Liars and Cheats

It’s unavoidable.  In every business, you encounter people who lie, cheat or steal.  In my rental property business, I try to weed out the scammers quickly.  Case in point:

Sienna moved in a month ago, paying $260 bi-weekly.  She paid her deposit and first two weeks of rent to get in, and that was the last time I saw money from her.  When I didn’t get the second payment in the mail — I give all my tenants pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelopes — I called to see if she’d sent it.  When she said yes, I asked to see her money order receipt.  When she couldn’t produce it, I told her she’d have to pay up or I’d be filing eviction.

Her court date was yesterday and I was shocked to see her there.  Usually, my tenants don’t show up.  Many times, they leave when they see the writing on the wall.  And then I realized her motive.  She had the audacity to tell the judge that she didn’t pay the rent because I was a slumlord and wouldn’t fix anything.  “I had a ceiling leak and I called her and she didn’t call me back.”  She lied under oath!

Wow … I was shocked.  She was partially correct.  She did have a leak, but I returned her call immediately and got it fixed the same day.  So now, I’ll have to attend another hearing, in July, to discuss this issue.  She probably won’t show, but she should’ve known that a leaky ceiling doesn’t release you from paying the rent.  Sigh ….

Fortunately, the judge ordered her out in the usual time frame, five days.  I just can’t wait to see the condition of the apartment.  She was a slob, so I’ll take pictures to document everything.

In my 18 years in the business, this is the first time someone has tried this trick.  I’ve had several tenants try to scam me, but my bottom line remains the same.  I’m in this to make income, and if you don’t pay, you can’t stay.

Yes, there are cheaters and liars in every business.  It’s part of life.  But I don’t have to put up with it, and I won’t.  Sienna will be out Monday, and I’ll whip her place into shape and find someone who will treat it — and me — better!  Onward and upward, right?

Before and After …

You gotta love Craig’s List … this little kitchen at my rental property needed a major facelift and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money at Lowe’s or Menards on new cabinets.  Here’s the before picture:

The cabinets had been in there forever so it was time to update.  After I got everything out it looked like this … there was old wallpaper behind everything!

So I found used replacements on Craig’s List.  For $450, I got cabinets, a counter top, sink and faucet, three ceiling fans and two light fixtures.  Very cool.  Here’s what it looked like when it was done.  A total transformation:

I was so thrilled with the outcome I decided to look for a small gas stove on Craig’s List as well.  They’re uncommon and very expensive to buy new, but I couldn’t fit a full-size one through the door of this apartment.  I found one and went to check it out.  The seller had it sitting out in his yard and it was rather dirty, but he said it worked very well.  And dirt has never scared me.  He also said he’d deliver it, so he brought it later that day and I paid him.  My handyman came over later and hooked it up, and it was then that we discovered it was a piece of junk that really just didn’t work well at all.  When I called the guy to suggest we return it and get my money back, he said we probably damaged it when we installed it and that’s why it didn’t work.  Ha!  What a joke — a bad joke, I might add.  I was forced to buy a new one, for $450.  Ugh.  Lesson learned: use Craig’s List, but make sure your product works before you pay for it!

I was way too trusting.  So I made money on the cabinets, counter top, etc. and lost money on the gas stove … sigh … onward and upward, right?