Greg Liebman: A landlord’s perspective
Let me preface this by saying that I was a renter in Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Yampa before buying a little house in Yampa 25 years ago. I had one to three dogs at various times, didn’t make much money and understood very well the struggle to find affordable housing as a pet owner in Routt County.
When I bought my house in Yampa, I thought I was moving permanently to Routt, but employers have a way of ruining the best-laid plans, so I found myself an absentee landlord ’til I could return. I made it a point to keep my rent below-market rate and hoped to attract dog-owning tenants who could and wanted to swap work for rent reduction.
And, initially, I was very lucky to find some great tenants who fit the bill. Over time, though, I was also cursed with far too many folks who took advantage of the fact that I often waived first and last or large deposits and let folks fall a bit behind in rent when personal emergencies or job loss hit them.
My various misfits included a drug addict who didn’t even make it to first month’s rent, a lawyer who was hiding from an estranged spouse and, without telling, me brought his daughter with him, a pedophile who got fired from his job but gave me a sob story before leaving and owing two months rent, a drunk who let his loser friends fill my house with bedbugs, a couple who prepaid six months rent but then abandoned my house — and nearly all of their personal belongings — and moved to Hawaii without telling me, a violent abuser and various other losers that over the years cost me at least $20,000 in lost rent and damage.
So, when I see on Facebook people complaining that landlords in the area are greedy or hear folks wondering why landlords demand significant deposits, I suggest renters consider the situation they have created for themselves. Background checks and leases don’t seem to make any difference in the quality of tenant and, as I ultimately concluded, are really a waste of time.
It finally reached the point that dealing with tenants wasn’t worth the stress and, financially, just didn’t make sense. I listed my little house for sale, taking one more rental home — that welcomed dogs — out of the housing pool.
So, if you’re a renter, struggling to find an affordable place for you and your dog or dogs, understand that your difficulties are quite likely not the fault of a “greedy” landlord, but one who has to try and protect himself or herself from the legions of a’holes who have come before you.
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