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Hurricane recovery renters skipping out?  

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Fishbait
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November 10, 2018 10:27 pm  

Anyone having a problem with recovery renters skipping out on a lease lately? We may have people in a managed rental skipping out on the final 3 weeks and leaving their security deposit behind. (Lease started mid-month)

I wonder if the recent turmoil reported in the Consortium is part of a larger cash flow problem for companies doing hurricane recovery.

If we don't hear from them we are taking their deposit (50% of the monthly rent) and moving on. The manager tells us the place is in pristine condition, as we left it. It's not worth suing them and the manager promises me we will get other tenants in there immediately.


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speee1dy
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November 12, 2018 11:02 am  

i was going to ask if it was the workers who werent getting paid. if so, i can understand


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COLDER
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November 12, 2018 11:12 am  

Our renters did not skip but they left behind $4000 in damages that I'm still trying to recover
No more renting to "recovery" workers for me. they can sleep in the bush


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Fishbait
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November 12, 2018 1:03 pm  

No, it was not the guys who work for that sub-contractor featured in the Consortium. But according to our manager some contractors are having trouble meeting cash flow while waiting for the fed funds to trickle down.

Our guys haven't been there in over a month. They went home. So I guess we should be grateful there is no damage and no huge WAPA bill outstanding.

Sorry to hear about your damage COLDER, that sucks.

i was going to ask if it was the workers who werent getting paid. if so, i can understand


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SkysTheLimit
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November 12, 2018 1:19 pm  

Friend of ours got stung with $10,000 of unpaid rent, damage, WAPA bill…..
They strung him along saying the "Voucher" is turned in and the check is on it's way.
Snuck out in the middle of the night. Lawsuit in the works.

A customer of ours that has a condo at Sugar Beach told us she had tenants that trashed all the furniture and appliances. Said "Never again!"

To the people that kicked out a good tenant because you could get FEMA money, this is Karma. For the others, it's just plain sad...

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Rowdy802
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November 12, 2018 1:55 pm  

This thread is interesting and sad at the same time.

I've been looking for a place to rent for a few weeks now in STX. No dice thus far. Even requests for more information on property details have gone ignored. Granted I am in no big rush, I'd like to find a good spot. I may not be able to pay for exotic rent prices (above $2500 a month), but I am willing to work something out.

I rented in STX successfully and took pride in taking very good care of the apartments. Two of them at Mill Harbour, where I lived for five years. Mrs. McFadden may be my witness, if she still remembers me.

The whole situation is ironic... I'll continue pounding the pavement, perhaps add a few more potholes along the way. No one may notice them anyway.


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specialk
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November 12, 2018 2:51 pm  

Friend of ours got stung with $10,000 of unpaid rent, damage, WAPA bill…..
They strung him along saying the "Voucher" is turned in and the check is on it's way.
Snuck out in the middle of the night. Lawsuit in the works.

A customer of ours that has a condo at Sugar Beach told us she had tenants that trashed all the furniture and appliances. Said "Never again!"

To the people that kicked out a good tenant because you could get FEMA money, this is Karma. For the others, it's just plain sad...

(tu)


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specialk
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November 12, 2018 3:31 pm  

With the announcement of 1200 temporary jobs and 700 permanent jobs from Lime Tree Bay project this high rent nonsense is going to continue for a while. As SkysTheLimit said, many good tenants have been kicked out so their landlords could collect higher rents. I know people who were given only 30 days notice to move out. And to where? People who have lived and worked here for years are being forced to leave island because of the lack of housing created by the hurricane and the greed that followed.

My girlfriend has lived and worked on STX for 29 yrs. I have lived and worked here for 13 yrs. We live apart. Shortly before the hurricane we decided we would like to move in together. But neither of our places can accommodate our combined lives. We would need a larger house with a fenced yard that will allow pets. A smaller such place was hard enough for her to find two and a half years ago. In today's market? Good luck to us!

As much as the people from FEMA, SBA, HE (the linemen), home repair contracters, and now the growing number of people working at Lime Tree Bay are here to help the people of St Croix, their presence, and the greed of property owners, is causing hardships for those of us who live here. And want to continue to live here. Like Sky said, Karma. And Karma can be a b-tch.

I do know some property owners who will not be a part of the disaster generated higher rents fiasco. So as to avoid the problems mentioned at the front of this thread. Kudos to them!


