“Rental House” update – It keeps getting Weirder

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Yesterday I went by that house where my 3 cars went “missing”. Jeff, Desert Storm Vet, that had been “renting” had moved out about 3/4 of his stuff, but there is a ton of it still there. My experience is if you change the locks when someones stuff is inside, you have broken windows down the road. Anyway, it has been a couple months, so I figured that he probably has taken all wants.

So, I drive up to the house and there are a bunch of people on the porch. A tall white guy, a Hispanic woman, a couple small kids and a City of Topeka guy. I drive around the block and park. The City guy is gone, but everyone else is on the porch. I walk up, introduce myself, and ask if I can help them. They say, “no, we’re renting this house.” I tell them I own the property and that it’s not for rent. They tell me that they are renting it from Jeff. I immediately ask them if they gave him money and they say yes. I inform them that they probably “lost” that money. They said that they had already turned the water on and that they were supposed to move in today. I said I have not had any good experiences with the house and I’m not renting it anymore.

So, I leave and go home. Then I start thinking that a couple months ago, I’d drained all the water and left all the faucets on. So, I need to go back and decided it is also good time to change the locks. I gather up my stuff and drive back over there only to be surprised that their car is still parked in front. The woman is walking up the sidewalk as I park. I follow her up the walk and watch her go into the house. I didn’t think they had an ability to get inside. She sees me and slams the door. I go up and knock. No one answers, so I walk in. The woman asks if she can help me? I think I just stare, not quite understanding what she means.

The guy is on the phone in another room. I listen and he’s ordering cable TV. Then he walks to the room I’m in and asks if he can “help” me. I’m stymied. Then he says, “Steve, right?” I’m thinking, “Shit, am I in the Twilight Zone?” I say something back like, “Yeh, Steve, the same Steve that was here 45 minutes ago and said that the house wasn’t for rent.” Then he starts questioning me about my “relationship” with the house. I explain, once again, that I own the property and that I’m not renting it.

Now there are two Hispanic women here and 4 children, plus the guy. The women start talking in Spanish. It sounds kind of mean. The guy is being a little aggressive and no one is acting like they are leaving. I talk a couple more minutes and it is obvious that they don’t plan on leaving. I finally just say something like, “I can prove I own the house, so maybe the best thing is if I just call the police and they can sort it out.” The women encourage me to call the police, but the guy says something like that won’t be necessary.

I tell them to go a find Jeff and try to get their money back. And to have Jeff call me. Yeh, right. As they are leaving, I’m trying to be cordial. I really didn’t want them pissed off at me and later on down the road, one Friday night, and decide to throw a Malotov cocktail at the house. The guy asks me if he can go in and get their stuff. I say of course. He goes in and brings out a baby crib and a bunch of other stuff.

They leave. Kind of pissed. It is amazing that after talking to them earlier, they were still moving in. Obviously, they didn’t have anywhere to live. But, I had no idea, and still don’t, know what they were thinking. Maybe they’ve done it before. Just move into a place and make the people kick them out. I can’t believe how “lucky” I was going by there in the first place. A few hours later there would have been at least 3 adults and 4 children living there.

So, I go back into the house and realize that the front door lock has been removed. So, Jeff must of went over and used his key and then just taken the lock off so they could get in. I’m not sure why he just didn’t leave the door unlocked.

I guess I’m just going to fix the house up some and try to sell it. It is not in a good neighborhood. And it is not rentable. By that I mean that anyone that is going to pay rent, won’t live there, and the people that would live there won’t ever pay rent. It’s too bad, because it is a very nice house. 100 years old. Hardwood floors. Nice. Or it was nice. It’s kind of beaten up right now, but it could be worse. I’m lucky there aren’t dozens of people living there at this very minute.

Last one out. She was very cute.

11 thoughts on ““Rental House” update – It keeps getting Weirder

  1. Ryan R.

    Man, that’s a bad situation. Get that place out of your hands ASAP. The whole thing seems like a liability, especially if something were to happen to any of the people who are essentially squatting on your property.

  2. WildCat

    Yep, double check the house’s insurance policy/call your agent if needed. And if you know a neighbor close to the house maybe they can keep an eye on things for you a little bit. Also, I don’t know if a city as big as Topeka does this, but when we go on vacation we call and tell the police department. They just let the officers on our beat know that there shouldn’t be any activity at the house for x & y days.

  3. mark

    Definately sell it and get it out of your hair. Owning a house to live in is great. owning a house to use as a profit-generating rental unit is Good. Owning a house for any other reason is not so good, especially for the liability issues.

  4. Jim

    I think I have finally given up on renting. I did it for 20 years, or so, with minimal problems. The last 10 years have be hell. People who destroy things, don’t pay rent, move out in the middle of the night, everything you can imagine. It simply isn’t worth my time. I don’t “need” the money and when I have to rebuild it, I am not getting the money. Too bad people can be such immoral a-holes.

  5. David Henderson

    I wish I could help you with this project. This is exactly the sort of work I do.

    Although I understand you’re highly skilled at this same sort of thing. It just takes a bunch of time and energy, things that we all have limited amounts of.

  6. Sean YD

    This one of those stories where you don’t know if you should laugh or cry. It’s really sad that this family (or group of people) got caught in the middle of it all. Steve, you handled it well by not going off on them.

    Can you imagine the conversation Jeff had with them, “…And someday, this cyclist might show up and tell you it’s HIS house. Just ignore him…”

  7. Dana Hill

    I feel your pain. I have a place that I usually rent to college students or recent grads. I hate it with a passion. Always got every dine that I’m owned, but I have to always be the bad guy just to get what’s mine.

  8. Tommasini53

    In high school I did some rental property “clean outs” for a neighbor that owned some low priced rental units. After using a snow shovel to remove a large pile of used diapers from an apartment I swore I would never own a rental property. I want to thank Mr. McCarthy for the learning experience. I’ve never had to shovel dirty diapers out of a portfolio of mutual funds.

  9. Ken

    Call the police and notify them of the situation and ask them to drive by the property to check on it periodically. I don’t remember if you had filed a police report against Jeff (you should have done so), but that would be important in getting police help if you did.
    Have to say, you have some of the best stories.

  10. Ted Lewandowski

    I would take Jeff to small claims court for taking money under false pretenses and for the back rent that he owes you – very simple and straightforward process.

  11. Jeff

    Wow, ugly situation to be in. Sounds like you are trying to handle it with dignity and not just be ‘The Bad Guy’. Cannot count how many times my old man dragged me out to his rental property (that he inherited) to clean up after some drunk had fallen asleep and overflowed the upstairs tub, or burned up a stove, etc. I was so sick of cleaning up after drunks that by age 12 I knew I never wanted to be a rental-owner. Or a drunk.


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