Oh, where to begin. I had just taken on the biggest responsibility of my life. A house…with a tenant…over 1,000 miles away from where I live…0 experience in Real Estate. Let’s go.
I’ll start with…
The Tenant From Hell:
* The details in this story can be confusing, there was a lot going on to keep up with and there was definitely some behind the scene details I did not know. I am telling this story with the information I have and any information I received from other sources such as my dad, my family, the courts, the police, etc. You’ve been warned. *
I remember speaking to my dad on the phone about his house in South Carolina. Originally, when he bought it, he was living there and he was happy. However, some where down the road and for reasons I don’t understand, he decided to rent it out to this lady who he claimed was a “friend” of his.
I say “friend” in quotes because a FRIEND, by definition, is “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. (Thanks) To simplify, it’s someone you have a relationship with because you like them and/or care about them. You know, a friend?
Anyways…this “friend” also had a boyfriend along with 4 children. One of the children was allegedly sick and would often receive special care from the (amazing) hospitals in Boston. This lady was not employed, only her boyfriend worked and provided for the family so you can imagine money was tight, especially with the excess medical bills.
The family lived there for months and months. That also means months and months of rent were expected to be paid. Key word…expected.
If you knew my dad, then you knew he was a very generous and giving man. Give, give give, never take. So, it wasn’t surprising to learn that he was helping this woman out…not only by giving her and her family a place to stay BUT also even giving her extra money when she “needed” it. I personally believe that it was this exact kindness that lead to him being taken advantage of. Shocker, there are bad people in this world.
Allow me to explain…
At first, the rent wasn’t being paid on time and he was okay with it due to the circumstances. He let it slide. Then, he sadly found out that not only was it NOT being paid on time but it wasn’t being paid at all. He continued to let it slide…because of the circumstances.
Apparently the tenant, the mother of these children, had drug problems in the past but claimed she was over those days, she had become sober. Well that’s a bold claim when you make a phone call at 4 in the morning wide awake and looking for drugs. This marked the down turn in their relationship.
After receiving this call, my dad of course became skeptical. A few days later, she claimed that her and her daughter would be flying to Boston for one of their “special care trips”. Guess who asked for more money? My dad played along for a little but then politely declined. So, unknowingly to them, he stopped by the house during these days she would be gone and guess what he found when he did? Let’s just say there was only one type of trip she was on….if you catch my drift…hint…it was not a flight to Boston.
Again, all of this is true based on what I was told. My dad would often stay in contact with me and provide me with updates.
Sadly, this situation was never resolved and upon his passing it became my problem. My headache. My tenant…to evict.
Imagine hearing about this horrible woman who lies, steals money and deceives good and honest people…your own father. AND as the icing on top, this is a person who you have never even met in your entire life. Their existence to you was meaningless up until a few months ago.
All of this chaos is going on in another state which at this point feels like a reality show in a different universe. This lady and her family probably thought they caught a break with my dad’s passing, but, I can assure you they were sorely wrong.
I (with the much needed help of family) spent the next few weeks speaking to a lawyer who had already known my father and who was sorry to hear about his passing. He also happened to know the tenant as she seems to have this infamous reputation in the area and he wanted to help take her down… I think we picked the right guy for the job 😉
Things were finally starting to go our way! One of the first steps for filing an eviction is to provide paperwork to the courts, basically telling them why you are evicting. In this case, lack of rent. The next step is to serve written notice to the tenant. A hired professional delivered the message right to her doorsteps. BOOM. In your face! Lawyered! What’s next? Bring it on.
Unfortunately, but such is the legal system, the tenant has the option to fight the eviction which requires a court hearing. Well, I thought it would be simple enough to have my lawyer represent me in court and take care of the matter…but I was wrong and she, of course, decided to take her chances in court.
So, it was time for me to pack my bags, meet with my lawyer, and finish this off in court once and for all. I was nervous as heck but I knew it needed to be done. I had to be strong for me, for my family, and most importantly for my dad.
…and that’s when the unthinkable happened…