Fall Through the Cracks

Real Estate Agent with Foster Realty, Inc.

Just when I thought it was going to be a good day, the phone rings with news that there is an ambulance at one of the properties I manage.   A neighbor says our tenant, Jan, is lying in the yard moaning in pain. 

By the time I arrive, the ambulance has left, but without Jan.  She is in the house according to the neighbor.  The neighbor also tells me that Jan was sprawled out in the yard for quite some time but seemed fine - until the ambulance arrived.  Then she started crying and complaining of numerous aches and pains caused by a crack in the walkway on the property.   When I am shown the location of this fall, I see there is nothing wrong with the walkway.  It is not cracked or damaged inany way.  I need to investigate and document this incident immediately. I knock on Janʻs door but she does not answer.  

After I leave, she calls my office to let us know that she has fallen off the concrete walkway and had to call the ambulance.   “There are lots of witnesses!” she stresses.  She says she will not be able to work or pay the rent because of her numerous injuries.  Because this accident happened on our property, rather than sue us, she has decided that she will do us a favor and just stay for another year rent-free instead.  How very thoughtful of her.

Jan has been renting this home from us for nearly a year and her lease is due for renewal shortly.  All had been going well until she lost her job and began struggling to make ends meet.  This was an interesting strategy she was trying.  

After telling me again that she had to receive medical attention (she did not) and that she was horribly traumatized by this incident, I told her how sorry I was that this happened to her.  I told her that I would need to provide my attorney with evidence that her injuries would prevent her from being able to pay the rent.  I also need to get a statement from her multiple witnesses and a letter from her employer confirming her disability and any benefits she may be entitled to receive.  I would need these things within 24 hours to stop the eviction filing we had already begun because of her delinquent rent.  There was a long pause and she had nothing further to say.  

We moved forward with the eviction and she was gone within the month.   

🔑 Hiring an experienced property manager can save the homeowner from dealing with tenants who can and will attempt to intimidate or manipulate them.

Comments (4)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Sylvia "Elsie" Foster thank you for sharing very valuable fall through the cracks report. Have a great week!

Jul 17, 2022 08:24 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Aloha Elsie - the stories you have shared from your rental management experience should definitely provide pause to those who think the business is "easy".    

Jul 18, 2022 03:39 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Wow what a story. You handled this perfectly, and I'm glad she left without further trouble.

Jul 18, 2022 04:54 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Elsie,

It's amazing what people will do when put under stress. She knew this was going no where, you did a professional job in handling this newbie shake down artist.

Jul 18, 2022 05:25 AM