I have not received rent checks from my tenants in my Philadelphia rental property for over 2 months, plus I have not received the water fees the tenant owed. I had called him many times and left voice messages, but he did not answer the phone or return my calls.
Then one day, he finally called me and that is where the story begins. My tenant and his wife had gotten into a huge argument and the wife called the cops on him. The cops ordered a restraining order on him, so he could no longer enter the house because the wife was staying there.
My tenant wanted to vacate his wife from the house. He had already canceled or stopped paying for the electric and all the other bills. Since the water bill was under my name, he asked me to contact the Water company to shut down the water supply. I called the water company but they would not allow me to shut down the water over the phone. The only options were to either show up in the water company in person and fill out some paper work or to have the water bills become overdue for two billing cycles (two months). The earlier option was not a good option, because it would take 3 hours to travel to Philly for each way.
If I have to shut off the water in person, it would mean taking a day off work and wasting most of the day traveling. The second option is to let the water bill become 2 months overdue. Once the bill becomes unpaid for two months, the water company will shut off the water. unfortunately, I always pay the water company on time, and I just made a payment recently.
I asked my tenant if there was a number I can reach his wife. He gave me the wife’s mother’s cellphone number, but he warned me that the mother and daughter had a heated argument recently. The mother had called the cops on her and the daughter allegedly punched the mother in the face. Great, I have to deal with these people. I asked if there was another number I can reach her. He told me to tried the wife’s sister’s cellphone. I called many times over many days and left multiple voice mails but she had not answered or called me back a single time.
I called my tenant and told him that I did everything I could to reach her, but she has not returned any of my calls. I also told him that he was two months behind rent. He said that he has two months of rent money in an escrow account and would pay me once the wife leaves my house.
I became concerned and called up my real estate agent to take a look at the house. He went over and knocked on the door. The story became more interesting. It turned out that the wife also rented it out to her girlfriend. The wife’s girlfriend claimed that she had paid rent to my tenant.
The next day, the wife’s girlfriend called my tenant and screamed at him. I was in the meeting that morning but I received 20 missed calls from him. I called him back and he was furious because he thought my real estate agent had given out his personal information. He said that he would file a lawsuit against my real estate agent. I was not aware of what had happened so I called my real estate agent. My real estate agent said that he had not given out any personal information and the tenant was talking nonsense. If there would be further problems, my agent told me to let my tenant call my agent directly.
I gave my agent’s number to my tenant and he called my real estate agent. My real estate agent told him that he was two months behind rent. My tenant said that he was not living in the house and that’s why he did not pay rent. My real estate agent told him the lease was under his name and he was responsible for the rent payments and that it did not matter whether he lives in the house.
I asked my real estate agent to follow up with them.