The company I work for does about 5 evictions with the county sheriff a week — these are evictions from home foreclosures. I’m usually the guy now who heads these up, and usually the tenants aren’t home. But this time they were.
At least that’s what we were told by the property manager. We also were told that there were 3 kids, 1 grandma, a mom, and a dad all in this townhouse and refusing to leave. When we have reason to believe that the tenants haven’t left after being foreclosed on, we have to wait for the sheriff to get there. They legally have to make contact with the people, not us (since we’re only there to clean the place out and fix damages). When the sheriff makes contact, if the people don’t open the door, the door will get opened one way or another. In some counties, the sheriff has us break the lock, but in the county we were in yesterday, the door gets broken down with a battering ram. Although before yesterday, I’d never actually seen that happen.
When the sheriff got there, he yelled to identify himself and when no one would come to the door, they actually bashed the thing down! I’ve never seen it before in real life, only in the movies!
Once the door was down, the sheriff told us that only a dog was inside and he said, “have fun” and left.
It wasn’t long though before the homeowner squealed into the driveway and tried to get in the place. I had to physically hold him back because we’re not legally allowed to let him in. It’s not legally his house any longer because the bank had repossessed it. While I held him back, my co-worker called the sheriff back.
When the sheriff came back he told the guy that he can’t have his stuff because that house is no longer his. The sheriff though is an allright guy and did tell the homeowner that he can take his stuff when we bring it outside. Once the guy started being peaceful again, the sheriff left. And for the rest of the day, we kept bringing stuff out and the guy kept taking it away from the lawn. I did have to leave once in the middle of the day to get more garbage bags because dude, this guy was a pig in that house!
There was a woman who lived next door and came out to ask if she was okay and if everything was okay. I explained that she was okay and that we had to clear this guy’s stuff out because him and his family had been evicted. Since she mentioned having kids, I suggested to her that they should just stay inside, or go out for the day. She said there was no way there were leaving, she wanted her kids to stay and see what was happening so that they could learn what happens when you don’t pay your bills.
In the cases of evictions, the whole process takes about 12 months. And in that 12 months, if the tenant pays one minimum payment, then the whole process begins again and they have 12 more months to make another payment. So what I don’t understand is why they can’t get their act together and make just one payment in 12 months. Especially since most of these homes have a good deal of valuables in them that could be sold for a few hundred bucks! TVs, golf clubs, lawn mowers, weed whackers, jewelry, workout equipment…
Since I lead up these foreclosed homes’ clean outs, I’m the one who gives a little talk to the workers before we start. I always tell them that if they can’t handle it, I’ll try and get them moved to a different project. But the more important thing that I always say is, “This is a job and it has to get done. Leave your heart in your car, and you’ll be okay.”
*Pic: Prashant Gupta / FX