Being the mean landlord who says no bonfire parties…


I really don’t like it when I have to assume the role of mean landlord / landlady. If I buy more properties, I’m sure I”ll get used to it. but I’m not entirely comfortable with it yet.

So… my tenants are having a party next weekend. They included me on the “save the date” email, which I appreciate (just so I don’t plan on having a quiet Friday evening at home). I certainly don’t want them to feel like they can’t have parties just because their landlord lives in the same house as them (I have parties from time to time, too). I planned on making a brief appearance, and then having other plans to attend to, so that they don’t have to worry about the noise.

However, today I read the e-vite they sent out, and they’re apparently planning on having a “bonfire party.” S’mores, hot dogs, etc. Which I’m not ok with. I do have a small portable “fire pit” in the backyard, which is mine for purely personal use (i.e. not part of the rental), which I had said that they could use if they wanted to, if they were really careful to put it out afterwards. However, (and perhaps I was not explicit enough in this), the three of them using it is very different than them having 30+ people over for a party and using it. In that kind of scenario, it would likely be someone else manning the fire (not my tenants), there would be alcohol involved, crowd mentality…. I’m just not ok with it. That, and there is a big pile of wood behind the shed that my boyfriend cut up for US to burn at a bonfire party… not for my tenants to use (I can only assume that they were planning on burning my wood at this thing. Again, if it was just the three of them having a small fire one night, they wouldn’t use that much. But a big party would probably burn through the whole pile).

The liability issues scare me. I wasn’t sure if I should even have a fire pit while I still lived in a duplex that had a shared yard. It’s been fun to have around at parties in the summer, but I don’t feel comfortable having my tenants use it with a large group of people.

So, I sent them an email putting the kabash on it. And apologized for being the mean landlady. Told them that it was an insurance / liability thing, and that the three of them could still use it, just not for big parties. I really need to get over feeling bad about things like this (really, though, shouldn’t they have asked me if it was ok to use my [personal] firepit for a party before inviting everyone to a bonfire party?)

They can still have a party and all (although I may look like a villain now if I show up). Hopefully it will be raining, making the whole point moot…


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