Mike's Blog


It still doesn't pay to be nice...

So I'm still a sucker. Way back when...when I first became a landlord I thought it would be easy to deal with tenants. But I got a quick awakening on my second property- when my new tenant paid her security deposit and first months rent...and never paid again. I kept getting excuses...I lost my job...blah blah blah. But...being the nice guy that I was- I gave her the benefit of the doubt and tried to work with her. Well that ended 5 months later after an eviction and 6 months of no rent.

I swore at that point- no more Mr. Nice Guy. I would never allow myself to again be taken for a fool. Someone had taken my "niceness" for granted and it cost me 6 months rent.

So guess where I'm coming back from today- yep- court. I just finished doing two evictions...eviction that should have been done 3 months ago. But once again- I tried to be nice and give someone a hand when they were down. I'm here to tell you- it doesn't work.

But what makes it worse- is that I've been doing this for 10 years now. I should know better...I give speeches on landlording and I tell people to issue the pay or quit on the 6th day that rent is not paid- and follow up with a Unlawful Detainer Warrant 5 days later. I didnt follow my own advice.

So once again- landlords...especially newbie landlords. Do as I say and not as I do...issue the pay or quit as soon as your grace period ends and follow-up immediately with the Unlawful Detainer Warrant. Usually that step is enough to get paid- but dont worry that it makes you look mean. Just do it- your financial independence depends on it.

Mike Hogan

Associate Broker

RE/MAX Commonwealth





Comment balloon 19 commentsMike Hogan • October 22 2008 12:07PM




You can still be nice without being a doormat. Draw your line in the sand and stick to it. You've learned your lesson the hard way. More power to you. I wouldn't want to have rental property for that reason.

Posted by Rob & Jeannie Steward - Realtors®, We Work TWICE As Hard For You! - Ashton Group (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Shame on you for being so nice.  I hope you have finally learned your lesson.  No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Posted by Angelia Garcia (Pure Realtors) about 10 years ago

Sorry you've had to go through this! 

I prefer to have a property manager just for that reason.  They don't have the option to be nice.....they just have to follow the guidelines set up! 

Posted by Pam Pugmire, Meridian Idaho Real Estate (Silvercreek Realty Group) about 10 years ago

I actually still am nice- thats one reason Im successful at Landlording- I really do understand people have problems, things legitimate issues come up...and I really try to work with people. I've had great results...but when I run into issues like this it kills me.  I hate to be taken advantage of...

Posted by Mike Hogan, MBA (The Hogan Group at Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

I know how you feel. I am always trying to be nice and help. Where does it get me?? Nowhere fast. I can tell you that no matter what happens and no matter how bad people get I can not and will not change who I am . No I am not a sucker, I just like to sleep peacefully at night. I know when I put my head down at night I did all I could to help my fellow human beings each day. For those who scam me, I actually pray for them. Now don't think I am a total sucker, as I get older I am better able to read people and put myself at risk less.I guess what I am saying is you can't change who you are because of a few bad apples. I know I am a better person for trusting and helping others.

Happy Wednesday!!


Posted by Lori Isaacson (Credit Restoration Consultants) about 10 years ago

It's sometimes difficult to decide how to proceed in such situations.  It's not just a matter of being nice, you're trying to help someone in trouble.  Unfortunately a lot of "deadbeats" have learned how to work the system and quickly learn how to recognize those such as yourself.  I'd just give tenants the rules in writing and stress that you will stick to them.  Then, it's their choice.  Better luck next time.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 10 years ago

I could never be a landlord- regardless of potential profit!  I have to believe that good things will "come around" to people who do nice things for others.  You are first in this line due to being nice to your tenants.

Posted by Rick Tourgee, Provincetown and Cape Cod (Robert Paul Properties, Inc.) about 10 years ago

I agree I have been there and I know all the stories. My best is they can't pay and after the eviction I find the basement floor covered with lottery tickets I am guessing they could have paid me if they had not bought the tickets.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) about 10 years ago

I agree with Pam up there, I would use a Property Manager.  It is more a time issue.  This is unfortunate, and especially with the economy as it is.  Sometimes you can understand that people are having a tough time, but you have got to watch out for yourself as well.

Posted by Matthew Ricker (Keller Williams) about 10 years ago

Hey, Mike. I can relate with you on this one. I have been too nice at times as well and it gets you no where with tenants. Thanks for sharing and I wish you all the best, Jim

Posted by Jim & Maria Hart, Charleston, SC Real Estate (Brand Name Real Estate) about 10 years ago

You know those sayings like "Nice guys finish last" or "Only the good die young"?  I think that you can be extremely successful in the sales and service business if you are fair, honest and don't compromise your own personal ethics and morals. And you don't bend the rules in either direction (good or bad).

Those sayings may ring true some of the time, but they were probably invented by the bad guy competition.

Bad guys get theirs in the end.

Posted by Rob & Jeannie Steward - Realtors®, We Work TWICE As Hard For You! - Ashton Group (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Mike, so true.  Sometimes it's hard to take your own advice.  I let my property manager handle everything, but sometimes they still find a way to take advantage.  I just paid a $200 water bill the former tenants didn't pay.

Posted by Heather Goodwin, GoodWin Team Realty (Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission) about 10 years ago

We have quite a number of Owners who have us manage for them because they say they are "too soft-hearted". I probably would be too, if it were MY house, but it's easier to be tougher when I'm the manager, not the owner.

Posted by Leslie Prest, Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson, (Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ) about 10 years ago

I've tried to work with people and have been burned so many times.  That letter goes out on sixth no matter what.  Its like you said.  I can't afford to be nice.

Posted by Justin Ukaoma, Kansas City Real Estate Investments (Vizion KC) about 10 years ago

I think there has to be a balance, but we always say, your mother agreed to carry you for 9 months, but we will only carry you for one (with a good story).  Starting an eviction after 2 weeks late means they will not get kicked out for another 30 days.  So, we are pretty nice, but not saps.

Posted by Robert Machado, CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management (HomePointe Property Management, CRMC) about 10 years ago

Property Managers need to know their state's/locality's procedures and timeline for an eviction.  I'll follow the timeline and negotiate all the way up to the court house steps if needs be.  I'll use stipulated judgements - they don't pay, sheriff removes them on my request - loads of ways to keep residents in place IF they keep their agreements and make payments as agreed.

I'm about to take my first co-signor agreement in 5+ years for a woman with good job, 3 small children and a mother who owns her own home...My property owners just want the unit rented * QUICK!!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 10 years ago


Ahh...lessons learned.

We are all willing to help those in need but there is a fine line of what we are contracted to do and what we can allow to happen.


Posted by Sheila Moran, SanAntonioSheila.com, RE/MAX Access, 210-32 (RE/MAX Access (Garden Ridge, San Antonio, New Braunfels)) about 10 years ago

I think that a happy medium is in there somewhere, as a landlord myself. You do not want to be Nasty but it is pretty easy to get screwed over too.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Mike - collections, tenant relations, and leasing are the three top reasons people search our our property management firm.  Even after meeting with an investor regarding our management, and they don't go with us - it's not long before they are back with a bad situation they need some help with sorting out.

Successfully managing residential real estate investments is a very extensive and personal job.  Dealing with people and keeping them full is just as important as your knowledge with investment financing, acquasitions, and monitoring investment returns.

Posted by David Larson (Lancer Group Properties) about 10 years ago