How Can I Guarantee My Rent?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Rent Rescue

Question: What do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Perfect Tenant all have in common?  Answer: They’re all figments of your imagination!

While we all like to think that we have the perfect tenant, the harsh reality is that they just don’t exist.  You can screen them, check their credit score, get their pay stub, talk to references and lo and behold you eventually find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  Another default.  More lost rent.  More headaches.  And then you ask yourself if having an investment property is even worth the hassle.

Jean-Marie’s Story:  

Like the rest of our tenants, Evelyn came with great references and checked off all the boxes.  She had two children and seemed happy to be in a home instead of an apartment.

Everything was good at first.  Evelyn got along very well with the elderly neighbor.  She paid the rent on time. There were no issues. Until that first phone call.

One day we received a call that Evelyn was selling drugs out of the house and was a prostitute.  We had no evidence of that and advised the caller to notify the police and deal with it that way.  

The caller didn’t. Instead, she kept calling us, over and over and over.  We repeatedly asked her to call the police if that was the case.

The rent money over time turned from a money order to sweaty $20 bills.  We started to question what was going on. 

When we went to inspect the property, we learned Evelyn’s mentally ill son was living in the basement.  The basement, by the way, isn’t habitable and was meant for storage and washing machines only.

We told Evelyn that was unacceptable, but she didn’t listen to us.  We also heard a dog when we were there and reminded her of our “no pet policy”.

We received reports of people coming and going constantly – this wasn’t a good situation.  Then we went over to do a repair in the kitchen and saw cockroaches EVERYWHERE. We immediately called in an exterminator.  It was disgusting!

I told Evelyn to get out right then and there. We served her with a 30 day notice, but still had to go to court to get the property back.  Once we did, it was a mess.

The dog “she didn’t have” had destroyed the back stairway. It smelled of urine and feces and had to be gutted.  

The kitchen was missing cabinet drawers and the doors had to be scraped for grease.  The carpets were destroyed and had to be replaced.

There were holes in the wall from someone putting their fists into them.  The screen door in the front was just gone. Our garage door no longer closed.  

Mold engulfed both bathrooms. The shower stall had to be pulled and replaced because it couldn’t be cleaned.

Worst of all, Evelyn’s son refused to leave. Turns out he had been burglarizing the neighborhood.  We had evicted her while he was in jail.

When he got out, Evelyn apparently didn’t tell him she was gone.  We went over there one day to find him in the basement (he broke the lock to get in).  We had to call the police to get him out.

Another time, I went over alone.  I went into the garage and he was there – just sitting there – with a knife.  I slowly backed away telling him I forgot something in my car. I ran as fast as I could while calling the police.

By the time the police got there, Evelyn’s son was gone.  Haven’t seen him since. We have a new tenant in there, but I’m always worried he’ll come back.

To make matters worse, Evelyn left a HEAP of trash and belongings at the curb.  I called her to tell her to get her stuff out of there, and she claimed she called the City for a pick up, so it wouldn’t be a problem.  It was.

Evelyn never made that call and we were fined $400 for an extra pick up.  We were unable to recover that cost, or the last month’s rent, or the cost (thousands of dollars!) of the multiple repairs we had to do.  

We lost approximately $4,500 in unpaid rent and vacancy while we made repairs.  All in all, Evelyn was the WORST TENANT EVER!

Wow!  Anyone care to try and top that?!

How can landlords protect their rental income when a situation like Jean-Marie’s arises?

One way to prevent your wallet from taking a hit is to buy rent default insurance.  Rent default insurance has been widely available abroad in the United Kingdom and Australia for decades though it’s never really caught on here in the United States until now.  Prior to insuring this exposure, rent default had gone largely ignored by the insurance industry.  Instead, landlords relied on a combination of security deposits and tenant screening to protect their income. Now, landlords here in the US finally have a solution to this headache.

Depending on the situation, a typical rent default insurance policy will reimburse a landlord anywhere from 3 – 6 months of lost rental income when a tenant defaults on their lease.  

Abandonment and eviction are almost always covered.  And some policies will cover a landlord’s reasonable legal expenses – and we all know how those costs can add up when trying to evict a tenant.

Surprisingly, the coverage is affordable with monthly premium around $25 per unit which can often be passed along to the tenant or taken as a tax deduction (consult your accountant or tax attorney before going down this road).

The most important benefit rent default insurance provides: PEACE OF MIND!  


Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks for welcoming me to the Active Rain community.  Looking forward to learning from everyone and helping each other grow their businesses and portfolios.

Mar 07, 2019 07:31 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Aaron,
Welcome to ActiveRain.  We are here to share our knowledge and learn from each other.  Your area of expertise is one that I've never seen a blog on before.  So, Welcome to the family... and thanks for joining.  I think we will all be enriched by your membership here. 

