Jewish World Review June 7, 2000 /4 Sivan, 5760
The trouble with tenants
DEAR BRUCE: We have a duplex. We rent one side and live in the other. It has worked out very well. I know that you have mentioned many times that you have advised your youngsters to do this for their first home. For the last two years, your advice has worked very well.
Our last tenant, however, was a different story. I heard sob story after sob story and, like a sucker, I listened to them to the point that they became three months behind in their rent.
Then they moved out in the middle of the night, and you should see the inside of the house. It looks as if a group of vandals had struck.
Will it pay for us to track these people down? I suspect that it can be done, although I may have to spend some money. They jump from job to job, so even if we got a judgment, it would be very difficult to garnish their wages because as soon as they were garnished, they would quit. I am a very frustrated landlord. --R.R., via e-mail
DEAR R.R.: Unfortunately it goes with the territory of being a landlord. Most people are responsible, but every so often, you get a real stinker like this one. Not only did they stiff you, which is partially your fault, but they also wrecked the place.
Unhappily, going after them will only result in more frustration.
If I were you, I would get the place fixed up as quickly as possible for the income stream and be as selective as the law allows with your tenants. But by all means, if they get behind, get rid of them. Don't allow them to get two to three months into you. When that happens, you almost never recover your money.
DEAR BRUCE: I am considering buying a fast-food franchise currently in operation. I understand through the grapevine that the reason the place is for sale is because the current operator, is going crazy trying to find counter and kitchen help. It's hard for me to believe that there isn't a sufficient number of high school and college students for these jobs. If it's serious enough for him to consider selling, should I consider buying? -- T.S., via e-mail
DEAR T.S.: I am involved in an enterprise where we employ many young people, and I can tell you it's like pulling teeth out of a giraffe. While I suspect that this low unemployment rate is good for the economy, candidates for the lower-paying jobs simply are so much in demand that they can pick and choose. And these employees only work a short time, particularly if they are able to save a little money and then give up working.
While I don't know if this is a reason to go out of business, I would hope that you and your spouse (if you are married) are resilient enough to put in 15 or 18 hours a day if the business requires it. Otherwise, I wouldn't buy this operation even if it could otherwise be very profitable.
DEAR BRUCE: We are going on our first overseas vacation, but we have to choose between Paris and London. I believe that you have visited both. Which would be your choice? -- L.C. Tulsa, Oklahoma
DEAR L.C.: If you have at least seven days I would do both. I realize that you could spend far more time in either of these two cities, but given the fact that you may not get back, I would try to spend three days in one and three days in the other. With the Eurostar, which goes under the channel, it's a quick trip from one to the other.
In three days in Paris, you could easily see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees, Napoleon's tomb, Notre Dame, Versailles, at least a couple of the world's renowned restaurants and take a trip on the Seine.
In London, you could very easily see the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and take a trip on the Thames. You could also get to St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and, a favorite of mine, a museum to a man who never was. Of course I am referring to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker street in London.
There are many things to see in both of these fine cities, and I am sure that you will find that you can fly into one and out of the other. I would not visit one to the exclusion of the other. Have a great
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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