It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a good person. Yet, it still seems to elude some people. Dealing with a nightmare landlord can be even more stressful than a fist fight with a manatee (and they don’t even have fists). Or highly entertaining, provided you aren’t prone to letting an idiot with the IQ of a marine mammal ruin your life.
This metaphor makes no sense. I just really like manatees, ok? What decent person would want to punch one, anyway?
Being a Decent Human Being – You’re Doin’ it Wrong
If all your tenants get together for a BBQ and share horror stories about their dealings with you, you might have a problem. I mean, sure, there’s a small chance that every single one of them may just be problem tenants, but… really?
So here’s a guide on being a good landlord. I write this, of course, because of a recent experience I’ve had. It’s healthy to get this stuff out on paper, right?
But if you think about it, there’s a lesson here for all the cynical, the jaded, and the hateful. You don’t even have to be a landlord to get it.
- Do be pleasant when interacting with your tenants. They’re people, not subordinates.
- Do actually meet your tenants at least once. It’s reassuring knowing there’s a face to the name.
- Do make sure that you’re familiar with tenancy law before you start throwing the book at your tenants. When you make an accusation, and they know more than you do, you look like a colossal tool.
That’s all I’ve got. Surprised?
The thing is, you don’t actually have do a lot to be a good landlord. Nobody says you have to be anyone’s best friend, and you don’t have to be around very much.
As long as your tenants know they won’t have a fight on their hands every time they talk to you, you’re doing a good job. See? It doesn’t take a lot of effort.
That Four-Letter Word: Don’t
- Don’t refuse to give your phone number to your tenants, insisting only on email communication.
- Don’t harass your tenants’ references, calling them over and over again, even going as far as questioning their character.
- Don’t fight your tenants on every issue they bring to your attention.
- Don’t complain about one tenant to… Another tenant.
- Don’t spread rumours about a tenant being “on drugs” to another tenant. This is very bad form, indeed.
- Don’t assume your tenants know nothing about the law, and try to cheat and deceive them.
- Don’t try to use the law to intimidate and dominate your tenants, especially when you’ve broken a few, yourself.
- Don’t leave your address off the rental agreement or lease, unless you like trying to hold your tenants to an invalid lease.
- Don’t throw a tantrum, and then complain about being treated like a child.
- Don’t act like a dictator, and then delude yourself into thinking your tenants respect you, because they’re being “nice.” They aren’t. They just don’t want to be harassed anymore than they already are.
I like to think it takes real effort to be consistently rude and hateful to someone who has been nothing but courteous and respectful to you. After all, nobody’s born that way. But then, maybe you’ve had a life full of hardships.
Maybe you’ve endured years of the universe constantly kicking your ass and shoving pie into your face, and this has turned you cold and cynical. But there’s a lesson here, and it applies universally to dealing with your fellow human.
There is good in everyone, even you. But if you treat people like shit, you will be looked upon and treated accordingly. The only way to break such a vicious cycle of hate and distrust is to build a door in that wall you have around you, and venture out occasionally. Stop taking your problems out on everyone else!
Dare to be pleasant. Dare to offer the benefit of the doubt, from time to time. Dare to smile back when someone introduces themselves, and be friendly. Life will be easier, and more will float your way.
Remember, when you pick a fight with a manatee, everybody loses. And come on, you knew I was going to end with a manatee reference, no matter how little sense it made…3 people have commented. What do you think?
You had such an effect on my life. You may no longer be a part of it, but your mark will forever be upon my mind, my heart, and my soul.
This is a tribute to you, the lessons you taught me, and the footprints you left in the sands of my life…
We were young. So young. You taught me patience. I learned to let go throughout our games with made-up rules.
We met, and I learned it was possible to make a best friend in sixty seconds. We were so innocent, and then we weren’t, and you were gone.
In an age before I could comprehend vulgarity, you introduced me to it. My innocence started to slip away before I even knew I had it.
You were the first to make my heart flutter. You made it skip a beat when it was largest, and bursting with unconditional love. You drifted away, and revealed yourself once more, ages later. You taught me that people change, and then sometimes they change back again.
You were so transitory, but you made an impression. Thanks to you, I know that sometimes you take the fall for a friend to protect them.
I didn’t want to leave you. We had so much fun together. You taught me to bend the rules, and break them. We were stupid. We were laughing. I’ll never forget you.
You were the greatest. In a time of great change and uncertainty, you extended your hand to me. When so many others were doing so too, I took yours. You gave me a glimpse of true and lasting friendship.
You were a surprise. A great and pleasant mistake. You made me fight, and then you showed me the truth, what I really wanted. You were pain and pleasure, happiness and such dire sadness. Clarity and madness. We destroyed each other, over and over again.
You were a diamond in the rough. I wasn’t ready for you. I wasn’t ready for what you made me feel. Guilt, relief, warmth. You were ripped away from me. You taught me about loss. You taught me to share while I still had the chance. You taught me how to remember.
You offered me a sense of brotherhood at a difficult time. And then you taught me that such things don’t last. I loved, and then I hated. You shocked me, and I learned to stop following.
You made me lose my thoughts, my mind. You showed me great beauty, and great frustration. You made me realize that sometimes it really is just skin deep.
You made my heart race. You compelled me to take a chance. You were my secret. We were damaged, wounded. You showed me pain and insanity. ███ ████ ██ █████ ██. I panicked, you hurt, and then you were gone. You wrote the letter that taught me anguish, and then you were everyone’s memory.
We shared a passion for something beautiful. We were kindred spirits. You were broken, hanging by a thread. I fixed you. You didn’t need me anymore, and I let you go. I moved on, and you flourished. I learned the power of music.
You amazed me. You roped me in, you told me stories, you drove me mad. You lied to me, and you made me lie to myself. You made me feel like everything and nothing, valuable and worthless. You made me think I could do things I never imagined I could. You showed me what I really needed. I learned to forgive again.
You were closer than blood. We laughed and toasted to the future. You showed me a being more flawed than I. You answered trust with deception, and reminded me that there’s a place for the cynic in me.
I lept over buildings. I crawled past hardships. I accomplished great things. I made terrible mistakes. I learned to embrace the bad as good, and the good as great. I am this man, the sum of all these things, and for that, I will always be grateful. Thank you. All of you.2 people have commented. What do you think?