Rent! Another Sequel!

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March 26, 2016 by phicks2012

Old CottageBack in early January one of my tenants reported a roof leak over the kitchen counter. We went over there, found the small area of roof damage and fixed it, and since I hadn’t heard any further complaints in subsequent weeks I figured that was taken care of. But then in February I started having some minor (but semi-annoying) issues with my email.

I don’t know about anyone else, but over the many years I’ve been dealing with email (starting with Prodigy and a pre-assigned alpha-numeric address I could never manage to remember) I’ve run into more than one instance of email constipation. What apparently happens is that a corrupted message tries to get through and the system says “Oh, no you don’t!!” That message, and any messages following it in the queue just don’t go through, and they start backing up, Bummer.

Now, I have multiple email addresses. I have one for important mundane business, and one for general mundane stuff I MIGHT want, and one for general SCA communications, and one for Heraldry-specific SCA stuff, and a few others assigned by my ISPs or just to (hopefully) catch junk mail — as well as filters that usually catch several hundred annoying spam messages per day and send them (semi-reliably) to my junk mail folder. It therefore takes a while (okay, sometimes a couple of minutes if things are really backed up or slow) to download my email, and unless the little window pops up to display the progress of my email downloads I might not always be aware of what addresses are downloading completely, and which are not. Also, I’d recently had to swap out my modem, so I was sort of more fucused on internet issues than on email.

Messages from my property management company tend to come in via an address that doesn’t generally get a heavy volume of mail, so if I don’t get mail at the address every day it’s not unusual. Also, if I don’t respond immediately to an email they usually give me a call. I didn’t get one, so I had no reason to assume that I’d missed anything until the email blockage finally broke loose and suddenly there were four emails from them.

The first two warned me that the tenant with the illegal pitbull hadn’t responded to their attempts to contact him about the dog, and also hadn’t paid his rent for January or February, so they’d filed eviction papers on him. No problem. He was very immature, and probably thought he’d been getting away with both the dog and with not paying either the pet deposit or rent anyway, because his parents had apparently (without wanting him to know) paid the rent for a few months (November and December). I figured that either they’d pony up his back rent to keep him from moving home again, or he’d be gone. End of story.

The second two, however, told me that the tenant with the earlier roof leak had found another one over the bathroom, and needed that looked into and fixed. Damn! So, I told them to find out when the tenant could be at home — praying it wouldn’t mean cancelling weekend plans yet again –because Jason would have to get back into the attic crawl space again and try to find where the rain is coming in. Then I went out and purchased some repair materials, and waited for a response.

But when I got a call from the office they instead asked again when we could go, and said something confusing about how someone had just left the unit — the caller had no idea who — and something about them claiming the tub couldn’t be repaired. The TUB? I promptly called the tenant using the number the office gave me — wrong number, but I reached her on another number I had stored. Turns out there was no roof leak. The tub was leaking, and she said the person who had just left was from my management company. Okay, so somebody was confused.

I’d paid some people before the tenant moved in to repair a small crack in that tub, and they’d said they would stand behind their work, but guess what? Their number was no longer any good. Figures. So I got on Angie’s list and found a local company with several locations and an A-rating that repaired tubs and warrantied their work. Miracle Method Surface Refinishing. They normally had a 3-week waiting list, but because this was an emergency they worked a miracle and said they could have someone to go out the same day. The price wasn’t insignificant, but it was WAY better than replacing the whole tub, and I called the tenant to tell her to stay home and to wait for them. Then I called my management company to tell them it was being handled, and heaved a huge sigh of relief. Too soon, as it turned out.

Shortly thereafter I got another email asking me if the people going out would be checking for rotten wood and mold. AAAAARRRRGGGHHH! The tub sits on a concrete slab with no wood under it. The only wood that might possibly have gotten wet would have been the framing, and that being treated lumber. It had had no time to rot, and IF it was wet it would dry out quickly once the leak was fixed. I also strongly doubted that mold would have had ANY chance to get started that quickly in the middle of winter and basically in contact with the cold ground. The answer? “The company is going over there to repair the tub. If the tenant wants them to look, she can ask them to do so”. Okay, so it was a more diplomatic answer than “Somebody needs to get a life!”

Because I was trying to deal with all of this while also trying to get to a local Park and get a site rental contract signed for my Shire’s summer event (Legends XXII), I wanted this OVER with, and I really thought it finally was. The repair company was going to email me before-and-after pictures and a copy of the warranty and contract, and I finally got to the park and connected with the Ranger.

Then I got home and found another email telling me that the tenant who was being evicted was being physically put out on March 8th, and that I would need four people to move his stuff out to the curb. Turns out he was notified, but didn’t show up for Court, so a writ of dispossession was issued. Figures.

I’ve learned from previous experience that the Sheriff’s deputies who oversee such things don’t help. They’re there to assure that no violence erupts, and that’s good. However, it isn’t physically helpful when it comes to hauling out furniture. I had myself and Jason, but I’m not really built for heavy lifting, and on a Tuesday afternoon I had no IDEA who I was going to find to help with this.

In utter desperation, I got on my Shire’s Facebook group and my Household group and asked if anyone might be available — or might KNOW of anyone who might be available — to help out for a few hours that day. Since we’d done repairs for the tenant, I knew he didn’t have a lot of furniture or “stuff” to be put out, and I was still praying that once his parents found out he was being evicated they’d either pay his back rent or help him move out. Still, I had to prepare in case they didn’t.

One of my Household members said she would come to help if necessary, and Jason said our neighbor would help too, but he didn’t think it would be necessary. The tenant’s parents were good, solid folks, and he figured they’d show up ahead of time and move him out rather than letting his stuff be put out on the curb. When his mother found out she called my management folks and asked if he was being evicated, and she was told that ‘yes’ he was, so I kept my fingers crossed.

This all makes you want to run right out and invest in rental property, right? LOLOLOL

So, on “Eviction Day” — sounds like a holiday, doesn’t it? — I gritted my teeth, grumbled a lot, and drove into town. I’m afraid I was expecting an afternoon of drudgery, at best, and when I pulled into the street I cringed when I saw three police cars clustered in front of the unit. My first thought was, of course “OMG, the tenant is being a DICK!”, but the good news is that the parents apparently had come through. The unit was empty, and even fairly clean. The tenant’s illegal pit bull had chewed a door frame or two and he had (in my opinion) deliberately broken a closet door, but otherwise it was only food in the frig, and shattered shower knob and some scrapes on walls that could be easily covered since we still had matching paint.

Can I apply for better luck with my next tenant in that unit?

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I am an active, outgoing person interested in all sorts of things and all sorts of people! I'm constantly discovering new interests, and expect that to continue right into the grave!

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