Robber Baron Landlords 3
We went to collect rent from the tenant in the Dragon House and noticed a ‘For Sale’ sign on a house nearby.
Our realtor showed us how we could take a mortgage out on the first house to make the down payment on the second one so we put in an offer.
To our surprise, it was accepted. We had another house.
This one came with a tenant.
Sandy was a single mom who had lived in the house for several years and she took care of the house as if it was her own.
The first time we collected rent, she invited us in and we had tea in the kitchen while she wrote out a check in precise handwriting.
Then her boyfriend moved in.
He was a scrounger, bringing home bits and pieces from his work on construction sites and making improvements. When we collected the rent, he paid with cash pulled out of a baggy in a drawer.
The baggy of cash should have been our clue.
The next month, someone broke into the house while they were at work. The rent money went missing. Sandy had to use her savings to pay us that month.
We changed the locks but it happened again. This was a tricky thief. He always found a way in.
When the rent went missing for the third time in a row, she couldn’t make her payment and we were going to have to give her notice.
Sandy decided to set a trap. She left the house while her boyfriend was at work, taking the car with her. She parked around the block and doubled back, sneaking into the house through the back gate. Then she hid in the spare room and waited.
When she heard noises in the kitchen, she burst out, swinging a baseball bat. To her surprise, her boyfriend was climbing through the kitchen window. He ended up in the hospital with a broken arm, charged with breaking and entering.
Later, Sandy shared that had been using crack and needed the money for drugs. We helped her throw him out and changed the locks again. We also reinforced the locks on her windows.
Five months later, he moved back in.
We were uneasy about her decision but she assured us she had the situation under control and he would never do it again. And he didn’t.
Better the thief you know….
Lesson learned: People are full of surprises.
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