There's a joke that talks about a farmer that won the lottery. As he's holding his giant check they ask him what he's going to do with all his new found fortune. The farmer just shrugs and says, "well, I guess I'll just keep farmin' 'til I run outta money." When we bought our new house, we decided to rent out our old house. My parents have several rental properties they have accrued over the last 30 years, so I'm well-versed in the property management world. In fact, I'm familiar enough with it to know it's a giant pain in the ass. So it didn't take much to convince me to have a rental agency handle everything for our own rental property.
We pay 10% of the rent toward the agency for them to manage it and the rest is direct deposited to our bank account. The typical contract states that they can spend up to $250 on any maintenance issues before contacting us for approval. I would have sworn we told them we wanted to be contacted for any maintenance issues, but I don't think it was put in writing.
Imagine my surprise to open a letter stating that they performed maintenance on the HVAC system in the rental house. Specifically, it says that a maintenance person was called out because the air conditioning wasn't working at all. The maintenance person came out, discovered that the emergency switch (which is out of the way and at chest height) had been turned OFF, turned it back to ON and left. We were then charged $112.50 for that service.
I read this and was livid. Stomping around the house, tossing dishes into the cubbard and cramming them into the dishwasher while occasionally pausing to yell and scream kind of livid. I told Rich that I need him to call them on Tuesday and find out why they rented to stupid people or why their TURNING OFF THE AC means we need to pay $112.50 for it. I asked him to call because I know if I call, there will be more yelling and I may end up in jail and I don't want to have this baby behind bars.
This pretty much ruined my afternoon. I spent about an hour stomping around the house, then an hour playing WoW and grumping at the stupid people in Alterac Valley, then an hour crying and napping. Eventually, I got to the point where I was okay if I didn't look at the mail or think about our checking account or walk past our own thermostat.
Rich and I went out for dinner at Tropical Smoothie Cafe and I couldn't finish my meal or smoothie. He dropped me off at my parents' house to give Mom my leftovers and we chatted while she snacked on my chicken salad and Jetty Punch with Splenda. Today is the 5th and the phone rang around 9pm. It was one of their tenants saying he had the rent money but he only had cash and he could bring it by that night or the next morning. Mom finished that phone call and then shared a few other stories of other tenants who claimed to mail a money order before the 5th only to have it arrive on the 10th and be dated on the 7th. My father is currently having to replace most of the floor joists under one of their rental properties because the tenant never reported a water leak that ruined most of the sub-floor. And then there are the tenants who can't pay their rent because they spent all their money on a summer vacation.
Sitting there listening to all of that, our HVAC ignorant tenants didn't seem so bad anymore. But whether we manage the property ourselves like my parents do or go through an agency, it is still a pain in the ass. I guess we'll just keep being landlords until we run out of money.