Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When grown-ups act like babies

We have these two sets of tenants. One is an older couple, I'll call them Fred and Ethel, and one is a younger couple, I'll call them Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill have lived in one of our houses for four years now. They always pay rent on time, they pay their sewer bill, and we have never had any complaints about them.

A year ago this past month, Fred and Ethel moved in next door. At first everything is fine. But then we start getting calls from Jill. Ethel is calling her names, standing at the window screaming at her two kids, telling them to get off her lawn. Basically, Jill and the kids can't go outside without this woman screaming at them. In fact, while Jill was telling me this on the phone, I could hear Ethel shrieking from her open window in the background.

So I called Fred and asked him to please control his wife. She is slightly mentally unbalanced (and that's not a dig, she really is), but he knows how to handle her. He assures us he will take care of it. But summer is coming, which means the kids are going to be outside more often. Sure enough, Ethel calls me to complain about people walking through her yard. She wants me to pay for a fence. Um, no, sorry.

Three weeks ago, I spent three hours on the phone, first with Jill, then with Ethel. They were both in tears. Jill was upset because Ethel just won't leave her alone. She can't walk outside without being called an f-ing b- and that's on a good day. Meanwhile, Ethel is in tears because she can't have a decent looking lawn because people won't stay off it. So I asked Jill to please not walk across Fred and Ethel's lawn, and to keep her kids off as well. This was mostly to see if that was really the problem.

Naturally, it was not. Ethel has since grabbed another neighbor's son around the neck because she thought it was Jill's son. She has also told Jill that she should keep her kids inside if she wants to keep them safe. The police were called, and would have pressed charges for harrassment, but indicated to Jill that it would probably get thrown out because of Ethel's mental illness. Jill is at the end of her rope. So at this point, since their lease has expired, I'm going to be asking Fred and Ethel to leave. I will evict them if I need to. Which is a shame, because they have been perfect tenants as far as paying rent on time and not giving us trouble. Unfortunately, they, or I should say she, can't seem to stop causing everyone else trouble.

I probably shouldn't have let it go on as long as it has (four months now), but until this recent incident, it was just Ethel's word against Jill's. I finally have other people willing to tell how this woman is terrorizing Jill and her family. What a pain for me, though! I have to kick out perfectly good tenants and then try to find new ones. Ugh. Why can't people just get along?


  1. I did the landlord thing once - once. Eventually I had to evict a mother and her two sons because the waste of a man she was married too wouldn't pay the rent. She couldn't work - It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

    You are doing the right thing. Ethel needs to be re-evaluated is she is becoming violent (might want to mention it to Fred).

  2. What a situation. Still, tenants have to follow set rules. If they disrupt others, they can't stay.

  3. I love the creative names you gave the tenants.

    I think you're doing the right thing. This is really no fun for anyone in the situation - not Fred and Ethel, not Jack and Jill, and not you.

    I'm sure Jill is rejoicing now that she'll get new neighbors. I've had bad neighbors and it can really make life miserable on a daily basis.

  4. I know in my head it's right, but it is hard to do!

    Yes, Jill is very happy they will finally be rid of Ethel!