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Tenant Backed Out Of Lease Three Weeks After Signing

Time for another learning opportunity for my real estate investing journey. This was the first time I had ever had someone sign a lease and proceed to back out prior to moving in. I am continuing to learn more and more about real estate investing as new situations continue coming up. I enjoy some of the ambiguity in how things are happening and always learning new things. So here is what happened.

Finally Closed On Trifecta!

I finally closed on Trifecta and it was time to begin executing on my game plan. If you have not seen Trifecta before, you can see the initial post I had of the before and after pictures here.

Trifecta will be my second go at house hacking, but this time, the strategy is a little different than house hack #1. This is the first multi-family property I have ever purchased. It is a small multi-family triplex with a 2/1 unit in the front and two 1/1 units stacked on top of each other in the back.

The Plan For Trifecta

The plan for Trifecta is to long term rent the 2/1 unit long term. I have never gone about finding a tenant for an entire unit. Most of my past experience has been with finding tenants to rent out a bedroom in a home or my Airbnb’s.

I believed renting out the 2/1 long term was going to be much easier to find potential tenants than renting out by the bedroom. I posted the home with pictures in the normal locations I post things for rent. I usually stick with Facebook Marketplace, Zillow, and Those are the sites I have personally found the most luck with.

Finding A Tenant

I was getting interested tenants immediately after posting. This was a good sign. Not only was my listing standing out online, I also had it competitively priced for the market. I screened and showed the place to four different tenants and found someone who would fit well.

A Dream Tenant To Find

This tenant was going to be moving down from South Carolina in a month. She was a registered nurse and works remote so had a solid source of income. Perfect credit score and no debt. Essentially the dream tenant you could ask for. There was one catch with her though.

Around the time she reached out was when everything with COVID-19 started escalating. The start to the lease was going to be a month from when we connected. I was willing to wait a month to hold out for such a good tenant, especially in these times.

We went through and signed a 12 month lease. Two days after signing the lease the tenant calls me early in the morning. Ut oh…this can’t be good.

The Florida governor just decided to put up blockades on the border to prevent some people from driving into Florida from some of the more highly impacted areas of the virus. The tenant explained this in a little more detail to me and proceeded to ask if I could push out her move in date another two weeks with everything going on.

This is an extremely tough time in our economy and in the world in general. There is nothing either myself or her could do about the situation and there is a lot of uncertainty in general. Being the empathetic person I am, I agreed to put a clause in the lease allowing for the move in date to be pushed back another two weeks.

Current State Of Signed Lease

So I now have a signed 12 month lease for this tenant who isn’t moving in for another 6 weeks potentially! What did I get myself into?! I had agreed to wait for this tenant and it was time to just wait it out.

The tenant sent over the security deposit upon signing the lease and she was officially locked in. For my rentals, I require one month’s rent as a security deposit. This is the standard I use in all my long term rentals. This is a refundable deposit depending on damage upon moving out of the home.

Three Weeks Later…Another Call From The Tenant

Three weeks go by and I receive another call from the tenant. This time, with some worse news. Things with COVID-19 were continuing to escalate in the US. New cases per day were continuing to ramp up, social distancing was starting to become a commonly used term in daily conversation, and only essential businesses were allowed to be open.

What a weird time in our world’s history to be alive, but also a really interesting time to observe all the things that are going on.

We are three weeks away from the tenants move in date and I get another call from her. This time, with not so great news. She called to let me know that there is just no way she feels comfortable putting in her 30 day notice at the current place she is living to move down to Florida. She apologized for everything and we went our separate ways.

Sounds Bad Right? Well, Kind Of

Sounds like a pretty bad deal right? Yeah, it definitely is not the best. I thought I found a high quality tenant who I wasn’t going to have any issues with. Would more than likely pay rent on time every month, not cause damage to the property, and had great job security.

Here is the bright side from my end. I was able to keep the security deposit from the tenant based off the contract we signed and agreement we had. So now I get to keep a months worth of rent for someone who won’t be moving into the home and I can put the listing back up online!

Within two weeks back on the market, I found another tenant who was ready to immediately move in. Was an interesting story how all that worked out. Will post about it in the near future with some real numbers of how the lease is setup so I can continue to reduce my expenses even more!

Key Takeaways:

  • Finding a high quality tenant is extremely important. Waiting a few weeks for them to move in could be worth potentially placing a bad tenant in the property. 
  • Structure your lease agreements so you keep the security deposit if they for whatever reason don’t actually move in. I always recommend the security deposit to be one months rent. 
  • You always have a choice to view things as a positive or negative. I could have viewed her not being able to move in as a negative. Instead, I decided to view it as a positive, and it actually became a positive!


