Former-Owner Problems

Hi All :slight_smile:

I’ve recently picked up a courthouse foreclosure – not a problem there. But here is the problem.

The former-owner (not the former occupant so he claims) is taking more than his sweet time moving out (almost a horder situation when looking at the volume). I’ve posted a dispossessory notice, talked to him face-to-face way more than once, heard his sob story. He’s a very nice man, etc. etc. Ex-wife situation, she’s the one who abandoned the property. LOTS of very nice things were left including boats, jet skis, dogs, major amounts of new clothing. Not to mention the dead something I need to have removed ASAP – I’m hoping it’s not the ex-wife (and I’m only half joking, the smell is outrageous).

He was to be out, last Sunday at 11am. As of today, he’s still moving the mounds and mounds of stuff from the home – naturally all the expensive stuff is gone. Every time I show up he’s moving – today I was talking to him when the flatbed truck showed up to haul off the cars he’s “fixing up.” which is interesting, since he “didn’t live there.” He knows I’m showing up tomorrow with a locksmith – to which he replied, I’ll have everything out of the house and “most of the stuff from the yard out tomorrow.”

My contractors start tomorrow with the debris removal and exterior construction. Finally here’s the question: How long do I give this man to get his stuff out of the yard? When is it mine to do what I want with it? I did tell him I’d work with him, I thought he caught the hint when I told him the locksmith was coming, but that apparently was his cue to move everything left to the side yard.

ARGHHHHHH – This is a new one to me. Not a tenant, but I guess he really is. The sheriff situation only costs me money and it could take months, he works and only shows up at strange times to continue moving what is now mostly junk. I’m the one there working on the property or managing the work. Deadbeat tenants are easier, but more costly LOL. I officially owned the property on Sept. 6.

I look forward to all replies. Thank you and I hope everyone is well.

You said that the property was officially yours on Sept. 6th, so what you do now with it is up to you. If by, “When is it mine to do what I want with it?” you meant his stuff, that’s a different story.

Don’t know what state you’re in (need to check your state’s landlord laws), but usually when you buy a property from the courthouse steps and the residents are still there, you’ve inherited “unlawful tenants,” which basically means that although they’re not supposed to still be there, they are and you have to deal with them like tenants. That means an eviction if you want them out. Just to be safe, you might want to confirm those laws before changing the locks, as it may be a violation of this tenants “rights.” You definitely don’t want him there longer than necessary because of some law.

The easiest and fastest way to make somebody move is to wave a carrot, or money, in front of their face. Personally, if he’s still dragging, I’d tell him, ‘look, I need you out now. If all your stuff is out by Thursday, I’ll need you to sign off that you’ve vacanted the premises and everything that you wanted out is out, and I’ll give you $250.’ If that doesn’t work, head to the courthouse.


Thank you Raj!

He verbally relinquished the property to me Monday – he gave me the keys and agreed to the locks being changed (he does not live there). It’s just that he’s left a ton of stuff and a dog (all in the yard now, by his doing). I’m going to give it another go with some dollars in hand. I’ve heard of this technique before, and completely forgot about it. If that doesn’t work it’s time to move forward with this formal dispossessory.

A tiny aside, today I had the water turned back on, the former tenant was only $1,800 behind – that’s a lot of water :slight_smile:

Best to you!

Wow…you must have a really ineffective water company! Ours would have shut it off after about 10 days and 5 minutes! I don’t use $1800 of water in two years and I have a medium-large house (kitchen and 3 baths) with a sprinkler system…be cautious, there may be a leak somewhere. Watch for leaky faucets and running toilets – they can run up significant water usage!

Keith it is so funny you say that! That is EXACTLY what I said :slight_smile: I’m very leary about leaks, the water company was out to inspect already.

Turns out the water was turned off for being delinquent, occupants turned it back on. Next month, the water was turned off again and the meter locked, they broke the lock off the meter and turned it back on. So the water company took the meter away the following month – so they stole one from a local construction site. Who knows how to do that?!

Is it any wonder I can’t get the dog off the property?

I am finding the same issue with the electric company now they won’t tell me the exact amount of the past due amount, but I have to bring my DEED in to prove I’m not them to have the power turned on. This is just amazing.

I guess it’s no mystery why it was a foreclosure!


LOL! Oh yeah, and I was just looking at the bid for demo and this is a quote “Removal of the dead thing.”

It’s not obvious as to what it is, but it’s not a rat – the stench is beyond belief and the flies make ‘Amityville Horror’ look like a start up. We’re ready to call the police if necessary.

Tami, your posts are better than TV. Keep them coming as I am on the edge of my seat in anticipation of what is coming next.

