Should Your Friend Be Your Landlord ?


It’s alright if you have reservations about landlords. Before you actually meet one, you might be forgiven for thinking they are money-grabbing leprechauns who are looking for unsuspecting civilians (like yourself) to walk into their property and pay way more than it is worth. If you are extremely paranoid about trusting a basically unknown person, you might have entertained the idea of having a friend be your landlord. If you have a friend or an acquaintance who is in the rental business, you might have considered going to them so you have to stop dealing with unknown people.

But is this necessarily the best move? Data suggests that entering into a financial or business transaction with your friends may not be the best thing for your relationship. But on the flipside, if you are a landlord yourself, you would rather have a person you know living in one of your properties, than renting it to someone whom you aren’t completely familiar with yet. Let us look at this conundrum in depth.

1. Have you ever had a friend stay in one of your properties?

Depending on whether you’ve had some kind of a business relationship with a friend before, you might be uncomfortable entering into such a transaction with a close friend. If you helped a friend out with some money and they didn’t pay you back in time, you might have reservations about doing the same with your properties. Either way, you need to assess objectively the nature of the person and the strength of your relationship, before you commit to letting a friend rent your property.

2. What could go wrong if you rent to a friend, or stay in one of their properties?

While your friendship usually encourages you to be casual, informal and each other’s peers, this kind of behavior may not be the best for your business. If you as a landlord begin seeing your friend as somehow inferior to you, or if you feel this happening to you as a friend, it could ruin your friendship.

Secondly, if you find out that your friend isn’t exactly taking the best care of your property, it could create conflicts and problems between you.

By and large, if the financial gain doesn’t far outweigh the potential risk of losing this friendship, it is better to be skeptical about renting to, or from your friends.

3. What’s good about having a friend as a tenant or landlord?

The plus side of having a trusted friend stay in one of your properties is that the communication between you and them is always clear, and therefore the usual issues that plague conversations between landlords and tenants are less likely to occur.

Also, how many people can say they invite their landlords over for a drink or two on a Saturday night?

4. When should you consider entering into a rental situation with your friend?

If the property that your friend owns or wants to rent is in the desired location, it might be better for you to go to a person you already know and trust. However, you would need to have a clear statute of the rules that must be followed as a part of your professional relationship. Also, if you’d rather not have the extra hassle of calling up a friend for not paying their rent on time, don’t rent to them.

In summation, it’s great to have a good relationship with your landlord. If, in an ideal situation, you already have a good relationship with the person before they become your landlord, or you become theirs, great. But you need to understand the boundaries that a tenant-landlord relationship has. If you can keep your business and friendship separate, by all means, go for it. However, if you are the kind of person who can’t, it’s better to look for tenants or rental properties elsewhere.