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My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

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My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Old 02-06-14, 05:00 PM
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My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

This is going to be a ranting email. If you are not interested in this, don't bother reading '-)

Following so many of the interesting stories of kvrdave and his slumlord activities, I got jealous and decided to get some rental properties myself. Overall, quite a good experience, except for my suited place that I refer to as the "student house".

The student house is a suited place, separate entrances, shared laundry, 3 bedroom up, 3 bedroom down. The house - as you would have guessed by now - is typically filled with students attending the local university and college.

I am now on my 2nd set of tenants in the basement suite. The first group were 3 guys, no complaints about them. The 2nd set is 1 girl, 2 guys, and it basically has been non-stop issues with them. From noise, to partying all night, to smoking J's (with upstairs tenants attending the criminal justice program - a good mix!), and to damage to the place. It doesn't stop. The only thing that saved their proverbial asses is the fact that they do pay the rent in time - more or less.

So, a couple of months ago, during a very wet couple of days, they call me that there is water coming in the basement. Uh oh. I ask them where, how much and if they have had to evacuate the basement. No, no, it is just dripping a but in the area under the stairs going down into the basement, and they put up a bucket to catch the water. Ok. Good. At least they took action to capture the water. I told them I would swing by over my lunch break to assess the situation.

Well. It was a learning experience. You should know the layout of the house. In order to get to the basement suite, you use the side entrance to the house. The side entrance opens into a small landing which houses the shared laundry. From the landing, you can go down using the stairs into the basement suite. The tenants called because it was dripping water under the stairs, so right where the landing is off their side entrance. So, when I arrived, in pouring rain, finding the side door wide open, with the predominant wind direction blowing the rain in large quantities through the open door onto the landing, I did wonder if I really had to explain to them the sequence of events that led to water entering the basement. Apparently I did. I went downstairs, a bit angry and with lots of hand gestures, I explained them this sequence:

It is raining and it is windy. You left the side door open. The wind blows freely through the side door, blowing lots of rain on the landing. The "water leak" is under the landing. Where do you think the water comes from?

I was confronted with blank stares.

"Do you think that is the problem?", they asked.
"Yes", I said. "Close the door."

More blank stares.

"The door doesn't close properly", they said.
(containing my frustration). "Let me show you," I said, and I closed the door. It stayed closed even with the strong wind pounding on it.

"Oh"

Well, the landing had linoleum on the floor, and who knows how much water got under the lino, so the next weekend, I spent my time there ripping out the linoleum, and putting nice tile on the floor, essentially wasting my entire weekend, and my money on a problem they created. In the intent of good landlordship, and to show my tolerance in allowing them one major mistake, I decided not to charge them labor or material.

They rewarded me a couple of days ago by leaving the same damn door wide open, while it was -25 Celsius (-13 Fahrenheit) outside. Did I mention that the shared laundry is right behind that door?
Old 02-06-14, 05:11 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

I welcome you.

Are we on a lease here? If so, the best answer is to go to Home Depot and get one of those mechanisms that automatically close the door. Ryobi makes some. They aren't real spendy. Same type of thing you see in commercial settings.

If not, boot them out, put in the thing above, and get new renters.
Old 02-06-14, 05:28 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Mmm. I think I know what type of folks they are.

You could go ahead and buy an auto-close hinge, and they'll just prop the door open. You could buy a sensor alarm to go off if the door stays open too long, and they'll just disconnect the sensor. You could just seal that side door and they'll just break a window.
Old 02-06-14, 07:00 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

How about a wireless sensor tag on the door that can be monitored with a mobile phone?
Old 02-06-14, 07:11 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

I'd kick them out. Since they are students...it'll be a learning experience for them. The house will be ruined if you let them stay there.
Old 02-06-14, 10:38 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Students? We need pics to determine guilt.
Old 02-06-14, 11:28 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
I welcome you.

Are we on a lease here? If so, the best answer is to go to Home Depot and get one of those mechanisms that automatically close the door. Ryobi makes some. They aren't real spendy. Same type of thing you see in commercial settings.

If not, boot them out, put in the thing above, and get new renters.
Yes, they are on a year lease. I will stick around with them a bit longer. Last month they were late with rent again, but ended up paying before I served them with a notice of eviction. So, we'll see where it goes.

As far as damage: they are not purposefully damaging the place. The interior is reasonably clean, but they just seem to ignorant about common sense things (closing the darn door during heavy rain or freezing cold).

