June 29, 2011

The Draining Month Begins

Since 2004, this mid-june to mid-july has the potential to be my least favorite time of the year. It is when we get the keys back in hand from our college rental unit and have a scarce four weeks to make it habitable for the next group of renters. Every year we hope like crazy that our renters will want or can stay for an extra year (come on fifth year seniors!) Which means no clean out, no repairs and another year’s lease is signed with ease.

In the off years between renters the unit is an unholy mess and gargantuan effort to get the place in inspection passable condition, all in the short four week down time. When we have to deal with 57 – what I call the townhouse- it eats a giant amount of our summer work schedule right up that leaves us and our wallets drained.

This year 57 might just be the death of me.

We’d been getting reports from our property management company, first year for them btw and it has been so worth it, about the condo and how was everything was in deplorable condition for a long while now. When the heater broke our HVAC guy gave us the skinny on the damage to the place and said he went right home and jumped in the shower after working on the unit because it was so gross. When we got the notice that the renters would not be returning for the next year we felt relief, these guys were trouble and the sooner they left our lives the better. However, in the meantime the unit was having trouble renting and we were getting feedback from the agents that all people they brought through got hassled by the current renters and that everyone was so appalled by the filth they wouldn’t consider renting it.

After a few really stressful months something AMAZING happened, the agent brought through a bunch of girls and a father to see the place. The girls got hassled and at that point the father gave the renter a piece of his mind about his actions and the condition that the place was kept in. (points to that dad) Amazingly, the girls signed the rental contract with us a week later!!! Angels sang down from the clouds.

All that happend in the spring, flash forward to the first week of June and our contract was now up with the current tenants. The moved out on Friday, we stopped by early Saturday morning to check the place out, opening the door we braced for the worst being that there was already visible damage to the outside of the place. I was expecting Camden. What we got was bad. Really bad. The worst we’ve ever gotten back and this was the only time we’ve ever had tenants for just a year.

However it wasn’t the bombed out crack house that I was expecting. It was more a beer soaked, dirt slimed, graffitti’d party den that was a bit of cross between a Frat house and a dive bar off of route 95. I also counted no less than 18 not-very-graphic-or anatomically correct man parts drawn on the wall. Everywhere I looked something was wrong. There were hand prints on the ceiling, vomit on floors, tons of giant holes in the walls and someone tried (and succeeded) to kick the front door in.

Here is a good part to mention that both Pete and I lived at this place, separately, for over three years. NOTHING LIKE THAT EVERY HAPPENED WHEN WE LIVED THERE. Pete will even tell you about the most epic party ever that he threw where the 5 surrounding towns had to bring in their police to break it up, and yet… nothing like this damage. The worst thing that ever happened was we caught someone peeing on Pete’s car.

Let me lay out a picture of what was broken:

- Dryer

- Stove

- A/c

- Hot water heater

- Downstairs vanity

- Four doors

- Every wall in the dining room

- All but one ceiling light is broken

- The light in the bathroom

- Upstairs medicine cabinet

- 3 yr old Carpet was shot

- All the walls in the living room have graffiti on them

- Fire Alarms ripped off the ceiling

- Upstairs window

- Front porch

- Walls in downstairs bathroom

- Every closet door is missing a handle

- And there are random bits of trim missing

- Shelves in closets

- Paint, can paint be broken? Cause this paint was up the creek bad.

The next month is just going to be splendid.


  1. Ugh.. shoot me an email if you need some help and materials. I just took down our medicine cabinet if you need it as well as a bathroom light fixture.

  2. Wow! I hope you kept their deposit.

    One thing, if you got reports like that, why didn't you kick them out. Legally you should be able too if they destroyed your place, right? Ugh! I would be so pissed right now, you have no idea. I hope you can get it together really soon.

  3. I'm not sure how it works when you're using a rental management company (which I'd ditch if you could for giving you such horrible tenants to begin with), but I hope you were able to keep every penny of the security deposit. That mess is inexcusable!

  4. we're (honestly) happy with the property management company, i don't know how else we would have handled these tenants otherwise. with the economy in the shitter and the school building more student housing, it has been growing harder and harder to even find tenants for our rental. having an empty unit in our complex is the kiss of death, so we took what was availible and they turned out to be not so awesome...

    kicking tenants out in new jersey is extremely hard to do. by the time an eviction could go through, it would have been passed the term of their rental lease.

    and yes. that deposit is ours. we're discussing going after money to cover the cost of the drywall and carpet damage.

    sigh. it's a pain. a really big pain that we're stuck with for now. trust me, plenty of ice cream/beer dinners have been consumed in the name of frustration with the place. i just try to keep my head up and muscle through what i have to in order to deal with it.