When landlords are scumbags…

I’ve been reading up on the current plight of landlords and tenants in the United States. There’s been a lot of news about tenants refusing to pay rent because they’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. Some people have simply broken their leases, forfeiting their security deposits and moving in with family. Some can pay, but don’t want to spend their savings when they know they may not make any more money for awhile.

I’ve seen some good stories about landlords working with their tenants, helping them work out a deal so that no one ends up homeless. And then I’ve seen posts like this one…

Does this person think a new tenant is going to show up ready to move in? Who’s able to move right now? Either way, the landlord is not going to be paid.

I get that landlords are in business to make money. I understand that they, too, have bills to pay. However, as someone who has suffered abuse from landlords of the past, I also know that without renters, these folks would not be in business. A lot of them seem to forget that they are being paid for a service. More than one of our previous landlords has treated us as if we work for them when, in fact, they work for us. We are paying them– not the other way around. Greed is not an attractive trait in anyone. And if landlords want to evict otherwise decent tenants for not being able to pay rent during a global pandemic, they deserve the disrespectful bottom feeders they’ll eventually get.

Fortunately, our current landlord is very good. He lives next door, but never bothers us, is always respectful of our time and privacy, and has told us he wants us to be happy. We’re also lucky in that, at least for the time being, Bill is working and being paid his full salary. So our landlord has gotten his April rent and will likely continue to be paid for at least a few more months, and probably longer than that. The workload for Bill hasn’t changed yet, and it doesn’t look like it will anytime soon. He’s able to do most of it from home, too.

I really do understand that landlords want and need to make money. However… we’re in an extraordinary situation right now. An unprecedented number of people have lost their jobs. I’m hoping that most landlords have the decency to work with the people who rent from them and come up with a win/win situation that benefits all involved parties. What’s going to happen if many thousands of people are evicted due to this? Who’s going to be able to rent with an eviction on a credit report? Are people just expected to vacate the premises and live on the street? That will do a lot to curb the spread of disease, won’t it?

The landlord in the above post is concerned that his tenants will “get accustomed to paying the subsidies rate as opposed to the market rate.” What happens when NO ONE is able to pay what used to be the “market rate”? That’s what will happen if everyone stops working, and most people don’t have a couple thousand bucks to spend on the rent anymore. The market rate will probably change for a long time, and the landlord might be lucky to get the subsidies rate. I think the landlord in this post is very short-sighted. He thinks this will be over in a matter of weeks, when it will probably take a lot longer to get this situation under control.

I really wish people would just cooperate. The sooner the virus is under control, the sooner things will get back to normal. A forgiving, compromising, and kind attitude will go a long way toward making this situation better for everyone. I’ve read a lot of disturbing posts from ignorant people in the United States who think people are overreacting about the coronavirus. They obviously haven’t been paying attention to the exhausted medical professionals who are fighting this battle up close and personal. And, oh yeah– some of those folks are having their pay cut, too, despite the insane work load they’re handling and the actual, very real danger they’re in!

The comments on the above post are bananas. Several property owners are whining about how no one cares about the landlord. One guy repeatedly brags about how he became a property owner at age 30, and that those who don’t empathize with the poor landlord who posted this offensive shit have “never owned property a day in their lives”. Bully for you, guy. Some of us don’t have the luxury of staying in one place.

Believe me, if Bill hadn’t been in the military, it would have made me very happy to buy my own house and live in one location. His job would not allow for that, so we don’t own our own home yet. When we move back to the States, I’m hoping that the next house we live in will be ours, because I have had my fill of being a renter and putting up with overbearing idiots who don’t have basic respect for other people and think they have the right to treat renters like serfs.

Aside from that, I think the attitude that people who rent their homes are universally irresponsible and negligent is especially repugnant. We’ve been lucky enough that most of our landlords– save for a couple– haven’t tried to suck us dry and have basically done their jobs. It’s been my experience that the lower the rent is, the more likely the landlord is going to have a extortionate attitude toward their tenants. We have had a few property managers try to screw with us, and a few have somehow mistaken Bill’s kindness for wimpiness or stupidity, but ultimately we came out on top. We’ve also had some genuinely good landlords and property managers who were decent and compassionate, and a genuine pleasure to do business with. Our experience in North Carolina comes to mind.

Anyway… I do think people should pay their landlords if they can. I don’t agree with going on a rent strike just for the hell of it. But it’s a two way street. So many people have been laid off and can’t make money right now. That’s the way of the world. I think it’s best if people simply get over themselves and find a way toward a workable solution. In the long run, that is the only way people are going to get through this crisis.


5 thoughts on “When landlords are scumbags…

  1. Rebeckah Mae says:

    I think what strikes me most about that post is that the “market rate” according to the landlord in the post above is 60%. That’s a LOT of money for very little effort on the landlord’s part. Ridiculous!

  2. I am in the reverse situation. I have my parents house that is mostly paid for – a small mortgage left on it that we took out when building it to finish off some stuff. After they were gone, I rented it to “friends” for basically what it cost me to sit empty – just the taxes and insurance. It was $450 per month. By the time I finally evicted them, they owed me $4k Current tenants are also friends but have done a decent job keeping up. I’m still renting it below market value, but so far have put more money into it between repairing the heating system, dryer, microwave, etc. than I’ve gotten from it. They currently owe me $3k but of course everyone is out of work so who’s going to be on the hook? I had a conversation with her just this morning. If they don’t make at least some effort to get me money, as soon as the moratorium is lifted on evictions they’ll be out. I don’t want to do it – I’d rather they just pay the damn rent. She has 4 adult kids living there who work. That’s like $65 each per week just to pay the rent. It shouldn’t be hard.

    • Yeah… but Patti, I don’t think you’re the type of person who has 8 out of 11 tenants sending rent strike letters. The person who wrote that Reddit post likely had issues before this started. There are assholes on either side of the rental equation, but the fact that this guy regards sudden job loss as an “excuse” and is already looking for ways to screw his tenants out of their security deposits makes me think that you are not in the same league.

      • Unfortunately, there are shitty people on either side of the arrangement. I think that’s how it is in any situation. That’s why laws have to be made and enforced, to keep the scumbags from taking advantage. There’s always someone out there who values money, or “getting over”, over actual people.

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