Monday, December 03, 2007

Why I Didn't Write Last Week: The Mobile Home

As most of you recall, I had a nightmare tenant who had been a former friend. When she was evicted (read more about that decision here), she left destruction behind. I've had to hire two people and the three of us have been working on fixing the entire wreck.

Here are some pictures of what she and her son did (I'll be posting the 'after' photos when we're finished). I made them to document her destruction for court, but the notes are specifically addressed to her. This is the Augean Stables, trust me.

The funny thing is that I had never wanted to be a landlord. This was supposed to be only temporary, and I was helping a friend out. As my grandmother always said, no good deed goes unpunished.

The mobile home park management says they’ve brought this repeatedly to her attention. From the way the glass lies, it is apparent that it was broken from within the home. Shards are laying about outside.

Here are a couple shots of the brand-new carpet which had been installed for her. Please note that these pictures are easily enlarged and do illustrate what she already knows to be true: This is a true mess that will need to be steam-cleaned. Potentially, the carpet may be ruined because we cannot be sure if that long black stain can be cleaned, as we don’t know what it consists of. Due to the state of the carport, I’m sure it’s possible that it’s motor oil.

Here an entire kitchen cabinet door has been ripped off and is nowhere to be found. I have been forced to go buy 4 doors to replace these doors, as it is impossible to find another door that will match the original three.

These holes are not due to termites, as my pest control experts could testify. They’re due to someone having applied tape to the ceiling in places. In other places, it’s just obviously been picked at. Because both Mom and son were on drugs, it was probably done while they were high and sketchy.

Now we come to the new closet which had been installed for her in the living room (she 'needed' more storage space). Apparently someone had gone inside the closet and exerted a great amount of force outwards, resulting in the entire wall being pulled away. Seams were ripped open, and cracks were evident. A hole was punched into the base of the closet.

Now we come to the satanic (and just strange) drawings which occupy one of the panels in the bedroom. Again, this was freshly painted before she moved in and we had a discussion about her son drawing on the walls. This discussion didn’t prevent him from sticking up rock bands, sexually explicit lyrics, and satanic pictures on another panel in there, however, as the next picture shows.

Incidentally, many of the brand new knobs were ripped off, and one was dented and mangled beyond use. I will now have to purchase new knobs and hardware to replace what has been lost.

Here’s a shot of some of the garbage which she left behind. This is only what was between the refrigerator and kitchen counter…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So what does this filthy refrigerator say? The lady who is cleaning the place gagged over this one.

As I told her... thanks for the used toilet paper wadded up on the toilet paper dispenser. That was a particularly nasty surprise.


M@ said...

I have never heard of such stringent community standards for a trailer park! Don't tell me there's a local ordinance from drinking cans of Bud Light in your truck parked out front.

Saur♥Kraut said...

m@, :D Yeah, the city is very concerned about trailers at this time and are on a campaign to clean up the streets - get rid of junkies and dealers, beautify everything (put in palms, lights, medians, etc.) and this particular park has raised their standards a great deal in the last year or so.

kathleen said...

Feel for you, Saur. I have seen this and much worse. I know that doesn't help you, but the business of landlords is not for sissys.

Hope things get better from here.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gator, I realized I'd put in a photo I didn't want in there, so I removed it and your comment just so I don't have to deal with any MORE weirdos than I have to. :D Thanks for pointing it out. Yeah, I do attract the nutjobs, I guess. My New Year's Resolution is No More Fruitcakes. I AM thankful for the education, however. I've learned something: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. I will modify my behavior in the future.

Kathleen, true enough, but this is something I did out of charity, and I had NEVER wanted to be a landlord. She needed a place to stay, and this was SUPPOSED to be a rent-to-own situation where I was merely helping her out so that she could finally own her own home that she could then turn around and resell, yada yada yada. I've lost a FORTUNE due to this.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Now you know why I will never be a landlord. You are lucky the aluminum siding is still there, crack heads have been known to rip that off and recycle it for a few bucks. What photo was deleted?

Ed Abbey said...

As someone who has been around renters for quite awhile, I would say all that is par for the course. Fix it and sell the trailer is my advice.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Ed, I've had some people suggest that I just continue to rent it and recoup the losses, because after about 10 months, I'll be making a profit. I don't know... What are your thoughts?

