Why it's nice to meet the neighbors

Had a new experience tonight. I showed our vacant house to about 7 or 8 different people and took 2 good applications. After that, I went over to another house I’m working on. A couple hours later I got a call from one of the neighbors over by that vacant house. He told me there was an extension cord running out of our exterior power outlet to the house on the other side. I was back over there in 5 minutes and confronted the young lady in that other house. I asked her why there was a cord running from our outlet into her window. She gave me a sob story of she doesn’t have any electricity and her son had something said to him at school today that his uniform needed pressed so she thought it was ok to use our electricity so she could press his uniform. She said she’s lived there for a month and has no electricity. Apparently her LL won’t fix anything (it’s always the LL’s fault, right?) so she can’t get electricity because of a short. I proceeded to let her have it for about 5 minutes about how she was stealing from us and it’s not our responsibility to provide her with utilities. The really pathetic thing is that a couple weeks ago I found water flooding out from under the house and I shut off the water valve while she was gone. When she got back, I told her what happened, showed her the leak, and told her how to approach the city about it so she wouldn’t have to pay for the wasted water. So that good deed got repaid by the b!otch stealing from us. My lesson learned is I will disable any exterior outlets from now on until the house is occupied. Tonight I was able to shut off the appropriate breaker and padlock the electrical box shut.
Had I not met that neighbor on the other side, she likely would’ve gotten away with much more. Most of the time we get curious neighbors when we’re working on houses. They can see we’re trying to improve the houses and part of their neighborhood. We’ve had referrals for applicants, reports of unauthorized dogs on our properties, etc come from the neighbors.

Wow, what a story. And what gall to steal from you after you bothered to give her helpful advice. At least you learned a lesson that you are now able to pass on to others. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to take your advice should I find myself in the same position.

[[[…what gall to steal from you after you bothered to…]]]

Oh, yes, very common. The world is full of people (and a lot of them are tenants) whose reaction to “nice” is the glee of thinking that they can take advantage of you because you are nice.

If you expect appreciation form tenants (or a lot of other types of people), you are in for some disappointment

Don’t expect appreciation from them, just the rent paid on time. I trust my wife and parents. That’s pretty much about it.

How lame. And of course, she had the excuses and tearjerker stories ready at hand.

This was something I was concerned about with water, and the hose bibs, although I suppose they’d have to take bucket after bucket of water. Is there a way to temporarily block off a hosebib at a vacant property, like something you can clip over the spigot?

That’s a great idea about padlocking the breaker box while the property is vacant.

There you go. Just make sure they can’t pick locks.


Thanks PSU, it’s good to know those are available. Even if they pick the lock, at least you can tell quickly that someone’s been messing with the water.