We have a Siberian Forest cat named Larisa. We bought her two years ago from a cattery in Oregon; she was being retired as a breeding queen after having produced 26 hypoallergenic kittens in five years. A sensitive princess, Larisa didn't let us touch her for 62 days after her arrival. She is very much at home now, a typical cat. But when we leave her to travel, she freaks out. So for the last couple of years we've had a person stay at our house while we're gone, to keep Larisa company in the evenings.
Recently, one of the catsitters asked if she could rent our basement bedroom for three months. We agreed, since we'll be gone for about seven weeks during that time. We decided that she would pay a small amount of rent for each day we're home, and nothing for each day we're gone.
I can tell you after only two weeks that I am not a good landlord. I didn't set up house rules because I didn't realize what they ought to be. As little things came up, I didn't say anything. But I did start to get resentful, and testy, with the tenant. I don't like confrontation. I got a stomach ache whenever I thought about the situation. Then I talked to a good friend and she told me the only way I'm ever going to get over my issues around confrontation is if I practice being direct when issues come up, rather than dancing around them. She suggested I create some house rules. So yesterday, I did.
1. The kitchen is available from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. This one came up after two nights in a row of cooking projects that began at 11 p.m.
2. When the tenant is leaving the house she will turn off her lights, her computer and her portable heater, to preserve electrical use and internet bandwidth.
3. The tenant will pay her rent on time (every four days or so) regardless of circumstances.
I'd like to impose some other rules, but they sound unreasonable. Like:
4. Don't chat with me when you come upstairs in the morning.
5. Don't tell me about your life, past and present.
6. Don't suggest that I buy silver and gold to protect against a falling dollar.
I'm having to look at myself during this time of having a tenant. It will actually only be three weeks or so when we're all in residence. We have the space, and we're glad we'll have her here when we're gone to watch out for Larisa. She is a nice woman, and I have nothing against her personally.
But I am not a good landlord. I'm glad I realized this before I signed a yearlong contract with anyone!