Friday, January 9, 2009

My Tenants Are Gone....Finally!

All I can say is...Wow. I didn't receive a call from my tenants last night so I eagerly raced over to reclaim my house this morning. Now I know why they didn't call me last night...they wanted to be long-gone when I finally saw the place. The first thing I did was open the garage door. This is what greeted me:

Ok, I thought, maybe they just put all their trash in the garage. Then I walked inside and was greeted by a particular smell...air freshener that pot??? I looked at one bedroom, then another, all of them full of junk and trash.

The kitchen is a mess. Food is rotting in the fridge.

As I walked farther in the marijuana smell got stronger. And then I found the source. Looks like somebody had a little going away party in the master bedroom sink.

The backyard is also full of trash and in need of a good pruning.

They even left their aquarium full of fish!

They took the important things...their drugs and their big screen TV. I was prepared for the possibility that they might steal some of my furniture but I never expected them to leave so much stuff behind!

The first thing I did after I found the pot was to call the police. The dispatcher said that they don't send an officer out for vandalism but when I mentioned that there was something that looked and smelled like pot then she said she would send someone out...sometime. It took 2 hours which is fine because it wasn't an emergency. I was much calmer by then (maybe from the fumes?) and glad to have someone else there to witness the disaster. The officer decided that there might be enough evidence to suggest that they were dealing so he wrote up a report and had another officer take photos of the bathroom. They also found pot magazines (I didn't know there was such a thing) and a scale that could have been used for drugs. I am glad that there will be a report in the system with their name on it.

I also found out that I am obligated to store my tenant's stuff. That really adds insult to injury. I have to send them a letter stating that their stuff will be thrown away or sold in 10 days. Unfortunately, my next tenants show up in 8 days so I have to move their stuff to storage (probably to my other garage). They even left a car. I'll have to tow it and then I don't know what I will do with it. And where am I going to put the aquarium???

Well, anyway, the first step is finished. I had the locks changed for a whopping $250. Having to do stuff in a hurry really makes it hard to shop around and save money. Tomorrow, bright and early, I am going back to the house to sort trash from tenant treasure. I have hired 2 guys to trim the trees, clean up the yard and haul trash to the dump. Some ladies are helping me sort and clean. When all the junk is gone I will have the carpets and couches cleaned. Maybe then it will start to look (and smell) like my house again.


moocifer said...

Wow! I'm glad you got your place back without too much hassle. I'm glad that you were able to reclaim it on time (relatively) and can now move forward.

Daizy said...

Absolutely! Moving forward is a wonderful feeling after so much stagnation (like the poor fish trapped in the green tank) :(

Over the Cubicle Wall said...


I can't believe you are so calm after walking into that. Did you say earlier that they had children living with them? Unbelievable.

I have so many rash thoughts on what I would do with the stuff they left behind, but following the letter of the law is undoubtedly the wise move.

I hope you can get it all back to normal. It looks like it will take some work, but it is doable. Everything is superficial type damage I hope.

A friend in college managed some rental properties for an out of town owner. He went to check on one in the middle of the winter. The gas and electric had been disconnected for non-payment, and the tenants had burned all the cabinets, doors, baseboards, etc for heat in the fireplace. They were just starting to break into the interior walls to get at the wood there when he went out.

I refrained from telling that story until now, because I figured you had enough to worry about. Anyway, at least your situation isn't that bad. But wow.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you - well not the mess, but that they are finally gone.

Daizy said...

Over the Cubicle Wall, my boss told me a story about his father's tenants who were raising chickens in the living room, pigs in the basement and when the toilet plugged up, they used the bathtub as a toilet. My boss thought that anything would be better then that.
I am happy because I have the house back and I can fix things. I was close to tears when I called the police but it was just from the initial shock. I am glad there isn't too much damage. One interior door has to be replaced because someone kicked a hole in it. The screen is off the sliding door, the folding door is off it's track, the smoke detector is missing. Hopefully I can de-stink the fridge. I had to clean the house once before when it was trashed, not this bad but it was bad from cigars and funky food and trash. That was from some short term tenants from Morocco. I was able to make it look new again. I am hoping I can do the same thing again. I had planned on needing to fix some things so I have a little bit of money set aside. That definitely helps.

Daizy said...

Anonymous, and I don't think I will ever hear from them again which is fine with me. I called both of their numbers today and they didn't answer and didn't call me back. Hmmmm...all of a sudden they don't want to talk any more:) Good riddance.

Daizy said...

Oh and yes they had 2 little kids. The neighbor told me Child Protective Services had knocked on her door looking for my tenants a few weeks ago.

The police made the same do people live like this? I guess being stoned is more important than cleanliness.

