Rent: The Text Travail

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September 5, 2016 by phicks2012

Old CottageHere’s a word to the wise. Never let rental tenants have your cell phone number, unless it’s maybe a burner phone.

I made the mistake of using my cell to text tenants when trying to schedule repair visits. This was more convenient for me than playing phone-tag, and gave them (and me) the option of responding at their (and my) own convenience — theoretically. However, this also supplied them with my cell number.

One of my tenants has never abused the privilege of having this number. However, that doesn’t necessarily apply to all. One tenant started giving it out to friends who were looking for places to rent instead of giving them the number of my property manager. As a result, I started getting calls from total strangers asking me about the availability, cost, etc. of rental units, forcing me to tell these callers over and over again that I was not the person they should be calling, and that they needed to call the realtor who DOES handle that. Another tenant started texting me (instead of calling my property manager) whenever she had toilet issues. This hasn’t happened a LOT, and she does mostly call the realtor, but the fourth tenant (who seems to find one minor thing after another to complain about) is simply refusing to call or to text anyone except me.

When this started I still had a flip-phone, not a smart phone. I didn’t know this, but I found out the other week that if you have a flip-phone you cannot block callers, and if I didn’t pick up a call or immediately respond to a text from this lady, she would call and/or text again — immediately. My text inbox filled up really quickly, and if a text came in when the box was full the phone would keep buzzing at me to delete meassages so that the new one could be accepted. Also, if I was trying to text a response and another text started coming in, the screen on my phone would clear, and everything I’d already typed would vanish (in favor of the “please delete messages” warning) — meaning I had to start all over again. This was REALLY ANNOYING, especially if I’d had to pull over to the side of the road to try to deal with the text in the first place.

I told this tenant to call my property manager when she had a problem — but to no avail. My voicemail message (on my new Smart Phone) now includes instructions to call the realtor at (phone number) if the call has anything at ALL to do with rental property, but the old phone didn’t, at first.

I needed options. One was to turn off the phone — meaning I wouldn’t be able to receive important calls. One was to get used to ignoring a constantly vibrating phone. One was to (finally) upgrade to a smart phone so that I’d be allowed to block callers/texters.

So, I upgraded, deciding that it was probably time I joined the 21st century anyway. 😉 I think it’s working — fingers crossed.


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I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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