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ASK AMY: Landlord wants appreciation over rent hike


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Dear Amy: I have tenants I have bent over backwards for. I cut their late fees in half, and allow them to pay the rent by the 15th of each month.

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I take care of their home before my own. Their credit is not great, but I still approved them to move in.

They do pay their full rent each month, but they seem to get some attitude when I make simple requests, primarily to not interfere with contractors I send to my rental property.

They have changed the scope of the work without my knowledge. They offer short or conflicting responses when I ask them if work has been done correctly.

They seem unappreciative and oblivious to the many breaks I have given them.

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After six years, I am finally raising the rent since theirs is well below market now.

Since their communication skills are poor and they don’t show appreciation, I’m no longer in the mood to give them any more breaks.

My thought was to increase the rent by 10 percent, but I know they won’t appreciate or thank me, even though I could raise it by much more.

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If they give me attitude, I may give them 30-day notice to vacate. Maybe once they are forced to move into a home half the size with 50 percent higher rent, they will appreciate me.

I feel that I’m within my rights to determine the new rent amount and send a message that appreciation, manners and “thank you” goes a long way.

– Nice Guys Finish Last

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Dear Nice Guy: You should NOT expect your tenants to express appreciation or thanks when greeted with the news that you are raising their rent by 10 percent.

Have you ever been a tenant? Generally, a rent hike is not greeted with gratitude, but with grousing and possibly an attempt to negotiate.

The way your tenants express their gratitude each month is to pay their rent on time and in full. This is a business relationship, not a cotillion.

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You do sound like a thoughtful landlord, but the way to raise the rent should have been in increments, over time. If you had done so over the years, these tenants might be paying close to the market rate by now.

You should not place tenants in charge of repairs made to the home. That’s your job. The requirement to “communicate well” is probably not included in your lease agreement.

If you usher these long-time tenants out, you might be in for a shock. Your next tenants might be noisy, destructive, partying, scofflaws.

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been together for years.

She has recently lost a lot of weight. She says she just doesn’t like the way food tastes (this was before COVID). She has not been working out or using medication.

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She is very proud of her weight loss, but since then, things haven’t been the same between us. She’s changed a lot and become more independent.

I feel like we’re going through the motions of being married. What can I do?

I’m concerned about her well-being. She says she loves me and doesn’t want anyone else.

What are your thoughts?

– Mystified

Dear Mystified: Your wife’s weight loss might be the result of a medical issue. I hope she has received a thorough checkup.

Your wife’s weight loss might also be the result of an outside flirtation or even infidelity.

I’m not saying that flirtation causes weight loss (if only!), but any time a partner experiences a significant body change, it could be a sign that they are polishing themselves up for someone else.

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Further evidence is that your wife has become more “independent,” and the intimacy in your marriage has changed.

These are only theories, and I’m sincerely sorry to share them, but I think it’s something you should consider.

I hope you won’t accuse your wife of cheating on you, but instead approach this issue as a reason to talk about your own relationship.

Dear Amy: You missed the mark in your response to “Offended Gran.” This grandmother essentially broadcast on Facebook the fact that her grandchild had lost all their possessions in a fire, soliciting funds along the way.

That sort of behaviour is extremely stressful to a young person who has already been traumatized.

– Upset

Dear Upset: Thank you. I didn’t read the letter quite that way; assuming that the grandchild had already posted news of this fire on social media.

If I’m wrong about that, I agree with you.

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