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How Much Clearer Do I Need To Make Myself – Asking The Same Question For The Third Time

I have had zero luck with this HOA to this point. How much clearer do I need to make myself. I have asked the same question for the third time now and they continue to not want to answer the specific question I am asking them. This is not only frustrating, but they are using this tactic to continue buying them time. I am a real estate investor, and have been a real estate investor for the past 3 years. This is the first time in my real estate investing journey that I have had issues with an HOA. I never would have imagined to have these issues with a HOA. But now that they are here, I am definitely taking this as a learning opportunity to continue getting better! What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger if you want it to make you stronger!

Get caught up on everything that has happened to this point! This has been a wild journey to say the least and it is definitely not over! Below are the links to all the craziness in this saga!

Quick Recap Of Where We Stand

It has been a wild real estate investing journey up to this point. Now time to give a quick update on where we are at. The last email I sent to the HOA was clearly stating the pivot I was making on my business model. It is clear based off the Executive Order from the governor that no short term rentals are allowed anymore. At least while the Executive Order is in place.

I decided to pivot my business model into rentals of 30 days or more. To my knowledge, there are a few things that need to be true about your property for this to be legal:

  1. You can’t have it listed on short term rental sites
  2. You have to advertise it as 30+ day rentals
  3. For my situation with this HOA, any rentals between 3-6 months must be approved by the HOA/Board.

Awesome, now that we know where we stand, time to dive into the HOA/Board’s response from my latest email telling them I plan to pivot!

The HOA/Board Response To My Pivot Email

Now time for more fun, this time, a few back and forths with still a lot of frustration from my end.

In my last email response to the GM and Board, I clearly articulated why what they explained was misleading to all homeowners. They are simply creating more confusion than they are helping the situation. Especially for homeowners who are investors and don’t live in the area, which is the majority.

Here is the response they had to my last email:

Good Afternoon YRB,

We are working under the premise that EO-87  (Emergency Management – COVID-19 – Vacation Rental Closures) ends tomorrow. If the ban is not extended or a new ban issued then new guest rentals will be allowed entry as of Saturday.

Please note that clubhouse amenities will remain closed until further notice.

Thanks and stay safe.

Well, that response literally didn’t answer the only question I had. I clearly stated why their first email was misleading and then asked to rent my place long term. They don’t even want to think of offering other alternatives to investors, instead, they simply outlined the fact that they would allow new guests in once the ban is completed.

Here is the simple fact that both them and myself knew. There was a 99.9% chance the governor of Florida would sign an extension to the ban on the day of expiration of the first executive order.

Here Is What Is Frustrating

I usually can keep my cool pretty well. In this scenario though, the HOA/Board took over 48 hours to respond to a simple question. Not only did they take over 48 hours, they didn’t even answer the damn question I asked them to answer!

They knew the response they sent would just allow them to kick the can down the road even longer. Not to mention the fact that I am sure they are fed up with me at this point. I continue to point out holes in their arguments and they believe I won’t seek further damage because of the actions they have taken. More to come on that front.

In the meantime, I decided more email communication would be necessary to get a very clear direction to the Board/HOA on what I wanted them to answer.

My Follow Up Email

I was tired of them giving me the run around again and again and again while they know they are not doing the right thing. Time to be extremely clear on the ask…AGAIN!

Here is the email response I sent back to them:

Thanks HOA GM. 

I would like to ask the question again about long term residents as the law states long term rentals are still allowed. I will ask the question again for the third time and try to rephrase it in hopes this will help you understand what I am asking. 
This is in regards to long term residents, not short term. 
Regardless of the Executive Order being extended, are new long term tenants not allowed to check in and stay at my place? 
Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this very important and time sensitive matter. 


If this isn’t clear enough, then I don’t know what is. I didn’t state anything but the fact that I want to know if I can rent long term.

Ok, now for their response which was again delayed for over 24 hours!


As per our Docs there are no restrictions on guest staying from 1 to 90 days.  Owners are allowed to make reservation for up 90 days. Guests staying from 90 days to 6 months will require HOA approval prior to check-in. And as per our Docs no guests are allowed to stay beyond 6 months.

Hope this answers your question.

I have been overly patient with the HOA and Board. They are continuing to dance around the question. There is only one reason they are continuing to stall. Because they know they are not abiding by the law and they have no grounds to stand on here.

