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LANDLORD OF THE MONTH, Thomas S., Florida
LANDLORD OF THE MONTH
Thomas S.

Landlord Since 1997
State: Florida
Property Type: Single Family Houses

I went to a number of seminars to learn how to buy real estate. I bought a few home study courses. I was really gung ho until I kept getting turned down. Then I read a book called "The Challenge" by Robert Allen. It taught me that it is normal to get turned down and to keep trying and not to give up. It's that simple.

I finally got a seller to accept one of my crazy offers. He was selling a waterfront house in Cape Coral, Florida and said he would guarantee me a positive cash flow if I took over his mortgage for $1,000. That was all I needed to get going. Now I have 7 houses and 2 condos.

Philosophy of the Working Landlord

I know people who lost everything because of deadbeats. I decided that I was going to gather all the information I can about being a good property manager. I read a lot of landlord books only to find that I was more knowledgeable in the area of real tenant situations than many of the writers of those books. And that's not saying much. You can imagine how excited I was to find The LPA! I read the LPA site everyday. I picked up so many good ideas. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

How I Do It

Because I live alone with no family to support, it was easier for me than most people to quit my job to become a full time landlord. I downloaded all the LPAs forms and adapted them to my rentals. After checking out property management software, I decided that I like keeping records the old fashioned way. With a spreadsheet and a ledger that is. My tenants donít know I am the sole owner. I took the advice of fellow LPA member Lou Cinq and formed a corporation to limit liability and to protect my assets by keeping them out of my name. It's easier to deal with the tenants that way. I require the tenants to maintain service contracts on the appliances and air conditioning. That cuts down on most of the repairs.

The Lease...

I adapted the LPA Lease to my rental units. I've checked out quite a few leases, but this one has the most nitty gritty good stuff I could find.

  • I love the late fee clauses. It makes a difference.
  • The discount clause actually works! I give a $25. early payment discount if they pay 5 days before the end of the month. (Donít tell my tenants that I inflated the rent $25. for that reason.)
  • My brother in law is an attorney who knows L&T law. Iím extremely lucky my sister married him.

    Tips on the Landlord / Tenant Relationship


  • Respect people but don't feel sorry for them when things get tough. This is your property not theirs. You canít get personally involved with their problems. That is a recipe for disaster. Also, nip problems in the bud before they become serious and expensive. Donít be afraid to confront a tenant problem.

    Managing The Rentals...

    Thanks to LPA forms, managing is fairly easy. I gave the payment book to each tenant and they take the bills seriously and pay the rent like clockwork. (I know I'm lucky) I always make sure the rentals are given to the tenant in pristine condition and I insist that they keep it that way.

    Legal Tips and Words of Wisdom:

    I know I wouldn't be as lucky if I didn't have a good forms system, a great brother in law who happens to be a lawyer, and if I didn't get so into screening the tenant carefully. Like the LPA site says: 95% of tenant problems can be eliminated in the screening process. It is so true!


    The LPA would like to thank Tom for his 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.




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