The day the courts forced my parents to stop being kind....

This is a tragic story in my own life that fortunately has a somewhat happy ending. My family was for a time involved in real-estate and rentals. My parents and my brother and I would chip in our help for converting older, large houses into multiple affordable apartment units for tenants. These houses would be fairly priced and normally a lot nicer than your run of the mill apartment complex where every unit is the same and they are all rectangles.

Over the past 20 years my family has gotten out of this industry because the law unfairly favors the tenants to an absurd degree. I'm happy that my family got out of this industry before Covid hit because these days people are just allowed to stay indefinitely and not pay any rent yet the owners of the building are still required to keep "everything up to code."


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I think that these laws started out with good intentions to prevent slumlords from abusing the lower class and I don't have a problem with that. However, it got so bloated to the point where you have to be very careful about who you rent to and this resulted in my family taking out credit checks on anyone who rented and denying them the rental if they didn't pass.

This is because you are allowed to discriminate on ability to pay only until they move in, after that, the law is very much in the corner of the renters and a lot of them know this.

My family is not rich. They worked hard their entire lives and saw an opportunity to make a business out of their skills. We are a "hands on" family and we know how to work on just about anything to a certain degree without getting contractors involved. We have a ton of tools and can fix just about anything and all the refurbs on the house were done by us.

This one particularly bad situation was intentionally perpetrated by an ex tenant who apparently did his homework to try to extort money out of us. It involved a garage that was on the property of house that was converted into 4 units and the garage was where my parents kept a lot of gardening supplies and tools and stuff. The garage was always locked and it was not for the tenants. They had a parking lot instead.


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This isn't the garage, but it is something along the lines of something that you could fit 2 cars in if you wanted to. My family used it for storage of all manner of things from kayaks to bags of fertilizer.

Anyway, one day a tenant asked if it would be ok if he parked his motorcycle in there for the winter. My parents are nice people so of course they said this was ok. Then later, once they thought they could trust this guy because he seemed like a nice person they let him have a key to the garage and told him he could park in there whenever he wanted as long as he locked it back.

A year went by and I don't know if this guy found himself in a bad situation or what but all of a sudden he moved out. Then several months later my parents were served with a court summons because charges were being filed against them by this man who was trying to suggest that the chemicals that were stored in the garage negatively affected his health.

He was seeking medical restitution (I think that is the right word but basically it means "money") on a monthly basis from my family claiming that he could not work because of respiratory issues caused by the chemicals in the garage. He was seeking thousands of dollars a month from my family for basically forever until he could be cleared for work. Now I don't know much about this guy but he is definitely a scumbag because if there even was chemicals in the garage that could hurt someone you would have to eat it or spray it directly in your mouth for it to affect you. Plus you would have to spend a great deal of time in there, much longer than it takes to park a motorcycle, in order for this to happen anyway.

I knew this, my parents knew this, and the guy who was pressing charges knew this but his blood-sucking lawyer saw dollar signs for him and he went forward with the charges anyway.

The fact of the matter is that he asked my parents to do him a favor and because they are nice people they had no problem with it. Then the dirtbag turns around and tries to turn my family into an ATM machine on trumped up charges.

Thankfully, the case was thrown out of court but not until many months and thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees and time wasted in courtrooms went by. The jackass even tried to appeal the judge's ruling but that got thrown out as well.


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"No good deed goes unpunished" they say and because of this asshole my parents stopped doing anything for the tenants until they had run it past their lawyer first. Basically, being kind to people is a crime now and can get you in a lot of financial trouble if they find a lawyer that will take the case on.

These days my parents still have property that they rent out but because of this guy, they are no longer "allowed" to be kind to their tenants. Every time someone asks for something that isn't specifically outlined in the lease the answer has to be "no." This is just heartbreaking for my parents because they were brought up in a time where if you did something nice for someone you never had to be worried about them taking you to court for it.

This wouldn't be the only time that being a landlord would result in my parents getting taken to court either. There are some truly terrible people in the world and because of them nice people like my mother and father are forced to be cold and distant towards the people that rent their properties at a very fair and affordable rate.

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