Holding people accountable

I have never thought of myself as a business (I’m a busy someone with a real job that consumes most of my attention), but here goes. I’m just going to ask this and allow myself to feel all the shame, embarrassment, and humiliation I am feeling as I pose the questions below.

I have two properties other than the house I live in, one that came with my home (a trailer in the back–the real estate agent convinced me buying this would be a great move), and one in another state that didn’t sell when I moved, so I took in tenants.

I lost several thousand dollars last year on my former home because the tenants did not pay rent for six months. I knew they were a struggling young family, and she (I think) lied about having cancer, so I tried to work with them, but it was a financial disaster. They finally moved out. Now I have a new young family with a baby who has suddenly become extremely ill (this is verified), and they, too, are now two months’ behind on the rent. I’ve sort of just been holding my breath hoping the promised check is in the mail, somewhat ignoring the problem.

Then, this morning, I got a call about the tenants in the trailer behind my house from the people who delivered propane to the trailer the other day. For reasons that are not clear to me, the male tenant called the company after a delivery and went into a “you fucking bitch” tirade. There will be consequences for them and probably sheriffs involved. I’m going to go over to talk to them in a little while to see what’s going on (and pick up the rent), and am frankly hoping I don’t get shot (only half kidding).

As soon as they moved in, male tenant posted gun signs all over the yard, and while I’ve never seen him be anything but nice, he’s six foot plus and powerful, while she’s tiny, probably 90 pounds soaking wet, and suddenly I don’t have a shred of doubt in the world that he can be a really, really scary guy when something sets him off. I had a funny feeling right at the beginning, but then they seemed so sweet with their kids (one has Down’s syndrome) that I thought, no, it’s okay.

Right now my thought is, I just should never, ever be a landlord. I SUCK at it. I have trouble evicting sick people (I’ve never actually done it), especially babies, and in general I struggle with drawing boundaries and holding people accountable. This is a life issue for me, not just a business issue.

C: tenants
T: I can’t control other people, so I’m at their mercy
F: helpless, frustrated
A: I allow situations to continue that I need to take responsibility for
R: stuck, losing lots of money I don’t have to lose

C: tenants
T: I can trust myself to know what to do (I’m not sure I believe this)
I can trust myself to figure out what to do (I sort of believe this)
F: determination
A: Call tenant 1 and give a Dec. 31 deadline receiving both months’ rent. Discuss next steps if it isn’t received. Allow feelings of “I’m a bad guy for kicking out a struggling family with a sick baby” and do models to explore that.
Go talk to tenant 2 and find out what’s going on. Allow fear, listen calmly, leave if I feel I’m in physical danger.