Today was one of those full days. Do you know the kind of day I mean? It’s not that anything today consumed very many hours, but the hours were full. Kind of like eating a small meal, packed with fiber and protein.
It was a fiber and protein kind of day. Good thing I ate my Wheaties!
We had a lockout scheduled in one of our Gastonia parks – erm, communities at 10:00 this morning.
Here’s how we get to a lockout; The tenant doesn’t pay their monthly bill. The non-payment exceeds the time allotted by their contract. So, we go to court and file for an eviction. About ten days later there’s a court date. If they still haven’t paid, we’re granted the eviction and the property reverts back to the company. The tenant has approximately ten days in which to vacate. If they fail to vacate by the date given by the court, we go back to the courthouse and file for a writ of possession, a lockout. All this takes like another ten days. Then, on the lockout date one of our maintenance guys shows up with brand new locks, and meets an officer from the sheriff’s department at the residence. If the person is still in the home, the officer escorts them out and we change the locks. The former tenant now has seven days to make an appointment with us to get back in to get the rest of their belongings (or we can remove anything they left behind and store it securely for those seven days in a place that we can grant them access to, by appointment). If possessions are still unclaimed in the home after those seven days are up we can dispose of them. We generally go through anything left behind and throw away the trash, then donate the usable furniture and other items to people in the communities who need things.
So, this morning we had a 10:00 a.m. lockout scheduled in Gastonia. The community is about 40 minutes from my house, and I’m under no obligation to go to any of these. So, why was I going to this one? Because the tenant in question is a complete whack-a-doodle who has made threats against our office manager and has been a nightmare to deal with.
The dude is off his nut.
His cheese has gone and slid completely off his cracker.
A couple of months ago he was fussing at our office manager in front of his residence when she was driving through the community, doing outside inspections. He was causing such a ruckus that she had to call my husband, Marty, who was working on a home just down the street. Marty came marching up the road with a big piece of wood in his hand and got in the guy’s face – just trying to teach him a few manners. So, when I heard there was going to be a lockout, and Marty was the maintenance guy who was changing the locks… yeah, I just had to see this for myself. I was pretty sure the guy was still going to be in the home, and that the cops were going to have to not just remove him from the property, but take him with them.
We made an event of it; I attended, along with the office manager, and one of my pal/neighbor/coworker even came along for the ride. We arrive a few minutes early and parked across the street where we’d have an unobstructed view of everything. The tenant’s car was in the driveway.
Marty arrived a few minutes after we got there, and he parked right smack in front of the home, got out with his drill and the new lockset in hand and stood waiting.
The tenant walked out of the home, got in his car and drove away. Now, these lockouts are not a surprise. They are notified in advance that the sheriff is coming, and when. A few minutes later he came back, and sat in his car in the driveway. Then just as the officer was pulling into the community, the tenant took off again. Marty pointed out the car to the officer.
We went in, with the officer and while Marty changed the locks I walked through the house with my phone and made a video of the entire inside of the house, noting any and all damages, and noting all his property as well. Once the locks were changed I walked around the perimeter of the home and made a video of that as well, noting all the windows which at that moment were unbroken.
We stood outside for a few minutes, talking with the officer from the sheriff’s department. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy. We talked about some of the other parks – communities – that we own and sure enough, he’s been to all of them for one reason or another. Especially to the ones we’ve just taken control of. Before we all parted ways I asked if he was a praying man and he said that he was. So I invited everyone standing there to come on over and share in a prayer for the officer; for his continuing safety on and off the job, and letting his know just how much we appreciate all that he does. We know what a job he has.
It was a wonderful moment. The Bible talks about people being of one accord and for those minutes that we shared, we were of one accord. I know down here in the South it’s much less of a social risk to offer to pray with a stranger in public but it’s something Marty and I are doing much more frequently; being bold. If someone we offer to pray with says, no, then that’s fine. But we haven’t been turned down yet. It’s important to let people know that they’re seen, not just by other people, but by God. No matter how strong our faith, I think sometimes we all get to feeling like we’re alone once in a while.
So, we all parted ways, and on our way out of the park – community – we saw the former tenant driving back in again. He saw the cop was still there, and he turned right around and drove back out…. with the officer following him.
We’ll see what happens tonight.