This is part of an ongoing series about how I became the owner of a rental property in Florida while living in Utah, and all the adventures I have had along the way. If you’re just joining me now, you can check out the first installments here:
- Life As A Landlord – The Beginning
- Life As A Landlord – The Approval Process
- Life As A Landlord – Down Payment And Closing
- Life As A Landlord – Loose Ends
- Life As A Landlord – Classic Problems
- Life As A Landlord – Where is the rent!?
While having to repair our rental property here and there sucked, it was something I expected. What came next I did not expect.
Where is the rent?
After the repair bills, things were quiet for a while. The rent was coming in on schedule, bills were getting paid and I didn’t hear much from the management company for about 8 months. I felt good about everything. Then one day things seemed a bit tight – the rent hadn’t been deposited into our account!
I was really confused. Rent was pretty regular by this point and had stopped keeping that close of an eye on things but when we didn’t have any money in our checking, I thought something was wrong. I checked into my online landlord portal and there was a big fat zero where there should have been a $1,200 for the months rent.
I wasn’t really sure what to do about this. For one thing, when I bought the property, the investment company told me that it was government subsidized meaning the government paid part or all of the tenants rent. So why was their rent not paid? It became painfully apparent that this property was not government subsidized.
After a few days went by and the rent still had not shown up, I contacted the management company to see if they knew anything. They told me the tenants hadn’t paid their rent but assured the management company that it would be in by the next month.
My wife and I had some savings built up so it wouldn’t be too much of a problem but it really didn’t feel very good. We paid the mortgage and crossed our fingers that rent would come through.
Well the tenants were good on their word…sort of. They paid 2/3 of the rent for the previous month and then a couple weeks later paid the remaining $400. We were happy about that, but it also put a little worry in me about the following months and for good reason. The following couple months were also late, but the tenants did get the entire amount in to us in a fairly reasonable amount of time.
Then only a portion of the rent came through. The tenants were telling the management company that they were just having financial trouble and would get things straightened out as soon as possible, but for us, being several thousand miles away and unable to even really talk to the tenants, this wasn’t good news.
Months were slipping away and we would get a few hundred here and a few there, a trickle of the rent payment and it was really starting to hurt on our end. The management company was telling me that the tenants wouldn’t return calls or answer the door when visited. This looked bad and the word eviction started to surface from my contact at the management company.
It’s obvious I am inexperienced here and honestly, the eviction process scared me to death. I really wanted to have faith in the tenants rather than go with eviction for a few reasons. First, because having a bad tenant seemed better than having no tenant at all and I knew that finding a tenant would take time but also that signing a new tenant would cost me a months rent. Plus I had no idea what the eviction process even was. How long would it take? What did I have to do? Were their any costs associated with removal of the tenant?
Well, I found out soon enough…
Image by Robert Hruzek br>