of stress with a wedding, medical bills and medial issues. Maybe in rental tenants mind, they think we are millionaires but maybe even millionaires don’t care to be taken advantage of.
My way to not fume and have my blood boil over how the rental tenant handled the situation and my husband the landlord lacks of strong foot is what I now call anyone who is greedy a $49 Shower Head Renter. Yes, it is a stupid joke that I might only get, but it says a lot when you know the story behind the phrase.