Renting out a home in San Diego is a rewarding business. Most people describe it as a headache, but I find it more enjoyable. I have a fully furnished two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in a great location in Santee, California! So I decided to rent out each room separately. I had a long-term tenant in one of the rooms who had been there for nearly three years. I needed to fill in the other room because the other tenant is leaving sooner than I expected. Fortunately, every time I hold an open house, I get a lot of people who are interested and want to sign the lease right away.
I thought I had found the perfect tenant.
She was a single mother with a seven-year-old son who worked as a flight attendant and promised that she wouldn't be able to spend much time at home because of her job. She was also from the Philippines, like me, so I felt a connection with her. During the interview, she appeared to be very relaxed and friendly, as well as very interested. When I inquired about her son's care when she goes to work, she confidently stated that she drives him to see his father and picks him up when she returns from work. I honestly didn't anticipate any problems.
So I decided to take her and her son as tenants.
At first, everything appeared to be in order. I asked the other tenant how Kaye (not her real name) was doing a few months later. She stated that they suspect her boyfriend has moved in because they see him all the time and some of his belongings have been moved in. This has probably been going on for a while. I also inquired about the child, and the roommate stated that he is either alone if Kaye is at work, but most of the time, the boyfriend looks after him.
I'm familiar with the job of a flight attendant because I used to be one. I was gone for several days to weeks at a time. I know deep down that the boyfriend has already moved in.
I received an email from Kaye in which she stated that she would like her boyfriend, Mike (not his real name), to move in and attached his income record. I was astounded to discover that his earnings were simply written notes in a Word document. There is no way to verify the veracity of his earnings. I responded that I needed something "solid" rather than written notes, and that anyone could simply type this in. She eventually agreed.
While Kaye was at work, my husband and I were working in the condo when I ran into Mike. The place was a mess. Five people lived in a two-bedroom condo, one of whom was not on the lease. Mike tried to justify his earnings by displaying random paychecks from his job. I requested his pay stubs, but he did not have any. After he explained that he is a contractor and does not receive regular paychecks, I asked for his checking account. To justify his income, he printed out his checking account from January to March.
I checked his bank account and quickly realized that the man is as broke as a joke. He earned $600.00 in three months after deducting his income from his expenses. I digressed, but I recall Kaye saying that he is frequently paid in cash. It was also revealed that he was paying her half of the rent cost two months prior I received an email from Kaye about him moving in, so my suspicions were correct. I then requested a meeting to discuss their future living situation.
My husband was present during the meeting, but he sat in the living room while we sat in the dining room. I asked them to sign a lease violation and a $400.00 rent increase for an additional person on the lease. I stated that the room can only accommodate a maximum of two people. They were taken aback and refused to sign. The gaslighting started. They accuse me of writing a contract allowing an additional person on the lease, despite the fact that they did not violate any terms. I was unwavering. They claimed they could only afford a $40.00 increase.
My husband cut the conversation short, insisting that we stick to the agreement. They requested three days to think about the situation, which I granted. After three days, Kaye texted me that they had decided to move out after 30 days. I felt relieved.
Surprisingly, nine days prior to the planned departure date. Kaye texted me, pleading to stay because her boyfriend had left them. He packed his belongings and left without her knowledge. She is concerned that they will become homeless while caring for her child. She is taken aback by the situation that left her shattered. She sent me copies of screenshots of the ex- boyfriend's text messages in which he called her a "narcissist" and "controlling." What a shock, and how things turned out against her.
I felt sorry for her and wondered if the risk was worth it. I knew she'd do it again - find a new man and have him move in with her - in my place. It was clear to me that what they had was for their own benefit. In exchange for babysitting her child, she offered him a cheaper place to stay, and she also pays half the rent. This, in her opinion, is a win-win situation.
She left the house clean and organized after everything was said and done. I returned her deposit and bid her farewell!
After that experience, I learned to be extremely cautious of potential tenants in the future. I discovered TurboTenant.com, which provides all-in-one landlord software for managing and organizing rental properties! It creates lease agreements, tracks payments, screen tenants, and manages marketing your properties. I strongly recommend TurboTenant software.