LANDLORD OF THE MONTH
Mary Ellen Murphy.
Landlord Since 1998
Property Type: Residential Homes
I purchased my first investment home in the fall of 1998. I did it because an old woman asked me if I wanted to buy a house for a great price. Believe it or not, this was in the checkout line at the Publx supermarket. I let her go ahead of me because she only had a few items.
She was a lonely woman who's children didn't bother with her. She saw I was a single mom and took a liking to me.
Philosophy of the Working Landlord
So far I have only had one bad experience with a tenant. My first tenant really didn't respect me or the lease. Unfortunately, I allowed an inexperienced real estate agent handle the rental for me. I knew so little and she seemed to know so much! Boy was I wrong.
Since then, I have been much more careful- and educated. This web site has been a big help as far as educating me as a landlady. I surf the web, but always wind up at the LPA. I guess my philosphy is the quote from your site: "It is better to have NO tenant than it is to have a bad tenant."
How I Do It
Because I am a single parent with a 7 year old daughter, it can sometimes be a challenge managing the property. At first it was expensive and exhausting fixing up the first rental house. I learned to put more responsibility on the tenant to help make each unit self supporting. (I have two rentals now) I also rely on an agent with a property management firm now for finding new tenants. I like the idea that she uses LPA forms too AND is also a landlord herself.
The first lease I used was ridiculously generic compared to THE LPA lease!
I am so happy with this lease because I now have a "lease signing routine". My agent Lorrie was very good at presenting it to the tenant. I've learned to emphasize the parts of the lease that are important to me.
I warn the tenant about the late charge and how I need to enforce it.
I explain how I will allow my management company or attorney to handle the enforcement of the lease if it is broken.
I tell the tenant that I want him or her to be happy in my house and that as long as they treat me and my property well, I will treat them well too.
Tips on the Landlord / Tenant Relationship
I try to keep it business. I try not to talk about personal things. I don't want the tenants to know I am single.
I provided them with telephone numbers relating to the property such as utilities, etc. They really seem to like that I went through the trouble of providing that. (I just printed it from your "Free Forms" page.)
I would suggest maling sure the tenants have renters insurance like the lease requires.
Managing The Rentals...
So far, I have been lucky with good houses without any real problems. I was thinking of getting a blanket service contract on all my appliances.
Legal Tips and Words of Wisdom:
I feel confident as a landlord knowing I have this website to rely on. You guys have been great. I don't know if your visitors read the description pages of the Essential forms, but I enjoyed reading them and have taken notes that have helped me. The Lease, Application and Security Settlement pages were especially helpful. I'd also like to recommend the book "Landlording" by Leigh Robinson. After my first tenant experience I have learned that the cost of knowledge is nothing compared to the stress and expense of having a bad tenant!
It was a suprise to be chosen for this award! I'm going to hang it on my office wall!
The LPA would like to thank Mary Ellen for her valuable input and sharing of knowledge with us. Landlords everywhere have the opportunity to benefit from the lessons and knowledge brought to us by our Landlords of the Month.