He Never Saw That Coming!

I hope you have been enjoying this story so far, if you haven’t read part 1, which was titled I Never Saw That Coming, you really need to start there; otherwise, it’s just not as much fun! You can go directly there by following this link, I Never Saw That Coming!

So, we left off with me heading to the property to deal with the tenant problem and Karen calling the police to send them to the property while I was in transit. If there was an actual assault that was going to be filed, I wanted to make sure I brought the police in and had some control of the situation. Especially if he was going to attempt to file some type of lawsuit against me as he stated.

I was only a few blocks from the property when the dispatch office called and suggested for my safety that I not enter the property until the police officers arrived. He informed me they were on their way and should be arriving shortly, so I let him know I would wait outside in my vehicle for them.

For more background on the tenant who was so upset, he wasn’t a very large man. I am probably 50 pounds heavier and about six inches taller, so I wasn’t too worried about a physical attack; it was more the instability that he seemed to present in his emails to me. Who knows what he might try, especially knowing how much larger I was than him.

It was approximately ten minutes later that the squad car slowly drove up, so I waved, grabbed my paperwork and gloves and went to go explain what I knew. After a quick recap of everything that had gone on, the officer wanted to confirm with me why he as there and why he was entering the property.

If you are a landlord, here is your handy tip of the day. While the assault, if it was a valid complaint falls under the criminal code, landlord/tenant issues fall under the Residential Tenancy Act which is Civil Law. Additionally any potential lawsuits also fall under Civil Law and the police do not enforce Civil Law. Although they do make very credible witnesses if someone files a lawsuit against you afterward or even threatens one!! The important tip is, if a landlord feels that he may be in danger when entering a premises he can request an officer to escort him inside the property.

In this case, the officer was feeling me out, I believe anyway, to see if that was what I was looking for. I explained they were there in case there was an actual assault, but I also needed them to escort me in which was exactly what he wanted to hear and in we went.

The tenant who called me was already waiting for us as his room faced the front and he probably saw the police pull up. He called down to the assaultee, who came up and started to rant tell us what happened and how he had been beaten by the other tenant and had the bloody finger to prove it. In his defense, his finger was indeed bloody and he had a mark on his face, but in my opinion that was a far cry from being beaten and looked more as if he had fallen down.

Anyway, the officer proceeded to try and get his part of the story out of him. He kept on bringing up how I ignored his requests and how he had been viciously beaten. I explained to him how I offered to move him to another property and he brought up how I would just move him to another property where he would get beaten up again. It was at this time I asked him how much he had drank that day, which he explained was irrelevant to this.

The officer then asked why he hadn’t called 911 if he was that concerned about his safety and he explained that he had no minutes on his phone. In case you don’t know, 911 is a free call, minutes or not, but he wasn’t aware of this, perhaps he missed that class? The officer then asked why he didn’t walk the two blocks to the store and use the payphone and he explained it was too cold. So he feared for his safety, but wanted to stay in the house with the alleged assailant because it was cold?

I was getting tired of his ramblings and I could see from the police officer’s expression they also were getting a bit tired of him as well. When he finally wound down and finished his story with an emphatic offer for us to come downstairs to see all the blood on the floor, the officer asked the other fellow for his story.

He tried to explain his story, but the other fellow kept interrupting and we finally had to ask him to go down stairs and wait while the officer heard both sides. When he finally finished explaining his side, it was almost exactly as he had originally explained to me on the phone. He exhibited no signs of a fight, although he had some smudges on his dark pants possibly from the tussle and putting the other fellow on the ground.

During his entire explanation he was calm, collected, and pretty well covered everything. He walked us through the events of the day and explained how the fellow downstairs had come up several times during the day, looking for wine and conversation as if he was agitated about something. This tenant was a stark contrast to the other fellow who was “extremely educated” and all over the map.

After this, the officers and I went downstairs to see all the “blood” on the carpet. As we entered the downstairs space, the first thing I noticed was the smell of cigarette smoke in my non-smoking home. Since buddy was the only one downstairs it didn’t require me being either extremely educated or to be superior in intelligence to figure out he broke my lease’s non-smoking clause.

When we entered his room, there were ashes all over his nightstand, some on the carpet and on the makeshift desk he made. There is nothing that annoys me more, than discovering a tenant has been smoking in one of my properties. I feel it is a complete lack of respect towards my rules, the property and me personally. It typically requires extensive time and energy to return it to non-smoking condition and it’s often after the fact I find cigarette burns in the carpet and the linens costing me even more money. The remaining credibility he had was now out the window, but then he managed to lose even more.

As he pointed out the blood on the linens and the carpet there was a slight problem. The large “blood stain” on the carpet was rather pink. Closer in color to maybe grape juice or perhaps wine??? Red wine which he had borrowed from upstairs perchance? The sheets definitely had blood on them, but they looked like he had simply used it to clean his finger with. The officers both picked up on the carpet only being a spill as well and explained to him how it looked like juice.

