I Stole Your Washer but You'll Have to Pay Me to Get it Back

Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Solutions

Some tenants you're glad to see go

They were four young men living together in a four-bedroom, pet-free home. Only it wasn't really pet-free because when I went to take measurements to list the property and take a few preliminary photos, the cat and three dogs were clearly a violation of the lease.

After they vacated, it took several weeks and thousands of dollars to remove the odor and destruction left by the animals - removing carpet and pad, Kilzing the subfloor, restoring hardwood floors, fixing gouged doors and window sills, restoring the yard, etc. 

But what was noticeably absent when I took final pictures were the washer and dryer that were new when the renters moved in. I called the tenant-in-charge and asked what had become of the owner's property. He told me they took them because they weren't enumerated in their lease and they figured no one would notice. 

I told him he had until 5:00 the following day to get the washer and dryer returned to the property. Because they were no longer in possession and didn't have keys, I said I would make arrangements with my handyman to meet us there the following evening. They could turn them over and the handyman would reinstall them. I would not allow the previous tenant to have access to the home.


The next morning the renter called to inform me he would not bring the washer and dryer back unless we paid him! Asking what logical reason he could possibly have to make such an outrageous demand, he told me they had sold their own washer and dryer because they had new ones, and if he brought them back, they would be left without any and didn't have the money to buy more!

The value of the washer and dryer was approximately $1,100, considered Grand Theft in Colorado. This tenant had a job that required him to have a license. I informed him that if the appliances were not returned by that evening, we would file a police report and it would be a felony on his record which would affect his license. What followed was an explosion of swear words and threats and accusations of me being the most unreasonable Realtor he'd ever encountered. We agreed to meet at 5:00.

He and a friend arrived with the machines at 5:55 - my handyman had waited with me. No words were exchanged as the unloading took place, and they left within minutes. 

It was gracious of my handyman to only charge $50 for the hour wait and the after-hours installation. So imagine my surprise when the tenant threatened to take him to Small Claims Court for "gouging" him on his price. My job is not often easy, but sometimes it's a lot of fun.

This post was originally posted as I'll Give You Back Your Washer if You Pay Me by Mimi Foster

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Selling homes throughout Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and surrounding areas



Mimi Foster

(719) 460-7570


Mimi has received the honor of being voted one of the best Realtors in Colorado Springs five years in a row. With over two decades of experience, she is committed to making the home buying/selling process as painless and enjoyable as possible. Read Full Bio…


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Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"


I have a long time client that had a large family sized condo he was renting for  a couple of years. When they vacated it was in such bad shape that they lost over $10,000 in the deal. Long story but not a food one.  Our state favors tenants with the laws.  Hard to get an eviction even with non payment. 

Feb 18, 2020 07:46 AM #56
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Good thing you know the law and stood your ground! There are some interesting characters out there...

Feb 18, 2020 08:15 AM #57
Theresa Akin

I took a property management class a few years ago.  At the end of the class as we turned in quiz papers, the instructor asked each one of us what we learned. I told her I learned I never wanted to handle property management. I'll help locate and show rentals which can be a great lead prospect but not interested in managing.

Feb 18, 2020 08:47 AM #58
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

WOW --you did the right thing!  What a jerk!!  So glad you had the info about the license.

Feb 18, 2020 08:52 AM #59
Mark Davis-Cote
The HomesFinder Realty Group - Beaufort, SC
Broker-in-Charge, The HomesFinder Realty Group

Such a great story!  Stories and experiences like this are exactly why I don't engage in property management.  Thanks for sharing!

Feb 18, 2020 10:15 AM #60
Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

I do quite a few leases but never had that come up before. We always put the appliances in the lease forms (C.A.R. forms) so if they have a dispute they can go to small claims. Glad you resolved this without a court action.

Feb 18, 2020 10:50 AM #61
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Oh Mimi, the stories we can tell!    I'm glad this mostly worked out for you.

Feb 18, 2020 10:57 AM #62
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Everyday we deal with something ... I think we are all qualified to write a book! 

Glad you got the washer and dryer back. Hard to believe people think they can rule the day! Glad you got the last say!

Feb 18, 2020 11:52 AM #63
Robert Sole
REM Inspections LLC - Winter Springs, FL

Good for you!  It is amazing that many people feel they are entitled to other peoples property.

Feb 18, 2020 12:06 PM #64
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Things like this.... is why I would never want to do property management.   You're a brave soul.

Feb 18, 2020 07:37 PM #65
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh boy! I can't think of a better way to have handled this, Mimi - you handled it to perfection! I'm so glad it worked out in the end.

Oh, the stories we can tell. There's at least one every day in this business!!

Feb 18, 2020 09:45 PM #66
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

oh man, the nerve! I've been a landlord for over 15 years and never had that happen! Good for you for making them bring them back and not backing down. That's great work!

Feb 19, 2020 06:23 AM #67
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Good story & the scammer lost. Sort of a sense of entitlement there? We sold ours so we will take yours. What a job we have.

Feb 19, 2020 09:23 AM #68
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I loved your make a long story short, dead pan, "we agreed to met at 5."  It made me chuckle.  Your post also reminded me of the tough situations we encounter as real estate agents.  Well done!  Your clients are lucky to have you represent them.

Feb 19, 2020 11:01 AM #69
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Chandler, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

You handled that SO well Mimi Foster! I'm not sure I would have had the patience and restraint you employed!  I am astonished at how people can be dead wrong but somehow justify in their own mind that what they are doing is correct and acceptable. I suppose nothing in real estate should surprise me anymore. There are so many kooks out there!

Feb 19, 2020 03:28 PM #70
Anthony Kirlew
Group 46:10 Network @ eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Choices

Well done. It's nice to know when you are dealing with someone with a professional license, and you can often use that as leverage. I had an issue with a lawyer once who was lying about a business transaction (disputing a credit card charge for services performed under a written contract.). I emailed her local bar association and asked what was involved in filing a dispute against an unethical lawyer (and I blind copied her on the email). Ironically, the dispute cleared up the same day.

Feb 23, 2020 06:18 AM #72
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

What a "mess!"  Literally with tenants like that, lotsa folks wouldn't become landlords, much less include new washers and dryers!


Feb 26, 2020 04:30 PM #73
The Residential to Commercial Academy Inc.
The Residential to Commercial Academy Inc. - Colleyville, TX
Commercial real estate online course.

Way to keep your cool and come out on top!

Feb 28, 2020 09:00 AM #74
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Mimi, what a great example of how to handle the tenants from hell.  You handled that perfectly and your handyman is a gem.

Mar 09, 2020 02:13 AM #75
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mimi Foster - Our biggest complains throughout the entire State of Texas are Landlord/Tenant Disputes. I don't envy any Property Managers. When I worked as a Paralegal, the majority of cases were Landlord/Tenant cases, Divorce, and Mediation. It's a shame when adults act like children. 

Mar 11, 2020 01:00 PM #76
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