My good friend Raj Dharampuriya began with a single house which he was renting out and now he has over 8 properties which he rents out to a wide range of tenants. This is something which I have an interest in doing and so I spent a few months with Raj Dharampuriya to see how he managed the whole affair and what challenges there were to face. At that time Raj Dharampuriya was having all sorts of problems with the tenants in one of his apartments, a nightmare for any landlord. For me it was a good experience to watch, but for Raj I can’t imagine that he enjoyed it very much. Raj however handled the whole thing very well indeed.
The issue for Raj Dharampuriya was that his tenants were having late night parties, they were allowing trash to build up outside and they were causing a nuisance to the neighbors. In such a situation Raj knows the importance of maintaining a good relationship with his neighbors and it was actually them who contacted him to resolve the situation.
The first step which Raj undertook was to visit his tenants and give them their first strike, a warning that this kind of behavior wouldn’t be tolerated and that steps would be taken if it continued. Raj had made a very smart decision some time ago when he asked for a bond of 3 months rent to be paid, which came to around $1200.
Unfortunately just a week later the complaints were coming in again and Raj had to go out and see his tenants again. Under law a landlord cannot just show up unannounced but the issue was that if Raj gave notice that he was coming, the tenants would tidy the place up and then it would put Raj in a tough spot, having only complaints to go off. And so instead of this he called up the neighbor who was complaining and asked if he may go to see them, and talk about the issue. This meant that Raj was able to catch the tenants red handed with trash blocking up the stairwell. Raj could easily have called the police on his tenants as the trash broke city laws and the late night parties were tantamount to noise disturbance. The problem is however is that if Raj had to do this, it looks bad on him and neighbors will remember what happened. There was also a risk that the tenants would destroy the place and then leave.
Armed with photos of the trash in hand, Raj went to see his tenants for the final conversation. Doing this conversation he showed them the photos and threatened them with legal action, as well as telling them that their bond would be lost if they continued in this way. He gave them an official letter of the complaints and told them that one more event and they would be given their notice to leave. Somewhat surprisingly, after the threat of losing their bond was offered, they were quiet as mice for the next 3 months before they left.
I like the way that Raj handled this, instead of going straight for legal action, which would have been a real pain for him, he managed to get the result which he wanted, without too much upheaval.
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