Lesson I have already learned: DO NOT LET TENANTS GET BEHIND IN RENT. It’s going to be rent receipt or 5 day eviction notice from here on out. I have one tenant who was about $600 behind when they had a garbage fire inside a few weeks ago. The fire did not get into the structure although there is water damage, smoke damage, and damage from the fire department looking for fire inside the walls and roof. Not counting July rent (late fee after the 5th) they owe me $590 (after applying their security deposit) and they owe the county $144 for taxes and late fees. I expect to be about $1500 in materials (free labor) fixing up the trailer. I expect it to rent for $340/mo over lot rent pretty easily, so I feel that it’s a no brainer to try to acquire the trailer.The question is should I forgive all tenant debt including property tax ($734), spend $1500 fixing it up, and rent it? Or should I just give them a partial credit on past due rent and go after them for the rest? Theoretically they should not have a problem paying that, especially if I split it up in 2 payments. But I could also see an argument for just being glad their gone and knowing I can make better $ on that spot in the future.
Pursue your tenants for what they legally owe you. If they owe rent, plus damages, then go after them for the damage they’ve caused you. We’ve found that once we file a case against a non-payer, about half of them miraculously come up with all the money they owe. I know it feels bad to treat people that way, but they’ve done damage to you, and you are entitled to have your property protected and repaired.Always screen your residents (call current landlord plus employer), and always take a security deposit.Good luck,-jl-