Important Note: It has come to my attention that there is an attorney named Shannon Jamieson that lives in Massachusetts. This is not the person to whom I am referring in this post. My former tenant was certainly not an attorney, did not own a house, and as far as I know, is still living in Peabody. It is unfortunate that more than one person can have the same name and thus can be confused with each other online. Please take note of the specific details I've given in this post before assuming you know of whom I'm speaking.
When I moved out to California, I had to decide what to do about my condo in Peabody. I only had it for two years before leaving, and the housing market had collapsed, so I thought I'd just rent it out. Since I would've lost money selling, it was an easy decision. I had to rent it for less than my mortgage payment, due to the aforementioned collapsed housing market, but it was worth it to get some money back.
I hired a realtor who found me a tenant. A twenty-something girl named Shannon Jamieson. The background and credit check were fine, so we signed papers. Three months into the 12-month lease, the nightmare began. It started innocently enough: the rent didn't arrive for May. After a week, I sent her a nice letter reminding her that her rent was due. After another week I called and left a message. Another week went by, another letter. Then I called a lawyer. This is where it began to become apparent just how crappy Massachusetts law is for landlords.
The lawyer informed me that I had to send a 14-day notice to quit. The idea is to notify the tenant that they must pay within 14 days or else...we'll do something else. So after already being about a month late, she got another two weeks. Big surprise, we didn't hear from her. So after the 14 days were up, I talked to the lawyer again. We had to file a claim in court and wait for a court date...that took another month. The date was for district court. The week of the hearing she got it moved to housing court which, you guessed it, took another month to schedule a date. If you're keeping count, that's now three months that she's been living in my condo for free.
My dad was nice enough to represent me in court so I didn't have to fly back. During the hearing, Shannon claimed that the trust fund she was drawing from had magically disappeared (she had no real reason). The lawyer and my dad agreed to give her three weeks to vacate the premises. They signed an agreement to this. Now the fun part is that if she didn't leave, then we'd have to go back to court to get the order of execution to actually get her evicted.
On the date she was supposed to turn the keys into my lawyer, she called me up (from a restricted number so I couldn't call her back). This was the first time in the now five months that she had contacted me. She apologized for the trouble and gave me a sob story about how hard things have been for her. She then asked if she could have two more days to clean the place before she left. I said fine, and that she should call the lawyer to setup another time to drop off the keys. I'm sure you know what happens next.
She didn't leave when she was supposed to. The day came and went and she didn't drop off the keys. Back to the lawyer who had to go back to court to get the order of execution, which took another four business days. During this time, she was continually going in and out. With the order of execution in hand, a constable was dispatched to seize the property. As soon as possible, I had the locks changed (we found out afterwards that she was still trying to get in after the locks were changed). She also didn't turn in the keys; we had to track those down ourselves.
Finally getting into the condo, it was a mess. She clearly didn't clean much if at all. The carpet most certainly wasn't shampooed as she promised she would. The walls were filthy. The kitchen and refrigerator were disgusting. She has been running the dryer without it being attached to the dryer vent. The place was a mess. I hired someone to go in and clean and then did some more work myself.
So this woman, Shannon Jamieson, was my first tenant. She got to live in my condo for free for five months. I got to keep the security deposit and last month's rent, effectively meaning I lost out on three month's rent...plus the money I spent cleaning up the place and lawyer fees of $1500. All in all, she has cost me over $5000. The lawyer said I can sue her to recover that, but I'd probably never see a dime. Shannon Jamieson was a horrible tenant who stopped paying her rent three months in and then proceeded to live in my condo without paying for five months. And the law let her do that.
Now I need to find a new tenant that will hopefully pay on time and I'm trying to dig myself out of the financial turmoil that this sudden fund drain caused. I don't understand why it takes so long to get someone out that isn't paying. It's my condo, if someone stops paying I should be able to call the police and have her removed, not wait three more months to finally get her out.
Why am I sharing this? First, to vent some frustration that I have after receiving the bill from my lawyer. Second, I believe that many employers and landlords search the Web for information about people before doing business with them...I want to make sure that the name Shannon Jamieson will be tied with the phrase "horrible tenant" from now until the Google index goes stale. I apparently have no legal recourse, so the only thing I can hope to do is try to help other prevent other people from being victimized by this person.