When a landlord comes to us with a property that is more than four months in arrears, we explain to them that they should be treating their rental property as a business. In the most basic sense, that is what it is. We tell all of our landlord clients that they have to train their tenants. While this may sound harsh, it is, in reality, what is necessary. Since people are dealing with a place to live, they do not generally look at renting an apartment as a business relationship. That is precisely what it is. You are providing services, a place to stay, for money, or rent. A lease is a contract. This is a very basic business relationship. Training a tenant means that their end of the agreement involves paying the rent and that, in most cases, comes before any other issue that comes up.
We live in a consumer-oriented society where everybody sees the latest phone on TV or a new car, or they want to take a vacation or go out to dinner and a lot of other stuff. Landlords tell often tell us they signed a lease in April, and by June, the tenant is already behind on the rent. When asked how they handled that situation, most landlords, especially those that only have one or two rental properties and being a landlord is not their primary vocation, that they gave them more time. They do this to avoid conflict or to be nice. This not a time to either avoid conflict or be nice. That leniency will always work against them.
This is probably one of the biggest issues with landlords. Most of them are just regular people, they are not business people, and because they are human, they do not want to be seen as being unreasonable. Most of the time this is an admirable trait, but the landlord-tenant relationship is a legal, business relationship and it must be treated as such.
A Landlord-Tenant Relationship is a Business Relationship
As the cliché goes, as the landlord, if you give an inch, the tenant will take a mile. This is why we tell landlords to train a tenant. Before anything else, the rent comes first, and landlords should take a tougher, businesslike stance when the rent is late. They can try to remediate the issue on their own, or they can come to our office where we can serve a tenant with a notice to cure. This is a legal notice to gives the tenant the option to resolve the issue by paying the rent or vacating the residence.
Call the Law Office of Matthew K. Tannenbaum
If you have any questions or concerns about your tenants and how you have handled landlord-tenant issues in the past, call the Law Office of Matthew Tannenbaum at 516-683-1234 for a free consultation.