Of course, after a little pressure, he fessed up and explained it was wine which began the unravelling. The officer explained to him that his credibility just disappeared. He had a fellow upstairs with a very plausible story and no evidence of any fabrication versus our fellow of superior intelligence who had brazenly lied to us once already.

At this point I jumped in and told him if he left immediately I would give him $150 right now, which would give him enough money to get a hotel for the night and sober up so we could talk more the next day. I also said I would review his account to see if there was more coming back, but after the stain in the carpet and the smoking in the room, his security deposit was likely forfeited.
He brought up that I owed him $600 and that wasn’t fair. Well he had just paid me $600 on the weekend, but most of it was to catch up rent I had carried him for and only a portion of it was for the current rent of which he was already three nights into the week.

At this point, he turned to the officer and said would you take that offer. To which the officer replied, “if I was in your position I would take the money and run”. Hearing this he agreed to take the money so I began filling out a receipt. The officer also informed him at that point he would not be filing any paperwork regarding an assault and if he wished to pursue it, he would have to report to the local district office and file it there in person tomorrow.

Once I had the receipt filled out, I asked the tenant to sign it as acknowledgement he was receiving money back, which he refused. I explained to him without signing the receipt he wasn’t getting the money and the officer chimed in that he needed to sign if he expected any money as well. He explained that any business requires receipts, so the tenant acquiesced and signed.

This led him to another rant about justice not being served, me being unfair and then led the police officer to inform him, he had ten minutes to leave in an effort to stifle him. So he began to pack, but the officer asked if he had a driver’s license which he brought out for the officer who took some notes and then ran off to run it through the computer leaving the other officer to supervise.

At this point, our Einstein asked if it was OK for him to take his groceries and his beer from the fridge. I said he could take everything that was his, so he started to gather it up. I could see from the kitchen area into his room and there were still clothes hanging in the closet, so I mentioned this to him. He said he couldn’t carry them, so he was leaving it.

I offered to him that I would box it all up and he could call me tomorrow and he said he wouldn’t be calling me. I asked if he was done in his room and he said yes, so I went and looked and he was leaving some computer cables and peripherals, clothes, shoes and I hadn’t even looked in the drawers yet to see what else. Now I will need to box them up and put them in storage for 30 days as per the Tenancy Act.

I noticed there were no keys in the room, so I asked for these back as well which he then handed over. Once I had the keys, I explained to him that once he exited the property if he returned in an effort to retrieve his items he would be trespassing and I would have no problem charging him. The only way he would be allowed back was if he arranged to meet me in advance.

I then left him to finish packing his beer with the officer while I explained to the upper tenant what was happening. As I was explaining, the tenant finally finished packing and left out the back door without a word to us and the officer came back upstairs.

So, here it is the next day and not a word from the former tenant, not an email, or a call. The other tenant had explained to me that Einstein had not gone to work for a couple days, so perhaps he had lost his job and was acting out in frustration? Who knows what set him off and led him to drinking, getting pushed out of his home and supposedly getting beaten up? It will most likely be a mystery forever.

So what did we eventually learn? Most importantly, we have another example of never knowing what can happen with a tenant. We don’t know what can turn a normally model tenant into a wing nut and what can cause others to stay in control. Landlording is a business and tenants transition over time, they are not going to be lifelong friends or stay in contact with you in most instances.

In a particularly high turnover rental business like ours there is very little loyalty overall and the most excellent tenants tend to get forgotten very quickly after dealing with individuals like this. If you were contemplating becoming a landlord and this story may be affecting your decision, don’t let it. This is not the typical landlord tenant situation, but it does serve as a great reminder to not get too overly friendly with tenants.

About admin

Bill has been investing in Calgary Real Estate since 2003 and has been writing about various Real Estate topics since shortly after he started. With a significant amount of Real Estate transactions and experiences he is able to pass his knowledge on to other investors and partners, and now you through his Real Estate blog. To automatically receive new posts, be sure to sign up on the top right of this page and I will send you a free ebook on Screening Tenants.
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2 Responses to He Never Saw That Coming!

  1. Jennifer Belland says:

    Now that was a great novella! It makes me feel much gratitude for the friendly, laid-back, compliant, paying their rent on time, tenants which I have. Phew!

    Thanks for sharing this drama in such detail. It brings back fond memories of dealing with my very first rental property in the “Little Italy” district up in Edmonton. The key words in that story would have been “knife, threats, drugs and police”.

  2. James says:

    Thanks for Sharing Bill
    It is so important to keep things to a business level and not get to involved. I have made that mistake many times and still do today. It hard not to be “human” and not get emotionally involved sometimes. I am a very trusting person and that has very rarely ever helped me in a landlord / tenant situation. Trying to keep that part of personality out of me is difficult but this story is a great reminder to me of how important it is to keep this as a simple transactional exchange of housing for money and nothing more. I tend to go with my gut all of the time and it has always worked for me but I tend to be too nice afterwards. And not that its a bad thing all of the time it just seems to back fire on me if I am too nice for too long with tenants.
    I am trying to implent a personal 1 favour per 6 months rule.

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