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Fishbait
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November 12, 2018 6:31 pm  

We just bought our place in July, we would never kick out someone who was a good tenant paying a reasonable rent.

We bought because the price was right and location was great. We had planned on renting first when we move to STX next year but the same issues of high rents helped change our minds.

That being said, we have a real estate rental manager who knows businesses and has loads of contacts on island. She vets the businesses as best she can and does credit and references checks for individuals. She gets 20% of the rent. The HOA and insurance uses an additional huge chunk of the rent. So when a company offers to pay a good rent, not FEMA astronomical but good, plus pick up the utilities and bring in a cleaner weekly, we jumped at it.

We would have taken $2500 for a years lease, non-smokers, NO PETS. TWO months security deposit. 2BR, 2 bath, fully furnished with BBVI, Dish TV, commercial generator, HOA water, guarded gate.


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SkysTheLimit
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November 12, 2018 7:51 pm  

To be clear.
Those that kicked out a good tenant for higher rent. Shame on you!
Those that took the opportunity to get rid of a bad tenant. Lucky you!
Those that have an available rental and get offered the high rates. Good for you! Good luck!

It all boils down to real estate supply and demand.

Rents will level out but they won't be pre-Maria or pre-Limetree in the foreseeable future. There has been a major "adjustment".

Home prices will be rising too...

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Fishbait
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November 12, 2018 8:03 pm  

I should add; the place we bought had been empty since Maria. 2018 taxes weren't paid and the HOA payment was overdue. We fixed all that at closing, paid the gov & HOA and then bought several thousand in new appliances and furniture, not to mention all the Home Depot crap we needed.

Once we move there next year we hope to be good neighbors, volunteers (we're retired) and contributors to the local economy.

I really do feel badly for long time residents who are getting killed by rents. But we were offered $1800 by a couple of people individually and had to turn it down. We would be losing money on $1800 with a manager taking 20%.

It's not just housing, everything is costly. I'm hoping that the refinery plus Fed bucks spurs some new development and faster re-openings for hotels. The place has so much potential it would be a shame to waste it.


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COLDER
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November 13, 2018 10:09 am  

I'm one of the people from Sugar Beach on STX that had their place trashed by these guys.
The sad part is that I rented to the Mafolie Hotel on STT thinking that renting to a local company they would respect my home......did not work out well.

Kicked in doors, cigarette butts, burned cushions, pots & pans destroyed, missing items ( who steals a 5 ft ladder), knife marks in a poly wood table, grease every where.

They even cleaned fish in my place then threw the guts off the baloney.
My neighbor found fish guts in her kitchen cabinets
Never again


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speee1dy
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November 13, 2018 10:54 am  

i know a long time renter who got kicked out, her landlord said the place was sold. nope, she just wanted to get all that fast rental cash.

the one who was kicked out, left island.

i am sorry to hear about all the damage left behind


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COLDER
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November 13, 2018 11:02 am  

The big $$ they are offering is not worth it.
When I spoke to Mafolie about all these issues they told me I was being a A...hole
Plus I had to chase my money every month
Then when the lease was up they would not leave my place and I had to threaten to call the police
Never again


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SkysTheLimit
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November 13, 2018 1:30 pm  

The way to help control the place getting trashed is insist on including weekly housekeeping. Then you get a report before it's too late. Hopefully.

Our situation is that after Maria our 5 year tenant moved in with his girlfriend for economic savings since both their jobs were temporarily on hold. The apartment is below our house. It stayed empty for several months while we lived on generator. We were then contacted by a realtor and moved a nice FEMA lady in for 2 months. Got paid too! Since then we have a Limetree contractor that's moved in. He's here for 18 months to 5 years he says. He is paying more than the previous long term tenant.

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Fishbait
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November 13, 2018 1:44 pm  

Yeah we are really lucky we didn't get dirt bags. I think it helps when the manager is engaged and drops by the place, along with the weekly house cleaner. The managing real estate company kept their key box on the door, a landlord or their representative should have the right to get in with a reasonable notice.


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Alana33
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November 13, 2018 1:51 pm  

Article in today's DN:

Subcontractor accused of worker abuse, bogus checks

Allegations of neglect, bad checks and broken promises have thrust a home repair subcontractor on St. Croix into legal turmoil, all while scores of its workers — many of whom left their homes on the mainland — remain stranded in the territory with no work and no answers.

