No Heat Call (Uh-oh)

I own several rentals in Indianapolis, and I’ve self-managed them for over 24 years. It’s been quite a ride — very eye opening — but I’ve enjoyed it tremendously.

At the end of every month, I write a news letter to all of my tenants, and I deliver them to each home, along with pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes for their next month of rent. The reasons I do this?

  • Hand delivering these allows me to check out the condition of the outside of the property. If I see messes outside, I talk to the tenant or add a handwritten note to the tenant letter. (And I make a mental note to do an interior walk-through very soon.)
  • I’m able to give them reminders re: some of their lease commitments, like keeping noise (music, voices, TV, children) to a low level so as not to disturb neighbors.
  • I’m eliminating the “no stamp” and “no envelope” excuses for not sending their payment on time.
  • And during cold weather, I can give everyone valuable tips to help them stay warm, keep their pipes from freezing, etc.

But sadly, things don’t always go as planned …

I got a “no heat” call from a duplex tenant, in the dead of the cold, Indianapolis winter. I called my HVAC guy and had him go check it out. The furnace was older, and I hoped it wouldn’t need replacement. Now, there’s one furnace in that duplex, and a thermostat in one of the units that controls the entire house. My repair man walked into the unit and yes, it was really cold in there. The furnace access was in the other side, so he went to check it out.

Amazingly, it was totally warm in there! Whaaatt? There sat the tenant, toasty warm. But when Jim walked into the kitchen, he discovered that the stove top elements AND the oven were turned on “high.” And of course, since it was so hot in there, the thermostat in the dining area wouldn’t kick on.  He and I both had a serious talk with the tenant. Not only is that practice dangerous, the furnace wasn’t kicking on at all. There was nothing wrong with the furnace, only something wrong with the actions of my tenant!

So NOW, when winter approaches, I include the “Never, ever use your stove or oven for heat!” advice in my tenant letter! 🙄

Onward and upward, right?

 

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