February 27, 2018 by phicks2012
In the ongoing and moderately entertaining saga of my life as an evil and heartless landlord, it recently transpired that a couple of my poor abused tenants — who had been served 8 times over the past year with eviction papers for non-payment of rent — finally didn’t play catch-up and had to be urged to the curb.
Actually, I don’t like it when we have to evict tenants. I’d much rather they simply pay their rent, take care of their rental units, and play nice, but the whole repeating eviction cycle was getting old in this case, and the lessor (the mother-in-law of the actual occupant and his wife, who probably had her apply for the lease because they wouldn’t have passed a background check) had actually threatened me with Code Enforcement if I didn’t “give” her a front storm door. Funny thing, but when you have a bad attitude, tear up your unit, have an illegal pit bull for which you haven’t paid a pet deposit, and don’t pay your rent until threatened with eviction you might get “necessary repairs”, but you’re just WAY less likely to get “nice presents/improvements” — especially when you (or your quasi-mythical pit bull) are entirely likely to tear them up.
So, in this case, I wasn’t devastated by their departure. Besides, these folks were paying the least rent of any of my tenants, and I was finally going to get a chance to make some improvements and bring the rent up to match that of my other units. Okay, so maybe that sounds mercenary, but this is a business investment, meant to generate needed income.
In any case, we wound up spending two weeks getting the unit ready again for new occupants — replacing door frames (chewed up by that non-existent pit bull they didn’t have), repairing wall damages, replacing trashed window blinds, doing paint touch-ups, replacing a missing doorknob (who removes a closet doorknob anyway?), repairing the storm door (the one in back, NOT the one demanded), repairing bi-fold doors, and arranging to have the doors re-keyed, and the floors re-done, and the unit cleaned and sprayed for insectoid intruders.
But here’s the thing, Jason is a total, card-carrying perfectionist. This is actually a GOOD thing, because he’s simply incapable of doing a half-assed job and is very self-motivated, but it also means that he takes longer to finish jobs because he obsesses on minutae and never wants to stop. Two weeks, and I really thought we were done — but NOOOOOO!
I persuaded him that we could wait on replacing the hall door the tenants took with them (probably because their non-existent dog had destroyed it), but on doing some other things — not so much. For example, the spray attachment on the kitchen sink worked just fine, but wobbled because the bracket holding it upright was broken. Normally that would have been a quick fix. Just replace the bloody thing — only the hose wasn’t attached underneath the sink to the faucet assembly with a screw-on coupling. It was super-glued on, and couldn’t be removed. I have no IDEA what brilliant do-it-yourselfer thought this was “a good idea”, but to fix the spray we were going to have to replace the whole faucet, and that just wasn’t as high a priority as some other things — especially since there was absolutely nothing wrong with the faucet itself, or even with the spray nozzle. Likewise, when new floor covering was put down the tile company didn’t include quarter-round along the shoe molding. It would have been nice to have it, but it would have cost me nearly $400 more to get them to come back (I checked), and even then the wood wouldn’t have been stained to match everything else. Great finishing touch, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary, right?
We could have called it a job, but Jason just couldn’t stand not handling those two remaining things. It was going to drive him straight into OCD Overload and rock his world to walk away, so I heaved a huge sigh, got a new faucet assembly and spray, and picked up two dozen 8′ lengths of quarter-round. He installed the faucet, stained the wood, trimmed out the shoe molding, and took care of everything including replacing the old bathroom light fixture with a new (and much more attractive) one — and yes, all of it looked great. It just tacked on a bit more expense — and another week or so.
To be entirely honest, I’m surprised he didn’t discover some other task just screaming to be done, but we did get out of there eventually, thank God! The rent went up from ridiculously low to reasonable, a new tenant was quickly found (she moved in yesterday 15 minutes after Jason finally decided he’d done enough), and if the number of people who dropped in and interrupted Jason at work to ask about it were any indication the line to rent it had probably reached around the block or slap into the next county — so there should have been a good selection and hopefully a good chance of her being a good tenant. The word is, she LOVED the place when she saw it, and that was PRIOR to the quarter-round and that new bathroom light fixture.
Back aching, but Fingers Crossed!!!!