Monday, January 22, 2007

Dirty

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but Mr. Chick and some friends have a partnership which owns a couple of rental homes. They've had them for 5-6 yrs. Recently the tenants in both houses vacated and the guys have been putting in a ton of hours working on the houses to get them cleaned up and ready to re-rent. Nearly every weekend, and some weekday nights, have seen Mr. Chick over at one of the houses working (hence the delay in finishing our own kitchen floor - sigh) for a couple of months. The reason all this work is necessary? Because the tenants in one of the houses LIVED LIKE PIGS.

These people lived in this house for several years. They seemed like good tenants: paid rent on time, didn't call with trivial complaints, etc. We had no reason to be concerned or to request entry into the house. Silly us. Apparently, these people have little regard for other people's property. The house was wrecked. Completely trashed. I've seen foul frat houses after a campus-wide party look better than this place. After a few years, you'd expect some wear and tear, but this? was Out.Of.Control. We had to pull up and scrap all the carpeting in the entire house. All of it. It was more than just a few stains, which you'd expect. It was more like someone barfed red jello and never bothered to clean it up. And black spots of I-don't-know-what. Probably mildew, since most of the closets had mold and mildew growing in them (I KNOW - ewww!). They broke a window - not just cracked it, but full-on broke it and never repaired it, or called us to repair it. No telling how long they lived with a big hole in one of the windows. We think one of the reasons for all the mold and mildew was the fact that there was a leak that they never bothered to address, either. Just let it go. The wall was wet and bulging, apparently. It ruined the drywall of an entire wall and other areas, too. It's not like they would have been responsible for fixing the leak - that's what a landlord is for! But no - better to just ignore it, cause waayyy more damage, and then leave without a word about it. The guys had to fix the walls in the downstairs bathroom, too, and ended up having to replace the bathtub completely due to damage. They also had to replace the carpeting throughout (4 bdrms, split-entry home of over 2000 sq.ft.) and put in laminate in the downstairs family room, re-paint every single wall, do loads of landscaping including fixing a big section of the fence. At first, they felt slimy just being in the house it was so bad. Now? It looks really good. Of course, they've documented everything.

As the spouse and not an actual partner in the ownership of these houses, I've stayed out of it (all the wives have). It's been up to the guys to fix this place up, and that's been fine. I've helped where I could, like arranging for the window to be repaired, for example. But yesterday Mr. Chick asked me to come to the house with him to help clean the kitchen. Let me tell you, I about upchucked at how NASTY the kitchen was (and that was after a quick once-over one of the guys gave it). Seriously, who lives like that?? The first thing I tackled? The light that hangs in the dining area. I don't think it had been cleaned or wiped down in all the years these people lived there. Cobwebs, filth and muck coated every possible surface. Thank goodness I wore gloves is all I can say. It took some powerful degreaser cleanser to cut through everything and bring it back to clean. People actually ate food right under this nastiness. Yuck. I then tackled the cupboards and cabinets. I'm not perfect - I get crumbs in my kitchen drawers and such, too. It's normal. But the level of ickiness present in these cupboards completely squicked me out. Dried chunks of unknown origin stuck to the cabinets. Major splatters, obviously, that weren't really cleaned up. The underside of the upper cabinets had dried drips YOU COULD SEE JUST LOOKING STRAIGHT ON. Who doesn't wipe that off when it happens if you can see liquid drips on the bottom of your cabinet doors?? These people, that's who. And drips of something on the inside of the front of the drawers. How do you not notice that?? And the stickiest muck ever coating the cabinets they must have stored their food in. The cabinets they kept spices in? Shudder. It boggled me. It took me HOURS to clean this kitchen, and believe me, this is not a big kitchen. I scrubbed every surface, and it took some hard scrubbing. I understand not deep-cleaning your kitchen often - I don't. The top of my refridgerator can sport an embarrassing amount of dust. But I would never put clean silverware in a drawer that is sticky and has a big buildup of crumbs and food matter all over the bottom and in the corners. But I guess if you're willing to eat under a lamp with years of grime on it, you're willing to take your chances with other kitchen filth.

The worst part? A FAMILY lived here. Our official tenant was a guy and his wife. Then their adult child and that persons' spouse and child (I think the kids lived there, too) moved in. This family then framed in a door at the bottom of the stairs to block off the downstairs from the upstairs for greater privacy. They did this - major renovation, framing in a door - without permission. They lived in the house HARD. The only bright spot? No pets. It goes without saying that they're not getting their deposit back, and the guys are actually going after them for the additional damage their deposit didn't cover. Take note, all you renters out there: your deposit is not the cap of damages you might be responsible for. It's just that: a deposit. If you cause more damage than your deposit covers you can be on the hook for the additional amount. Don't be careless!

What I think is ironic is that the tenants we had in the other house was a group of young guys fresh out of college. The type of renters you might be leary about because of their age and propensity for big drunken parties that might cause lots of damage to a house. But these guys left the place quite decent. They didn't damage anything beyond expected wear and tear. Some painting, perhaps a bit of new carpeting to replace the rooms that have the most need, and a bathroom update because, well, it's time. NOTHING like what has been required to bring the other place back up to snuff.

I'm still really grossed out by seeing first-hand how some people live. It's like they just don't care about their surroundings and personal environment. And care even less when it's owned by someone else. I don't want to bash all renters - not at all. Most of us have been renters at some point in our lives, and most of us were ideal renters. I think it goes to personal character: I treated all the apartments and houses I've rented with care as if it were my own. I cleaned the shit out them when I left. I wanted to make sure there was nothing they could say I did wrong and deny me any of my deposit. I wanted good references. I have respect whereas clearly not everyone does. I don't understand simply not caring. It doesn't compute.

Clearly.


Comments:
Been there, done that!! Amazing how some people live, isn't it?? That is why we no longer own rental property. NEVER, EVER AGAIN.

MCM
 
You'll get over it. Guess these people don't have cleaning people.

I'd run like hell before I rent from a lawyer. I rent and the land lord uses cheap mexian immigrants and pays nothing for his properties.

You get what you give. For some, it's a business, just like your rich husband and his friends.

Glad to see your complaining again.
 
Wow...it amazes me how people are content to live like pigs. We have a rental house here in NC and have had one major nightmare with it and we had a miltary officer renting it. We thought we had nothing to worry about...WRONG! Small claims court quickly became our best friend. DH wants to buy more properties, I say NO WAY!

Heather
 
Screaming,
these rental houses were purchased long before Mr. Chick went to law school. These tenants rented it before law school. He was not a lawyer when they moved in, just when they moved out. Do you ask your landlords what they do for a living before renting a place? Really? Because I've never asked such a question, not thinking it mattered as long as I was comfortable with the terms of the lease. Besides, our tenants won't be renting from just us - the houses are owned by the PARTNERSHIP, not by us as an individual.

And yes, I'm complaining. Would YOU like to see something you own trashed and disrespected by someone else? Wouldn't you complain if, say, your car was rear-ended by someone who just shrugged their shoulders and walked away because you own your car whereas they're just driving a rental and could care less? This is no different.
 
OK - What does having a "rich husband" have to do with it?? Whether someone can afford to fix the damage or not, it DOES NOT give another individual the permission to damage and destroy something that does not belong to them.
It's called respecting someone else's property.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???
MCM
 
Ew. Just ew.

I'm pretty bad about deep cleaning, but every time I've moved out, I scrubbed until I couldn't stand it anymore (and still have gotten screwed out of deposits every time).

Good move on the comment moderation--I don't blame you one bit.
 
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