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.