I saw a news blurb that the Utah Apartment Owners Association was partnering with a payday loan company so its members could refer their cash-strapped tenants to them. I originally thought the landlords might receive a referral fee, so I investigated.

A representative from the Utah Apartment Owners Association told me the payday loan company offered a 20% discount to the tenants of its members – but no kick backs to landlords.

Whew! I was really disturbed by the notation of making extra income with this tactic. It felt slimy. I posted the question to a couple of real estate forum and found that nearly everyone that responded felt the same way.

Motivated by my unfounded disgust, I decided to flip the idea.

I’ve heard stories of restaurants making customers wash dishes if they couldn’t pay their bills, but haven’t heard a landlord’s version of the idea.

Do any landlords use bartering to help tenants pay their rent?

I posted this question on the www.biggerpockets.com forum and to www.REIClub.com Facebook page and found most responders had horror stories to report but there were some successes.

One lady said their tenant mows their lawn and another said his tenant painted his building. I was really surprised to read that one landlord had modified his general liability insurance to cover all the work his tenant does on the property.

I played with their rent idea as a way  landlords could make an extra $100 each month.

I only turned up only one idea:  if an owner gave an artist a place to stay in exchange for art work that could be sold for more than the rent, then that would be magical. It would also likely to happen only in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Anyway, I’ve concluded that “dish washing”/bartering tactics can help a landlord increase their equity or reduce their expenses, but it’s not likely to help them generate extra cash each month. And that, after all, is our mission. This tactic is going into our “failed” bucket.

Please leave a comment below if  you have an idea on how a landlord could barter for an extra $100.