BY DIANE CHAVEZ RS – Recently, I learned about a property owner who experienced the worst series of unfortunate events. The property owner hired a property manager and over approximately three years the newly remodeled home degenerated into a state of vile disrepair.
The progression began very benign, like the onset of the common cold. First, there was the untimely payment of rent progressing to the intermittent payments of rent, leading to the delay in rent, and ultimately then being behind in rent by 6 months. Initially, the family succumbed to not being able to afford electricity and were living in the dark with no power. The homeowner felt sorry for the family and was trying to accommodate the struggling individuals.
I was not managing the home, but often would drive by and report to the owner that there seemed to be a small village population residing on the premises. I had dark suspicions about who was really living on the property, but the property owner was very trusting and naive.
The homeowner’s trials approached an end when the tenants were in 6 months of default. The owner then asked the property manager to evict the tenants immediately. However, there was a delay again and more time ticked away until eventually the renter left, but also left the garage full of personal belongings.
The house was destroyed as the tenant population, of unknown size, did not disclose the single toilet and shower had been overflowing into the main living room, which was carpeted. All the kitchen cupboards had been chewed down by rats and the once new stove’s electrical wiring also had been eaten by rats. The property manager at least had the place bombed for roaches, so when I walked in the door the five thousand dead roaches lying on the ground left a grim reminder of the reality that good intentions don’t always equal great outcomes.
The off-island owner had no idea what was going on. Every appliance needed replacing. The entire bathroom needed replacing. The entire kitchen had to be re-done. All the walls needed new paint and all the flooring had to be replaced. The property manager did not retain the deposit money to refund to the owner as it probably was called “back rent,” and it would not have touched the cost of the damages done.
The insurance company reviewed the case and denied the claim stating it occurred due to lack of maintenance. There were approximately $18,000 dollars in damages. The only three characters missing in this story are the three pit bulls living on fraying leashes without water in the front yard.
When you get the first indication that there might be a problem is the best time to give your full attention to making the smart choice to protect your investment. This homeowner is looking for a good property manager in Waikoloa Village.
More articles by Diane Chavez at Hawaiilife.com