My fiance and I bought our house in late 2012, and moved in almost immediately. We got an amazing deal on it, because of our willingness and ability to take possession right away. There was another offer on the house, but the offer was contingent on the sale of their home, so despite our offer being lower, ours was accepted.
The house was and is perfect for our needs. We wanted to purchase a home that would be large enough for us to stay and grow in for the better part of the next decade. On our “must have” list was either a suite, or the potential for one. We wanted to be able to rent out the basement for the next few years until we needed the whole house.
Our house had the perfect setup, and when we moved in, we were lucky enough to be able to rent out our suite almost right away. We rent to my brother, but prior to our current arrangement, we were looking for a tenant for the time period between when the suite was ready, and when my brother was going to move in. It became apparent that there are some unique challenges of being a young landlord.
Tenants are More Relaxed – In a Bad Way
We are very lucky that we rent to a family member. We have some friends who bought their house when they were a little younger than us, and have always struggled with tenants. Because our friends are so young, their tenants have felt that they can be more relaxed and casual about their suite.
As a result, things were broken and damaged more often; the tenants seemed to think that because the landlords were young, they didn’t care about their belongings and their investment.
Our friends complained about being up late almost every night because their tenants were having parties or blasting their music. Younger landlords attract younger, and less responsible tenants, which caused our friends a lot of grief.
It’s Hard to Find Responsible Tenants
We’re in our mid 20s, and as a result, there’s a general assumption that we party all the time. Nobody wants to live in a house where the people upstairs are constantly causing them to lose sleep.
While we do like to go out once in awhile, we don’t party in our home, and are more likely to be home before midnight. Despite this fact, when we were looking for interim tenants, the ones that were interested and eager to move in were the ones that we didn’t want in our suite.
It’s one thing to say that you’re quiet and therefore you want a quiet tenant, but a whole other thing when potential tenants meet landlords that are in their mid twenties.
Being Mistaken for the Tenant
This isn’t so much a struggle, but it certainly provides some comic relief. I’m frequently (if not constantly) mistaken for either the tenant, or the daughter of the landlords. I’m young looking by nature, so I suppose that doesn’t help. The other day, the city came to the door to let us know about some roadwork that would be going on just in front of our house. They asked for the home owner, and when I identified myself as one of the owners, the man at the door gave me a look of pure surprise.
We one time had a potential tenant come to see the suite and she was so confused when she met us at the front door. She clearly didn’t know whether or not to assume that we were the right people to talk to, or ask for the landlords.
It’s not unheard of for people our age to own homes, but it is unusual for couples in their mid twenties to be landlords, and we get a lot of surprised looks when we identify ourselves as such.
We are very lucky that we’re in the situation that we are in. We charge my brother a little less for rent than we would for somebody else, but that’s a small price to pay for a peaceful, drama-free living situation.