In my neighborhood it's easy to pick out the rentals, and not in a good way. And when they're empty, the landlords don't even bother to have the lawns mowed. But these have been kept as rental-only properties for years. In your case, it sounds as though he's still planning on selling the house when the market picks up. That means he still has an interest in keeping that property up and should stay on top of things even if he's out of town. If you have concerns, definitely keep in touch with the owner. Let him know if the renters are not taking care of things. He'll probably be glad to know and hopefully will take action to correct any issues.
wife and i rented a basement apartment in big city while going to school. rent was HIGH and got virtually nothing for it. none the less we took care of the place, even painted it oursevles and at our cost. when we moved out a month early we couldn't get our deposit back. we were pissed. i probably should have just trashed the place to teach landlord a lesson..but instead we moved out peacefully and just "ate" the last month rent we never got back.
we were vindicated when we saw that their place had no occupancy for the next 6 months. hahaha..
i'm glad we moved out, i hated being taken advantage of .
i think for the most part, a couple of houses with renters is fine for a neighbourhood. but as soon as it passes 10% .. it may be time to sell.
"if you can't be handsome, at least you can be handy" -Redgreen
I came home tonight to find one of their trash cans (which they keep on the side of the house which faces me) was blown over and I have trash all over my yard. Let's see if they do the right thing and pick up all the trash that blew everywhere tomorrow morning. This will be a good sign of what type of people they are.