I received a call from a realtor friend of mine two weeks ago. About 3 years ago one of his relatives rented a house from our company. I thought in the beginning that something like what ended up happening would happen.
We had deducted more than half of the relative’s security deposit for damages. The claim was made by my friend that we had overdone it, and made too many deductions at too high of a cost.
For me, it was worse than being sued in small claims court. In fact, I think it’d been better if I had been. I worked for 3 days, pulling documentation from our files, sorting photos, drafting and crafting email communication to my friend.
To me, I found this to be a real ordeal. I started to just settle with him, but that seemed too much like admitting guilt. I don’t mind being wrong, but I really need to be found wrong in a mistake. I always have an owner to think about; somebody has to pay for damages, and it may as well be the person who caused them.
It turns out that we had been more than fair to my friend’s relative. In compiling the documentation to show my friend, the proof prevailed and ultimately I was able to show that the relative could have been charged much more for damages.
After 3 days of communicating with my friend, I finally quit hearing from him. You always want to keep a friend, if at all possible, but my client (the owner of the house), was and is my first priority. I think my friend ultimately understood. The proof was in the pudding, so to speak.
Ultimately, I hope that this resolves with the relationship with my friend still intact. If there is anything I regret in this whole ordeal, is the possibility of damage to the good relationship with my friend.
I also always want my company to be seen and known as ethical in all circumstances. The thing is, fair does not always feel good.
These are all important things to consider, especially when doing business with good friends.
Until next time,