So it’s not exactly a secret that the outlaws are not my mostest favouritest people on the planet. I don’t like either of them very much and with the FIL at least, I’m sure the feeling is mutal. But this past week I have to say I have felt very badly for them. No one deserves to be treated this way.
Many many years ago, they got an excellent deal on a rental income property. Apparently the owner died and his children wanted nothing to do with the house. The kids didn’t live in the city, didn’t want to rent it and basically sold it at a firesale price. The outlaws snapped it up, rented it out and life was grand.
The house isn’t great. It’s quite small; six rooms and a basement which isn’t finished. But it sits on a great piece of property and is close to major bus routes and shopping centres. Plus, they don’t charge a lot of rent for it. And, as much as I complain about the outlaws, as landlords they are pretty good. They’ll let you paint the walls whatever colour you want. If you want to do minor improvements they’ll either knock money off your rent or pay for the materials. They’ll even give you a break if you’re a few days late with your rent, so long as you have a good excuse and tell them as soon as you know you can’t make the full amount. They’ve been in financial straits before so they get it. They’re not happy ab0ut it, but they get it.
Anyway, about three years ago their long-term tenants left. The outlaws let the house sit empty over the winter and rented it out to a couple who kind of abused them. They didn’t pay rent on time, their cheques often bounced, they rarely paid the full rent amount but apparently always had money for beer, cigarettes and taxis. They left the following fall and the outlaws, who have some weird ideas, let the house sit empty until spring, because in their mind “no one decent rents a house in the winter”. Whatever.
They also don’t believe in doing reference or credit checks because the former is a pain and the latter costs money. They prefer to hold an “open house” viewing of their place and won’t show it if you call and ask to see the place. Fair enough but people who need a place to live on short notice don’t have time to wait for your open house in two weeks. We all know the saying that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks…well that’s the outlaws.
Anyway, this last pair of tenants played them. Badly. They gave the outlaws a song and dance about how they wanted to plant a garden and didn’t have pets and were looking for a place to call their own. They said they were gainfully employed. They lied about it all and the outlaws bought it. They paid rent for the first few months and that was it. They had two dogs, two cats, a rabbit, fish and who knows how many lizards. They bounced cheques, they changed the locks, they refused the outlaws (and any service people) entry without 24 hour written notice (notice is required but it doesn’t have to be written in my province), they made pointless demands (finish the basement), they called the city and the police claiming they were being abused.
In short, they made the outlaws’ lives hellish for eight months. Finally, the outlaws had no choice but to evict them. They followed the proper procedures, even down to hiring a lawyer, but the tenants still wouldn’t go. They went before the Landlord and Tenant Board and won their case. The Sherrif served them with eviction papers and the tenants dug in their heels and refused to leave. On the actual eviction day they still hadn’t packed up their belongings. They were given six extra hours to get out. It still wasn’t enough.
You should have seen the state of the house. Now, I lived in student housing and partied in many a house in the student ghetto of my university town so I’ve seen a lot of grossness. I’m not really all that squeamish. But this place was beyond disgusting.
These people left piles of dirty clothes, garbage, half used food, dirty plates on the floor and I swear they hadn’t vaccuumed the joint for at least six months….even though there was a vaccuum cleaner in the basement. They left behind books and furniture, all kinds of personal care products, CDs, video games, toys, clothes, aquariums, dishes, small appliances, a TV and a computer monitor. The list goes on. And let’s not talk about medical waste we found.
The FIL was prepared to set fire to the house when he saw the state it was left in. The MIL started to cry. The hubs, me, his cousin and her mother have spent the past week just picking up crap. Honestly, it looked like they let their dogs at garbage bags.
How do people do this? How do you walk away from half your possessions? How do you live in squalor if you don’t have to? How do you make it so that decent people have to spent all of their free time picking up your shit? DH’s cousin found a dead lizard in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Something was clearly not right with this couple.
We’ve picked up what we can. Some stuff has been donated to shelters and food banks. We’ve recycled what we can. We divvied up the stuff that was left behind that was useful to us. We’ve given away things. We’ve tossed out 18 garbage bags, filled three blue bins (twice) and a giant green bin (twice) and there’s still more to come. There will be dump runs and more dump runs. And nothing has actually been cleaned. For that we’re calling in a company who specializes in heavy duty industrial cleaning. Or crime scenes. I have many hippie treehugger leanings, especially where food and cleaning products are concerned, but honestly, I’m not even sure that 100% bleach will disinfect this place. I’m pretty sure the carpets will have to be pulled up and burnt and God only knows what manner of filth and germs the bathroom holds.
The outlaws, understandably, don’t want any part in this. They are immensely saddened and angered by the blatant disrespect shown to them. And I have to say I agree. Sure they’re annoying and out of touch but no one deserves to have their property treated this way. No one. While they can’t help clean they will throw money at the problem until it goes away. And that’s fine. The stress of being in that house every day would likely make him stroke out. She’s just had eye surgery and can’t bend over. Both of those things aside, neither are all that young anymore and neither deal well with stress. It’s best to keep them away. While I don’t want them in my life any longer than need be, no one in the family would be well-served by one (or both) of them having a heart attack or stroke right now.
Even after all of this though, they are determined to rent again. Another cousin has a few people who would be interested. And I hope they are. And I hope they’re normal. The outlaws cry poor all the time, despite the fact that they are likely sitting on a pot full of money. I understand that they came from impoverished backgrounds and need the financial security that the rental income provides. But I really hope that this next tenant works out. The outlaws health (and the rest of the family’s sanity) is worth so much more what than the rent money brings in. But they don’t see it. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks I guess. I just hope we don’t have to bury the old dog because they’re too stubborn to learn.