Mar 07, 2019 07:58 AM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks for the kind and welcoming comments, Carol.  I'm an on-again/off-again investor and this insurance alleviates a lot of headaches.  I've been burned by tenants in the past.

Looking forward to learning from everyone here in the community!



Mar 07, 2019 08:21 AM
Kate Steven
5homestyle - Adak, AK
Best Real Estate agent

Welcome to active rain. Good luck in achieving your goals on active rain

Mar 07, 2019 09:56 AM
Kate Steven
5homestyle - Adak, AK
Best Real Estate agent

Welcome to the activerain.Hope you will enjoy

Mar 08, 2019 12:18 PM
The Woodland Team of Texas
The Woodland Companies - Austin, TX
Land Specialists

Welcome to ActiveRain, I hope that your participation here helps your business to grow.
Btw, I followed your blog, and would be honored if you followed mine.
Thank You!

Mar 10, 2019 11:50 PM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks for following me, Sara (I'll reciprocate).  Hope you enjoyed your weekend.


Mar 11, 2019 07:07 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Aaron, great post, and bet many renters would want to read this!  Welcome to ActiveRain.

Mar 13, 2019 02:25 PM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks Joan!  We'll be in CO (I lived in DTC for 3 yrs - great part of the country!) by the end of next week.


Enjoy your evening,


Mar 13, 2019 03:22 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a wonderful post about tenant issues, and about a possible insurance related solution. Thanks! (And Welcome to ActiveRain!)

Mar 16, 2019 04:39 AM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks Kat!  The insurance alleviates a lot of headaches.  Enjoy your weekend.

Mar 16, 2019 04:41 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Aaron. This is a real horror story. I was a landlord for years and only had one really big proble. I sold shortly thereafter. Never heard of this insurance. TY

Mar 16, 2019 04:50 AM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Hi Sheila,

Unfortunately, there are so many landlords who have a terrinble experience and are forced to sell.  Many of them plan to use the investment property to help fund their retirement and when things go awry they end up's a shame.

This insurance is fairly new to the US market though it's widely available abroad in the UK and Australia.  In fact, it's quite common to purchase the insurance soon after closing.  Like many products/services, it just took a little time to make its way stateside...the insurance industry is pretty conservative and antiquated so things tend to move a bit slower.

Enjoy your weekend.

Mar 16, 2019 05:21 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Aaron DiCaprio wonderful info I will share this with my landlords. So glad this was Featured by Carol Williams  in SCS  and Welcome to Active Rain 

Mar 16, 2019 08:31 AM
Aaron DiCaprio
Rent Rescue - Philadelphia, PA
Rent Default Insurance Expert - Get Peace of Mind

Thanks Hannah!  Happy to answer any questions. 


Carol Williams - Many thanksto you as well! 

Mar 16, 2019 09:03 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That's a pretty scary story. It's good to know about this insurance. I will be sharing this with some landlords I know.


Mar 17, 2019 05:15 PM
Aaron DiCaprio

Thanks Jeff!  And please let me know if you have any questions.

Have a great week,


Mar 18, 2019 04:40 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Aaron - while horror stories exist, there are certainly examples that bring forth more pleasant memories/experiences/thoughts than the "one bad apple".

Mar 18, 2019 12:18 PM
Aaron DiCaprio

Absolutely!  Many landlords, myself included, enjoy being able to provide a home to a family where they can just settle in and be a family.  And for the first time, the kids can finally have a bedroom to themselves.  One of my friends specifically rents below market so she and her husband can give kids a place they can feel proud of and call "home".  Perhaps my next blog will focus on the more pleasant experiences.

By the way, this rent default insurance isn't just protection from the bad apples.  Good tenants fall on hard times - illness, out of work, etc.  It's nice to have some peace of mind when that happens.

Enjoy the rest of your day, Michael.


Mar 18, 2019 12:50 PM
Katerina Gasset
The Gasset Group & Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Provo, UT
Amplify Your Real Estate & Life Dreams!

Welcome to ActiveRain! This is a great place to learn about real estate and get support for you as an agent or broker. 


Make sure to become a Rainmaker if you are not one yet because that is how you will get a strong link back to your website. 


The public, consumers consisting of buyers and sellers of real estate will only see your posts if you have a Rainmaker account. 


I wish you luck on your online journey of marketing!

Mar 18, 2019 07:43 PM
Aaron DiCaprio

Thanks Katerina!

Mar 19, 2019 02:30 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Guaranteed Rent, something I may be interested in learning more about.  Give me a call.

Apr 13, 2019 10:00 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Welcome to Active Rain, looking forward to reading many more of your posts, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help as you get started here.
All the best of success to you.

Apr 13, 2019 10:01 PM
Aaron DiCaprio

Appreciate your support, Bob!

Best to you as well,



Apr 15, 2019 06:21 AM