Landlording 101

By Sarah Aterrado - January 27, 2022

I swear. Jan and I never ever thought that one day we would be called landlords. 

We think it's a title only given to the asset rich, cash rich. Since we are neither, becoming a landlord has never really sunk in even though it has been seven months since we had our first and brand new house rented out.

Don't get it wrong. Unlike true landlords, we do not earn from it. The rent goes straight to the housing loan that we will be paying for at least two decades. But since it is highly unlikely for us to live there for now, the renters will be paying the mortgage for us.

Good move, 'di ba?

May 2021. This was last time we visited this place to check that everything is ready for the new occupant.
I kind of miss this house, honestly.

A few months ago, I joined a private Facebook group made for landlords all over the city who discuss everything rent related. The topics go from tips and guides to rates to management to the legalities to experiences. And it was only yesterday when I found myself browsing through posts and reading the comments about the horrors of having tenants too horrible for words.

There are tenants who demand for more than what they pay for. Tenants who steal. Tenants who trash the place. Tenants who bother neighbors or those who constantly squabble with other tenants. Then there are those who habitually pay late, those who do not pay and refuse to leave, and those who do not pay and leave without notice. And worse, there are those who do illegal activities.

English precis: Tenant rents a house, turns it into a laundry shop,
then leaves the house leaving behind a hefty amount of unpaid bills (probably 4x the rental fee).
WTF, right?

All this time, I thought that becoming a landlord is an easy way to make money where you can just watch the rent checks roll in. Now I understand why most landlords are stricter with their terms. Beyond committing to the upkeep, one must be psychologically, mentally, and emotionally ready to deal with tenants regardless of behavior.

So far, the worst experience we had was when we kept the unit on hold for someone who then changed their minds two weeks later, without even bothering to see the actual unit first. I know it's their right. But they could have at least shown courtesy by informing us that they're backing out. A lot of time was obviously wasted and we have turned down a number of potential, probably better renters then. 

We were told that given the demand, we should have done it on a first-pay, first-served basis or at least limit the reservation to only three days tops. 

We were clueless amateurs, I know.

But we let it pass knowing there are others who were seriously interested. The house was new and desirable (tiled, with grills, with space for a carport, near a mall, located in a flood-free area, and situated in a good community), so it's no surprise that it was immediately occupied. 

Our current tenants are far from a landlord's worst nightmares. Thank goodness we were not wrong about them after evaluating their decency level basing merely on how they chat and their outward charms after meeting them twice. Haha. 

Although I am confident that they will do just fine, I still have the urge to visit the house. Not that we would come unannounced and bother them. Pero yung padaan-daan lang to check if the house is still intact. Haha. 😅 But of course, we're not doing that.

Anyway, after an hour of scrolling through those landlord-tenant stories, I realized how tenant-centric our Rental Agreement is. We are quite lenient and considerate with our terms and conditions. We are also not too strict about due dates—which I hope will not be abused. Thankfully, our tenants have not been late with their payments yet. 

As new "landlords", Jan and I still have a lot to learn. And we'd probably start embracing the fact that we could experience a horrible tenant one day. But I oh-so hope we won't because it will either teach us become better at dealing with such or it could turn us into one of those tough meanie, awful, and inconsiderate landlords the tenants warn you about.

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