The Puerto Rico-based company, Campbell Development, is now in the crosshairs of V.I. Attorney General Claude Walker, who told The Daily News that he has opened an investigation into the matter and has reached out to the parties involved.

“We’re actively working on it,” Walker said. “It’s a huge issue, as you can imagine, with people being stranded here and being issued worthless checks. Issuing a worthless check is a crime, so we have to determine whether these allegations are true and get the parties involved to appropriately address the matter.”

Campbell Development, prior to being cut loose as a result of these allegations, was a subcontractor to Patriot Response Group, which, in turn, was hired by AECOM, the principal contractor for the rebuilding of the territory.

Since its inception in March, Campbell Development has apparently brought in more than 100 workers to the Virgin Islands to assist with the territory’s emergency home repair program and other construction projects.

While contracts were signed and salaries agreed upon, workers are now claiming Judi Campbell, the owner of Campbell Development, has reneged on much of the agreements, bringing in little to any work orders, slashing pay and arbitrarily firing anyone who questions her decisions.

“There’s a lot of people who are really getting screwed over by this company,” said Andrew McCann, a worker who has been with Campbell Development for more than six weeks. “It’s just lies on top of lies and [Ms. Campbell] is just waving a wand around doing whatever she wants.”

McCann said in his six weeks-plus on St. Croix he hasn’t received a single work order from Campbell Development. Moreover, his salary for downtime, which was supposed to be $500 a day, was cut to $250 on the day of his arrival.

While some workers did participate in a two-week repair of a warehouse for Campbell Development, the regular work pay they were hoping to receive — approximately $3,000 to $5,000 a week — was reduced to downtime pay.

“Not only are they disregarding their own contracts that they had us sign, they’ve tried to change the contracts,” McCann said. “There’s a lot of people here who can’t even pay their bills.”

McCann said Campbell Development is not only in violation of labor laws, but also fraud, as several workers have complained of receiving bogus checks from the company.

When workers started demanding answers, management began to retaliate by “firing people on a whim,” according to McCann.

“People have asked questions and gotten fired,” McCann said. “I’ve witnessed over 20 people get fired just for asking questions, trying to figure out what’s going on.”

Jeremy Lewis, who flew down from Mississippi to work for Campbell Development, was one such worker, who, after inquiring about a project and how much it paid on a WhatsApp message board, was told by Judi Campbell to get a plane ticket home, according to McCann.

“I simply chimed in and asked, ‘what’s it pay?’ and I get fired for asking a question,” Lewis told The Daily News.

Lewis said he’s been on St. Croix for more than 45 days and hasn’t done any work for Campbell Development. He’s now looking for side projects to make ends meet, he said.

Other workers find themselves in similar binds, having shipped vehicles and thousands of dollars-worth of tools and supplies to the territory, only to have little means to bring them back to the mainland.

Things came to a head on Oct. 30, when several of Campbell Development’s workers gathered outside their apartment building in Peter’s Rest, St. Croix, and made their story public.

The Virgin Islands Police Department was notified of the issue shortly afterward.

“I received a call on Nov. 1 about these complaints,” said V.I. Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr. “I requested information from my folks and they went to the site in an attempt to locate the owner of the company. But once they met some of the employees who voiced their concerns, it was determined that it might require federal intervention.”

Federal agents executed a search warrant at Campbell Development’s office on St. Croix on Nov. 2, according to Richards.

The commissioner said he had no further information about Ms. Campbell and that the case has been completely relinquished to federal authorities.

The Daily News has tried repeatedly to contact Judi Campbell, but has not received a reply.

For the workers, it’s now a waiting game.

“Most of the guys here are stuck, just left high and dry while our families are back home,” McCann said. “Things might change if work orders come in, but it doesn’t negate the fact that Campbell Development has already broken so many laws and not paid a lot of people. So, even if work does come and people start getting paid, there’s still a whole situation here that needs to be rectified.”

— Contact A.J. Rao at 340-714-9104


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NugBlazer
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November 13, 2018 7:26 pm  

Those that kicked out a good tenant for higher rent. Shame on you!

I disagree with this. As a former landlord myself, let me tell you that landlording is a BUSINESS and, as such, is about making money. Nothing more, nothing less.

