Alabama, DIY, Home Improvement Projects, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Watson, What happens when you rent your home out

Some of the Results are in… by Beverly Hicks Burch

Some of the Results are in…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

I’ve shared a little with yall about the experience I’ve had with the recent and not so great tenant who lived in our house for six years. He moved out in January owing a substantial amount of rent and after we took possession of the house back and went in and started surveying we realized the house was greatly damaged…in places great and small.

On the exterior he had let the yard and landscaping I had worked so hard to establish grow up and slip away. When I moved I had a Bermuda lawn. Now, I have weeds and ruts where he parked up to 10 cars at a time in the yard…including the front yard.

I’ve always loved houses with big front porches…call me old-fashioned. Tall & Handsome says our house reminds him of a Northern New Mexico house. It’s quite normal to see stucco haciendas and territorial (Pueblo looking) style houses in New Mexico. But in Northern New Mexico you’ll find homes with steep pitched roofs (to help turn the winter snows). It’s very common for these to be metal roofs. My dream is to one day put a metal roof on my house. It’s also not uncommon for the Northern New Mexico houses to have porches…sometimes that circle the entire house. Well, the porch on my house doesn’t circle the entire house, but it is large…about 28 feet long and 8 or 9 feet deep. “Big Jim” had let honeysuckle, green thorny vine and Lord knows what else grown up onto the handrails and banisters of the porch. The azaleas were being choked to death…

Christmas 2000

The house at Christmas 2000 – boy has the landscaping grown up. This is similar to a Northern New Mexico style house…I dream of a metal roof…

Natchez crepe myrtle before bloom

This is the Crepe Myrtle seen in at the right of the house in the above photo. You can see how much it’s grown in 10 years! It’s a Natchez Crepe Myrtle and should be blooming beautifully shortly…you can also see one of the “parking spaces” in front of the crepe myrtle where cars were parked in the yard. See that BIG driveway? Well, there a second one on the back of the house, too. So, the question is why?!

When “Big Jim” moved into the house it was only about 5 years old. I had lived in the house by myself about two and half of those years, so if the house had been a car we would say it had mostly “highway” miles on it…in other words, it had been lived in gently and with TLC. When I moved out and “Big Jim” and his family moved in the wrecking crew took over. In talking to neighbors it appears there was up to 10 or more people living in the house at any given time…

Appliances were fried…the delivery man said it appeared there had been a fire in the microwave, the stove had been moved and set in the garage, I suspect after they ragged it out. I have never seen an oven that filthy. One of the elements looks like acid or something was put on it and it bubbled up and is useless, the paint is scratched and chipped off and the dishwasher was toast.

Countertop was literally melted, holes were drill into the floor, and woodwork was scarred down to bare wood, ceiling fans rewired, extra dead bolt locks were added to doors that already had dead bolts. Guns safes were put on carpet and allowed to rust, thus rusting the carpet. Peep holes were put in doors I didn’t want them in and are way too high for me. All this was done even though the lease plainly stated no amendment could be made to the house without permission.

The latest two pieces of damage just make me want to bludgeon myself…our jetted tub looks like someone took a utility knife and went crazy in the bottom of the tub. We suspect Momma Big Jim got in there with her walker. And, the air conditioner may have to be replaced. This drives me particularly crazy because less than two years ago I put almost five thousand dollars into the existing system repairing damage “Big Jim” and company cause because they were too lazy to change the filter.

While they lived there I also had to replace the (almost new) hot water heater and have the septic tank pumped because they were flushing baby wipes down the toilet! My dad was there when it was pumped and he said the wipes just came flooding out of the tank and covered the yard like snow. YUK!

I called Big Jim up and said, “James, you know you can’t flush baby wipes down the toilet. I’ve never flushed one into the tank, so how did they get there? Yall aren’t doing that are you?” (I figured I would use line of reasoning…can’t do that with a Florida cracker I discovered…)

“Nope, wasn’t us…”

“Humm, guess they just spontaneously spawned in there and procreated. Well, James listen to me…you cannot flush baby wipes down the toilet! DO NOT FLUSH WIPES DOWN THE TOILET!”

“Oh, no ma’am we don’t and won’t.”

“Okie doke.”

Yeah, right…

When we took the house back over, we discovered two things. In the bathroom downstairs where Big Jim parked his big ol’ behind (the man stood at least 6’ 4”) was a box of baby wipes on the bathroom vanity next to the toilet. Gottcha number uno…

Then when we went to put tile in the upstairs baths (it was already in the downstairs bath) the toilets had to be pulled. Well, when they were pulled baby wipes were stuck under the toilets…I shiver to think what might be lurking in the septic tank…

There is progress being made. Work was started in Feb. and we wanted to be in by July 4th. Don’t know yet if we’ll make that, but we’re hoping it’s soon. Anyway, thought you might like to see what has been keeping Bev and T & H so absolutely worn out…Bev constantly under the influence of paint fumes and walking around with white paint “highlights” in her hair…

almost new kitchen

Painting is done…working on the trim, new appliances in (sorry, I didn’t want Stainless…they remind me of the hospital…guess I’ve spent too much time in those…) and the new floor is down…new counter was installed this week. My favorite cabinet is on the right…

my favorite cabinet

Inside the favorite cabinet…

kitchen & dr

When the tools and work area are cleaned up we can eat in there! Note the extra dead bolt on the French doors…grrrr…

Great room floor and paint

New floor in the Great Room – Watson the Wonder Dog approves…

ceilings painted

Ceilings were painted, too

still working on french door

New Great Room floor…still working on the French door that does downstairs…

front br

Front Guest Bedroom is almost finished

new tile in br

The tub with the mystery damage…

guest bath

Upstairs Guest Bath

baby & guest bath

Once again Watson approves…

To be continued…hopefully soon…and hopefully with after pictures of a happily moved in family…and Miniature Schnauzer…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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