The House Shysters

Yesterday, I brought up the subject of truth being stranger than fiction.  Today, I decided to share just a few of my own personal truth-is-stranger-than-fiction (or TSF) experiences.  Now, please keep in mind, the stories I intend to share over the next few days are true.  However, if you read them in a book instead of on my blog, would you think the book was far-fetched and that the author was stretching his or her imagination to something that couldn’t possibly happen?

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A few years ago, my daughter was in a lot of trouble, and we were forced to move to another city for our own safety.  When I started looking for a house to rent, I looked on Craigslist and found something decent in a good neighborhood.  I spoke to the owner who said that there was a couple from Texas who were also interested, but that we both seemed to qualify, so the person who faxed in the application first would be who would get the house.  Needless to say, I was not first.

I kept looking all over the State of Florida for the next couple of months.  I eventually found something on the West coast, but just days before we were to move in, the owner raised the rent, and I decided it wasn’t worth it.  So, I searched again and was surprised to find the very same house I’d seen before up for rent again.

I called and spoke with the residents from Texas who had taken out the ad.  They said the husband’s job fell through, so the owner was allowing them to sublet the rest of their lease.  I filled out a new application, and they said they’d send it to the owner and let me know if I was approved.  (Since I’d already been approved before, I didn’t foresee any problem).  I visited the house, and it was in great shape, so I signed everything, and they said I was good to go.  However, I had to pay my deposit, pet fee, and first and last month’s rent in cash because they’d already closed out their Florida bank accounts (which seemed plausible because the previous place I had rented for five years also wanted cash only).  They gave me the key and said I could move in that weekend.

However, that weekend when I got there with my moving truck, I found something very different than what I’d seen the week before.  The front door was just gone, and the frame was destroyed where it had apparently been kicked in.  Windows and screens were broken.  There was dog afterbirth in one of the closets.  There was human and dog feces on the floor and smeared on the walls.  There were drugs and drug paraphernalia (needles, wrapping papers, etc.) in a few areas.  There was rotten food all over the place.  The entire garage was literally half full with food, dirty diapers, and other such trash. There was garbage dumped in the pool.  The back yard was just disgusting.  The refrigerator door was torn off its hinges.  (I could go on, but I think you probably get the idea.)

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(These are some of the tamer photos because I don’t want to put photos of drugs or poop in my blog, but even without the smell, hopefully you get the idea of how nasty this place was.)

Well, it just so happened that I still had my original email correspondence with the homeowner from when I originally wanted to move there, so I located the message and gave her a call at her home in New Jersey.  And what did I find out?  You got it!  The Texas couple was never authorized to sublet anything, and they never even told her they were moving out!  The owner flew down the next morning and cried when she saw what condition her house was in.  Meanwhile, I had to sleep in that disgusting house with no door to guard my truckload of stuff that I couldn’t leave anywhere else.  I was out nearly $4,000 in cash and had no place else to go and no money to go anywhere else with.

As it turned out, after a good deal of begging and pleading on my part (as well as a good bit of weeping), the owner allowed us to stay without paying her anything extra, and we got the next three months’ rent for free in exchange for us cleaning and painting the house and repairing the damages.  Because it was so nauseating, my son had to spend the entire summer at his dad’s, and my daughter had to stay at her grandma’s while my sister and I lived there and worked night and day to clean the nastiness of “The Craigslist House.”

Lesson learned: Check with the County Property Appraiser to make sure the owner is who they say they are, and never, ever buy anything on Craigslist again!

So, friends, Scout’s honor — Every bit of this story is true, and I have the photos and video to prove it.  Isn’t it sad that criminals have so much wasted imagination?  What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever found when you moved somewhere?

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39 thoughts on “The House Shysters

    • LOL! Yeah, it was very gross. Unfortunately most of the really nasty shots we had on video and not still photos, so I couldn’t show those here. The sad thing is, as I said at the beginning, this was one of my TAMER stories. LOL! But really, now that it’s in the past, it is pretty funny. 🙂

  1. This is entirely believable, and I think you should negotiate very hard to get as many points as you can when you sell the screenplay, Rachel.

    However, looking ahead, would you ever believe anything on Craigslist again? Non-verifiable online sites? Now those questions are very perplexing to me.

  2. ugh- That is AWFUL!!! But then you know that. Hindsight is a nerve gritting thing..It boggled my mind how little respect so many people have no morals or self respect to do what they do to others and to what is not even theirs. These fools have no clue the disease they could have spread. Or even worse they may be well aware. Bless your heart and your dear sister- very few people would take on our walks through the most difficult nastiness parts of life. YOu are absolutely right. I have had experiences in life that people at the time have told me, “Oh you should write this down and sell the rights for a movie. ” I had thought as you, “who would believe this.” Upon giving it more thought, I have to say movie rights would be the way to go. Just think of what people watch in the theater- or on tv. lol yep that’s our route… course for some less socially appropriate people they may take it to be a tutorial.