My Hair Continues Falling Out By The Minute

At this point, I just hope I am right about the pivot I have determined to be legal for me to make. My understanding is 30+ day rentals are allowed in Florida and I continue to get the runaround from the HOA because I think they realize the bullshit they have gotten into.

I am still a firm believer they are doing this because they think I won’t seek damages for them to pay.

Time for another response back to the HOA:

Thanks for the response.

This doesn’t answer the question if I am allowed to rent my place long term under the direction per the latest email sent from the HOA. The direction makes it clear that no new guests are allowed into the resort. 
Long term rentals are still allowed per the law. If the law permits long term rentals, does the HOA still stand by not allowing any new guests and not abiding by this? If so, could you please point to what specifically in the HOA Bylaws and/or Declaration documents give the HOA the authority to create restrictions beyond the executive order?
Thanks for you time, I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this important and very time sensitive matter.
Oh yeah. I went there. If the HOA is not allowing any new guests in, could you please send me where in the Bylaws/Declaration documents does it give them the authority to do so.
Now time to sit back and wait for their next response. Hopefully the next response isn’t another 48 hours away!

If you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

Thanks again for all the support and continuing to come back each day for new updates in this saga!

Checkout the next post in this saga below!

How Many Times Do I Have To Repeat The Same Thing – Real Estate Investing Problems

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Calling HOA To File Lawsuit!?!?! Short Term Rental Update – Ol’ Faithful

That’s right! Before you start asking questions, let me explain a little bit. I am going to be filing a lawsuit against my HOA at one of my short term rental properties. Here is why.

I have been doing some research and talking to a lot of people about the situation I am in with Ol’ Faithful. To give a quick update of what is going on with Ol’ Faithful, checkout one of my last articles.

The other night, I was talking to my parents and talking to them about what is going on. My mom made a good point that I should call my uncle who is a real estate agent in Phoenix. He has also been a real estate investor for over 40 years and knows this business inside and out.

Here are some of the emails I sent back and forth to the HOA GM yesterday. You can make your own judgements on how they are handling the situation 🙂

Conrad Pic 2

Email to Conrad Pic 1


The GM of the resort continues to defer to the law put in place by the governor. So I decided to take the actual exert from the law signed into order and sent it to him in the below email 🙂


Conrad Pic 3


Here is something that did frustrate me. I specifically asked the GM if I could rent to first responders, and he even said no to that!

At this point I am sure he is very tired of me. But he also don’t understand who I am and that I can be very persistent when something is wrong. Which is this exact case.

Conrad Pic 4

What I Did This Morning

First, I called my uncle this morning and explained what was going on. I talked him through the executive order that was signed into law and all the email communication that was sent back and forth with Conrad.

My uncle has been investing in real estate for over 40 years. He is one of the highest rated real estate agents in Phoenix. So he has dealt with pretty much everything.

After explaining the situation, he told me just email the HOA and say you are going to sue them for any and all damages based off exactly what the executive order says that was signed in by the governor. He said there is nothing they can do to go above the government if the HOA bylaws don’t state anything of this nature that they can or would have the authority to do. I read the Bylaws and couldn’t find anything in there that states they are allowed to do this.

Now that I knew they were in the wrong, I decided to just try something. Me emailing the HOA president obviously didn’t work, but I wondered what would happen if I just called the security gate to let them know I have someone checking in tomorrow and staying for a month.

So I called the security gate. I told them I have someone checking in tomorrow. The gate security guard asked for the guests name, check in time, and how long they would be staying.

I gave the security guard the information and asked if my guest would be able to get in tomorrow morning. They said yes. WHAT?!?! Really? Okay bahahah

What’s Next

So now here we are. The day before my guest is supposed to check in for 31 nights. The security gate has told me the guest will be able to check in. Awesome.

I know the guy who is going to check in (I actually randomly paired up with him in golf last weekend). I gave him all the information to get in and told him to call me if there are any issues.

Looking forward to my guest checking in tomorrow without any issues and now being able to bring in $1,600 this month for Ol’ Faithful!

Key Takeaways:

  • Talk about what you are doing and the things that are happening in your life. You may forget some of the people you know who have knowledge and expertise who could help out. 
  • Always be respectful in all communication to people. Even though I was frustrated with the GM of the resort, I tried staying professional in all my communication with him. 
  • Stay positive! Control what you can control. 

Checkout PartII below to continue reading about this crazy story!