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Saturday evening Joshua and I got to see the duplex we used to live in for the first time since the previous tenants were evicted. Seeing the place we started our lives together in trashed was heartbreaking.
Joshua and I moved into this duplex owned at the time by my grandparents in February 2007. The previous tenant who had lived there for 10 years trashed the place with her poor taste in paint colors and other bad design choices.
Joshua, my mom, my sister, and I spent a LOT of time fixing that place up. Not only did the entire place get a fresh coat of paint (both inside and out), but we had new hardwood flooring and carpeting put in, a new stove, a new water heater, and a new washer and dryer.
Even our refrigerator was fairly new (only 1 year old at the time). Joshua also replaced every single outlet and light-switch in the house. We fixed up the outside laying bark down all around the front, pulling up weeds in the back, and putting in a nice retaining wall. We also yanked out the old fence surrounding the perimeter and put in new fencing in the backyard.
In a nutshell, with the resources and money we had available, we fixed that place up to the best of our abilities. We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that place. So much work went into both the house and the yard.
When we moved out of the duplex in June of 2009 we thought it was going to be left in good hands. The new tenants, an Irish couple with two teenage daughters, were excited to move in, plus the husband was supposedly a “professional tile contractor” that wanted to remodel the bathroom and kitchen.
Everything seemed great at first. The kitchen went from looking like this… (btw, take notice of the refrigerator and stove and keep that in mind for later on in this post)
… to this when the Irish family remodeled it.
They remodeled the kitchen replacing everything except for the stove and the refrigerator. They repainted the walls as well.
The bathroom, once home to cracked, ugly, salmon pink tile with the floor sinking by the bathtub…
…was remodeled to look like this.
Based on the tile layout and the fact the same shelving remained in place, repainting the walls was unnecessary; however it did tie in with the tiling.
Even the fireplace got a facelift, going from this…
… to this.
The fireplace was slightly dirty due to the tenant before them burning wood in the fireplace, despite being instructed not to do so in signing the rental agreement. When the Irish couple moved in they retiled the fireplace. This was unnecessary and done without permission. It is unknown whether they were compensated for this.
Now, all these improvements happened shortly after they moved in. Everything seemed okay… but then things started getting a little out of control. A lot of unnecessary “improvements” were occurring, and they wanted to be compensated for every little thing they did, whether it was needed or not.
A couple months later we were invited over to see the new fence the husband put in around the perimeter of the yard.
This new fencing around the perimeter of the property was really only to suit their needs as they had two dogs. This was far more beneficial to them than to the property itself. Upon inspecting the property further we saw he made some changes in the backyard.
Tiling was laid down and a shed installed. Again, unnecessary, keeping in mind this is not their house but a rental. As I checked out the backyard I made my way to the garage where I discovered he converted the small 4ft high storage loft into a second story for his daughter.
This was done without the permission of my grandparents and a permit was not obtained to build this; even if he did file for a permit it would have been rejected, as we later found out talking to the city building code people.
Fitting a family of 4 in that duplex is REALLY crowded, especially if two are adults and the other two are teenage girls. It’s a small two bedroom one bath place. I remember being surprised when I heard a family of 4 was moving in.
Now, it seemed they were on their way to completely change this place to suit only their needs. When I first saw all of these changes, the husband pulled me aside saying he was trying to talk my grandpa into letting him put in a second bathroom!
In addition to adding this illegal loft, he sheet-rocked the entire garage, including the garage door, leaving it inoperable. This was also done without permission.
Just a note, check out the washer and dryer. Notice how it’s blue on top. That’s the new washer and dryer that was put in March of 2007. No problems the whole time. Keep that in mind along with the fridge and stove.
Fast forward to last year. My grandmother passed away at the end of May. My grandfather was a mess and his memory was deteriorating. Unfortunately this Irish couple took complete advantage of his situation. They got carried away with more unnecessary repairs and tried to get every little penny they could from him.
By the time my mom got official control of everything, most of the damage had been done. They were evicted on April 25th, 2011, given a 60 day notice, and they vacated the premises a couple weeks ago.
Saturday evening Joshua and I went to inspect the place. We were shocked at what we found.
We found out the Irish couple replaced the carpeting. Yes, the brand new carpeting that was put in March 2007.
The Irish couple claimed that “the carpet smelled and had blood underneath it” (how would they know?), which is why they removed the carpet. They tried to blame our former roommate for the “condition” of the carpet based on stories heard from my grandparents. Despite our former roommate being a slob, the carpet was still in great condition the day she left.
Upon vacating the duplex, we steam-cleaned the carpet. The carpet never smelled or had blood on it during our time in the duplex. It was left clean and in excellent condition prior to the Irish couple moving in.
Still they managed to swindle my grandpa into paying for new hardwood flooring, which didn’t even match the flooring we had put in.
Remember how I told you to keep in mind the fridge and stove? Pretty sure these were changed out as early as 2010 based on other pictures I’ve found.
Oh hey, that isn’t the same washer and dryer!
Joshua and I worked our rears off to clear the backyard and put the retaining wall in. Now, it’s damaged. Same with the back fence. It was so nice when we put it in.
At one point (after my grandpa was officially diagnosed with dementia) the Irish couple got my grandpa to sign the okay for a contractor to put brand new windows in. Now, my mom had told them we were going to put new windows in eventually (preferable after tax season, etc.), but they were impatient.
They cooked up some bogus story about how “the wind was so strong it broke the window in the second bedroom room” so they needed new windows NOW. While my mom was able to put a stop to another contractor putting in windows, she was unable to stop the Irish husband from putting them in himself. Without a permit. He only put in new windows that faced the street, and they were never finished nor put in properly.
Did I mention the Irish lady had the nerve to ask about repainting the OUTSIDE of the house because “they didn’t like the color” nevermind that too was done while we were living there?
I find it interesting that in the two years this couple lived here they found soooo many problems, meanwhile when we lived there things were fine, floors were clean, appliances were working.
The silver lining through all of this, is once the duplex gets fixed up, it’s never going back to the same way it was. Having both my mom and a property manager in control is going to ensure this place gets the attention it deserves as well as decent tenants.
I hope this serves as a cautionary tale to both renters and landlords. Do stuff right. Shady business = shady tenants.