Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trashy Renters

Today I'm going rant against all trashy renters.

I'm not ranting against all renters. That would be silly, since Mark and I have been renting for over a year now. And we're good renters! Always pay on time, the house is clean, nice neighbors...ideal. :)

No...I'm ranting against the people who throw pity parties when it's time to pay rent, and then trash the place before they move out. Oh, I've got stories. Let me share a few. I'm ranting, after all.

See, a couple of years ago, Mark and I decided to get involved in real estate. Good business. We had extra money to throw around, so we didn't mind the repairs and covering for renters. Of course, things went sour and we suffer the repercussions today. But the stories! Oh, boy! Let's see.

Sob story #1: This was actually probably our best renter. A single man moved into one of our houses. Turned out he was a junkie (like, trash junkie) and after two years had collected three boxes worth of peanut butter jars. That's just an example. We got to keep his deposit because he never once cleaned the place, and we spent two days cleaning so someone else could move in. But he paid, and was only late on occasion. Not so bad.

Sob story #2: We'll call these people Joe and Jane. They moved in, everything looked good until about six months into it. Joe couldn't come up with money for rent. We let him use his deposit. (Dumb, and not the last time we made that mistake.) Next month, still no money. We asked Joe to move out. He threw fits and wouldn't let us in when we brought people by to see the house. We did eventually get him out and were only a few hundred dollars less for our troubles. Whew. Not so bad.

Sob story #3: We'll call these people Goodfor and Nothin. Lived in our duplex, kids on top, parents on bottom. Money dried up two months into the contract. Caught them smoking in the house. Kids flew the coop. Kind-hearted husband loaned Goodfor and Nothing money so they could eat while Nothin looked for a job. They left when we threatened with eviction.

Sob story #4: We'll call these people Takin and You. Should be a warning when people can't come up with the deposit money. We let it slide. Four months later, still no deposit. Takin and You separated, and You asked to be on a month-to-month contract. We agreed. As we were approaching the delivery of our second child, we decided we needed a place to live. You agreed to move out with 30 day notice. Then Takin came back. Mark and I packed up our place and pulled up to the house to move in--and they refused to leave. Or pay rent. Two months later and a lovely court hearing, the sheriff escorted them off our property. And we moved in.

Sob story #5 (no, I'm not done yet!): We'll call this woman Bomb. Bomb and her husband moved in. Three months into the contract, husband lost job. We let them use their deposit (this was the last time we made that mistake). Two months later, husband left Bomb. Bomb has no money. Promises money for month #1. We give her three weeks. No money, so we serve eviction. Bomb writes really nice letter, saying she's going to the housing authority and her church leaders and will have all the money for month #1, month #2, and month #3 (which hadn't started yet). We retract eviction and wait. Bomb stalls. Month #2 passes and we serve eviction. She promises to leave. Doesn't leave. Month #3 starts and finally the woman is gone. House is trashed. $1000 later, it's cleaned up enough to get a new family into.

Sob story #6: Family moves in, promises to get utilities changed into their name and not ours. Like dummies, we don't check until six months later. Still paying utilities. Everything gets fixed, but they owe us money. No extra money coming in. Last month, we tell them how much they owe us on top of the rent. NO MONEY comes. We send someone over to collect, and they're gone. And the place is trashed. We file an insurance claim because there's a broken window and holes in the walls. Insurance says won't cover it: it's normal wear and tear of the property.

And that's the end of it! If you ever wondered why we have money problems...now you know! The moral of the story is, if you ever decide to have rental units: 1) Get a management company 2) Require a huge deposit.


Melanie J said...

When my parents died, my brother and sister and I inherited the house. We have renters in there and it's been a huge hassle. They're over $5000 behind and it's awkward because they're old family friends AND LDS. And most of their extended family is in my current ward. Gah!

When we buy a bigger place in the spring, we'll be renting our current condo out and I'm TOTALLY going with a management company.

Kate said...

Oh Tamara, that's awful.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I must ask. Did anything in these tenant references strike you as odd, either at the time or in retrospect?

I ask because the fact that my current landlord didn't check mine sent up red flags in the opposite direction...surely a good landlord would want a tenant with good references...but I was desperate for a place to I took it anyway. I've now been here two years and (luckily) he's the best landlord I've every had. He's lowered my rent twice and he replaced my stove last month. But I know the risks I took moving in...

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

oh, Rosemary, such a good point! We DID NOT check references. again...a management company is crucial! As normal people, we were mostly just concerned with getting someone in. Too desperate.

M. Gray said...

Ugh, I hate playing the landlord role. I played it all through college for my grandfather and it is SO miserable. I'm so sorry, Tamara!

Aaron and Emily said...

You didn't have a single good renter! The thing that gets me, is when we are really great renters and they take the part of your deposit. For example, our newlywed apartment, we were on the bottom floor. The top floor, in a freak storm, had the air conditioner unit break, and the roof rip apart a large hole. It caused flooding in our apartment. Then a month later, the sewer backed up in our kitchen sink. So we had constant leaks and had to use our electricity to dry our the carpets when they came by to dry it out. I mean, it cost US money for THEIR defect. Then at cleaning checkout, they faulted us for spiders in the lights. Well, the holes in the ceiling (where the leaks used to be) prevented us from keeping spiders out. They kept coming back and dying in the light fixture, every time we cleaned it out. When I explained that it was because of the flood, (I should have asked for compensation on our electricity bill for the sewer thing!), they said it was okay. But then, we never got our full deposit back. That drives me CRAZY. I have an even better mean mean landlord story, but I won't go there because I am taking up too much room on your comments. Wish all the great landlords and great renters could get together! Right now, our landlords left ALL their possessions out in their house. EVERYTHING. They totally trust us. SUPER nice people. But i am flabberghasted that they would trust strangers, as so many renter stories fit your stories.

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