A tenant moves out and I am amazed by the way some people live.
She was not the perfect tenant. She often paid her rent late and always seemed to have some excuse involving a health problem. Yet there was a brand new car in her driveway this year, a hot tub in the backyard, and I often saw her going into the tanning salon. Obviously, her priorities were screwed up.
But she never complained about things being broken or asked us to come fix something for her. There may be two reasons for this, as I learned yesterday. Either she never used anything (like the stove) or she had everything fixed herself, just so I wouldn’t have to come into the house.
I didn’t bother her. I’m not the kind of person to snoop on my tenants. They have their lives, I have mine. Pay rent on time and I’ll leave you alone. Pay rent late and I’ll charge a late fee and leave you alone. I got a lot of late fees out of Lisa. But probably not enough to cover the damage she did to my house.
The house is a two bedroom, two bath house that shares a triple lot with a small apartment building I also own. (The apartment building contains four fully furnished studios.) It’s actually quite a nice little house, with a big, long room that comprises the living room, dining area, and kitchen and two smaller rooms, each with their own bath. The kitchen is full of cabinets and has a nice pantry. I didn’t recall there being a dishwasher, but yesterday I saw a portable dishwasher rolled to one side.
Lisa and her teenage son and their dog(s) trashed the place. First of all, it appears that either Lisa didn’t own a vacuum cleaner or she didn’t know how to use one. I’ve never seen dust bunnies as large as the ones on that living room carpet. But it doesn’t really matter that much. Their dog(s) had done a real number on the carpet. Evidently Lisa decided to keep the backyard clean by letting her dog shit in the house. On the carpet. Although the carpet hadn’t been in great condition when she moved in, at least it was clean. Now it’s ready for the trash heap. And the house reeks of animal smell. Fortunately, the kitchen floor, which I’d replaced before she moved in, survived her abuse. The back bedroom’s carpet, which was also new when she moved in three and a half years ago, may be salvageable. It depends on how often the dog visited Lisa’s son.
Lisa’s son is obviously a decorator-in-training. He gave each wall in his bedroom a different paint scheme. The big wall is now a black and white checkerboard, with squares about 12 inches on each side. The back wall is painted dark red with playing cards tacked up onto it. And the other big wall looks as if it were the victim of an experiment with squeeze bottles of paint. Oh, and I almost forgot about the shiny CDs tacked neatly onto the entire ceiling. They also neglected to remove much of their kitchen trash. The pantry is half full of food and garbage. The cabinets have McDonald’s catsup packets and related fast-food paraphernalia in them. The refrigerator is partially stocked with groceries.
My cleaning woman, who is due to arrive at the house at 8 AM today, will probably have a heart attack and die on the spot when she sees the mess she faces. The carpet cleaning guy already told me there isn’t much he can do. The painter will have a good laugh over the checkerboard, right before telling me that it’ll need three coats of paint to cover up. And I’m just praying that the place isn’t as big as it looks when the carpet replacement people come to measure. The cheapest carpet available in town is $17.50 per yard installed.
And Lisa? Disappeared. She left no forwarding address; I’m sure she realizes she’ll never see a cent of her security deposit. I’ll make a half-hearted attempt to track her down and get a small claims court case going against her. Then, with judgment in hand, I’ll wait on line behind the dozens of other people she owes money to, including the phone company, which turned off her phone last month, and the Town of Wickenburg, who was ready to turn off her electricity this week. And maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get the court to garnish her wages — if she ever gets a job — so I can see some of the money I’ll be pouring into that house this month.
If anyone in Wickenburg is reading this and knows who I’m talking about, you obviously know Lisa. But if there are any landlords in Wickenburg who are wondering just who this nightmare tenant is, call me and I’ll give you a full name. People like this don’t belong in Wickenburg and we should consider it our duty to keep them out.
But then again, how often did Lisa use one of the town’s two cash advance businesses to get up the cash to pay her rent? And what does that say about Wickenburg?