Really! Let me know when the CSI team shows up. Can we get a mock lay out of the house so I can start a pool on where the ex-wife is found and when? Im figuring $50 a square for those interested.

This reminds me of a recent episode of “Flip this House”. By all means don’t clear it out, spend thousands to rehab, and then lease it back to the guy! (They even put him up in a hotel and painted his car for him!)

Good luck!!! :eyecrazy:

I’ll take a square! Give me Professor Plum, under the furnace, with a fork :grim:

You all are so funny!

First a HUGE thank you to Raj – the more I was going through with just the utility hook up, the more I realized this guy seems to be a professional deadbeat, and only problems are going to come from this situation if not handled properly. Now all the legal papers have been filed to get his stuff legally out of there (the poor sheriff gets to do it). All I could envision was a lawsuit for $80,000 suing me for the value of all the great items he left. I have photos if anyone is interested. I guarantee you, you don’t want any of it, well maybe the urine-stained mattresses LOL. THANK YOU Raj!

The poor dog, I had to file an abandonment claim with Animal Control. They’re quick, the disgusting kennel, this starving dog was left in, has already been posted that the dog will be removed in 24 hours if still there tonight. And yes, everyone, I’ve fed the dog :slight_smile: Poor thing, what a terrible lot in life he’s got. At least tonight I know he’ll be inside and fed a decent meal.

The dead thing – was an undeterminable “thing.” The contractor discovered it today, it was much larger than a breadbox but not as large as a human. Stuffed in a garbage can, covered in maggots and totally unrecognizable – we’re thinking it was a dog. They almost threw up when they opened the lid. Fortunately, the garbage company was coming up the road – it’s amazing what cash will do to have a sealed garbage can hauled off.

Now my contractor is busy having all the trash and miscellaneous piles of stuff bagged up, to put with the majority of the junk in the covered carport area . We are talking a 40-yard dumpster amount of stuff – just to give you an idea. I just canceled the arrival of that dumpster btw! LOL.

According to the attorney, as long as I protect his stuff like it’s my own (can you even believe this guarding someone’s garbage??) and follow the law, I can go ahead with the renovation. YAY!! That starts Monday – I’m just wondering how to lease it if all the guy’s stuff is in a pile in the front yard in two weeks LOL.

Oh and this will shock none of you – the former owner gave me his phone number, “in case I needed to get in touch with him.” Well, last night a gentleman called to let me know that since my messages sounded “very important.” I should know he has no clue what I’m talking about – wrong number! Duh! I should have known. LOL

Thanks for making me smile through this – best to you all! I’m telling you it’s much easier when you pick up a foreclosure and they’ve left the property WITH their stuff and pets.


Sounds like one of those “If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” stories…hang in there, do it within hte law a nd you’ll be just fine!



Update LOL

The dog is gone, and so are the dead body odors. YAY. But, two steps forward and one step back :slight_smile:

I’m doing all the legal work to remove the former owner’s trash. Neighbors have been jumping the fence to go shopping. Each time I go visit the property the piles are getting smaller. This has me concerned a bit – the fence is padlocked so I’m showing reasonable care. I am filing for the writ of possession tomorrow, and then the sheriff hauls what’s left to the curb (still a few tons of junk).

Yesterday (Sunday) I went by the property to check out all the new lighting fixtures. Yep, the former owner removed each and every one of the old ones, switch plates too, but this is common. I discovered that some of the workers appear to have gotten into a physical fight with each other (these are tough guys) and one decided to throw a five gallon paint can through the wall in the living room. Apparently right after this happened they just locked up the house and left. Open paint cans with brushes still in them, the sprayer was even attached to the paint and not cleaned out, they left every light and fan on (they look great LOL) and the AC – so now I know the person who installed the HVAC, didn’t bother with a drain pan or proper drainage. HAHAHAHA the joys of rehabbing.

I called the contractor from the house and asked him casually if his guys were at lunch – I mean, the radio was still on. He obviously doesn’t want to get fired so he told me that one of the guys fell into the wall (perfectly-round-top-of-a-five-gallon-can guy apparently) so they decided to call it a day and start again in the morning. Does he really think I bought that?

I closed up all the paint, made a detailed list and am heading back over there now. I’ve got a fight on my hands with a neighbor I had all the fencing repaired, which I cleared with the neighbors – no problems there. Hey it’s a free repair job for them. BUT my contractor painted the inside of the fence with the leftover exterior house paint (it looks great). All of a sudden the neighbor in the back owns that fence and it’s two-feet on his property, yeah right. I must remind myself to get a salon appointment after this is done to cover the new gray hair.

This house is as interesting as the last ones, it’s amazing how each house brings its own set of “issues.”

Take care all.

