Instead of making stuff in my workshop, all my time has gone into getting our rental rentable again. Here are some pics of a few of the individual projects.
Let me start by saying that I am a reluctant landlord. I’m a victim of the housing bubble and was swindled by the mortgage and banking industries, and followed the temporarily outdated advice of every previous generation that knew it was better to own than rent. So I bought a house in 2007. The market tanked 2 or 3 years later and we moved locations for personal reasons around the same time. we were underwater almost from day 1, so there was no way we could sell and move. So we kept it and moved and I became a landlord and property manager in addition to my day job. this is not a profitable rental. I need someone to rent my former home so that I can pay off my underwater mortgage long enough for the housing prices to rise to a point where I can sell it at an acceptable amount of loss. I like this house. It was our first home. We put a lot of love and money into it to make it what we wanted. Our first tenants were great. 3 years, never late and never missed a payment. Our second set of tenants weren’t like that. I had to hire a property manager, go through the whole legal thing and have them evicted. Making things even worse, they didn’t take care of the property. So once they were gone, their mess remained to be cleaned up. That’s been my night and weekend job for the past month or so, so that we can get it back on the rental market ASAP so as to not double-mortgage ourselves for too long.
First of all, there was a ton of furniture left in the property after the eviction. We took a sawzall with a wrecking blade to the couches and tossed everything off the back deck. I did my best to smash everything I threw off with the next item. 2 dressers, 4 night stands, a bunk bed and a mattress, a couch, a loveseat and a chair. (I took the 2 CRT TVs and a monitor to the recycling plant). There were also numerous trashbags filled with trash left all over the house. In every corner and under everything there were piles of trash. Empty bottles, pieces of toys, this and that. Just trash. I’m not going to even get into what was left in the kitchen. In short, after the bulk was removed, we had to have the entire house professionally cleaned. The trash collection is awesome in the neighborhood and they took everything the first week (and didn’t fine me for the bulk).
I know it’s not uncommon for tenants to treat a rental as if it’s not really their home, just as “4 walls that they live in”, so some drawing on the walls, scuffs handprints or whatever is to be expected… to a point, maybe even with some evidence that someone tried to clean up after their kids at some point. Our property required fresh paint in every room. So that’s what we did, but before that, all the walls needed to be washed and all the trim gone over with a mr clean magic eraser. All 3 bedrooms upstairs, the hallway, the stairs the living room and dining room all got a fresh coat of paint.
The closet door at the base of the steps had a hole punched in it. this happens sometimes when tenants are evicted. Much better than other things evicted tenants have been known to do, but it’s still a pain to fix. i had to get a new door, trim it to size, route out the hinges, drill holes for the new knob and install it, then paint it to match the trim.
The bathroom door was also off its lower hinges. The upper was held on my molly bolts. Yes, molly bolts inside a hollow door bolted to the hinge. So I had to cut through those to remove the door. Once down, I found a “screw holes” the size of my pinky finger to fill. I did this with toothpicks and wood glue then flush cut after it dried and reinstalled with course threaded screws. Seems to be holding up fine now.
The front screen door, installed less than 12 months previously was torn off its hinges and the mitered corner was broken. Most people see this as a 100% loss and replacement required. After examining it, I found that there was no damage to the glass, frame or hinge other than the mitered corner being separated. I figured I may be able to salvage it with some L shaped corner brackets and auto piercing screws. i did this, then reinstalled the door, as well as a new pneumatic closer and wind chain so that the “wind” would not damage the door again as it was said to have done previously. Probably saved about $150 on that job, after replacement parts.
The previous tenants had a cat and the urine smell never went away despite numerous enzymatic cleanings and neutralizers. I actually had to remove the tiles under the stairs and bleach everything several times. It’s finally back to “acceptable” as far as basements go. This is a “finished” basement, but I wouldn’t really call it living space. More of a storage area. It has also flooded with every heavy rain from a leaking foundation. I think I’ve finally knocked that out with expanding foam and a penetrating self leveling caulk. Time will tell, bit everything was dry in yesterday’s rain.
There were some boards missing from the floor near the back door since the previous owners put in the deck and sliding door. My FIL had a few matching spares that he found somewhere, so we finished off that long forgotten project.
All of the light bulbs were out. well, almost. Every other fixture had maybe 1 working bulb in it. I don’t know if they took them when they left or actually managed to break or burn out every bulb in the 6ish months they lived there. Not a huge deal, but seriously? Who goes through that many light bulbs in 6 months? Likewise, all the smoke alarms were disassembled. You’d think with kids in the house, you’d want to wake up if there was a fire and save their lives? Who knows. I’m not a parent. But incase my next tenants are (and to pass inspection) I replaced all the batteries and reassembled them.
The kitchen pendant lights were broken and/or not working. I didn’t feel like continually having to replace the halogens, so I replaced them all with spotlights and regular bulbs. I did not repair the under cabinet lights. Most of them work, but whenever they all stop, they’re either gone or I’ll switch to some extremely inexpensive solution. No more halogens. Sorry. Tenants just don’t take care of nice things, so I’m not providing them anymore.
The kitchen faucet was slow. No idea why since all other water pressure is great. I took the pull out nozzle apart, cleaned it out and found various “old pipe” crap stuck in it. no surprise, the neighborhood has old pipes. I can’t imagine what is stuck in the bottom of the water heater and how inefficient it is. fingers crossed that holds out a while.
Speaking of faucets, the basement faucet was pretty well shot. it’s a utility tub and the faucet has a sort of snap ring and O ring combo to hold it in place. The snap ring had deteriorated to its breaking point and the whole thing popped off while I was trying to clean up the cat smell. So I had to replace that whole assembly.
Still in the plumbing world, in the upstairs bathroom, The toilet flange bolts were loose and the tank was rocking, so we had to take everything apart and redo it. The bathroom sink pop up drain stopper was removed (no idea why) so I had to reattach that. Thankfully all the parts were still there. The tub was stopped up, so we snaked it. it’s always been slow, but it was close to stopped.
Replaced all the blinds, spackled all the picture holes… There are probably a few other things I am forgetting, but it’s been a solid month of work. Redonkulous that I had to do it. redonkulous that people take so little care of something that you’ve entrusted to them. That they are legally obligated to pay for and take care of. That they care so little about the consequences. That they can’t act like adults. That they are responsible for children what their children are learning from them.
On to better things and better people.