I’m not a psychologist. Nor am I able to speak in absolute maxims because let’s face it, no two people are alike. But there is a pattern to tenant behavior. Here are some of the things I noticed in the eighth years I have managed other people’s property.
Any change over is fair game for downright deceitful behavior. It’s amazing how any new owner is showered by tenants with “promises” the other, previous landlord had made. Heck, we’ve had a fake receipt given to a new owner this last go-round. I guess the tenant didn’t think that a fake receipt for the equivalent of four months of rent wouldn’t be verified by the previous landlord. Fortunately the previous landlord still has his receipt book. But we see variations of this over and over and over again when we take over new rental properties either through our property management business or our investment property sales division.
40%-50% of Rents Comes In “Just in time”
A great many of our 252+ tenants pay their rent early. Sometimes as much as a week early. But the greatest majority of our rents come in on the last day and a half before the late fees kick in. Our late fees kick in on the 6th of the month. We’re thinking about new leases saying the late fees kick in on the 4th of the month. I’m sure the money would then all arrive on the 3rd. Just human nature?
Working with tenants is different than working with buyers/sellers in this aspect; Buyers and sellers, in general, tend to calculate and plan their next moves while tenants tend to be more impulsive. They want to see a For Rent house “right now, I’m out front” or they need to move “immediately” even though the lease doesn’t end for another four months, etc. But that’s the beauty of short term commitments, right? I’m not saying the tenants are wrong to be more short term on their thinking. It goes with the leases. You have to adapt to that.
Quality of Housing
Tenants want the same things as buyers. They want clean, safe housing and good schools and convenience to local amenities. Some owners and landlords seem to think that these things are not as important to tenants because they’ll be living their less time, most likely. But it’s simply not true. We have tenants, many of them, that could purchase homes if they chose to do so. But they like the convenience and mobile nature of leasing. Make no mistake, however, that they want as nice a house as they can afford. They want the same things buyers want when it comes to those issues. Deliver them a quality house and you’ll most likely get a quality tenant.