Rent: Tales From the Dark Side

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June 10, 2016 by phicks2012

Old CottageJust in case anyone is a total glutton for punishment, and might be wondering about my former references to my “Tenant From Hell”, Brace yourself. Here goes.

She moved in at 8PM on a Monday in early May. On Tuesday morning she started deluging my rental agents with photos of supposed “issues” — mostly things like a little sheet rock dust on a window sill, a small bit of fiberboard (from a repair and about the size of a French fry) lying inside the dishwasher (this constituted, in her reality, the appliance being “disgustingly filthy”), a dimple in a wall, and some dust and minor detritus in the back corner of a closet next to the hot water heater. However, she also claimed that she had no hot water or heat, that the refrigerator didn’t work, that the stove didn’t work, and that she hadn’t slept the night before because roaches and spiders had been “crawling all over her”. D.T.s?

Let me start by saying that I’d personally sprayed the unit three times during renovations, and had never seen a bug, nor have I yet. Both the stove and the refrigerator had been checked out, and both had been working before she moved in.

Both Jason and I and the rep from the assistance agency helping the tenant out with her first month’s rent had checked the appliances prior to her move-in, and the burners on the stove had all been working, so she did this damage herself for some unknown reason by cutting the wires to the burners. As for the heat and the hot water….well, they both rely upon actually turning the gas on.

In any case, Jason and I went over there in good faith to check everything out, and were immediately confronted with a hostile, rude woman with no intention whatsoever of working with us, and absolutely no appreciation of what we were trying to do.

When we arrived, we checked the gas meter, and found it still locked. When I tried to explain to the tenant that her heat and hot water weren’t working because she hadn’t had the gas turned on yet, she glowered and snapped at me that there was no excuse for that because she’d paid for it and expected it to be done — oh, and she made it abundantly clear that she thought it was my responsibility and my fault. I tried to explain to her that getting the gas turned on was a matter between the tenant and the gas company, but she barked that she didn’t care because she wasn’t staying in the unit another day, added some angry and disparaging comments, and informed me that she was taking her things and leaving!! Like the unit was a total Hell-hole!

Doesn’t everyone know that you have to turn on your own utilities? Obviously not.

Despite this, we went into the kitchen to have a look at the appliances, and found the refrigerator running with both doors wide open. The inside was cool to the touch, but all of the brackets on the door shelves were missing and with the doors open it was hard to tell how cold it would otherwise have been. It had been cold the last time I’d checked it, by the way. Also, running it with the doors open was likely to burn out the compressor, so if nothing was wrong BEFORE she was likely to have CAUSED problems even ASIDE from removing the door shelf brackets.

As for the range, as I said earlier the wires to the burners had been cut. That’s right, CUT, and the cutting appeared to be fresh. I started to explain to her that the wires were cut, and that once we’d repaired them the burners would work, but she repeated angrily that she didn’t care and was not staying another night in that place, yelled a bit more, and then stalked out with her nose in the air and a sneer. Lovely person.

Jason said that he could repair the wiring in just a few minutes, but he really doesn’t deal well with nasty people and said that she was already working on his last nerve. He informed me that if he stayed to work on the stove he was apt to snap back at her, and that would only have given her further excuse to snarl, therefore he said he needed to leave before she provoked him any further. I had to agree. He was going to walk out in any case, and he said he’d go back and fix the wiring once she was gone. However, he said he would not deal with her and with her horrible attitude. Hard to blame him, really.

When we left she was outside talking angrily into a cellphone, and I nodded at her when leaving, but I saw no reason to further engage in conversation with a person determined to be rude, abrasive, unpleasant and hostile, and who had already, by her own word, determined to move out anyway.

She then lied to my management folks, calling them and telling them we walked in without speaking to her, glanced at the stove, and walked out, slamming the door and not fixing anything — oh, and she also claimed to have called Code Enforcement. All this within 24 hours of moving in.

My property manager -_ and there had also been some rudeness aimed in her direction — said she’d take care of it, and I told her if the tenant really planned to leave to let her, because I had no interest in dealing with a person like that.

So what happened? The tenant stayed (for a day or so anyway). Code Enforcement visited, but didn’t buy her line of bull. They listed only four minor things to be fixed (putting on an outlet cover, repairing a hole we hadn’t noticed inside a closet, replacing a working (but inefficient) flushing mechanism in the toilet, and repairing the cut wires in the range). No mention of the refrigerator or of bugs, by the way, and NO expectation that I should, for any reason, turn on the gas myself or clean up every molecule of sheet rock dust.

I told my manager to watch this tenant, and to be careful. As for me, I had no intention of ever interacting personally with her again. I figured I could do without CRAZY, and I pegged her as the sort of person to level accusations at anyone who went by — as an excuse not to pay rent. I also told Pat to have some of her own guys go by to make the minor repairs listed by Code Enforcement.

As it turned out, when those workmen went to the unit the TFH refused to let them in — and then abandoned the unit as soon as she actually had to pay rent herself. She didn’t turn in the keys, so we had to change all of the locks again, and she left a mattress behind, but I was thrilled to have her GONE!

We had to do the above mentioned repairs ourselves, and clean the unit again, and repair a hole she put in the bedroom wall, but this time it took about four hours rather than a month, so the relief was palpable.

I’m PRAYING for a good tenant this time!!! Send good vibes!!!


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