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Rental Nightmare

August 9th, 2009 at 08:26 pm

We had to evict tenants that had been at one of our rentals for more than four years, and it has made me realize I may want to get out of the rental business altogether. We have never had to evict a tenant before and it is a very unpleasant experience even though I am not directly involved. It is especially distressing to me because the tenants had two young children and I feel very badly about the impact on the children.

In June we employed a property manager who is a "no nonsense" type of person. The tenants had been late paying their rent for the last year and a half, but they eventually paid. We even let them pay in two installments to help them but things only continued to deteriorate. Long story short, the tenants were three weeks late in June and did not pay in their July rent, so our manager gave them their three-day notice at the end of July and proceeded to evict them.

What is mind-boggling is that when the manager went to collect the rent, he found a person living there who was not on the lease (she said she was the sister of one of the tenants). This woman told the manager the tenants were on vacation on the Oregon coast. Beats me how you would go on vacation when you haven't even paid the rent. This was the straw that broke the camel's back, so we agreed to the eviction.

Well, the tenants are out and it looks as if we will need the entire month of August and possibly September to get the property rentable again. So far, the house needs new floors throughout, complete painting, major cleaning, and lots of minor repairs. The tenants left tons of garbage and unwanted items, not to mention they lived in filth.

Words cannot describe the stench and the dirt we encountered when we went to see for ourselves today. Their pets (unauthorized) soiled the carpets right down to the sub-floors. This environment is hazardous for children! The once-beautiful back yard is a weed patch and there are oil/grease stains in the garage and driveway.

Believe it or not, this backyard was once pristine and well-manicured with a lush lawn.


This is the sub-floor after the carpets were removed. The stains are from dog urine. The floors have to be treated and sealed before we can replace the carpets. All linoleum also has to be replaced due to gouges.


This is the space next to the refrigerator. The entire house is this dirty.


I am hoping we can get through this nightmare for under $10,000 including the two months of lost rent (assuming we get it rented by September 1). The security deposit will not even cover the cost of hauling the tenant's trash to the dump (broken washer, 12 tires, old CPU, broken desk, dog house, car parts, swing set, toys, etc.). Even if we decide to sell this house, we still have to clean and repair it. We DO NOT need the headache and expense!! To make matters worse, owning rentals gives us no tax advantage due to income limits, so why are we doing this?

12 Responses to “Rental Nightmare”

  1. Mrs Says:


    How simple life would be without tenants!

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I'm so sorry for you. What a loss and what a mess!

  3. fern Says:

    What a mess. I just don't understand how renters can trash a place that way. I rented at one time and i would never do that.

  4. Analise Says:

    Fern, I have no doubt you were a good tenant, just based on your work ethic and your values. And we have had some excellent tenants over the years. But people like these give renters in general a bad rap.

    It's alarming to think children are being raised by parents this irresponsible. Even if they were having financial trouble due to the economy, they still could have kept their house clean.

  5. NJDebbie Says:

    That's pretty bad. I hope you can repair and sell soon. There is really no excuse for living in filth. Growing up my Mom would often tell us "Pobre pero limpia". (Poor, but clean)

  6. monkeymama Says:

    My best friend's parents rented out a house in San Jose for about 25 years and seriously profited $500k on the deal - tax-free in the end. That being said, both parents admit they would NEVER do it again. They only had one couple renting most of those years and they ended up having to evict them (which was a nightmare in itself - it took months). The house had more damage than you described - it was just atrocious. I think they were extra upset because they planned to move in for 2 years to make the deal tax-free. They went through with it but it was very painful for them to live there, since the place became so negative for them. Plus they knew clearly how disgusting it had gotten before they cleaned it up. Anyway, we considered renting out our condo if we had to, but overall, I figure if $500k wasn't worth the hassle, I Wasn't interested. It doesn't help that many of our older relatives rented out their first homes and went through very similar experiences - eviction and tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, etc. I don't see the allure. You do wonder what is wrong with some people!

    I am so sorry you have to deal with all this. Ugh!

  7. baselle Says:

    That's terrible, and it gives us good renters a bad name, making it hard to rent in the future. Sister and her partner even had a squalor issue with a renter renting the upstairs floor of their house 15 years ago.

  8. Ima saver Says:

    I am so sorry you are having to go thru this. When I was younger, I bought 3 rentals and I went thru the very same thing. The houses were all trashed and cost a fortune to repair, even tho my husband did all the work. I sold all 3 for far less than I paid for them. I never want that hassel again.

  9. ceejay74 Says:

    Wow, all these horror stories make me wonder about my husband's rental! It's in the UK and we pay a management company to handle everything, so we don't really have anything to do with it. So far other than paying to replace some stuff (which NT knew was old and about to go anyway) and buying a bed for some new tenants who wanted a bed in there (? whatever), we haven't had any issues. We get about 300 pounds ($450) per month after paying the mortgages and management fees, so we're happy. I never realized how lucky we are that it hasn't been very stressful!

  10. simpleyme Says:

    we have had to clean up a couple times after dirty people , we just rent a dumpster, we have found it does not even take 3 months for dirty people to sully a pristeen property
    the real "funny " part was one renter was given a habitat for humanity house because the house we were renting to her was such a squaller those people can not see its the people not the house that is the problem LOL this squaller of a house wasthe nicest in the neighborhood when we lived in it one year earlier

    I have a property manager and I do not ever meet my tenants i allow the manager to conduct business,I want my rent

  11. Another Reader Says:

    If you had hired the no-nonsense manager four years ago, you probably could have avoided some of this. Rentals should be inspected semi-annually, as tenants invariably fail to change furnace filters or notify you of needed preventative maintenance. A competent property manager will do this. As it is, however, the $10,000 is amortized over four years, so it's really like having an unexpected $200 a month in expenses.

    What you say about losing the tax benefit is not really correct. If your income makes it impossible to take excess losses (hopefully paper losses due to depreciation), the losses accrue and can be used to offset capital gains on sales of these or other rental properties. Ask your accountant how much you have in accrued losses, you will probably be very surprised at how much gain you can shelter.

  12. Jerry Says:

    What a headache! The sad thing is that there is really no insurance that the nicest-seeming tenants won't turn out to be completely irresponsible - even a background check doesn't necessarily lead to security. We have our place rented out to medical students (ONLY medical students), and that has worked out well so far... in general, they are a very conscientious lot and studying all the time, so they can't wreak too much havoc! Good luck in getting it back into shape.
    Jerry

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