Tenant of the Month


Meet Shuyu Li … his friends here know him as Terence. I stopped in while he was having a lunch of Chinese noodles, juice, and a little touch of pop culture on the side … the energy drink! LOL

Born and raised in China, Terence is attending grad school here at IUPUI in furniture design. He was given some scholarship monies to attend.

He responded to my ad on Craig’s List, which I also posted on Postlets. (When you put a property on Postlets, it automatically goes to Zillow, HotPads, Trulia and several other internet sites, all free of charge. Postlets is another excellent marketing tool I use to get the word out about my Indianapolis rental properties.)

I mentioned the proximity of my property to IUPUI in my ad, hoping to attract someone like Terence — a serious student, not a party animal! He lives in one of my duplexes, which is about 100 years old but very sturdy and in great condition, everything updated.

There was one glitch on his application. He wasn’t employed so he volunteered to show me his bank account balance as verification of funds/ability to pay. It was in Chinese. LOL! Anyway, we worked through it and he’s been fantastic. He lives simply … Terence ordered all of his household furnishings on the internet (a bed, a shelving unit, his card table where he’s sitting to eat Chinese noodles in this photo, etc.) and had them delivered. He purchased a bike to commute to school, which is about 1-2 miles from the house.

On school breaks, he travels to California or Hawaii, where he has some relatives. He’s hoping to have his parents come from China to visit sometime this summer. I hope to stop by and meet them while they’re here, although I don’t know if they speak English at all …

Terence has been an excellent tenant — here’s to diversity! ¬†ūüôā


Meet Cyndi . . .

As I’ve said many times, I don’t allow pets in my rental properties. Some of my tenants can barely take care of themselves, let alone a pet. People sneak them in sometimes, much to my dismay, and I give the ultimatum . . . the pet leaves immediately, or the tenant and the pet leave together.

But I’m a reasonable landlord. Cyndi came to look at my two-bedroom house, below. It was a nice little place, with a two-car garage and a fenced yard. Through talking to her I learned she had a dog, Belle, who’d been with her more than four years. Hmmm . . .

Normally, I would’ve kindly denied tenancy to the dog, even if she vowed to keep her outside. But I just had a good gut feeling about Cyndi and I acquiesced, after she reassured me that Belle was totally house trained and didn’t chew furniture or doors, etc. I’ve not regretted that decision. Sometimes it’s okay to bend the rules, you know?
Here’s a recent picture of Cyndi and Belle:

Cyndi has lived there happily for the past year and a half, but has recently been battling breast cancer. She had surgery a few months ago and is going through treatments now. Although these are making her weak, she’s handling her disease with strength and courage, with her beloved dog Belle at her side. I’m blessed to have her as a tenant and wish I had more like her . . . so Cyndi, here’s to you!

Meet LouLou . . .

This is LouLou, actually, Louise.¬† I bought the duplex she and her husband Warren lived in, back in 2000.¬† It was in less than stellar condition but I got it for a song ($19,000) and knew it had potential.¬† The rents were ridiculously low but I was going to raise them quickly.¬† Well, it didn’t work out so well . . .

As I got to know them, I learned they’d been in that home for 23 years,¬†were on a fixed income and¬†Warren was dying of cancer.¬† They were dear, sweet people, and I just couldn’t do it.¬† Just couldn’t.¬† I kept the home for a couple years, drawing ever closer to LouLou as she and the¬†hospice people¬†cared for Warren until he passed away.¬† I was unable to attend the funeral, much to her dismay.¬† Her comment:¬† “George’s people don’t like white people, but I think you woulda done okay.¬† I woulda had you in the family row…”¬† (Yikes!)

I sold the home and — surprisingly — made a profit.¬† The next owner did a poor job of managing it and paying the mortgage, and went into foreclosure.¬† I continued to visit throughout this time, and was relieved when¬†LouLou found a senior living facility (a renovated old school).¬†¬† She’s lived there for the past several years and I’ve continued to visit.

She’s a fun, feisty old girl — loves B.B King and the blues, and when I get off the elevator, I often hear the music cranked up loud, coming from her apartment.¬† She gets many visitors: her son and daughter and various grandkids, nieces and nephews, great grandkids, etc.¬† They drift in and out on a daily basis.

Sadly, she was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years back and has declined.¬† Initially, she told me, “I think it’s down there¬†in my utica (uterus).”¬† One operation was all her body could handle, and now her 5’6″ frame is down to about 80 lbs.¬† She had a bad episode a month ago and has been in a rehab facility since.

Her daughter calls me with updates and¬†I visit her often, but LouLou’s 81 years may be drawing to a close.¬† My job as a landlord has enabled me to meet some extraordinary people, and LouLou is one of those.¬† I’m proud and honored to have known her all these years, and will hope for the best in the coming weeks.

May God bless her . . .

Meet Calvin . . .

This is Calvin.¬† He’s orignially from Gary, IN, 50 years old and on disability.¬† Calvin’s been with me for almost five years now, which makes him one of my longest-term tenants.

When he came to apply, I took his application and asked him some history.¬† He’d been on disability since the age of 40.¬† “My body was all swole up.¬† My arms and legs looked like a elephant.¬† My heart was all full o’ water.”¬† He was suffering congestive heart failure at that young age, and was forced¬†to quit work as a roofer/painter.

He received $1000/month and the rent was $530, all utilities paid.¬† He assured me he lived simply and could afford it, and needed to get out of where he was.¬† The neighborhood was bad.¬† I checked with his landlord to make sure he was current, and took a drive by the place.¬† “Bad” didn’t come close.¬† It was downright scary.¬† (And it takes a lot for me to say that.)

Although I questioned his financial ability to handle it long term, I approved Calvin for the apartment.¬† There was¬†just something about him . . . a gentle, sweet man¬†. . . so I went with my gut.¬† Now, my gut doesn’t always steer me in the right direction, I must admit.¬† But Calvin keeps his place clean and has never been late with his rent.¬† His health is an issue but he manages it well.

I asked him permission to write this blog piece about him.¬† He didn’t know what a blog was but agreed when I explained I was going to start highlighting some of my wonderful tenants every month, and wanted to start with him.¬† I think I actually saw him blush behind that dark skin!¬† He was delighted.

So Calvin, here’s to you . . . may I be fortunate to find many more like you down the road!¬†¬†¬† ūüôā