Investor Intel: What to Do If Your Rental is Haunted
In honor of Halloween, this week’s Investor Intel is devoted to the spooky and sinister side of rental properties. We’ve given you rental investors tips on how to handle a terrifying tenant and how to protect your properties from ghouls and goblins. But what’s an investor to do when a property is truly haunted? An article from the Wall Street Journal has your answer.
According to the article:
“There’s a cottage industry of people who advertise themselves as psychics, ghostbusters and paranormal investigators. Some charge hundreds of dollars to visit “haunted” properties—either in person, or via astral travel—and “clear” them of unwanted spirits. Others are volunteer ghostbusters who comb homes with high-tech gear to suss out paranormal activity.”
These so-called “clearers” can charge hundreds of dollars for services, which might include ridding the house of spirits or negative energy using any number of tools including crystals, bells, dowsing rods and others.
While you might be tempted to encourage your tenants to say, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!” there is precedent for tenants breaking the lease and demanding the return of a security deposit.
According to the American Apartment Owners Association, a New Jersey woman made headlines when she sued her landlord for the return of the rent and security deposit after alleging the property was haunted. The case was resolved, but the resulting potential property vacancy in situations like this could haunt landlords more than an actual spirit might.
A quick analysis might prove that a few hundred dollars for a clearer may be worth it to keep your tenants in the property. Fortunately, there is a do-it-yourself option.
Rental investors might opt to “smudge” – or wave a smoky bundle of sage – throughout the property in an effort to clear any lingering spirits.
We hope you have a safe and not-so-spooky Halloween!
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