The Rise of the “Snowflake” Tenant
As a residential property management company that’s engaged in leasing and managing rental houses and condos throughout Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte Counties, Florida, we have a good grasp of emerging trends in our area as they affect landlords, tenants, and investment properties. A rather disturbing trend that we see as of late is the rise of the “snowflake” tenant applicant.
In case you’re not up on the latest language trends and fads, the term “snowflake,” as defined in the “Urban Dictionary,” is: “A very sensitive person. Someone who is easily hurt or offended by the statements or actions of others.” The snowflake sensibility often manifests itself as a sense of entitlement—a belief on the part of the “snowflake” in question that somebody owes them something—and the sensitivity and offense comes when they are denied what they want, regardless of the reason behind the denial.
A “Hypothetical” Snowflake Tenant Applicant Story That May (Or May Not) Have Actually Happened
Recently (hypothetically), an individual in their late twenties applied for a rental. This applicant had many thousands of dollars in collections, poor credit, and no rental history. As if that were not enough, the thousands of dollars in collections were related to a former residence where the applicant had resided. They did not meet the same underwriting criteria that are applied to all applicants, so their application was denied for obvious reasons.
As is typical of the snowflake, nothing was their fault. In fact, we were told, “My mother is working on getting that off of my credit report,” as if that statement was to serve as the ultimate proof of her/his worthiness for approval. We explained that while their circumstance was indeed unfortunate, there was nothing that we could do about a negative credit report that “actually existed at the present moment,” and the fact that it might be updated at some future date was not something we could base approval on.
As the conversation continued (hypothetically, of course), there were other excuses reasons given for why we should totally ignore their financial state of affairs, abandon the underwriting criteria that are applied equally to all applicants, and let them move into our owner’s property. When distilled to their essence, all of the excuses reasons given boiled down to these, “It’s not my fault, I’m not responsible, and your company is bad.” Truthfully feeling empathy, but duty-bound to protect our owners’ interests—those interests being to only place well-qualified applicants into our rentals—we spent about 10 minutes on the phone giving this person advice as to how they might go about finding a suitable rental. When all was said and done, we wished them luck and bid them farewell.
Enter “Mama Snowflake”
Lest you think this (hypothetical) property management fairy-tale had come to an end, within the hour our office had received a scathing and ruthlessly vulgar voicemail from “mama snowflake,” the snowflake applicant’s mom. Her essential argument was, “How dare you take into account the financial facts reported by the credit reporting bureaus! Who the *%$@! do you think you are, denying my poor little (late twenties) snowflake’s application!” Her verbal assault ended in a rhetorical flourish, “You are nothing but a bunch of entitled people, who have never faced hardship, were handed everything in life on a silver platter, and have no idea how to run a business!” Wow! Welcome to the fun and exciting world of property management.
As for myself, I didn’t bother to tell her that I was raised lower-middle-class, by a single mom, with a key on a chain around my neck since I was 6-years old, and that my way “out” was to join the army, become a paratrooper, and serve six years, so as to be able to afford to put myself through college. Yup, I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and was handed everything on a silver platter—not really. When I was “snowflake’s” age, I was serving my country and working towards the day when I could use the G.I. Bill to put myself through school.
It is what it is. We seem to be living in a time when personal responsibility and accountability are giving way to the sentiment that everybody is owed something from someone else, that any and all excuses for less than optimal performance should be sanctioned, and to hold people accountable to standards of any kind is a de-facto sign of disrespect. My, my, my . . .
This is exactly why landlords hire professional property managers—so they don’t have to deal with such nonsense.
About the Author
John Michailidis, J.D., is the Broker/Managing-Member of Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee, a Sarasota, FL based residential property management company. Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee provides both Full-Service and Lease-Only services to Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, and North Port area landlords.
If you own residential investment real estate anywhere in Manatee or Sarasota counties, do feel free to reach out to our team at 941-225-8183, or through our website.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.