Lazy, yeah, the neighborhood was never a great one there. I've never lived in a mobile home, so I have little experience with them, but I had a great aunt that lived in one once and it seemed very nice. However, that was a 55+ retirement area. These types of parks apparently attract lowlifes (with some exceptions). I didn't know MY then-friend was an addict and I don't know if her addiction got worse while she was there, though I suspect it did. Apparently her son has quite a reputation of being a nasty piece of goods (which we suspected all along). So when you get a bad reputation in a place like THAT, you KNOW you're a loser.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - I would not want to rent the place out. You could, and you may get back some of your losses - or you could be going through the same thing next year.

If you sell it - then you are done forever. No more tenants, no more problems. No more used toilet paper. No more hurricane season owning a mobile home.

The Lazy Iguana said...

By the way - better to have track marks on the carpet than SKID MARKS!!! Anyone who would leave used toilet paper behind could have been capable of leaving skid marks too.

My dad was renting out my grandmother's Miami home after she died. I came to the conclusion that being a landlord sucked ass when I was up on the roof at 3 AM with a plumbing snake because someone flushed an inappropriate object down the toilet - and of course they then ran all the faucets, the shower, and flushed the toilet over and over so EVERYTHING was overflowing. It was either draft me to fix the mess OR call the 24 hour emergency plumber. As it turns out, I was cheaper than the 24 hour emergency plumber. And the people were not paying all the rent as it was - but my dad was too nice and would not evict anyone. Multiple cars were parked on the lawn all leaking oil. Of course the grass did not like this.

So.....guess who got to help re-sod the lawn! Oh that was so much fun. And did I mention that the people neglected to mow the lawn? I think I did. So I got to do that too. I so love mowing the lawn and trimming the cherry hedge that is 10 feet tall so I need a ladder and it is August and hot as hell on a bad day.

So yea, the day of the closing when the house was officially sold was a good day.


Saur said...

Lazy, you definately have me convinced. :P

Kathleen said...

Saur, just to add a thought to Lazy's comments ... the key to having a decent experience is to screen your tenants. I don't just mean credit, but for evictions and criminal records. The best strategy for nearly assuring little damage is to do a home visit prior to lease signing. If they are a mess, you will know after a home visit. Also, get as much money up front ... first, last and security. That way if you have to evict for non-payment you have a month worth of rent to tide you over. If there is damage, the security will help with the repairs. Further, people who have that type of investment usually feel a more vested interest in doing the right thing. Good luck whatever you decide.

Some lessons are really painful.

Anonymous said...

My family has done a lot with renting, my parents and their parents all owned their own business, so bought rental properties for their retirement funds. I have to say I know my parents have had no serious negative experiences with any of their renters. They also screen very well and if my Mom gets a bad feeling from someone she will not rent to them. I have to second the thought that you just need to screen your tenants. My grandparents have about 5 rental houses, with lord knows how many apartments, so they have had a few bad eggs, but overall they screen well enough that its not much of a problem.

Of course the biggest thing to keep in mind is your rights as a landlord and when it is time to evict someone, to go ahead with it and not deal with a mess, such as the one lazy had to deal with.

Just my thoughts...


Ed Abbey said...

Yeah pretty much what Lazy said. Renters are nomadic by nature and thus don't stay in one spot for long. Plus they don't care about damage for this reason and most just write off their damage deposit anyway. My parents are farmers and over the years have rented various farmhouses on land they have bought. Out of say around 40 different tenants they have had, I would say less than a handful left with a happy conclusion. Stiffing my parents on the rent was the most common outcome but leaving broken dirty stuff behind also happened more than we liked. One tenant apparently rewired the whole basement and left his growing lights for his marijuana operation. Gradually my job was to salvage what was left of the houses and they were pushed in and burned because in ten years or renting, they were absolutely worthless and more of a liability risk to insure than what they were worth in income. I have come to believe that the only way to succeed in renting is to cater to an more upscale crowd and that doesn't probably include trailer parks.

Best of luck.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Nothing I say will make it better or worse. I just wish you the best in straightening out the mess. One of my favorite sayings "No good deed goes unpunished" . I wish I had it in me to get the message.

Emma Sometimes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Sometimes said...

oh, yuck saur,
this is disgusting and I've done property management (and have seen it all, believe me. At least there was no mold in the freezer.)

When you do go to court, just an fyi, don't write on your pictures indicating damage. It's considered leading and the photos could possibly be thrown out of the case.

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with used toilet paper. Economy is in the toilet, but we gotta manage!