Anonymous said...

Wow Daizy that is a big mess but at least they are gone. A few dump runs and some time with a shop vac and sponges will make a big difference. If you list the car for free on craigslist, someone will come pick it up.

I caught a potential tenant for my house in a lie today. He listed the "property manager" of his previous rental on his application. I called and he gave a glowing review of the tenant, saying he would rent to him again in a heartbeat. Then I looked up the home's owner on the county tax assesor's website, found her in the white pages, and called her. She told me there was no property manager, the tenant had left holes in the walls, trashed the place, didn't always pay the rent, and she was taking them to court. The moral to the story is do your homework, not everyone is honest like you and I. I almost fell for that one and would have surely regretted it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so pleased for you that they've gone, but OH MY GOSH your house. Never mind it'll soon clean up and the main thing is that they're out of there :)

Lizzie @ her homeworld said...

So glad they have gone Daizy but my god, what a state. Maybe any future rental agreements should have you pick up the rent in cash from them each week, so you can see the place. Did they have references? Hope you can sell their stuff (break up the 'spare' car and sell it for parts?)for enough to at least cover a bit of the cost. Unbeleivable. Do you know where they have gone? Dont forget about small claims court. You might be able to get direct deductions from their benefits/welfare. You certainly have plenty of evidence.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

You exude such a positive energy about this situation! The law of attraction will work for you - positive things will present themselves due to it. Good luck with your next tennants.

Sharon S said...

Hi Daizy-oh poor you, what nasty people! I'm soo pleased you have your house back finally and that you filed a police report too. Best of luck wading through the clearing up my dear, take care.

MW said...

OMG--you are one strong woman, Daisy. I think I would have been moved to violence!

Very relieved you got your house back. I believe in Karma so they will get what's coming to them. I feel bad for their children.

Anonymous said...

When all the dust settles file for small claims. You'll win for sure, it's just a formality.

Looks like you are the right track with quick action instead of panic and grief.

No offense, but it does appear that you hadn't read your ex-tenants properly. It's a knack you develop with time. You may also want to read up on body language, as I find this the most useful tool when screening tenants. It works even better then references or anything else.

I also ask lots and lots of weird questions and really get a sense of them.

Incidentally, a group came to look at a rental I had last night. I didn't even give them the time of day since I read them on the phone. The guy was too casual, calling me man and see you then bud. That's not a professional business relationship and he clearly didn't respect my authority.

It was an open house. Sure enough it was 5 college guys and the leader was stoned on drugs. I scooted them through and gave them a kick in the draws. No need to have that in my house.

Be up front with your deal breakers in the new tenancy. Ask them if they smoke drugs and will leave a mess. How they answer will tell you a lot.

I sometimes ask my students how much they drink and if I can come to their parties. I keep it relaxed and they loosen up so I can get to know them fast. I don't rent to people that open up that quickly. I want professional people (who can still have a good time).

Anyway, congrats, and git 'er done!

Money Minder said...

I feel bad for the mess you have to clean up.

I feel sorrier for your former tenants'children. Those poor kids. It's a crime to make kids live like that.

At least it's all cosmetic damage. It could have been worse, I suppose.

Wear lots of protective gear (mask, gloves, etc) 'cause you never know what else you're going to find in that mess.

Shuchong said...

I would be freaking out really, really bad. How is Child Protective Services letting them raise children in conditions like that? And now you have to clean it all up?!?

All I can say is, vinegar, baking soda, and lysol make great cleaners. Lysol can get nasty smells out of most things, which it looks like you may need.

Stay strong!

Living Creekside said...

What a mess WoW....Glad you have them out of there...I love that you called the cops stupid druggies LOL..
I just don't get how some people live... Drugs are evil....

Here in my town there are numbers on craigslist for people that will come pick up broken cars and tow them away for free and sometimes will even pay you a few bucks...If people do that there, maybe you can have it scheduled to be picked up on day 10...I agree with Previous Posters to wear gloves and be extra cautious while cleaning up, you never know what else they may have been doing in the way of drugs, so needles could be anywhere...

Sallie's Niece said...

Oh Daizy that's so terrible, I'm sorry this happened to you! If I was nearby I would come help you clean! But at least they're gone and you can move forward now. Good luck! Take pictures of everything and maybe try filing an insurance claim.

moocifer said...

I would suggest not storing their stuff in your other garage unless you want to deal with them in person on your property again. Rent a storage unit for one month and put it there. If they want to claim their stuff they can. If not, you can either get rid of the stuff yourself or the storage company may want to include it in their monthly auction of stuff if you ask them.

I would consider the $40 rental fee money well-spent. It's part of the cost of doing business as a landlord.