Home for rent! Two bedroom/ 1 bath, 10 acre farm that comes with horses(pick your own), chickens, guineas, ducks, gees, dogs...! Wow. Could it get any better? Fruit orchard to pick at your choosing? After the initial phone call I was a little worried that her phone didn't work and I couldn't see pictures. Then she brought up that we would be sharing the property, animals, fruit orchard, AND we'd be living off-grid with a fully functional solar home. I was hooked. Plus, $800 rent for Hawaii sounds REALLY great. She sounded like a nice older woman....definitely NOT a scammer gone wild, crazy, and a bag of potato chips on the side! <<How'd you like my 90's tag?
FIRST RED FLAGS TO NOTE: We paid our deposit over PayPal and there was absolutely no way the landlord could show us photos of the property. Yes, we feel stupid now. Please take notes and share with all your friends!
We followed her down the bumpy road and pulled into the farm. A de-shovelled cottage on my left and to my right a barn. I thought, "Okay. I can work with this little cottage. I'm a DIYer! I can really have fun with it." I got out of the car and gave our new landlord a hug and we did our greetings. She directed us into our new rental home.....the barn.
I went into my thumbs-up mode. I was smiling really big and saying over and over again, "This is great. Wow. I love it. So much potential! I love all the room. A barn...wow...room." I was trying to convince myself that this was fine. It was fine. For a while it was fine and I really got used to living in a barn infested with cockroaches, rats, mice, and ants. No matter how much I swept....it stayed dirty. The floors were cement painted over with three colors of peeling paint. Green....yellow....and orange.
It got even better the following days when she demanded we not spray or put any kind of poison out for any of the infestations. I wasn't allowed to use natural ways either because she had a reason for every infestation on the farm and her reason for why they helped. She let us know that this is just the way people live off-grid on farms. The carport was even better and infested with spiders. Over the next few months these spiders would infest the entire fruit orchard making it hard to walk any pathways without walking through spider webs....THICK spiderwebs. JUNGLE strong sticky spider webs WITH spiders all over each of them. I can't even count to this day how many spiders I've found crawling on me from walking a simple pathway through the orchard.
Did I mention that this woman, who claimed to be the 'owner' of the property btw, was a hoarder. A for real like you see on tv hoarder. The property was covered in junk. Old vehicles, a rusted RV covered in jungle vines, broken appliances, broken lawn mowers, everything was broken. The carport that is attached to the barn was full of garbage....it wasn't garbage to her. She put up a 7ft wall in our barn to stick her hoarded junk in and called it her storage room. The walls to this room were see through wicker. She could enter it from the outside and see through to us. She did this anytime she wanted. NO notice. Any hour of daylight and nighttime hours. Yep....it gets better.
Speaking of no privacy!!! :)<<< Sarcastic smile! She would come into our house all throughout the day. Any excuse. She also claimed another room in the barn...the 'storage' room. It was also full of her stuff and also held the solar batteries and inverter. She had many excuses to go in there and look through stuff. She came in to the bathroom when I was showering one time. Yep....FANtastic. In the middle of the night she would go into the carport which is right by where she situated our bedrooms and just go through stuff, make noise, stare at us through our bedroom window. Yes, creepy. Ha ha ha She would have workers on the farm (that she'd work to death and then not pay them) that she'd have go into the room in our barn with no notice. One worker walked in on Steven while he was going to the bathroom to grab something. No knocking....always just walking in.
I'm going to make this long 7 month trial a shorter story. We found out she wasn't the owner and about her scam. Sadly, we weren't the first. Her dealio was to get the deposit and rent for a couple months then scare the families away and move in the next family. CRAZY!! The sad part of all of this is that the farm is owned by a sweet lady who got into a car accident and became handicapped physically and mentally because of it. When the crazy lady found out about the accident she squatted on the property and started her scam because, hey, the owners lived all the way on the mainland in Alabama. We were the first to find out who the owner was and get a hold of her family to let them know what was going on. The owners immediately gave Cruella (name we dubbed her for obvious reasons) the boot. Her eviction was all legal and took from December until May 8th (My 30th Birthday).
Her anger caused the following to happen. I'm still shocked we stuck it through.
- In the middle of the night she would go into the carport and bang on things and shout out nonsense to wake us up. Too many nights. 3am....my poor kids.
- She stuck buckets of chicken manure under our windows to stink up our home.
- She broke into our home with her boyfriend and stole our inverter.
