You can read about Part 1 of my Arbutus MD tenants from hell here.
The next morning I woke up early and headed over to the Baltimore County Rent Court. When I got to the front of the line they handed me a Failure to Pay Rent form. I filled it out and handed it back to the clerk. Next was the long wait until our scheduled court date. During that long wait I kept dreaming about getting rid of the property. Honestly, at this point I don’t even want anything out of it, I just no longer want to deal with the hassle of owning real estate in Arbutus.
Finally the letter came in the mail. I would be reporting to the courtroom the next Friday. I arrived that Friday in a suit with all my documentation on the property. I was embarrassed to be in this situation and felt as the the other people in the room were judging me. Luckily when my time can my renters hadn’t shown up. The judge awarded the case in my favor and gave me a document that would allow me to schedule a sheriff eviction. I had to wait 10 days but I didn’t care. This nightmare of being a landlord was finally coming to an end.
I showed up at the day of the eviction with the sheriff. I was surprised to see that the tenants weren’t prepared at all. The sheriff gave them 10 minutes to gather their things and he escorted them off the property. I changed the locks and turned around to see all the junk they had left behind. It was going to be a long day. My two nephews pulled onto the street a few moments later and we began dumping everything into the dumpster I had ordered the day before. After the house was cleared I noticed all the damage done to the property. There were holes in the walls, scratched up cabinets, and a warped vanity from wet towels that had be left on it overnight. I was not in the mindset to deal with those problems so I left them for another day.
It’s tough to admit when you’re wrong. In this case I was overly confident. You always see the people on HGTV having a great time and experiencing tons of success. I can tell you firsthand that it’s not that easy. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s to leave this real estate stuff to the professionals.
A few years ago I inherited a property from my father in the neighborhood of Arbutus, MD. Arbutus is located in southern Baltimore. The first 6 months the property sat vacant. I was busy with the funeral arrangements and then just could find the energy to do anything further with the property. After a little while I got past the grieving process and decided it was time for action, I was going to turn it into an investment property.
I called a few property management companies but wasn’t impressed with their customer service. With the lack of quality managers I decided to go at the management alone. How hard could it be? I made a listing on Craigslist and had a handful of interested renters in a matter of hours. “This is going to be easy,” I thought to myself. Boy was I wrong.
Meeting the renters at the property, they seemed like good people. The wife was a local nurse at Johns Hopkins and the husband was a for-hire carpenter. They grew up in the area and were looking for a larger house with more space for their kids. Although my gut instinct was to go through a formal background and credit check, I decided that they seemed honest and had them sign a lease then and there. They gave me the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and I was on my way to being a landlord.
The next month I waited for a check in the mail but it never came. My heart sank but I comforted myself with the idea that if must have been lost in the mail. I tried calling them a few times but no answer. Getting impatient I went over to the house. The wife answered the door. She apologized for being behind on the rent, that her husband had been out of work. Where was this information a month ago? This was the beginning of my nightmare experience being an Arbutus real estate investor.
I was overcome with anger and regret. How could I have been so stupid. I decided to suck up my pride and call a local Maryland lawyer I know and he gave me the rent court address. “It’s going to be a long process,” he said to me as we hung up. Drained and slightly defeated and laid on my couch. I no longer had the visions of being the next Baltimore millionaire and was quickly learning that owning rental properties was not for me.