I am still relatively new to ActiveRain and the blogosphere in general, but wanted to share a story with the network that still dumbfounds me. I received a call today from a renter who contracted with Show Homes (a company that manages vacant listings and arranges for tenants to help stage the home while listed) seeking my legal help because of a huge error by Show Homes.
Basically, Show Homes contracted with an individual who claimed to be the owner of a home that a friend of mine had recently listed. They were to provide a tenant to help in staging and furnishing the home. Unfortunately, Show Homes failed to verify that this individual was in fact the owner of the home. Show Homes was puzzled but not deterred when they were unable to get in the door the day their tenant arrived to move in. They just called a locksmith, broke in and re-keyed all the locks. The unknowing tenant started moving their stuff in as they had planned.
My friend the listing agent got a call the next day from a showing agent with feedback that the home was not ready to show. She was told that there were boxes everywhere and two large dogs in this listing that was supposed to be vacant. She naturally assumed the showing agent had confused the home with another showing, but found out that the other Realtor was not mistaken about the address. She then proceeded to call the police and meet them home (the homeowner was an out of state owner). Surprisingly enough, the keys she had just made copies of no longer worked and the home was occupied with tenants that neither she nor the owner had ever heard of.
Even better, Show Homes then tried to arrange for the actual legal home owner to pay them for their services in staging the home. Further, they have not yet returned the money the unknowing tenant origninally paid to Show Homes for a place to stay. They have likely broken several laws, their contract with the tenant, and have been paid several thousand dollars that they have not earned, but insist that they will work things out. As for the would-be tenants, they will be asking for their money back and likely looking for another place to live. My friend the listing agent now has a great story, but it could all have been avoided if Show Homes had just checked the tax records to determine legal ownership of the property. A note of warning, be careful in any dealings with such companies.