Politeness comes with a price.

Once upon a time

Our hero, the property manager, was happily dealing with the last of the renovations and the vendor doing the work. The house was on schedule to rent out again in the morning.  Life was looking good and several prequalified renters were lined up for the next day to see it.

The front door was open to the house.

Suddenly, she turned around and was facing a nicely dressed lady who had walked in through the open front door.  She asked how much to rent it and asked when she could move in.  She showed her driver’s license showing a nearby location.  They talked and discussed an application and then if qualified . . .

Her boyfriend was with her. They did look around a little.

Repairs completed and vendor left.  Would be renter and boyfriend left after a quicky tour and some more chatter.  Our hero locks up and leaves.

So, no problem.

The rest of the story.

The next day our hero shows up with the first family in line to rent for a tour.

The door locks have been changed and she can’t get in.  She looks in the window and sees a mattress in the bedroom.

Evidently, somehow, our nicely dressed lady friend had gotten in without breaking in. Door left unlocked when no one was looking?  Who knows.

A mattress strategically brought in. Locks changed.  A fake TAR lease filled out and signed, well, at least by the renters.

These guys knew the system. Claimed they had been allowed to move in, had a lease agreement, and keys. Dragged it out in JP and the squatter lost. Then they appealed at the last minute before writ ordered.

In County, squatter lost, of course, appeal attempted to Court of Appeals but stopped thanks to landlord’s lawyer getting large supersedeas.

Not a big problem? If you count approximately three months before writ acquired, then no. Yes, they moved out the day before the constable was to do the move-out.

Slum lord situation?  Nope. Highland Park area.  Some $10K to $12k in lost rent and repairs.  The renter was psycho about keeping the kid in the school district — yes — to this point of crazy.

Lessons

  • Personal security is number one.  Let’s remember the Realtor in Plano who paid with her life.
  • Don’t advertise the location until ready. This is a tough one. At least be careful about attempted walk-ins.
  • Never give a blank lease to anyone.  Not the case here, but no.
  • Never give out a key, Ever.  Not until all papers signed and money transferred.
  • Applications and application fees are smart. In general, ruthlessly following an intake process can save a lot of nightmares later.  The more staff respects this, the happier the team will be.
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