- She snipped our electric wires and stole our batteries that work our solar.
- Because of our not having power for so long my husband missed many calls for his business....one thing lead to another and he lost a lot of money and his job.
- She was constantly shouting profanities at us and our kids.
- She put rocks in the gas tank of our generator.
- One of our dogs, a puppy at the time, was found down the road suspended in the cane grass. Could only have been done by a person.
- Two months later this same dog disappeared no where to be found. Did I mention she let us know several times she hated our #&cking dog. Hmmm....
- Her horses were not fenced and very 'green'. My kids were always in danger of being trampled and kicked.
- All her animals that were listed in the add were not properly fenced or cared for. There was animal feces everywhere!
- She threatened to trail a hot wire fence around the property to teach my boys a lesson. The lesson was to not have any interaction with any of her uncaged running wild animals. Kind of hard.
- She stole many things: Propane tank, brooms, buckets, household supplies in general, yard tools. One time in particular I just happened to look out the window to witness her roam around our house, pick up a pickax and throw it in the bushes.
- She broke a painted sign I had worked on for hours and was pretty proud of into three pieces.
- One day we came home to a propane smell in our home. She had taken parts off our propane fridge. It blew up in my husbands face. Could've been sooo much worse but he got the fire out quick.
- She was constantly harassing my kids. One day she physically fought my older son over an avacado he found. She put her body over him and wrestled him over it. I FLIPPED!!! Imagine Mama Bear mixed with Black Widow and you can imagine why she literally ran away from me. I didn't know I had it in me! Ha ha
- She would pick the fruit trees dry so that we wouldn't be able to get to the fruit and then hide them in buckets around the property to rot and go to waste.
- She grabbed fruit from my younger boy that he had picked. She tore the basket of fruit from his hands and dumped it in her own bucket. Swearing profanities at he and his brother in the process.
- She would sneak into her 'storage room' in our home and sit there without us knowing for who knows how long just spying on us and listening to our conversations. This happened only three times that I KNOW of and caught her.
- She chased my boys screaming at the top of her lungs that they had touched something that was hers. She also did this to their friends, who are two sweet girls that live next door and have become their best friends. It's scary to be chased by someone that's angry; but can you imagine being a kid being chased by Cruella Deville?!! Scary stuff.
- She would walk around her own home, the cottage, at night to make her dogs bark. All. Night. Long.
- She would flash my husband, myself, and our boys too many times to count over these months.
- She brought friends on the property to harass us.
- She put rotten pig meat next to our bedroom window to stink us out. Steven had to take care of it.
- Her dog (one of 6) died under the RV, which happened to be parked next to our barn-home, and she left the carcass there to bloat and become infested with magets and stink up the entire property. Another thing we took care of ourselves.
- We came home one day to our water not working. We had heard that she would take away pipes, propane tanks, gas, anything to scare people to leave. We had pipes stolen this time.
- She drained our water catchment more times than I can count over the night with a hose.
- She took a machete knife to the bottom of the lining of our water catchment tank the day before she left and it drained the entire tank. Living off-grid with no water pump (no flushing toilet, shower, NO RUNNING WATER FOR MONTHS)...that water was our life for all those months.
- We did get Restraining Orders against her and her boyfriend. Neither of them obeyed the court orders.
- One last thing I can think of; I can't count how many times I was told to go EFF myself. Her famous words.
FINALLY she was booted. She didn't leave without a fight. It was the worst months of our lives. There's even more I could add and will think of tomorrow after I post this but this was extremely exhausting to write in the first place. I usually don't write negative things but I felt it was important to get our story out there to be a warning to others. We are now cleaning up the property and renting from the owners with intent to buy the property.
Most people wonder why in the world we didn't leave. We truly felt like we were sent to this property to stay. Without all the garbage and infestations (which we've taken care of since she left) it's a beautiful peace of paradise. It's perfect for our kind of living. A little homestead that we can learn to live self sufficiently on. Oh we learned to live this way not having a choice! It's been so peaceful since she left and my husband and I are having too much fun fixing things up.
I hope this post will help to spread a warning to all those who shop on craigslist for home rentals or look to buy. Do your research and don't be a dummy like us and miss all the first red flags. Learn from our mistake and skip over any harm or accident. Please share this so it will go viral to be a warning to all about scammers. I'm pretty sure we are the worst I've heard about. Ha ha ha!
I hope everyone has a great day and counts their blessings after reading this! We definitely do. :)