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I’m Up To My Butt In Alligators.  Literally!
by Rich Kruse

House hayI have just taken control of an apartment building.

Yes, the one wrapped in hay.Let’s see if I can properly lay this out:

  1. Breaking and entering – I started my day planning to break and enter about 15 units at the “new” complex. A large knife is used to pry the plastic pieces off of the glass pane near the latch. Once off, you can unhook the latch and open the window. The pane is re-inserted and then the plastic is re-attached using the butt end of the knife to repair. Someone thought installing these windows was a good and safe idea. I think the window guy is a burglar.
  2. Locksmith – Once I was in, the locks needed to be re-keyed. He had a ponytail and looked like he really wanted to meet my new employee.
  3. Rasta Man – This is my new employee. He was working for the former owner as a maintenance guy until they stopped paying him. He still lives at the complex. I found out about him from one of the tenants. Since I needed help, I hired him on the spot. At the end of the day, I went over to his unit to talk with him about the next day. Inside were about 8 guys. All of them had dreadlocks longer than the other. Bob Marley posters and Jamaican flags were hung everywhere. A cursory review of everyone’s hand revealed something about 3 inches long, white and smoking. They were all happy. The place smelled funny. I didn’t investigate further. I also left before the locksmith did, so I don’t know if he finally met Rasta or not. Please Rasta Man, don’t cut your thumb off with the Sawz-All, ok?
  4. Humane Society – They arrived unannounced to pick up what had been reported to them as an abandoned pit bull. I didn’t have a key, so the locksmith picked the lock and let them in. They fed the dog, but didn’t take it with them. Apparently there needs to be a notice posted for at least 24 hours before a removal. I now have a pit bull that is full of dog food in the apartment where someone may or may not be coming back. That’s going to smell GREAT.
  5. PoPo (aka the Cops, the Po-lice, the MAN) – According to Rasta, the lady renting the unit with the pit bull was wanted by the police. I figured we could kill 2 birds with one stone here, so I invited the PoPo to the shin-dig. I was hoping to get rid of everything at once. I’m not that lucky. Amazingly, Rasta was not around for this part???
  6. Dan – Dan is a tenant that lives next door to the “convict in training” with the pit bull. Nice guy. He introduced himself and told me that if I see a short girl, about 20, that was kind of cute and not that fat, that I should say hi to his wife, Sally. Dan wanted to know two things. First, he wanted to know what to do since he didn’t have a lease. Second he wanted to know if I was planning to crack down on tenants with exotic pets. Dan has an alligator. It, according to him, is about 2 feet long and nicer than any dog he has ever had. Dan had two questions and so did I. I wanted to know (a) if Dan paid his rent on time and (b) if he was taking the ˜gator with him when he moved out.
  7. Indoor swimming pools – This is what a lovingly call the 2 units Alligatorsthat most recently had the pipes burst. I found them while breaking and entering. In front of the units is where I met Dan. Since I am not one to take a risk on the sophistication of my fellow man, I made a point to tell Dan that while this looked like an indoor swimming pool, he needed to keep his ˜gator out of it. I figured there was no sense in taking the risk that he would decide on his own not to do this. Good thing I did. His response…”I was just thinking about that”.
  8. No Heat – In Franklin County a tenant that is in a dispute with the landlord can pay rent into an escrow account. If they do, the landlord can not evict for non-payment. (Side Note Reminder – I am not the owner and did not create these problems. I am here to fix them.) If you also pay your gas and electric bills to the escrow, the county figured you are an idiot and overpaid. They do not bring this up to you and they do not forward the money to the utility companies. If you now have no gas and your furnace, hot water heater and range do not work this is not my fault. Pay your bill and they will start to work again. Problem solved.
  9. Baby gatorSnow Removal – The hillbilly snow removal guy plowed the parking lot and put all of the snow ON TOP of the sewer drain. Everything is melting and the parking lot is…you guessed it….an OUTDOOR swimming pool. I probably need to have an updated talk with Dan.
  10. Explosion – At about 3pm a large BOOM was heard. It sounded like about 10 shotguns all went off at once. Dan, Rasta, Locksmith and I were all talking when we heard it. Nobody flinched. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
  11. Giant Cockroaches – Big enough to carry away a baby. I was thinking of calling an exterminator, but think I need the Marines.
  12. Babies & Children – I was there from 11am-4pm on a weekday. What are all the kids doing at home? Is this spring break already? Maybe the adults are using them to bait the roaches. I did hear a bunch of screaming. Someone was yelling “I’m not going to let you get away this time.” Maybe I don’t need the Marines.
I think I need to just sit down and shake my head for a few minutes. Whew!The story you have just heard is true. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Richard F. Kruse is the President of Columbus, Ohio based Gryphon USA, Ltd.   Mr. Kruse oversees the operations of Gryphon’s restructuring &  wind down, receivership, asset recovery, real estate and auction/liquidation practices: Gryphon Asset Management, LLC provides Custom Liquidation and Advisory Solutions for lenders and their borrowers who require wind down consulting, surplus asset advisory services, state court receiverships, liquidation implementation and auction services. Gryphon Realty Advisors provides Custom Real Estate Solutions including property management both pre and post foreclosure, brokerage, and accelerated sales such as auctions and sealed bid offerings.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing.  Find out more at

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  • Very will wriiten, the author definitly has a talent for writing. He made very serious poblems funny. I laughed all the way through and thanked God I do not have those problems. We do have problems, like him we have fugitives but they are not legal tenants they are visiting. He helps the reader to see the problems in a different way. Sometimes we get so caught up in the problems we are unable to laugh. Thank you for your insight.

  • Shirley

    I’d like to say this article shocked me but after owning rental property for 15 years nothing shocks me anymore. If I haven’t seen it I’ve heard about it! And I’m certain that’s what our complex would be like if we didn’t have an onsite manager, what people try to get away with when someone with authority lives on the property is bad enough. I feel your pain.

  • Amazing… And we thought WE had tenant problems. Nothing compared to this poor fella’s problems, that’s for sure.

    Great writing, and very funny. I will be passing this article along to other property managers because we can all use the laugh break.

    Good luck to him and that property.

    So glad we are in Northern California and don’t have to deal with snow.

    (Alligators in snow country? Can that really BE…?)

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