Thursday, August 20, 2009

Renters, Sympathy, and Media

I recently was reading a local newspaper article about the closure of a complex of low income housing. The place definitely had problems. However, they interviewed one of my former renters and portrayed her very sympathetically.

That renter and I had come to an agreement with me regarding our mutual need for her and her family to move out. She owed me money. She had a history of falling behind and catching up, but her behavior had become erratic, and her husband was no longer working. She 'fell' at work and had a black eye. The list goes on.

She moved out peacefully enough and we avoided the eviction process. She moved from a 3 bedroom duplex to what I heard was a 1 bedroom apartment and went from a rent of $660 to an alleged rent of $575.

I was left with a place that required a remodel. She hadn't vacuumed in the 3 years she was there. She had dogs, and several children who weren't much help around the house (along with the husband).

So Below are some examples of the move-out pictures. The first is the layer of grease caked on top of the stove hood, along with the 4" putty knife I was using to scrape it off.

The next photo is a picture of the stove knows and the underside. The stove knobs and front were scrubbed with cleanser until most of the lettering came off. The underside and burners hadn't been cleaned at all. In fact, grease had accumulated to the bottom of the burners. I cleaned much of it out by hand, then took the stove to a car wash and spent $15 in quarters with a high pressure grease remover and still didn't get it all off. I ended up scrapping the stove along with a broken washing machine that got left behind.
Then there's the broken toilet and the scraped up linoleum in the kitchen. Some broken electronics and windows were also left behind. I haven't determined whether I actually came out ahead after 3 years of renting, as it cost me a few thousand to remodel and repair, and she was a few months behind by the time she left.

This is, perhaps, nothing more than a warning for those who are sympathetic to a sob story. Most of the twelve years I've been a landlord have shown that most people with a really long run of "bad luck" have been the cause of it. I have quite a few more pictures, as I photograph or video all move-outs, but those can wait for another post. This was salient due to the nature of the article I read. These are not the worst move-outs I have cleaned out. I have myself to blame on most of them, poor management skills on my part.

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