Seven: The sin of gluttony brings flashbacks to how tenants sometimes take care of their property

by 4, October 2012 13:16

When I watched the movie "Seven", there were many graphic and difficult scenes to watch.  Seven was a thrilling movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Kevin Spacey.  In the movie, a unnamed killer (who in the end is simply identified as John Doe) arranges several gruesome murders to replicate the seven deadly sins.  If you watched the movie, you probably cringed at how graphic and disgusting some of the scenes were. However, over the years as a property management company in the Houston and Dallas markets, we have found homes that would have seemed to be scenes straight out of the movie. I never understood why tenants would request a home be immaculate, but then upon a inspection, we discover that they take very little care of a home after they are given the keys.  Ashoka Lion will share one tenant story (name will not be revealed) to illustrate the kinds of flashbacks to Seven that we get as a property management company on a periodic basis.

My tenant story involved a lady who on paper seemed to be a solid prospect. Solid work history, no eviction or broken leases on record, made pretty good money , and did not register any red flags criminally. However, after this tenant moved in, we had a plumbing request. She had garbage disposal problem. We sent repair guys to the home, and they were thoroughly disgusted. In the home, they found dishes were piled high with uneaten foods left around the room and trash everywhere. The repair guys are instructed to inform our property managers of these kinds of issues, so we can schedule follow up inspections or send warning letters to tenant.  The guys continued to resolve the issue, and in the garbage disposal; the repair guys found pork bones and silverware in the garbage disposal. We obviously warned the tenant regarding this matter, but like a horror movie, this was just the begining. She later complained that the toilets were blocked up, so our property managers had to send repair guys out again. She had called our property managers to tell us that the toilet was blocked at 1 pm on a weekend, and we got a guy there around 6 pm. To our horror, her toilet was blocked up, but instead of leaving it alone; her family decided to continue using the toilet and caused it to over flow (no further details needed).

Truthfully, dealing with a tenant like this will make property management firms and their landlords think of the sin of wrath (not discussing further to avoid revealing too much about the movie).



CUJO: Pets are a big deal for landlords

by 1, October 2012 23:55

Cujo is the story of a family's dog (a mastiff), who becomes dangerous after becoming rabid (or some disease).  The dog attacks a family coming to visit another family, and they cannot escape. It maybe unlikely tenant's will ever have a dog turn into a crazed animal, but unfortunately; this story can happen. Every year, people in Houston, Dallas, and around the United State come across sad, tragic stories of animals attacking people.

There are many owners and landlords who are not comfortable with pets for the risk of damage to the home, but another factor to consider is a pet bites can be held potentially liable to the landlord. As a default, our property management firm will usually accept pets on a case by case basis. We request applicants turn in a picture of the animal, fill out the pet addendum which details size, age, breed, and has a few questions that the applicant should answer about animal ever biting someone, etc. We also request pet owners who apply to turn in any proof of vet shots, registrations, and/or training to help our landlords for our properties in Houston and Dallas get a comfort that the animal is being cared for by responsible pet owners.  If the owner accepts pets, then we usually request a refundable pet deposit and adjust the rent to compensate for the additional risk that a pet. As a general rule of thumb, we also request carpets be professionally cleaned and tenant's are required to carry renter's insurance with appropriate liabillity (300k).


Renting To Tenant with Pets Can Be Tricky!

by 12, March 2011 11:43

Landlords often ask what our pet policy for our property management firm is, and we explain that we have developed our policy to be flexible to allow pet owners to live at properties that we manage. However, we also acknowledge that risks exist when renting to tennat with pets. Many communities are considering breed ban laws, and in fact some states have passed some very strict policies in regards to pet laws (See Maine). In fact on our Facebook page (, our property management team found a article discussing the new law in Maine that now makes landlords at fault in animal attacks regardless of knowledge (this is referred to as strict liability).  While Texas laws regarding landlord negligence for pets at a rental property is not that severe, there is negligence based liability for landlords who rent to pets. What this means is that if the landlord knowingly put a dangerous animal at the property, then they can be found liable if the pet attacks.

What this means is that landlords must weigh the benefits of increasing their potential pool of tenants versus the increased liability. I know some  property management companies do not rent to owners of certain pets, but as our CEO and several members of our property management teams own  pets including a Doberman; we did not want to take that stance with our property management firm. Therefore, we do rent to tenants who have pets, but Ashoka Lion has our own default procedure for pets including:

  1. Enrollment in Pet Damages Program
  2. Renters Insurance is Mandatory with $300,000 of coverage. The policy or insurance agent must acknowledge that the pet liability is included per the policy.
  3. Renters Insurance Policy must name the owner and management company as insured parties
  4. Signed Pet Agreement
  5. Landlord must have $1,000,000 of liability coverage either through their primary home insurance policy or umbrella coverage with our management company named as a insured party.

We believe that this policy addresses the heightened legal risk for renting to tenants with pets in the Houston and Dallas markets, but  it also allows our landlords flexibilty to not turn away good tenants who happen to love animals. Our philosophy is that you can love your animal, but you must realize that it comes with additional responsibility.



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