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It (Still) Doesn’t Pay to Be Nice

by Mike Hogan, MBA, EcoBroker

Pick pocketSo, I’m still a sucker.

Way back when…when I first became a landlord I thought it would be easy to deal with tenants.

But I got a quick awakening on my second property- when my new tenant paid her security deposit and first months rent…and never paid again.

I kept getting excuses…I lost my job…blah blah blah. But…being the nice guy that I was- I gave her the benefit of the doubt and tried to work with her. Well that ended 5 months later after an eviction and 6 months of no rent.

I swore at that point- no more Mr. Nice Guy. I would never allow myself to again be taken for a fool. Someone had taken my “niceness” for granted and it cost me 6 months rent.

So guess where I’m coming back from today- yep- court. I just finished doing two evictions…evictions that should have been done 3 months ago. But once again- I tried to be nice and give someone a hand when they were down. I’m here to tell you- it doesn’t work.

But what makes it worse- is that I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. I should know better…I give speeches on landlording and I tell people to issue the pay or quit on the 6th day that rent is not paid- and follow up with a Unlawful Detainer Warrant 5 days later. I didnt follow my own advice.

So once again- landlords…especially newbie landlords. Do as I say and not as I do…issue the pay or quit as soon as your grace period ends and follow-up immediately with the Unlawful Detainer Warrant. Usually that step is enough to get paid- but dont worry that it makes you look mean. Just do it- your financial independence depends on it.

Mike Hogan specializes in single family rental properties, multi-family properties, income producing commercial properties, “flipping”, “Green” rehabs, eco renovations, EnergyStar homes, rehabs, mentoring and first time homebuyers. He’s an expert in Hanover, Henrico, King William and Caroline Counties and the City of Richmond, Virginia.

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  • Uzzell

    Right on point ! The realestate managing classes I took spoke seriously on the same subject. I have a new tenant that moved in 5 months ago. Been late on their rent twice. I’m mailing their 2nd 5 day notice as we speak ! Let me just make it through this winter !

  • I am an evittion lawyer in NJ and what Mike says is absolutely correct, and I have been preaching that for nearly 20 years. File first, negotiate later!

  • Jason Braga

    I am the same way once the grace period is over and no rent I stop by and drop off a 3 day or quit. No more Mr. nice guy we always finish last

  • Laura

    Absolutely true. First month’s rent late – next month 30 day notice.

    It either scares the fear of God into them and they pay up – usually never to be late again, or you will have lost no time and can follow up with the Notice of Petition and Petition before they have stayed much past the 30 day limit. Do Holdover – it’s no fail. The court will give them up to six months to stay provided they pay their rent in full and on time. Get the Marshal’s warrant right away so that you can have them served upon the first late payment. If you don’t need to use it you can get your money back.

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