I AM the Grinch . . .

Yes, I am the grinch.  Case in point . . .

I rented one of my places to a very nice single mom, Magda, and her 11-year-old son a couple of months ago.  Magda’s husband was deceased, had died an early death due to diabetes.  As a result, she received government monies and had a part-time job to supplement that income.

Things went well for two months.  She paid on time and kept her apartment in good order.  Then she missed a rent payment.  She was on a bi-weekly payment plan.  She neither called nor wrote me a note about this, so I had to go to her house (my voicemail went unanswered) in hopes of finding her there or leaving her a note.

Fortunately, she was there.  She said her money order had been stolen.  I said, “Well, do you have the money order receipt?  If so, that’s your proof of payment.”  She couldn’t produce the receipt.  When I meet tenants to sign my lease, I urge them to save their money order receipts for this express purpose, just in case the rent doesn’t reach me for one reason or another.  It’s even written in the lease.

Fortunately, Magda had the cash to replace the missing payment.  However, another rent payment was going to be due in a couple of days.  I asked her if she had that money and she said no.  She’d lost her job and hadn’t found another one.  The writing was on the wall . . . I suggested she borrow money from friends or family to get her by, and told her it was important she keep in touch with me about what was going on.

Sure enough, the rent due date came and went and I heard nothing from Magda.  I hoped to get the rent in the mail, but when five days passed and I didn’t receive it, I went to her house again.  There was no one home so I left a very pointed note, stating she needed to call immediately to avoid the eviction process.  (I made a copy for myself as well.)  I also left a message on her phone.

No response.  So, three days before Christmas, I filed eviction.  Her court date isn’t until Jan. 7, because the court shows some leniency over the holidays. 

The bottom line?  Years ago, I would’ve let this scenario play out over a period of months, hoping and trusting that Magda would get her act together.  I have empathy for single moms, as I am one myself.  But I learned (thankfully!) that I can’t run this business with my heart alone; I have bills to pay, too.  So yes, I am the grinch, but it’s for my own sanity and preservation.

 I haven’t been back down to Magda’s place since I filed on her, but she may have abandoned the apartment by now.  Many tenants do, when they know they’re being evicted.  I’ll check it out and keep you posted . . .

Onward and upward!

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