    • LOL! I thought the same thing (about them taking it as a tutorial)! I’m happy to say I don’t live there anymore, though we did get it looking quite nice after a couple of months. 🙂

  3. That’s crazy and sad…but given how much I’ve moved in my lifetime, it’s definitely believable to me. The worst I’ve come across in an apartment was a bunch of nasty stuck on long hair in a fridge. I’m still scratching my head on how or why there would be that much hair somewhere. I’ve come across mice droppings fully lining cabinet shelves. How landlords don’t clean prior really gets my goat. And then there was the dried out flattened mouse under a carpet I pulled up. So gross yet I felt almost bad for the fate of that little critter. How long he suffered under there makes my heart bleed for him. But I scraped him up and out with the trash. Gross.

  4. I bought a trailer house for $100 because it needed new flooring and the old woman just wanted it gone (it had been her son’s and he had died several years before.). Well, she hadn’t gone in there in years and told me to do whatever I wanted with anything that was in there. The 3 boxes of horrible porn magazines got stolen from the trash…some by my (now ex) husband, some by unknown personages. The used needles and various paraphernalia got handed over to a cop friend of mine who disposed of them for me. I only fell through the floor once. But, to me, the grossest thing was that the fridge had some sort of dead animal (I think the guy had tried to keep it cold until he could bury it…I hope that’s why it was there!) and my (ex) in-laws took the fridge…skeletal remains and all! They also took the nasty stained cot and put it in their spare bedroom. *shudder*

    • LOL! Really? I thought you would find it humorous, at least a little. I look back on it and laugh now, though at the time it wasn’t funny at all. It does make for a good story, though. At least I always seem to have a captivated audience when I tell it in person. 🙂

  5. Very sad Rachel. I hope you and your family have found peace and harmony in the house.
    It has happened to friends in the past, before laws in this country were changed.
    Don’t feel bad, it is our faith and trust in human kind that lets us down.

    • Thank you, Gary. It was nerve-racking at the time, but I look back on it and laugh now, even if only at my own stupidity in trusting those people. Lesson learned. 🙂

  6. Thats a terrible story Rachel! Poor you! There are some nasty people in this world for sure…but thankfully they are in the minority, even if their impact doesnt feel that way. But what goes around comes around…they will get their comeupance!

    • LOL! Thank you! Yes, I have no doubt that they will get hit a little extra hard with the karma bus sooner or later. But truth be told, while it was horrible when it happened, I do laugh about it now. 🙂

      • Well you are a better person than me! I don’t think I could be so forgiving! But you are absolutely right to put it behind you and move on. I think you must be a very strong person (even if sometimes you might not feel that you are!).

      • LOL! Sometimes I feel like I must be a strong person or God wouldn’t keep allowing me to go through so much and meet so many unsavory people, and other times I feel like I have a backpack weighted with boulders and I can’t walk another step. 🙂

  7. I feel so bad! I don’t think I have a bad moving story. Mostly, I have bad roommate stories. Which is what made me live alone when I went to grad school. No more crazy roomies for me, thank you! Sorry about what you had to go through. Yuck!

    • LOL! Thank you! Yes it was bad at the time, but I do laugh about it now, believe it or not. I survived it and it made for an entertaining tale, so it all worked out how God wanted it to. 🙂

    • LOL! Yes, that’s true for sure. But I am thankful for my “blogging community family”…. My friends on here like yourself really have a way of balancing things out. 🙂

  8. Geez – I have a lot to catch up on! Holy cow, I really, really, really want to know what your (metaphysical) path is about!!! 😮 Feeling very happy about the little hole in the ceiling now!

  9. Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    A great post from Rachel Carrera and you will also find a terrific variety on her blog. We have moved a lot with our jobs and have often rented temporarily. Landlords vary but in Belgium when we vacated our home of 18 months we had been warned that they will do anything to hang onto the deposit. Our landlord turned up with his lawyer!! My husband had gone ahead back to Ireland so my neighbour who was English but spoke perfect French came over to be with me. We had polyfilled tiny holes, spent hours cleaning and the place was immaculate. However, on going into the box room where my office had been and the door never closed, they found a brown mark the size of coffee cup rim on the back of said door. This led to a heated debate in French and translation – with me finally finding my Gallic gene and giving forth vehemently that you would have to be damned stupid to paint a brown mark on a white door and I was insulted that they thought I had been that moronic. There was no way out of it and eventually I had to give in and forego the deposit. Six months later we receive a letter and a cheque for the deposit – to give the landlord his due, he honourably owned up that the very stupid person had been his wife who had patched the door and failed to paint before we even rented the property!

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