Avoiding a Property Management Horror Story

Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we’re free of horror stories – especially the property management variety.

Most property owners without the help of a professional property manager have had to deal with nightmare tenants – the kind who only cause trouble and are a headache, whether it’s due to destruction of property, trouble with the law, or failing to pay rent.

For one homeowner/landlord in Massachusetts, the past year has been one ongoing nightmare due to a particularly stubborn tenant.

Hilbert and Irene Nickerson live in the Jamaica Plain community in Boston. They own a home that they’ve had in the family for decades, and rent out the bottom floor. They’ve had some disruptions here and there, but nothing they’ve gone through compared to what they began to experience in November 2013, when Adam Schatten moved into the rental as a roommate of the current tenant.

In April 2014, Schatten called the cops on his then-roommate, alleging that his roommate “yelled at him really loudly”.

Presumably, the fight was over Schatten’s refusal to pay his share of the rent. The roommate soon moved out, leaving Schatten as the sole tenant. From June to September, according to the Nickersons, Schatten racked up a total of $6,750 in unpaid rent.

The Nickersons moved to evict him from the premises; Schatten countered with a counterclaim and demanded a trial by jury. His argument? Under a Massachusetts law passed in 2013, victims of domestic abuse cannot be evicted in retaliation for calling the police.

This means that Schatten (according to him, at least) can’t legally be evicted because – you guessed it – he was a victim of domestic abuse at the hands of his former roommate. The case is now pending in court, and without being lawyers, we can assume that the courts will eventually side with the Nickersons. But you never know, which just goes to prove just how important it is to avoid all of this and do two things:

Hire a property management firm to handle your rental, thus ensuring they deal with problem tenants, not you; and

Trust your firm to thoroughly and properly screen all potential tenants before allowing them to move in.

Plus, working with an experienced property manager like gkhouses.com gives you access to our extensive knowledge of landlord/tenant laws, which allows us to help protect you from liability.

It’s easier to navigate the world of real estate if you have a trusted professional by your side. Work with a property management pro and you can hopefully avoid a tenant horror story.