Sunday, June 23, 2013

I'm Not Cut Out For This.

I can't handle being a landlady. I'm closing on this dumpy little, fixer-upper, two-unit rental on Wednesday.  One of the units is occupied, so I went over there to meet the tenant tonight. 

This became a fiasco. 

They can't afford the rent I am asking. It only looked on paper like they were paying rent.  That was actually a resettlement stipend from the local homeless shelter, and it ends this month.  I sat down with her to calculate what she should be paying in rent given her current income. There is no way a family of four can find decent housing on the amount I calculated.

They can't pay for their own electricity.  She owes the power company money from the last place they lived, from which they were evicted, so she can't open an account with them without paying her debt.

Her husband came in.  She started a discussion with him about what they could and could not afford.  He got mad and said they COULD make the rent I was quoting because, "I'll be working soon".  When she implied that she didn't want to plan their budget around that, he got mad and spoke meanly to her.  He left, she started to cry, the baby started to cry in the other room, the three-year old climbed on my lap to show me her sticker book.  I held the mom's hand across the table until she stopped crying.

When I left she said they would do it  They would find the money.  She would pick up some overtime.  I told her to think about it some more, because I didn't want to have to start off my career as a landlady by evicting her, but I would if I had to. 

I sobbed all the way home.

I can only see two choices.  I tell the owner that I want a fresh start and that I want the house free of tenants at the end of the moth.  But it almost IS the end of the month! 

Or I let them stay and go month to month until they can't make rent (this will take only about two months, I guarantee), and then evict them.  And anyway, how will they get on the electricity if they already owe the power company money?

This is not who I want to be!  I don't want to throw families out of housing.  I know they can't afford to stay anywhere else on what she is making.  I know that I can't take them at a rate they can afford and still make my mortgage payment. 

I want to scream.  I want to let my earnest money go and walk away from the whole thing. 


  1. OMG Kate, what a horrible situation all around! It would be so easy for someone to be judgmental and just say, "Throw them out," but you are a good person, and good people do the right thing, which is sometimes seemingly impossible when you have to take care of yourself, too. I really feel for you and wish I had a solution.

  2. Oh dear, this is sad all round. Stressful for you as well. I hope they can sort themselves out soon and land lady life gets easier.