Orange CoverallsFrom my small part of the globe (Belpre, Ohio) I can see the economy getting tighter for many. The ketchup bottle remains on the counter in an inverted fashion. My being-evicted renter (Nov. 30 at 2:00 PM is the eviction court date) has not been back to the unit for a month. I can tell because I put a penny in the door when closed in a certain way, so when the door is opened it falls and I know he has returned. My new smoke detector was hanging over his bedroom door (I can see this through his curtainless window); now it is on the bedroom floor. In Ohio, there's nothing I can do till I get him in court and he is evicted by the judge — then I get the unit back that day. The other night I noticed a late model Cadillac with Texas plates in front of his door and a 'donut' spare in place on one of the car's rear tires. I called the police to come and check the car out and found that my being-evicted renter gave his key to his cousin from Texas and let him move into the unit! Nothing I can do, even though the rental agreement is in the one person's name only. The police ran the Texas plates and 'rousted' the fellow as to why he was in the unit. I was standing there and he told the police and me that his cousin gave him the key and that he had no place to stay (homeless). The young fellow even apologized to me for being there! Then last night a deputy sheriff drove through the property and I asked him who he was looking for and he told me (fellow I am evicting). Guess he was a 'no show' in court for underage consumption and resisting arrest a time back. Things have gone from bad to worse for this young man. That evening he came back onto the property with another fellow to pick up the Texas cousin at my unit and I called the police. They arrived and took the fellow away in cuffs. The fellow from Texas is broke, no place to stay. Being-evicted renter may appear for his eviction hearing in prison orange coveralls. I see the economy tighten for people I rent to, and, comparing notes, other rental property owners have similar stories. Real estate is still a great investment — but not for everyone!

Henry Gifford remarks:

Interesting lesson for all in your rental headaches. I had some good, some bad tenants until I started using a broker to find tenants. They found only good ones. People with more time than money scour the classified ads, while people with lives use a broker. It's the best filtering mechanism around.

I had a tenant rent his mailbox to a drug dealer who stabbed me in the chest, and he's still in the apartment. When I was an active landlord, a really "clean" eviction case flew through the NYC courts in about a year if uncontested, longer if contested, which basically meant showing up. Sublets to non-payers could take a couple of years, with of course huge legal fees that cost more per month than several other tenants were paying. You have it easy out there in Ohio!

Ken Smith notes:

In Seattle a rental house can have up to 12 occupants, if I am correct on this. So when a renter is short of money he can advertise for people to share his domicile. Renter has the lease and can sublease. There are ways out of being evicted if willing to share. Place across street from me once had 12 occupants, all moving in to assist with the rent after the original lease holder lost his job. They moved in incrementally. First one, then a couple, then a mom with two kids, etc. 


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