shutterstock_15876727.jpgRenting can be a frightening experience. Both from the perspective of a potential renter and of the homeowner/landlord offering their property for rent. As a home owner, you take a risk entrusting your property to a new family and the renter takes a risk renting a home believing that all will be taken care of by the landlord. I have yet to have the experience being the landlord, but have experienced a few less than ideal situations as a renter.


My BIGGEST lesson learned as a renter is to document the state of the property EXTENSIVELY upon move in. Write long paragraphs in the little spaces given to you on a pre-move in checklist to comment about the condition of each room and take LOTS of digital images of EVERY nook and cranny of the house (it is REALLY hard to argue with photo evidence). The house we last rented, the landlord was upset we were moving at the same time her property manager was quitting. She was looking for any way she could to extend our stay in the house (which was not a problem for us since we were not on a tight deadline to move out) she became angrier the more accommodating I was. She finally declared I had 24 hour notice and she would be there to inspect the house (more than a month before our move out date) the NEXT DAY. So she came, and began to take notes about all of the things she believed we needed to fix. After an hour of huffing and puffing all over the house, she made a move to leave and I kindly asked for a copy of the list of items she was unhappy with. I informed her since our move out was not for another month we had a chance to “fix” any items she had issues with. She had made an ENTIRE list off normal wear and tear and told me it was all damage from our pet (who was inconveniently barking in the backyard at the time, not helping my case). I calmly took down a list of her items and then had a handy man come and document which issues were normal wear and tear and what was damage. We only needed to spackle a few holes in the walls and lost NONE of our deposit. It is much harder for a landlord to take advantage of you when you get professionals involved and maintain your cool. I wanted so badly to be as rude to the landlord as she was to me, but instead I was polite and kind (which impressed the soon to be quitting property manager-who the landlord also yelled at) and she worked with me to ensure I received my entire deposit back!


Here is a fellow member’s experience and advice to deal with a not so nice landlord:


“I have rented for most of my life. Face it. The landlords are not there to make your life good. They want to make money..bottom line. So they will put in the cheapest appliances, cheapest flooring, substandard everything. They want that check to clear every month and never hear from you again. So I have learned to do a LOT of maintenance on my own. Every state has a landlord-tenant act. Get it and read it. You will find out that some repairs MUST be done within 72 hours. Put the law on your side. Read the code. The landlords do not want you to be knowledgeable about your rights. You don't need a lawyer. Most disputes are handled by an agency and most disputes are on the RENTERS' side!” - Nuschler


I know there are HORROR stories about terrible renters as well. It makes me sad how many people do not treat other’s property with the same respect they would treat their own. This member’s situation is a complete nightmare:


“I am a landlord. We used a rental management company in Fayetteville. We were both deployed to Afghanistan where we found that our last tenants were not paying rent for the 3rd month in a row and we were never told. the only reason we found out was because the bank called us. So we get back to find out that the tenants left and also we had over 10,000 in damages to our home. Our home was off the market for almost a year for repairs that could have been done with in 2 months. So we were stuck with 2 mortgage payments and a house that was literally destroyed from the walls to the carpet to the fence… well everything.” - SFfemalemechanic

Please join the conversation and share your rental experiences (as the landlord or the renter) in this discussion thread!


My husband and I are almost military Retired, and we own and manage 3 rental homes, one currently vacant.  They are an investment for us; currently they pay our kids tuition.  The first thing we did was to buy nice homes in nice neighborhoods.  All of our homes are in gated communities, and a 5 minute drive from our house.  We are pretty picky about who we let rent our homes because we don't want anyone trashing our investment.  It helps to be close and be able to check on them.  We don't invade our tenant's space, but we do drive by regularly.  If they have something they need fixed we do most things ourselves and quickly; but we do have a pretty good cadre of repair people when needed.  We treat our tenants like guests in our homes...because they are!  I would never make them inconvenienced any more than I would be in my own home.  We prefer Military Families, because we're on the same page, and we do give them a discount on rent.   Right now I have one family with a deployed spouse, so that gives me the opportunity to assist with family support as well.  Communication is the key; make sure you can get along with your landlord before you sign the papers.  Don't be afraid to rent from and individual instead of a management company, you're cutting out the middle man and going straight to the person who has the most control and the most at stake.  Our last tenant asked us to buy a house where they were moving to so they could keep us as Landlords!    

Briana Hartzell USAA


You sound like the IDEAL landlord!  Treating tenants like guests has to make your renters feel so specaial and hopefully makes them much more careful with your property! Thank you so much for sharing your situation.