I once got a call from a tenant with a complaint:
"I don't like my roommate. Can you evict her?"
Before we owned rental property, my husband would help his father with his. He was given the task of helping clean out a house after a move-out. It was summer and a rank smell was coming from the crawl space. The young couple with a baby who had lived there had opened up a hole in the floor to the crawl space below and had been throwing all of the disposable baby diapers into the crawl space for a year. This was back in the day (1970s) before landlords thought about hazmat. Armed with only a face mask, gloves and a shovel.... my husband had to do the dirty deed. He was a teenager at the time and the shoveling of s***t loads of baby diapers out of that crawl space is etched in his memory. He brings it up whenever we have a nasty clean up to do..... "Oh, this is nothing compared to those baby diapers!"
We learned our lesson from our first tenants; an older woman (in her 60's), her adult daughter and the daughters two teenage girls. At first they were excellent tenants, even calling us on the first to come pick up the rent. Things started to go down hill and they simply took off on the sixth month, leaving behind what ended up being 42 bags of garbage, rotting food in the fridge, cat litter pans full of...well, you can guess.
I ended up "raking" up the oldest daughters room to clean it up and was glad I was wearing gloves since, as I got down to the last layer it consisted of used tampon containers simple tossed on the floor instead of in the garbage (sorry if this is too much information).
They took the "important" stuff (all the plastic flowers) but left behind all the "unimportant" papers including bank statements and both previous leases (I learned they pulled the same trick on at least two other local landlords) and the new lease...so filing against them was easy since they kindly provided me with their new address where they could be served.
They also left behind new clothes with tags on them and I tried a few of the blouses on; they fit and I made sure I was wearing one of them when we went to court and I won my judgement against them.
@Brandon Turner My neighbor on the other side of the bay has a great waterfront property where she lives with a couple of houses she rents. She does not really screen or follow a process. Recently she came to my wife who is a great LL, she was in dire need of an ear and some help.
Her tenants-a couple; one on disability welfare and a drunk- both are druggies too. The disabled one gets picked up by driver to go shopping etc. Anyway they stopped paying rent and when confronted the drunk guy threw a shovel at her and cursed her. Our neighbor retreated and called her lawyer who advised her to take care of it herself without an expensive lawyer, in the meantime the tenant served her with a summons charging the LL with harassment and assault!
At our urging the LL got another lawyer who attended court with her. The tenant claimed the landlord had thrown him down some outdoor stairs! The LL is a 75 year old woman. The judge told them all to behave and come back in 10 days.
So the LL who has been losing sleep and tearing out any remaining hair collected character witness letters etc. My wife happened to be present on the day the tenant was alleging being thrown down the stairs and wrote a letter saying no event of any kind took place while she was there. My wife was there for hours that day they were pickling vegetables.
Back in court the assault charges were dropped and the tenant was given time to find other accommodations and be on their way-there was only a verbal 'lease'. Two weeks later the tenants vanished and left the place in a mess of course. It got cleaned up; my wife helped the LL advertise and find tenants who my wife screened, provided a lease, some guidance, and everyone is satisfied!
This LL got really lucky in my opinion, spent a couple of thousand on a lawyer, and the bad tenants are gone and we have a happy ending; but what about all those nasty what if's? There are a bunch aren't there?
Be careful out there my fellow LL's and screen, screen, screen!
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