If you follow a fool, you get a fool's reward

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119
http://actvra.in/rfL

If you follow a fool, you get a fools reward.  That's life according to Mike.  It's also my assessment of the dealings with some of my rental clients last year.  In a particular property, I had 5 tenants from a company that was installing a new power lines through our area.

In the beginning, they were awesome tenants.  The first 5 were very responsible, paid their rent on time and always kept me up to date in the event the house had any issues.  It was great.  Then, the main contact had a family emergency and had to go home to Michigan.

He was replaced by a fellow from Florida.  If you're familiar with the Winchester/Frederick County area you know it's more like Michigan than Florida.  We have all four seasons and it can get pretty cold and snowy in the  Fall and Winter seasons.

When the replacement took over the role of the former leader, things started to decline.  The rent was late, he complained all the time and over the holidays he let the heating fuel run out and the pipes broke.  That was followed by January rent that didn't come. 

When I called to request it, he told me that they wouldn't pay the rent until I had the heating system serviced.  We had already had the heating system serviced so I knew it was working fine.  He was cold, and he figured it must be our heating system. It couldn't possibly be the 8 degree temperature outside and fact that he only put 30 gallons of oil in the fuel tank (1500 gallon tank) at a time.  I explained to him that he could not live there free to which he replied, "OK then, kick us out!" 

A few days later he received his 5 day notice to move, and that was followed by a summons to court.  He decided to represent himself.  My attorney told me over and over, "This guy thinks he's an attorney." It has been said that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. 

In court, he told the judge he didn't owe the rent because the house was a horrible place to live, and court date was set.  In the interim, he had a home inspector go through the house, and with his help, he pointed out everything that needed to be repaired. 

I could have put the list on a 3X5 index card.  Ironically, they caused most of the problems.  Well, I'm not foolish enough to represent myself in court at this level, so my attorney took him and his crew of mindless followers apart, and of course, we won.  They were required to pay all back rent, court costs and interest for the time in question and move.

Before you follow someone down a path, make sure he knows where the path will lead.  If not, you may both fall in the ditch, or even worse, be lost.  "Nature teaches beasts to know their friends."  William Shakespeare, (Coriolanus, Act II, Scene I).

 

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Topic:
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Location:
Virginia
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BananaTude
The One That Got Away
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"Whacked"!!!
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Rainmaker
233,918
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors

Mike: I suppose that tenant thought he could best you. Ha! I knew that would never happen. It's a wonder it didn't cost a fortune to have the heating oil delivered more often!

January 14, 2012 12:45 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Anne, that was one of the mysteries.  It did cost more.  I can't imagine what he was thinking.  I guess he figured 30 gallons should do it.  Really?  It's 8 degrees.  It was frustrating (and just a little entertaining) at the time.  8-)

January 14, 2012 12:51 PM
Ambassador
390,828
Mimi Foster
Realtor - Colorado Springs
Managing Broker EPIC Real Estate Group

Oh, Mike, this is a story I have had personal experience with on so many occasions.  The houses that we rented were located by an exclusive local College, and a large percentage of the kids had parents that were lawyers.  They always beat their chest, they always lost.  But the point is more the strain of having to deal with Neanderthals who have no respect for other people.  I'm sorry you had to go thru that.

January 14, 2012 12:52 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Mimi, that's the best part in your case.  Beating an attorney at his own game gets extra points!

January 14, 2012 12:54 PM
Rainmaker
100,311
Brint Wahlberg
The Wahlberg Team
Windermere Real Estate

Sounds like an incredibly similar situation my wife up here in Montana went through (she's a property manager). 

 

Also goes to show, that's why we need to use professionals.

January 14, 2012 12:56 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

You bet, Brint.  It cost those goobers $10,000 to get out of court.  I bet the rest of that crew wished them hadn't listened to the brains of the operation.  Ouch!

January 14, 2012 01:00 PM
Ambassador
1,112,997
Dick Greenberg
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate
New Paradigm Partners LLC

Hi Mike - It's good news that there are still jurisdictions where landlords who are in the right can prevail. Unfortunately, in our local courts, there seems to be a presumption that the landlord is always the bad guy, and you need the right judge on a good day and a great attorney, as well as the preponderance of facts, for even a shot at justice.

January 14, 2012 01:44 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

I've felt that way in VA a couple times, but knock on wood, we've never lost a case.  If tenants spent as much time working to pay the rent as they do studying landlord / tenant laws we'd be OK.  Happy Weekend!

January 14, 2012 01:50 PM
Ambassador
390,828
Mimi Foster
Realtor - Colorado Springs
Managing Broker EPIC Real Estate Group

Over the many years that we owned Colorado College rentals, we learned A LOT from the previous tenants and what they would try to come at us with.  Each year our lease always had an extra section, each year we took pictures before move in to prove what their 'precious' had done in their first experience living on their own.  It was definitely a learning experience. 

January 14, 2012 03:02 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

That sounds like us, Mimi.  We even photographed the ceilings.  It's shame that you've got to go to those extremes, but you do.  Have a great weekend!

January 14, 2012 03:08 PM
Rainer
96,276
Chris Hardy
Northern Colorado Real Estate
Elevations Real Estate, LLC www.BuyFortCollinsHomes.com

Great post!  Love the story AND the Shakespeare!  Good for you in doing the right thing and maintaining your properties appropriately.  Sadly, there are so many property owners that just don't care about their rentals and truly deserving of the term 'slum-lord'.  Thanks for showing us how it is done right!  BTW, what's heating oil?  :)

January 14, 2012 05:53 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Hey, I know it gets cold out there, Chris.  I was out in Denver a few years ago doing the Courage Classic bicycle ride for the Denver's Children's Hospital.  It was late July.  Up beyond Leadville we had temps at 30 degrees at 8 am.  Brrrr.  I thought, "It's summer!"  8-)

January 14, 2012 06:11 PM
Rainmaker
511,924
Jill Sackler
Long Island's South Shore Real Estate Agent
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!"

Great quote from Shakespeare. I don't worry about you at all. You can hold your own.

January 14, 2012 08:16 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Thank you, Jill.  I have sparred with the best of them.  While studying karate, I learned that the best to deal with an adversary is to strike quickly and neutalize him before he has a chance to touch you.  These guys didn't have a chance.  8-)  Have a great evening.

January 14, 2012 09:41 PM
Rainer
234,262
Doug Bullwinkel
NMLS #281609
Vitek Mortgage Group

Not only do you have to know your friends, you have to pick your friends well so they don't drag you down the wrong path.  Strike quickly is good advice when someone is coming after you.  I always enjoy your posts.

January 15, 2012 12:57 AM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Absolutely, Doug.  Have a great Sunday!

January 15, 2012 08:30 AM
Rainer
204,518
Mark Delgado
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove

Ironic how a good situation can turn so easily. But, handling things correctly, as you did, will always help you to prevail in the end. 

January 15, 2012 05:22 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Mark, that's kind of how I felt with this one.  I kept thinking this guy is pulling my leg.  Nope.  He was a moron.  8-)

January 15, 2012 06:47 PM
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Rainmaker
773,991

Mike Cooper

Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester has a place for you! Call me.
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