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Property Management: Never a Dull Moment

Updated on October 11, 2014

Never a dull moment

Managing rental properties is one of those jobs that result in there never being a dull moment. We were managing a property for a number of years before selling it, and at one point had a tenant that, to say the least, had some issues… These tenants had called us saying the back door had been damaged by an attempted break in. I went to the property to see the damage, and sure enough, the door had been dented (it was a metal door) in and around the door knob… I asked the tenant if they had filed a police report, and they said they had but had not yet received a copy of the police report. The tenant also said that he would repair the door on his own. We agreed.

The notion that he would fix the door seemed a bit at odds with the idea that it was vandalism that had caused it, but I let that go. A month later, the tenant informed me that they would be leaving at the end of the lease term, two months later. I acknowledged this in writing, as per the law and the lease terms.

Fast forward to their move out inspection.

The tenant did not pay his last month rent, and said he would be using the security deposit to cover that. This of course is illegal, but to get a court to enforce it would take months, and in any event, we would likely not be the winner of that case, given the way the courts rule in favor of tenants the vast majority of the time.

When we arrived for the inspection, the door was in even worse condition than when we first saw it. The damages to the house totaled about $18 less than the security deposit, including the door repair.

Like hitting a brick wall

Talking to this tenant, who became belligerent, was like talking to a brick wall.
Talking to this tenant, who became belligerent, was like talking to a brick wall. | Source

Taking a stab at the cause for the damaged door...

Tenant again tells us that the door issue was not his fault, and that we should get it paid for by our insurance. I of course asked if he had filed that police report, as he previously said he had. He said he had not. This means even if it was not his fault, we could not file for an insurance claim.

Later that day I went to the police department and asked if there had been any calls or complaints in regard to this property around the time of the damage. The clerk came back saying yes, indeed there was, but that it had nothing to do with vandalism. The neighbor next door had called the police to complain that they had heard loud yelling and saw the husband pounding on the back door with a large piece of 2 x 4. When the police arrived, they found the husband still there, still pounding on the door. He was bleeding from the shoulder. The police put him into the police car and called for back up. When the police entered the house they found the wife, stabbed in the neck, running around very angry, bleeding, and a serrated knife lying on the floor of the bathroom.

Both domestic violence charges and assault charges were filed by the police against both the wife and the husband, although neither wanted to press charges.

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Just a minor dispute?

A few weeks later, the tenant called me insisting I return his security deposit. This guy had not paid the rent for his final month, had nearly the total amount of the security deposit in damages, and still owed a water/sewer bill. He again complained that the door was not his fault, insisting that we should file an insurance claim to cover the damages. I looked at him quite incredulously, and told him that I had spoken to the police about it. His face dropped into a stupor of sorts, with him suddenly changing his tune. He said he was embarrassed… Embarrassed? I was close to irate, but remained at least outwardly calm. My wife jumped into the conversation, trying to me as sedate as she could.

Then the tenant shouts very loudly that he now knows why we have the rent sent to a PO Box: namely so that he cant find us and come looking for us… I said of course he could find us, as our street address was on his lease as well as the PO Box and that if he wanted to come confront us in our offices, he could. I added that we would have the police there waiting for him.

He never came to our offices, but later was found to have killed his child and nearly his wife as well ... he is now serving life in jail.

There is not one dull moment in property management…

What is left of this house? (just kidding)

This guy was a pillar of society, in his own somewhat twisted mind.
This guy was a pillar of society, in his own somewhat twisted mind. | Source

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