If a landlord wants to make a change to make more money, who are you to shame them? As long as they're following the law and not kicking someone out without proper notice, they have EVERY right to do so! It's THEIR property! Why don't you try landlording yourself if you think it's so easy? I'd bet you'd have a rude awakening.

Shame on YOU for shaming others for doing nothing wrong!

Cruzans do it better.


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Exit Zero
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November 13, 2018 8:38 pm  

I disagree with this. As a former landlord myself, let me tell you that landlording is a BUSINESS and, as such, is about making money. Nothing more, nothing less.

Shame on YOU for shaming others for doing nothing wrong!

that attitude may be the norm for absentee landlords, but many of the apts. here in the USVI are part of the personal property that the owner lives on. Then the tenant becomes part of your life, --------- parking, noise, water use, outside upkeep, pets, children, friends coming to visit at all hours, guests staying on vacation and everything else that can disturb a peaceful life at HOME.
So it is 'something more' - I have often agreed to a lower rent for a long term tenant who makes my life simpler and peaceful. Rented unfurnished also limits my exposure to tenants with no roots in the territory.
I am available to fix a problem, but I would never enter the rental apt. without the tenant present, and seeing each other on a somewhat daily basis helps with communication.
It is a matter of co-existence not a business for many landlords, but I may not have been able to buy this house without the rental income either.
Not all landlords here are just in the rental market to get the highest rent possible.

If a landlord treats his property and tenants as 'just a business' and forgets the personal people part of the business, only looking at the money aspect, then damages and lost rents might just be the reality and can be absorbed as a cost of doing BUSINESS.


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Alana33
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November 14, 2018 1:28 am  

Right on , Exit Zero!
But it's also hard to have tenants that leave your rental property in a nasty mess and tief ting dem.

On the other hand, if you've got a jewal of a tenant, keep them!

Then the ones that leave a mess, steal and damage want their deposit back!

I'm so tired of dealing with those types of people.


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stjohnjulie
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November 14, 2018 6:40 am  

What exit said. And I totally disagree with a business being only about 'making money, nothing more and nothing less.'

Find this to be an interesting thread. I know so many people on St. John that are looking for places to live. Many of them had to leave island because their places were destroyed and they can't find anyplace else affordable to live. We are rebuilding a modest place that will rent out for less than $1000 a month but it can't happen fast enough. And it already has a line of people wanting it. I probably wouldn't have a problem getting twice that but I'm not interested in getting a heap of money for it. I just want someone to have a home to live in and to have my choice of the best tenant possible. We are still very much in rebuild mode and I personally want to keep my friends and neighbors who make up my community. Sucks seeing so many of them without a place to live comfortably.


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SkysTheLimit
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November 14, 2018 11:31 am  

Those that kicked out a good tenant for higher rent. Shame on you!

I disagree with this. As a former landlord myself, let me tell you that landlording is a BUSINESS and, as such, is about making money. Nothing more, nothing less.

If a landlord wants to make a change to make more money, who are you to shame them? As long as they're following the law and not kicking someone out without proper notice, they have EVERY right to do so! It's THEIR property! Why don't you try landlording yourself if you think it's so easy? I'd bet you'd have a rude awakening.

Shame on YOU for shaming others for doing nothing wrong!

We have been landlords for decades. We have tenants in our apartment on STX, we have a rent house on STX, and we have tenants in a house stateside..... I stand by my statements.

I've heard stories of tenants that had been in place for several years that were given 30 days to vacate. That's just wrong! Shameful actually... Our tenants become our friends and take very good care of our properties and pay their rent early... With your attitude towards being a landlord it's no wonder you have that opinion.

Alan
St. Croix resident since 2000


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Fishbait
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November 14, 2018 5:44 pm  

My rental manager runs a business. We own a property that we hope to live in ourselves someday soon & rent for the time being.

So when the manager vets people and tells us she has non-smoking, no pets, no drama good people with very good credit check & references, we say go ahead.

It's not a business to us. It's our future home.


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specialk
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November 14, 2018 6:11 pm  

To Exit Zero, stjohnjulie, and SkysTheLimit....

Kudos all! (tu)(tu)(tu)


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lescooper
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November 17, 2018 11:39 pm  

I currently have 2 condo's rented to FEMA.
One of my tenants is a the person over everything on St Croix.

FEMA is currently paying $247 per night. Increases to $249 mid December.

I am getting requests for additional rentals.
Text me....713-591-9975


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