To the Editor:
It’s amazing to me that we are approaching the end of another summer. How time flies on this lovely Island. About this time last year, I made the decision to rent my house out for the winter for the first time. While there are many wonderful people on the Island that would have taken care of my house and respected it, unfortunately that is not whom I rented to. The money that I did get in rental income did not come close to covering the amount I spent replacing the damaged and stolen items in my house.
I wanted to share some of the lessons that I learned the hard way, and one is, do your homework before renting to anyone. There were several things that I would strongly recommend.
Follow up on all information provided on the rental applications and verify the information, including addresses and phone numbers of employers. My previous tenants had poor credit, and I did not give that information enough weight. They seemed like a nice family, and I wanted to give them a break.
Never put any utilities in your name. Fortunately, it was only the cable that remained in my name. Had it been electric, I believe they would have remained in my house much longer.
The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If your tenants can’t get utilities in their name, that is an indication of past problems. Check with local law officials (police, sheriff, court house) to find out if they have heard of your prospective tenants. While I was dealing with trying to get my tenants out last spring, I discovered they were well known by the sheriff and the police.
I have written several letters to the editors about the wonderful people on the Island. I strongly believe that the vast majority of people on the Island are wonderful hardworking people. There are a few bad apples, and my hope is you can avoid them.