Monday, February 04, 2008

Being A Landlord Is Work

One thing lost in those exciting housing market days when we were all suppose to buy multiple investment properties is that being a landlord is a big responsibility and requires a nontrivial amount of work.

That's what happened to homeowners Carmen Nuñez and her husband, Raymond Ordoñez. Almost four years ago, they bought a nice home in a nice neighborhood near 35th and Northern avenues in Phoenix. They kept the house as an investment property when they later moved to Laveen and in August rented it to a young, unmarried couple.

The tenants stopped paying the $1,200 rent in December, instead dodging Nuñez's phone calls and giving lots of excuses.

"I'm spending money I don't have to pay the mortgage on that house, my house, to the courts for the eviction," said Nuñez, a real-estate agent. "It's affected me really badly, and it's just plain ridiculous."

On Wednesday, a team of constables descended on the home to evict the tenants, who weren't home. The house was trashed: Half-eaten hamburgers and moldy bowls filled with cereal and milk sat on a table. Christmas decorations, dirty clothes and toys were scattered through the living room. The carpets were stained, the place smelled like rotten food and dirty diapers.

It isn't clear how much damage was really done here, but tenants can do a lot of damage if they're so inclined.

Not everyone wants to or should run a business, and even having a property or two "on the side" means you're doing just that.