Friday, December 28, 2012

Camping takes the cake

Usually my stories are about things tenants have done, because usually tenants are the hardest thing about being a property investor.  Occasionally though, there is a client who takes the cake.  This is one of those occasions.

I have a client who has, lets say, a different world view.  They just don't seem to grasp some concepts, like, maintenance work needs to be done, or no, you can't stay at the property while you do it, because the tenant lives there.  I have explained the latter several times, let me tell you about it.

On the first occasion, the landlord wanted us to rent out the property, but not the downstairs bedroom, accessible from the laundry, because they wanted to use it when they came to town.  "So you will go in and out of the tenants laundry to get to your room?" I clarified.  
"Yes, indeed" the landlord said, glad I was getting their intention.  
"What will you do for food?"  I asked.  
"I'll bring my own sandwiches and stuff, it will be alright",  the landlord assured me.  
"And what will you do if you need to use the bathroom?" I asked, wondering when it would click that this was absurd.  
"Oh, I'm sure the tenant wont mind if I pop in to use the bathroom" was the reply.  Oh yes they would!  I had to explain long and loudly that this would not be OK, it was a complete breach of the tenants peaceful occupancy of the property.  In addition, it would not be appropriate for him to use a corner of the section, public indecency, health and safety and all that.  I had to add that in, because he thought very differently than most of us do. After about two hours of my lecturing, he finally said "fine, I'll get somewhere else to stay, or come when the property is empty".  Fine, I thought, this is sorted.

Fast forward a year.

The landlord is coming to town to do some essential maintenance.  He lets me know by email, and I respond with "Where are you staying?", the memory of my long lecture still fresh in my mind.  I get no response to the question, so I ask it again, and add "you can't stay at the property as it's tenanted".  Still no response.

On the day the landlord is due in town, I get a phone call from the tenant.

"The landlord has turned up to do the work" they say.  
"That's nice, hows it going?" I ask, wondering if this is just a 'touching base' call, or if it is another chapter in the comedy that is this client.  Turns out to be the latter.
"Ah, fine, but he wants to camp on the grounds, with his whole family" the tenant says.
"Right, I see" I say, this is definitely the latter.  "I'll try to call him.  In the meantime, stand up for your rights, he cannot stay there, and you have our full support to tell him to go away.  If I need to, I will come around myself, so let me know if he starts to pitch a tent".  In my mind, I have visions of the cops being called. I left a message for the landlord on his cell phone asking him to call me, and find somewhere else to stay.  I could just imagine that he would be staying with me at my house as a result, but I was firm in my resolve.

Unbelievably, after he and I talked and I made it clear that there were things he could do, and things like stay at the property he could not, he gets grumpy at me that I am not allowing him to use his property, and he threatens to go elsewhere for property management.  "Thank you" I say, "I don't want to have our reputation damaged by someone who refuses to obey the law and ignores our advice on this topic, please do get another company to manage your property.  I don't want to have to defend you and us against the tenants very strong case for compensation in Tribunal".  Well, that was a wake up call.  He backed down and finally agreed to do what we asked, until the next episode, anyway.  Don't think I haven't heard the end of the complaints about how much his accommodation is costing him. 

I have made it very clear to this client that he is on probation.  Any more issues, and he is finding himself someone else to argue with over his tenants rights.

1 comment:

  1. I could just imagine that he would be staying with me at my house as a result, but I was firm in my resolve. Byron Beach are used for enjoying holidays.