And here I am thinking that one of the reasons I got into rehabbing over landlording is so I don’t have to deal with people like that. Not too likely huh?

HAHAHAHA Baloo! You made me laugh out loud :slight_smile: I guess if we pick up a projects inside Disneyland we should be all set. I like that plan.

I’ve met many investors who will not deal with the landlording side of real estate investing. I don’t find landlording too bad on most days, but I’m all over my tenants. They have learned how to keep me away: pay on time and take care of my property.

One of my new tenants called a few months ago – like 13 times in two hours. Because his wife “thought” she saw a snake. I’m listening to all these frantic messages thinking, “And… you want me to do what about it?” By the time I got back to him, he had a full pest patrol out there looking for a possible three-inch snake (that they really weren’t sure they saw). He was convinced I was going to pay for all of this plus the $279 ‘snake barrier’ the company was going to put down (Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? Snake barrier? Is this true?) All I had to say to the tenant was, “Nope, please refer to paragraph 9 on your lease, all pests are your responsibility.” He replied, “So you consider a snake a pest?” To which I said, “Yes, and kind of creepy.” He did laugh, probably hates me, and now knows to the lease before he calling in contractors on my behalf. A solid lease goes a long way in assisting you with landlording.

Take care all!

Is your property in the Everglades? I hear a few well placed alligators and they will take care of themselves! Not sure how it compares to a Snake Barrier…

I think I would take that over a dead body, rabid dog, 2 tons of trash, and brawling painters

I should just rename this thread to House of Horrors :slight_smile:

Update LOL

The sheriff’s office is backlogged a week before they can send someone out to stand over my crew who hauls the former owner’s garbage to the curb. However the court is backlogged as well, so I don’t have the signed writ of possession yet and I can’t arrange for the sheriff until the writ shows up in their office (this former owner is costing me money while I protect his junk). He’s probably on the beach in Jamaica.

Our attorney hasn’t called me back with the answer to my question – Can my crew haul the garbage right to the dumpster or do I have to have it hauled to the street and then the next day put into a dumpster (or when the sheriff drives away)? Anyone know that answer? I’ve left three message, hopefully, I will hear back today. In reality, I probably have a week to find out the answer ;D

My contractor is almost done with my rehab (it’s looking great except for the tower of garbage in the carport). We are down to a last retention payment (they need to clear my punch list before he gets that, it also includes hauling the garbage to the curb – so it could be weeks before he gets that money). Guess what?? One of his guys called me (not sure how he got my number) to tell me they haven’t been paid and want to know when I’m paying their boss? Like O-M-G :slight_smile: I call the contractor who is so drunk I cannot understand him (on my money I’m sure) – yep, fired and never to be used again (once he’s done). I’m so glad I’ve been gathering a list of other contractors – I knew this guy was starting to go south on me, but I didn’t know it was going to be this fast. Too bad too, he was good.

It’s OK to get a kick out of this situation – to be honest with you, I am. No reason to freak out, I’ll get this taken care of and back on the right track. But anyone who says real estate investors don’t work for their money doesn’t do real estate investing :slight_smile:

Take care all!

I’ve seen soap operas with less drama than this, Tami…

God Bless you!

Remember, anything that doesnt kill you makes yous smarter and stronger!


Tami, where is your property? (What town and state?) I hope you get what you want out of the property.
I guess your planning was out of wack. Do you have or know all of the laws in this state? That is always something to consider. My understanding is that laws in California are pro the tennant not the landlord.
My suggestion to you is that do not get emotionally involved with the tennants and hire a good property manager. You should care about the bottomline and your pocket book. In the end, you want to have a good tennant in there (or maybe you are selling it) so, you want zero headaches.
I hope this deal works out for you!


If the attorney gives you problems, fire him! Get a new one! It is your money so, if your ‘team’ does not respect you then get a ‘new’ team.

Hi John!

Actually this house is empty, I’m caring for the former owner’s garbage. You give the same advice I give to every investor, so I appreciate that we are on the same page ;D

I’ve done the California/Landlord/Tenant thing and it put me under. Those courts are too tenant friendly. We had one who… well, read my older posts – No thanks on do that again – at least with the same plan I used then LOL.

This house is located in a southern suburb of Atlanta. The only thing different with this property than my others is that I’m dealing with a former owner who has left more garbage than you can shake a stick at. I wanted to just haul it off – I mean the guy left two dogs, one alive and one dead. But, decided to be a smart investor and I’m following the ever-so-slow court system this time. And folks I still don’t have the signed writ of possession – only four days behind the projected signing/delivery to the sheriff date – tomorrow I go back to the Magistrate Court to find out what the hold up is.

I appreciate your advice John and look forward to reading many of your posts.

Take care call.