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Terrible Tenants

Terrible Tenants

My late dad, proprietor of the eponymous Thomas R. Dougherty Realty Co. of Bordentown, NJ, was quick to offer stern advice to anyone with a hankering to be a landlord.

“Be careful about rentals,” he’d warn. “It’s hard as heck to evict anyone.”

He knew all about THAT. 

Dad’s little rentals were full of characters. People who moved in and never left. Tenants who swore they were petless but had cats peeking out of every window. Renters who found paying rent inconvenient. His most colorful tenant had a brush with the law and absconded. That was a fortune teller who convinced gullible people to give her hundred dollar bills that she buried in the yard, promising her clients they would suddenly come into enormous wealth.

When the arrest warrants were issued this soothsayer took off, months behind in her rent. I went over with my father to check out her vacated digs where we found nothing but spooky curtains, fake fingernails and wigs. Oh, and holes all over the back yard. 

Looked like prairie dogs lived there.

“Should have evicted her years ago,” he muttered. 

"Why didn’t you?" I asked

"Too hard,” he sighed. 

I thought of Dad this week, as I read about the bizarre eviction saga of the Rotondo family of Camillus, NY.

Mark and Christine Rotondo, my nominees for the most Most Patient Parents In The World, were in court, trying to evict their terrible tenant, who also happens to be their son.

Michael Rotondo seems to be 30 going on 12. According to news reports, he’s lived in his childhood bedroom for the past eight years, doesn’t appear to work or pay rent and refused to leave what’s been described as his parent’s “modest" split-level house. Oh, and he doesn’t do chores or speak to his mom and dad.

Mark and Christine tried giving their son terse eviction notices, starting in February, with deadline after deadline. But he refused to budge from his bunkbed. They offered him $1,100 in relocation money, which they say he spent, but not on relocating.

Finally, the exasperated parents headed to court. 

That caused Michael the Millennial to pout. He complained mightily to the press about his mean parents.

“It’s really unfair to me and really outrageous,” he told The New York Post. “I really don’t want to stay there. I’ve been trying to leave there for a long time."

“They stopped feeding me, they cut me off the family phone plan.”

Stopped feeding him? What is he, a toddler?

A judge in Syracuse this week sided with the long-suffering parents and ordered an eviction notice to be drawn up. 

But he’s giving Michael a “reasonable amount of time” to get out of the house.

Sorry Your Honor, but the reasonable amount of time was up years ago.

My dad was right. Evictions are a pain.

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