Here’s What Happens When You Rent to College Kids

by Darwin on December 21, 2011


This picture pretty much says it all. Recently, I highlighted how AFTER we closed, the insurance company for our college rental properties came out and whipped up a bunch of costly repairs we would have to undertake or else we’d lose our coverage – which in turn would have the bank revoke our loan.  So, we were in a pickle and our ROI went to crap fast (long term it’s still good, but 2011 is a bust).  We had to quickly make several costly repairs, including busting out the old sidewalks and installing new sidewalks at all three addresses.  Joy.  So, I was doubly annoyed when I got a note from the property manager that over the course of the night, there had been some “issues” with the concrete.  He said something about a “shank” but I didn’t get the full appreciation for what he was referring to until he sent over pictures.

Karma’s a Bitch…

Evidently, the students we rent to are not only rowdy and destructive enough to deface a perfectly good piece of sidewalk that’s curing, but they were dumb enough to inscribe their own initials into their work.  As it turned out, since the property manager caught it the next morning, he was able to smooth it out still and didn’t have to redo the entire job.  But it did come at additional cost, which will of course be coming out of their security deposit.

The reason I say Karma’s a bitch is because as frustrating and costly as this type of thing is (especially under a critical deadline), my partner and I roundly admit that we were complete goofballs and used to do the same type of stuff in college.  There were many a possession or property that we urinated on, broke, threw, stole or did whatever else the alcohol told us to do back in the day and now we’re getting our deserved share I suppose.

The moral of the story is that kids will be kids, college kids will be idiots, and adults that rent to college kids should go into it knowing ridiculous stuff is going to happen.


{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron December 22, 2011 at 7:04 am

Don’t take it out of their security deposit. Bill them now and leave the security deposit for the repair costs found during the move out inspection. This has the additional benefit of imprinting on them that their actions have immediate costs, thus discouraging (but not preventing) this behavior in the future. Good luck and keep us posted!


Chris December 22, 2011 at 10:30 am

I agree; they left their initials – so you should have no problems convincing them to pay for their ‘art work.’ Immediate repercussions might be a good lesson for them to learn. Better to learn it with something that isn’t terribly costly.

Also, as much as I went out and had a good time in college… I was never this destructive – no urinating, destroying, or creative art work. If this karma thing is true, I should definitely start investing in college rental properties ;D


Darwin December 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I was in a fraternity; we were responsible for a fair amount of destruction to be honest. I wasn’t usually the instigator, but our crew was pretty bad…Karma…


Aaron December 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

I too was in a fraternity and I too own rental property that I rent to college students, but I have owned and rented my properties to college students for many years. Take my advice, bill them now for damage now. Save the deposit for the move out inspection only. Your goal is to keep the property in good condition throughout the rental period to minimize the repairs (and surprises) to be completed at the end of the lease period.


101 Centavos December 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

I’m guessing these kids aren’t art majors.

I wouldn’t have rented to my old college self. I was a total idiot.


Darwin December 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm

We were pretty rowdy in college, but these kids have us beat on ripping doors off hinges. It was a monthly thing for a while, now just penises on sidewalks.


Invest It Wisely December 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

A friend set a bag of crap on fire, and there was some other stupid stuff… ah, to be back to 19-20. 😉


PKamp3 December 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

College wasn’t able to teach them to leave this piece unsigned? And, +1, they likely weren’t Art Majors.


Darwin December 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I suppose alcohol may have impaired their vision a bit :>


retirebyforty December 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Wow, kids come dumber and dumber. hahaha. Sorry to hear about more problems, but at least it was an easy fix and the kid was one of the dumb one.


krantcents December 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Welcome to rental property ownership. There will always be something, but keep your eye on the goal. It is worth the hassle and even problems like these.


Darwin December 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Yeah, when I look at the principal paydown, the tax benefits and in future quarters, some distributions here and there, I’m sure this will all be worth it. Having a partner to help handle emergencies when I’m traveling helped big-time as well.


Terry January 20, 2012 at 2:23 am

I think people should get a job and become productive members of society instead of getting wealthy off the sweat of rent slaves who can’t buy homes.


Darwin January 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Congratulations Terry. That is the dumbest comment I’ve received so far in 2012.


Azra Panjwani December 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

This post made me chuckle. Glad you have such a good sense of humor and realistic outlook about it and I hope this is the worst of it for you…I’ve seen much worse back in my college days that’s for sure.

I agree with the guys above. Bill them now vs. taking it out of the security deposit later. And i’d at the very least inform them that you will, indeed, but docking them for their…errm…expressions of creative inspirations.


Darwin December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Interesting thought; we were debating which made more sense – in theory they could claim it wasn’t them and someone else put the initial in or something (which is nonsensical but who knows), whereas we hold the security deposits and can just withhold at year-end. I’ll talk to the partner some more.


Azra December 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm

wow ripping doors off hinges eh? Crazy kids! Good point. I guess I was thinking if you warn them now about the consequences (i.e. this will be coming out of your deposit) hopefully it will make them think twice about doing things like this again later? Although, something tells me you may have already tried this.


Monica December 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Took me a minute to figure out what it was- my eyesight isn’t what it used to be! Had a good laugh about it and was reminded of several stories told by my fraternity friend who went to the University of Alabama. They had a party (well, several) and it resulted in shopping carts thrown out of two windows and a sofa set on fire. Don’t know if that is a national or southern thing, but I’m glad that your damage wasn’t as severe. You definitely have a good attitude about the situation and are much cooler about it than I would be! Kids these days….


Moneycone December 24, 2011 at 11:56 am

Ouch Darwin! But you are right, kids are kids and college kids with a bit of alcohol and you get the above!

If I do rent out, I’ll definitely keep this in mind!


Paula @ Afford Anything December 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Ah – kids will be kids, but the rental investment is still awesome, despite the hassles. I agree: bill them now. It may discourage them from destructive acts like this for the remainder of the year.


Kolton December 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Hahaha, I’m sorry to laugh but it is pretty funny. I’m glad you were able to fix it and get the names who done this. I’m still in college and although my friends and I get out of hand, we never disrespect our landlord! Reasons are because my two roommates are like myself that want to become landlords in the future. It’s great way to create an income stream and maybe Karma will reward me later on!


Funny about Money December 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Let’s see… We commit an act of vandalism and sign our initials to our handiwork. Interesting.

Yup, I’m afraid Aaron is right: Bill them now, take the money, and run. At this rate, your honored tenants will be eligible for a “Darwin” Award long before the lease runs out…and we know what you have to do to win one of those! 🙄


Penny Pinching Professional January 7, 2012 at 10:19 am

If you aren’t going to charge them for it now, I would be hesitant to tell them that it will come out of the security deposit. If they make enough “mistakes” that will come out of the deposit, at some point they’ll decide they won’t be getting the deposit back anyway and stop even trying to control themselves.

On an unrelated note, I would be tempted to send the picture to the insurance company asking them if they’re sure those types of fixes will be required in the future, as they don’t seem to be helping the property values or attracting more responsible clientele. (I would include a picture of the corrected concrete as well in case they can’t take a joke.)


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