After the Burn

I suppose that after several experiences with bad renters – kind of like walking barefoot on the broken glass,  landlords either become impervious to the pain, developing thick-skinned scars and callouses like leather – or they learn how to deal with deadbeats. Or maybe some of them do actually bleed to death.  At least, that’s what it felt like to me.  It felt like my bad renters were bleeding me dry. And due to my inexperience and my circumstances, there seemed little I could do to stop this from happening.

“Don’t take it personally,” said a well-meaning and sympathetic friend. “People like these are predators – looking for people like you to victimize.” Well, I guess I know that NOW. But it really bothers me how something like this could happen. I guess that’s why I’m blogging. I need some answers. I need to work things out in my own mind. I keep asking myself, what did we do wrong?

I thought we took proper precautions and did what we could to ensure a good rental experience.  With our first renters, since we had moved out of state, we hired a reputable Property Management Company in Minneapolis to handle our farm. Because their service included performing background checks, both criminal and credit, as well as showing the property and interviewing the potential renters,  we trusted that we would be safe. However, this company found us the Fremos. As things spiraled out of control, our exasperated Property Manager told us that Kim and Kimberly Fremo were in the top ten of worst renters ever in his experience – of over a thousand renters! (Lucky us.) And get this! – he said that BEFORE they brought the horse into my house… Since I started researching deadbeat renters, I have yet to find any that are worse than the Fremos.

However, the next renters – Chris MacLean and Krystyna Virnig certainly ran a close second. In that situation, we thought we were safe because they came recommended by the local caretaker we had hired to look after the place. I’d known him for over thirty years and trusted him. He vouched for these people. Said they had character. A carpenter by trade, MacLean was currently working for the caretaker’s landscape business. Steady employment guaranteed. Krystyna Virnig was a stay-at-home mom. Being part Native American, she received a monthly check from the tribe. A nice young couple with two little boys. Or so they seemed. But the damage they caused to our property was overwhelming – especially since they were only there for three months. They even threw garbage on the roof of the house! Why???

In fact, the similarities between the Fremos and MacLean/Virnig is uncanny. Both sets of renters violated the lease agreement in just about every way possible. In both cases, rent that was actually paid was late. They ignored late fees. Eventually, both stopped paying the rent at all. And when told to leave, they would not budge. Both caused tremendous damage to the property. Both left tons of garbage, junk, old tires, couches, clothes, and other crap. Literally. Crap. Krystyna Virnig left dirty diapers strewn around my living room.

I know I don’t have any readers at this point, being so new and all, but I have to say that it is just hitting me now that I have very interesting stories to tell. And I will be back to tell them to you.  You can count on it.




Rules for Aspiring Landlords


So… You’ve got some property hanging around your neck as you wait for the housing market to improve so you can finally sell… And you think: Hey, I’ve got an idea! Rather than let my house sit vacant until those prices rise to the point where I’m not going to lose my ass, why not rent it out?

I might be able to make a little money – at least enough to pay the taxes and maybe make some improvements??? But more importantly, I’ll have someone to watch over the place. Hmmm. What a brilliant idea!




Yep. That’s the one and only Rule. Don’t do it!

Unless, that is, you are perfectly prepared to have your home trashed, vandalized, and basically destroyed while you anxiously wait for the rental payment that never comes. Don’t consider renting out your house – unless you are well-prepared to PAY to have your Deadbeat Renters’ junk hauled away after they skip out on you, leaving you with tons of their crap. Get ready to PAY to repair their damages. PAY for professional cleaning services after they leave you with one of those hellish houses from the television show “Hoarders”.

If you’re still thinking about becoming a landlord, you’d better have a thick skin. Put on your Bullshit Detector – because you’ll be hearing every excuse in the book. And after your Deadbeat Renters run up a bill they refuse to pay, brace yourself for abuse. 

ImageYou’ll find out what an “asshole” you are,  as well as how your lovely rental property has now been downgraded to that hell hole that is suddenly too unsafe, dangerous, hazardous, and unfit for any humans to survive.  And of course, after the damages they’ve caused, it just may be uninhabitable – now.

By now, you probably catch my drift. I have been badly burned – twice in a row. What I have gained in experience, I’ll gladly share with you on this blog. Hopefully it will save someone the heartache I’ve been through. And since everything I say on this blog will be the truth or my opinion based on truth, I will be naming names. I’m not here to slander anyone. I’m here to help.

  1. Help Landlords from falling into some of the Black Holes I fell into.
  2. Help warn Landlords who might face the particular Deadbeat Renters I encountered or ones like them. (I think there are a lot of them out there!)
  3. Help tenants from becoming The Renters From Hell and screwing up like my Deadbeat Renters did.  

So, in closing, welcome to my new blog. I look forward to telling you my stories as well as discussing issues surrounding the topic of Deadbeat Renters.