Last month my tenants caught up on the rent. They had been struggling all summer and finally managed to pay it all plus late fees. I was happy. Then this month I didn't hear anything from them. Their rent is due in the middle of the month so I wasn't too worried...until this week. The end of the month is right around the corner and I hadn't heard anything. I called and left a message.
Today I got a call from one of them. She said that her husband had walked out and she and the children went back to live with her mother temporarily. She said they would be cleaning the house on Friday and everything would be out by Saturday. She was trying to keep it together but she was very upset. She said she was sorry to leave the house because she liked it a lot and she thanked me for being such an understanding landlord. I asked her if she was planning to stay in the town where her mother lived and she said no, she was looking for an apartment that she could afford in Tucson. I asked if she still had her nursing job and she said yes. So, I asked her what price range she was looking for and she said $700 was the most she could afford.
Now, my house's rent is $900 and that is a little on the high side since all of the rental houses have sprouted up because of the slow housing market. My mortgage is $800 including insurance and tax. I knew I didn't want a vacant house, I didn't want to find new renters at the moment and I didn't want to move in since it would need new carpet and tile first which would cost at least $3,000. So I offered to let her rent the house for $700 for the next 2 months. I said I would draw up a new rental agreement and that we would re-evaluate things in January. She was very happy that she wouldn't have to move her stuff out this weekend and that her kids could stay in their schools, at least for a little while longer.
This doesn't mess up my mortgage plan too much. $800 of the rent was supposed to go to the mortgage and $100 went to the maintenance fund. I guess the maintenance fund is going to go without for a couple of months. I'll have to chip in $100 but actually I was thinking about giving them a break on the rent for December as a Christmas present so it will all even out.