[Sidenote: This is a extremely abbreviated version of the story.]
3 years ago we moved from Hanover Township to Sweet Valley. We had simply outgrown the house that we lived in. After months and months of searching, we finally came across the listing for the house that we live in now and put a bid on it. There was much back and forth between the sellers and ourselves, but we worked through all of the issues and the offer was accepted. We moved in March of 2008.
After the move, the house in Hanover Township was left vacant. We tried to do a "For Sale by Owner" and also listed the property with a real estate agent with no luck. Our move came in the middle of the housing bubble burst, and not many people were buying or being approved for loans. The burden of maintaining two properties and two mortgage payments was becoming out of control. You don't realize how much yard work there is until you are doing it once a week for 2 houses that are 20 miles apart. Not to mention, shoveling of sidewalks, watching for burglars, carting of garbage/recycling, maintaining utility payments, and, and and……
We were approached by my sister-in-law about people that she knew that were looking for a place to rent. She mentioned our house. The people came and looked at it and agreed to rent it from us which covered the mortgage payment and they also took care of the yard work….for the most part. One of my neighbors in Hanover Township is a royal asshat and causes issues all of the time for me. We had the Hanover Township code enforcement officer out a few times because the narc'd about the grass being too high or the dog poop wasn't being cleaned up fast enough. It was the middle of winter, in the city, and there was a 6ft high privacy fence. Someone has too much time on their hands….
They stayed for about a year which was excellent because it did not mean having to come up with 2 mortgage payments every month. I was actually starting to get caught up on bills. Then we received the bad news that they were leaving. I had to find another renter, or be faced with coming up with 2 mortgage payments again around the holidays. Things were not looking good.
Enter Jeff and Nicole. In a rare moment, I'm actually going to use these people's real names because they do not deserve the privilege of anonymity after what they've put me through. Both were friends of a mutual friend of mine and they were looking to move back to PA from Virginia Beach as the cost of living is more reasonable in this area. We signed a rental agreement that stated they were to pay 600 dollars every month (just as the previous renters were). The terms of the lease were a month-to-month contract. I believe there was also to be a security deposit, but I do not have my court papers in front of me. I received 1/2 month of rent the entire 3 months that they lived in my house. 300 dollars. That's it. Well wait a minute….now that I think about it, I did get a check for 250 which bounced in my checking account right before Christmas, and was also given a $500 check that I was unable to cash from M&T. I went there every week with that check in the hopes that there would be funds available. The check expired before THAT HAPPENED. They owed me $1500.00 and it was starting to put a financial burden on my life.
After consulting with SEVERAL friends, who are all godsends I might add, it was determined that it was time to take action. After researching the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tennant law of 1959, I found out that I did in fact, have the legal right to get them evicted. There was a certain protocol that needed to be followed. I checked with my local Magistrate's office, and I needed to give a 10 day notification of the eviction in writing. I did that. Taped the notice right to the door with a witness. Then I filed a Landlord Tenant Complaint with the Magistrate's office and was scheduled a hearing. Check. I would have filed the paperwork sooner, but I was broke and had to borrow the cost of the fees from my Mother. How sad is that? I was 29, borrowing money from my mother.
I showed up to the hearing nervous as shit. My hands could not stop shaking. I knew that if they did not show up to the hearing that chances are I would have been granted the Order of Possession, but they did end up showing up (albeit late). When I was finally called back into the courtroom of the Magistrate's office, I presented all of my evidence including profane text messages that were sent to me by these scumbags, as well as ones that clearly stated that they would not pay and that "my money would be used for a lawyer". That's funny, because there wasn't one present. Nicole, as smart as she thought she was, told the judge that she didn't feel like she should need to leave because she needed to save up money for another place (….while living in mine scott free….). The Magistrate then explained to her how landlords are still responsible for mortgage payments even when their tenants do not pay. Then the Magistrate questioned why it took so long for me to file suit, and I told him that it was because I had to borrow the money from my Mom. That seemed to seal their fate. Possession was granted and they needed to vacate the premises within 10 days. I was also granted a judgement for the back rent $1500 dollars plus court fees.
You might be thinking, YAY, She won!! No, not yay. I have yet to receive a dime of any of that money. These scumbag deadbeats left town without paying me a dime and have not tried to establish contact with me since. Technically, I can go and have the paperwork filed with the Luzerne County Courthouse to have a lien put in their names, but there's little that can be done for it to be enforced unless they reside in Pennsylvania. From my understanding, the lien basically entitles me to get what is owed to me should they ever come into a large sum of money. However, every Tom, Dick & Harry debt collector (including banks) are after them as well. My name would be added to this list somewhere, probably toward the bottom. I could see some of the money or no money. I told the story to a Leadership Wilkes-Barre classmate who was also in my project group, and a lawyer. He was rather impressed that I was able to get a judgement all by myself sans legal representation. He helped to draft a letter to the jerkoff's in an attempt to make a payment arrangement to collect my judgement. They ignored two letters from him and then disappeared. To where, I don't know….
Until today, when I heard from the mutual friend that Jeff & Nicole are living in Michigan. Apparently, they've fallen on bad times because he had lost his job. They face the prospect of being homeless I guess. And rightfully so, they skip from town to town and do not pay anyone….landlords, utilities, banks or money they borrow from people. There's only so long that you can live a lifestyle of lies and deceit before it catches up with you. I feel no remorse. You took food directly out of my children's mouth.
Karma. She is a bitch, heyna?