Warning : 3 Early Signs of Landlord Burnout

December 30th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Rental Property

Here’s three signs of landlord burnout and how to avoid falling into the trap of getting tired, giving up and selling your properties.

1 – You no longer want to fix your property because your next lousy tenants are just going to break it anyways.

2 – You constantly worry about your property and have to do the “unscheduled drive by” to check on your property.

3 – You overcompensate for bad past experiences by adding clause after clause to your leases, applications and inspection reports, none of which are enforceable under law in your province.

Some of the more important character traits necessary to longevity in this business are acceptance, positivity and self evaluation.

Acceptance

Other people are not going to live like you. Does it matter as long as the rent gets paid?

You’re going to make mistakes and you’ll have to accept that too. If you’re a landlord long enough you will rent to bad tenants. It will cost you and you’ll have to accept it an move on or sell out.

Positivity

Just like a bad marriage break up a bad landlord tenant relationship can leave you traumatized, resentful and angry. You have to believe that there are great tenants out there (and there are). Otherwise you’ll end up with a rebound tenant  – not good.

Self Evaluation

Just like any business you need to constantly try to improve, to bring more value to the market and improve your processes. Does this mean creating more work for yourself and reams of additional paperwork? No ! Today’s landlords are streamlining, using what works and discarding the rest.  This is the ability to learn from your mistakes without killing yourself with guilt and self blame.

I rented to a very bad tenant in June of 2009, it took 9 months to kick her ass out. I thoroughly looked through every single bit of her application once it happened and even months later. Her application and credit were 100% perfect. What does it mean? I am human and so are you. Give yourself a break… I have to. The only surefire way to avoid all mistakes is to never do, learn or strive.

If you find that you are showing signs of burnout, work on some healing around problems you’ve had.

Remember when you first bought your property?

How does owning it compare to what you first thought?

How do you feel about your current tenant?

How is the reality of owning income property different than your expectations?

What have you learned?

I want to know your thoughts, please comment below, right after you retweet this post.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Joshua Dorkin

    I agree that number 1 is a sign of burnout, but I’m trying to figure out how an unscheduled drive-by would be an indicator of it?

    I think you missed a key indicator, and that’s keeping bad tenants (the kind that aren’t paying you) because you’re just to worn out to give them the boot or because you simply don’t want to deal with looking for another disappointment.

    It takes a certain kind of personality to be able to handle being a landlord and not everyone is cut out for it. For those people, there are many other great ways to make money out there.

    • Rachelle

      Thanks for coming by Josh, I’m not saying the doing the odd unscheduled drive to see what’s going on is a sign of burn-out but some landlords they are driving by their property on a weekly or even a daily basis. I do recommend that people drive by especially in the beginning of the tenancy but when you’re driving by all the time even thought there is no basis for it, that’s a problem.

      For me it’s a sign of unresolved anxiety. I had one lady who drove by her property every single day, she was going pretty crazy. She had been a landlord for less than a year. She couldn’t let go… and she sold after 3 years. She had no real tenant issues during that time, no one wrecked the place and everyone paid rent.

  • Joshua Dorkin

    Ok – I definitely can see the difference. An occasional drive-by is no big deal, but if you can’t let it go, there’s something else happening. I wouldn’t actually say that it is a sign of burnout, but more a sign of a newer landlord that is likely too emotionally attached.

    • Rachelle

      You’d think so, but you’ll find all kinds of landlords doing this and their property keeps them up at night. They either stop at some point or they eventually sell.

      A friend of mine rented a house down the street and her landlord was doing this. Thing is, they were great tenants and I have them in one of the properties I currently manage. They moved out last December and the house has been up for rent for a full year. He can’t find the “perfect” tenant. These landlords don’t stay in the business for long and they don’t get good tenants either. No one wants to rent a place then find their landlord spying on them for no good reason.

      Remember these are early signs of burnout… there are more advanced signs such as the one you mentioned. Here in Ontario it’s hard to evict tenants for anything but non payment of rent issues but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

  • Judy

    I have one investment property now with great tenants and only 14 months experience being a landlord.I would like to buy another property but my husband is convinced next time we will have tenant from hell so dragging his feet?Any advise for me?

    • Rachelle

      What is your business plan for dealing with a tenant from hell?

      What is your prevention plan to keep such a person from your property?

      Once you have these plans in place… if he still needs convincing then you should use your feminine wiles on him.

  • Judy

    I plan to follow the steps I did first time ,buy the right home and find the right tenants after doing my homework on both.I spent over a year on mls.ca a couple hours a day until we found our place,We put the offer in the day we seen it and Found tenants on kijiji after a week or so of reviewing applications.

  • Rachelle

    I’m talking about a plan for when stuff goes wrong.

    If you want to allay your husband’s fears and he’s afraid of a tenant from hell, you have to develop a plan for dealing with those scenarios

    Every single landlord has these stories for a reason, it will happen if you are in this business long enough.

    It is essential that your plan include a sizable contingency fund for emergencies and some knowledge of the initial Landlord & Tenant Board forms.