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Property Management Blog

Renting to Friends & Family

Renting to Friends & Family

This is a topic that comes up quite regularly, especially with new landlords. They have a friend or family member who wants to rent, and they think it will be a great idea to rent to them, since surely a friend or family member will be a better tenant than an unknown. Right? Wrong! This is a recipe for severe disaster.

We've had numerous cases of clients deciding to do this, always against our strenuous advice to the contrary, and I can't remember a single case where it worked out well. In fact, it usually ends up with the friend or family member owing the landlord thousands of dollars and an ugly end to the relationship.

Friends and family members have an idea in their heads that you'll be more lenient with them when troubles come up. So when they miss some shifts, or they're out of work for a month, or a big medical expense comes up, or [insert personal financial problem here], they think you'll let them skate for a few months, which ends up being many months. They think you won't charge them late fees, and they think you definitely won't file for eviction. So they take advantage of you. And most of the time, they sincerely don't think that they're taking advantage of you. Hey, you're friends/family, right? Why would it be a problem?

But it is a problem. A big problem. You have a mortgage to pay, or other expenses to cover that you use that rent payment to pay. So when they think they can let it ride for a few months, you need to enforce the lease. And then the friend/family member feels betrayed and gets angry. Very angry. Perhaps they'll just stop talking to you and see you in court. Or maybe they'll take it very poorly and decide to damage your property. We've seen it all. We've seen close friends and family members become bitter enemies, all because the tenant thought he shouldn't have to pay rent for a month since he's family.

Don't get caught in this trap. You'll lose friends and family, you'll have extreme levels of frustration, and you'll probably lose a lot money in the process. Again, we manage hundreds of houses, and we have NEVER seen a case where this has worked out. Just avoid it. Period.