Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Accidental Landlady

Handiwork of my undesired tenant. This is his 'bedroom'. He liked to be surrounded by his possessions like the rat that he is. Photo taken on eviction day. Not seen are the syringes and bloody pads strewn all over the place from the tenant being diabetic. The bailiff declared it medical waste meaning more money needed. His crew said that only one crack house was more disgusting and filthy than this place. How did this come to be? Read below...

So now I will be a landlady again; I do have some experience in this.  It was a big surprise to me that my relationship with this cockroach of a person was legally classified as landlord-tenant: not property conservator-trespasser if I had to guess. My lawyer informed me if I wanted this squatter gone, I would need to go to court to evict him. Furthermore, I was not to do anything like cut off utilities or change the locks as that would be some violation of his tenant rights. This can't be possibly true!!! Steve immediately went to get a second opinion from the company- paid lawyer who agreed with my lawyer. Also, added bonus; I was  legally responsible for his behavior. This man did not believe in car insurance or registering his vehicles with the state. He left them parked in my mother's driveway (the real owner of this property; she was in a nursing home and I was her guardian/conservator; another court appearance for that) filled to the brim with his trash. The city had an ordinance about parking unregistered vehicles on ones property (can't park any vehicle on the street overnight either!!!) and sent two different letters threatening huge fines/jail time if my mom (ME) insisted on  not complying. I called up to explain the situation. Couldn't they just tow the illegal vehicles? (other communities would) No, they are on private property. I called the police to be on alert for this unregistered vehicle with a severely obstructed view and faulty brakes. He did routinely drive one of the vehicles. The city agreed to give me a break considering the situation but wanted a timeline. I called the cockroach himself to tell him to at least put these things in the garage as they could be towed.How long does it take to evict someone? Two months working as quickly as possible including serving the initial eviction papers, giving a month to vacate, serving papers again for the court date to get a Writ of Restitution, again giving him time to vacate. Then 24 hours before the actual eviction: notices are stapled all over each door. When the bailiff showed up to physically extract him, he said that no one told him that he was being evicted. He was given 4 more hours to watch all his possessions (read: all my parent's possessions that he stole)be strewn on the front yard ( with various neighbors furious that their fancy neighborhood was turned into an eyesore; not much I could do about that)the locks were all changed (not that that stopped him, he cut the screen and slithered right back into the house after everyone left) and he was given another 24 hours to remove the possessions from the yard. After that, he was a trespasser and I could throw everything away. I was afraid he'd show up to the court hearing but fortunately he was sticking with his lame 'noone told me' defense. On the docket was an apartment owner wanting to evict a lady who had been in arrears for a long time.The lady's defense was Oh, you wanted me to show up on such and such a date? I thought that was a Wednesday and it turned out to be a Tuesday.The judge ended up giving her another rent free month.Arggh!

So how did this happen? Did the person have a lease? Did he pay rent or utilities? NO!!! Did he perform routine maintenance? NO!!! He was an invited guest who outstayed his welcome. My dad told him to leave on many occasions and was physically afraid of him but couldn't get him out. Meanwhile this person had been evicted at least 2 other times so he knew what he could get away with.

Seven months previous, my father's health had deteriorated so much, I needed to have him hospitalized. My mom, physically OK, was going downhill mentally fast. I agreed to have her move in with me while he recovered. It soon became obvious to me that she needed to be placed in a nursing home. She needed 24 hour supervision. He initially refused to believe this. He thought the system of him ordering her around to step and fetch it served him well. I told him that given half a chance, she'll leave the stove on and he'll be burned alive. He eventually agreed to have me admit her to a home but this left him without a caretaker. But then he found out through a friend about the cockroach who at the time was living in his vehicle under an overpass. The friend insisted that the cockroach was just going through some bad luck but in return for a place to stay, should help him get around and get fed.The cockroach could talk a good game and said everything my dad wanted to hear. My dad wanted so much to believe him, he dropped his usual guard. Warning!Warning! Red Flag! Red  Flag! I tried to convince my father in vain what a bad idea this was. Understatement of the century. It didn't take long for him to know that I was right. He would never admit that to me though he went to the administrator of my mom's nursing home shortly before his death begging to let him share my mom's room as there was a dangerous person in his house. What did my dad die of? Officially uremia: kidney failure. But unofficially, neglect and that he just gave up. Since he had trouble moving, he decided not to drink anything so he wouldn't need to go to the bathroom. Plus he couldn't even get his own drinks. I've pored through all his medical charts trying to find the smoking gun.
But after his death, the hoarding cockroach was still there demanding this and that.

A long painful story followed complete with me being threatened by a gun, police visits, numerous court dates in which instead of being the plaintiff, I or rather the Estate was the defendant (L'Estate, c'est moi!). Eventually the whole business just went away without the court or lawyer telling me.

So if you invite a person to stay with you, at some point they convert into tenants with rights. My future DIL became my tenant that year for 9 months. Hopefully someday I will be repaid with a grandchild.Then of course my other tenant was my childhood friend. She stayed with us for 3 months last year and this year for 3 weeks moving out while we were in the hospital with Naomi. She paid me with the Sad Event.

At some point, we need to write up a lease. Given all of the above, we'll need to proceed very carefully.

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