Owning a rental property is tough work. In addition to understanding the legalities of leases (which requires a detailed knowledge of laws such as the Fair Housing Act), you need to make sure your tenants are a good fit for the property.
Every landlord has a screening process designed to ensure two things: that their tenants are able to afford the space, and that they won’t leave it looking (or smelling) worse than they found it. Both of these can usually be ensured through a criminal background check and a credit check, but even the most thorough of landlords may end up dealing with problem tenants.
Unfortunately, this issue can become greatly exacerbated when said problem tenants are your friends. Let’s take a look at three major reasons why you shouldn’t rent a room, an apartment, or a house to your buddy from college or your best friend from high school.
Maintaining a professional relationship becomes impossible
Tenant-landlord relationships are, first and foremost, professional. As the owner of a rental property, you are responsible for setting the rules and your tenants are responsible for following them. After all, leases exist to ensure that both parties stick to their end of the bargain.
When you rent to a friend, you’ll find that that professional boundary gets muddled. Your pal might start asking for extensions on rent payments, or begin blatantly ignoring the rules of the rental agreement because they believe your history together means you’ll give them a pass. Re-establishing those boundaries is hard at best and impossible at worst, and may lead to the next bullet point.
It could cost you your friendship
Being a landlord means being an authority figure. Your friend may struggle with that interpretation, especially if you’ve known them for a long time. At the end of the day, this can cause a serious rift.
If they continue to disregard your rules, you’ll be forced to lay down the law in a way that won’t sound so friendly. In such cases, you won’t just be losing a tenant when the lease ends — you’ll be losing a friend.
You’re the one has to pay in the end
Loss of friendship aside, you are still running a business. If your rental agreement states that no pets are allowed, and your buddy thinks you’ll be fine with his German Shepherd because you go way back, you’re the one who’s going to be left with a mess.
If your friend has a smoking habit, they may be inclined to light up regardless of any non-smoking clauses in the lease. From the cost of a complete deep clean (which can cost even more if cigarettes are involved) to general repairs, you’ll find yourself out of more money than you ever made from their presence.
Being a landlord is difficult enough as it is; you don’t want to add to the pile by putting a couple of your closest friends under a roof that you manage. Fortunately, you have plenty of tools at your disposal to help you find respectable strangers instead. Innovative software options like Turbo Tenant are uniquely designed to do all the digging for you — no muss, no fuss. Compared to the alternative (and all of its potential costs), renting to newcomers is always a better choice.
Rather than run the risk of a ruined apartment and a ruined friendship, establish one simple rule: no friends allowed. No matter what landlord-tenant resources you rely on, you’ll be grateful you chose John Doe over your favorite drinking buddy.
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