Pouring KetchupRight now in my area of Ohio it is tough to find a qualified renter — one who has his deposit and first month's rent in hand. I have one renter I am currently evicting who has not been there for two weeks, but will hang onto the unit and not pay anything till I go to court and take possession of the unit from him. Looking through his window I can see his belongings scattered all around the bedroom and can see through the kitchen and note a ketchup bottle on the counter that is upside down. This fellow will not return my calls and left me no choice but to file for eviction. The ketchup bottle, to me, indicates he is broke. Owning rental property is an entirely different education in the economy and is not for everyone.

Scott Brooks adds:

MarlboroI used to own a piece of rental property and I hated it. First of all, I am not a handy guy. My wife has a toolbox and will not allow me to touch it under any circumstances. All the other men in my family are extremely adept at handy work, but somehow I managed to have a mutated "handy gene." 

What bothered me about renters was that they were often late with payments and always had some lame excuse as to why. When I would go by the house to pick up the late rent, there were always lots of beer cans in the trash, beer and liquor bottles in the fridge and cartons of cigarettes on the counter (the lease prohibited smoking in the house).
These people could afford alcohol and cigarettes, but couldn't afford their rent payment. When I would ask them about this, it was like talking to a wall. It seemed that they were completely incapable of understanding the simple concept of financial prioritization and that shelter was far more important that cigarettes.
But in retrospect, maybe they did understand the concept. They probably knew that they had the ultimate "enabler" in a government that protected their rights far and above my rights, and the same government would shelter them from the consequences of their poor decisions.
I sold the house at a profit and have not gotten back into the rental property game. 

Alan Millhone updates:

The ketchup bottle has not moved and is still inverted! However, one new twist I noticed this afternoon in this renter's door: a court notice has been placed there by a process server sometime today! My late father used to quip, "When they get the court notice they don't have to move right away, but they know that someone will be breathing down their neck soon." Court day for his eviction is 11/30/07 at 2pm. Stay tuned! 





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