Inspect Applicants Current Residence ASAP

Inspect Applicants Current Residence ASAP

You should inspect applicants current residence ASAP as part of the tenant screening process. This was one of the lessons I learned the hard way. Hopefully you will not have to. Let me tell you the story of Fannie the Cockroach Queen. Her name has been changed to protect the dirty housekeeper.

In 1994 we purchased our fourth rental property. A beautiful three bedroom one bath ranch constructed about 1959 and located in a low income neighborhood. The seller was an immaculate housekeeper. Move in condition barely describes this gorgeous home. The carpet was clean and the walls had been freshly painted. There was not one thing to do but change the locks on the front and back entry doors.

Not knowing enough about tenant screening, I accepted an application from Fannie the Cockroach Queen. It would have been better if I had performed a current resident inspection. You should always Inspect Applicants Current Residence ASAP. Unfortunately, I did not.

As a proactive landlord I called her current landlord and followed the checklist. The prior landlord said she paid her rent but she wasn’t the cleanest tenant. What I heard was “SHE PAYS GREAT”! To the rest of the story a little I didn’t listen to.

When Fannie moved in each cockroach had been carefully packed and knew what room they were to occupy. Several of them appear to have been named and had become family pets. In fact a few of them were so large they helped to move the refrigerator.

We conduct an initial walk through with all residents. We then conduct follow up inspections in our units every three months.

When Fannie the Cockroach Queen moved in the house had carpet in the bathroom. The bathroom carpet was missing during our first quarterly inspection. Now we had vinyl seamless flooring that had been under it.

During the second quarterly inspection we discovered that that particular layer of seamless vinyl flooring was gone and a new layer of seamless vinyl was now showing.

The third quarterly inspection was an even bigger surprise. The second layer of vinyl flooring was gone. Starring back at us was the original 9″ x 9″ vinyl asbestos floor tile. That type of floor tile was  installed when the home was constructed. It was now the only flooring in the bathroom.

At that time we learned that her boyfriend had moved into our rental dwelling. According to a neighbor he was also a drug dealer. We immediately notified her that we would be unable to renew her lease, due to an unauthorized resident constituting a breach of the current lease agreement. There was no evidence to prove drugs were being sold. As such were forced to move forward with what we could legally do.

The move out inspection was even more interesting. The 9″ x 9″ vinyl asbestos tile flooring had been completely removed by the tenant. More than likely caused by the failure to close the shower curtain. The floor tile was  gone entirely. Can you imagine the residents standing on the bare concrete floor and she never called to report it. Yes, a shower curtain was provided. Such a shame the tenants never figured out how to use it.

The other issue was the massive cockroach infestation. On day one we covered the windows with plastic and set off nine (9) bug bombs. A week later we returned and inspected the unit. We could hear the cockroaches crunching under our feet. We set off nine (9) more bug bombs and left. He told us that the cockroaches were behind the paneling and he would be glad to that the property but that the thousands of cockroach eggs and adults hiding behind the paneling.

Based upon Doc’s assessment we removed all of the paneling in the home. The little critters rained down on us as we disposed of the paneling. It was during this adventure that I decided that parting my hair was not that important anymore. The Marines practice short hair cuts to keep down the number of bugs. Went back to my military high and tight that day. Fannie taught me to inspect applicants current residence ASAP, before renting to them.

Lessons Learned

Several thousand dollars later I had learned two lessons.

First you need to inspect applicants current residence ASAP.

Second “Pigs are Pigs, the only thing a landlord can do is change their sty”.

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