"I can't pay my rent right now." If you are a landlord, this is about the worst sentence you can hear coming from the other end of the phone. Either that or "there's something leaking from someplace and I don't know where it's coming from." But, if you get the call that your tenant suddenly cannot pay the rent, how do you react? This is a recent call from a fabulous tenant who in the past has paid rent: On Time. Religiously. Every Single Month. For Years. From a business standpoint, the answer is simple. You have to approach the situation purely as a professional and deal with it accordingly. You have to maintain consistency and follow the same procedures for everyone. It's nothing personal -- it's just the pitfalls and consequences of doing business. What many tenants don't realize is that as a landlord, you still have to make mortgage payments on the property, pay your property taxes, utilities, scavenger, and maintenance costs -- and the list goes on. Nevertheless, there is always the other side.
From a personal standpoint, this is a challenging dilemma. Here you have a renter who is understandably upset and frustrated. Up until now, he has been a wonderful and responsible tenant. But, times are tough. He's having trouble making ends meet. He's lost his job or his clients aren't paying him so therefore, he can't pay you. The trials and tribulations described during the conversation pull at your heartstrings because deep down inside, you're basically just a big, old softy. Personally, I truly feel badly when people are struggling. Especially good, decent people who have hit some difficult moments in their lives. Yet, all you can do is listen with a sympathetic ear while trying not to lose your composure.
I have to maintain some perspective. Trust me -- in this situation, everyone is unhappy and there are no winners. It's not easy. I know, I know ... no one said life would be easy.