I have thought about the idea to buy a closing mechanism, so maybe I will go ahead and do that.
Old 02-06-14, 11:28 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by majorjoe23 View Post
Students? We need pics to determine guilt.
Haha. Trust me, you don't want to see the pictures. Nothing too bad, but just simple, normal people.
Old 02-06-14, 11:31 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by wishbone View Post
How about a wireless sensor tag on the door that can be monitored with a mobile phone?
Not sure about the wireless tags. First of all, I am not providing internet to them (they pay for it themselves), so I would have to piggyback on their internet feed.

Also, we may be skirmishing on the legal boundaries here. Good suggestion though, but I will not do this at this time.
Old 02-07-14, 12:23 AM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

They've given you more than enough reason to evict them. Do it and be done with them.
Your generosity will be repaid with more damage. Maybe nothing major, but enough to be expensive and aggravating.
Old 02-07-14, 07:04 AM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Well, I wouldn't get too hasty. When dealing with younger renters, the devil you know is often better than than the devil you don't. If the place is reasonably clean, just get the door closer and wait them out, since the end of the school year isn't too far away. If they want to be jerks, they can string you along for a few months with an eviction, and you still spend money on the eviction.
Old 02-07-14, 08:47 AM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Kids these days. They are leaving doors open younger and younger. When I was their age, if I left a door open my dad would have driven out to my college and whipped me with a belt for wasting electricity. I weep for our future.
Old 02-07-14, 01:41 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

That door is so user-unfriendly that you need to show college students how to close it?

You can buy a pre-hung steel clad door for a couple of hundred dollars. You'd lose another weekend installing it, but the problem would be solved forever.
Old 02-07-14, 02:42 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
That door is so user-unfriendly that you need to show college students how to close it?

You can buy a pre-hung steel clad door for a couple of hundred dollars. You'd lose another weekend installing it, but the problem would be solved forever.
No, it's just a regular door. You open the door with the door handle, and close it doing the same. Nothing wrong with the door, and no need to replace it.

The students are just too lazy to make sure it is closed.
Old 02-07-14, 03:20 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!


Sounds like regular kids. Mine don't shut the damn doors either.
Old 02-07-14, 03:33 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by d2cheer View Post

Sounds like regular kids. Mine don't shut the damn doors either.
Get on top of this NOW or one day you'll read about them in a slumlord forum rant on the internet.
Old 04-10-14, 03:13 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Old thread, I know, but I'm sure everyone on this forum has been aching to get an update.

I emailed the tenants last week that I would do an inspection during the weekend. I emailed them 6 days in advance, giving them time to come to "grips" with this.

2 days prior to the inspection, I swung by to pick up a quote that a roofing company had left at the rental unit (roof needs to be replaced - I'm actually getting this done this week).

Arriving a the stairs leading to the basement unit, I noticed large amounts of dog cr*p (yes, they have a small dog), just thrown at the base of the stairs (outside). I also noticed a fair amount of cigarette butts (I have warned them about this before!), and some trash. I took pictures of all, but did not talk to the tenants.

2 days later, I returned to do the inspection. Surprise. Virtually all dog crap was removed (some tougher to reach pieces between the gravel was left behind), the cigarette butts were gone and so was the trash. The basement unit inside was actually quite clean (not perfect, but I'm not expecting this either), and one of the tenants was home and acted friendly.

I did the inspection, noted some deficiencies in a report and left. The next day, I emailed all 3 of the tenants the inspection report, and then mentioned (with proof in form of the pictures) the crap I found outside during the inspection. I mentioned to them (they are young kids - I guess I need to teach them) that cleanliness is not a quick cleanup prior to an inspection, but an ongoing effort. They have not emailed me back.

I was angry prior to the inspection when I noticed the mess outside. Thing is, these tenants do pay mostly on time, and if they are late it is one or 2 days. These tenants are also not loud (the upstairs tenants have no complaints), so they truly aren't bad. I just drives me bonkers that they let things go like this. Why toss the crap outside when you know you'll have to clean it up sooner or later? Is it not easier to dispose of it properly as you go?

I thought about serving them a notice of eviction (I told them I would do that when they actually do were quite loud a couple of months ago), but I decided against it. After all, they did clean, they do seem to take fairly good care of the unit, and they are not bad kids.

What do you think? Am I too easy on them?
Old 04-10-14, 03:38 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Originally Posted by LolaRennt View Post
......large amounts of dog cr*p (yes, they have a small dog), ................
What do you think? Am I too easy on them?
First step is to shoot the dog. Ask Dave he will tell you.
Old 04-10-14, 05:04 PM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

Someone should write a funny book about being a landlord. The headaches involved are easily enough material for a Woody Allen movie. Check that, the idea is now copyrighted by me.
Old 04-11-14, 02:37 AM
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Re: My slumlord chronicles - paging kvrdave!

It is a month until graduation. Your problem is about to fix it's self.

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