My father’s tenants aka: the grifters were a bunch of deadbeats who kept crazy hours and had a lot of strange people coming in and out of their house.
When I would go by my father’s house to visit him he would ask me things like why I don’t like his tenants. He would tell me to go upstairs and get to know them because they were good people who cared about him. Yeah right. What they cared about was a free ride.
My father would tell me sob stories that they fed to him about why they couldn’t pay their rent & bills. He told me that sometimes he would let them go on paying rent and give them money to cover their needs. He said he felt sorry for them because they were a young couple that had a baby.
I was shocked that all of this was going on. My father had always been very generous to us and would help us out when we needed it. To do all of this for complete strangers who were collecting money from the state and had criminal records was astonishing to me.
I asked him if he did a background check on these people and he said no, everybody deserves a second chance. How did I know that they had criminal records? My father told me. He said one day they each sat down and told him their personal stories.They mentioned how they were trying to change their ways. By now my spidey senses were tingling.
After hearing all this crap I went home and I looked it up online to confirm their stories. The criminal records were true. Unbelievable. The next time that I saw my father I mentioned that he should do background checks on each tenant in the future. He said that was too much work but if I wanted to do it for him that would be great. Talking to him at times was very frustrating.
Pretty soon his tenants had 5+ people living with them. This brought the total amount of people living upstairs to 8. The upstairs was a two bedroom. It was a revolving door basically.
I also found out that his tenants were selling drugs out of the house. When I would go to the police station to have a welfare check done on my father, the police told me a few things about what was going on in the house. They pretty much confirmed my suspicions without giving too much away.
A bombshell was about to go off. My father told me that the tenants had access to his checking and savings accounts. He gave them permission to take money from his bank accounts where his Social Security & Pension checks were being deposited each month. I was upset and at a loss for words with that one.
I told my father that he shouldn’t have allowed that. I advised him to go to the bank and withdraw his permission immediately. I told him that he should put a passcode on his accounts and not tell anyone under any circumstances.
My father didn’t like that because he thought I was being nosy and telling him what to do. Well, in a sense I was but it was for his own protection. Nobody else was looking out for him but me. Everyone else around him was taking advantage. Who would speak up for him? He obviously didn’t mind that his tenants were brainwashing him. I knew better.
I asked my father what prompted him to give them permission to access his accounts. He said for the times that he didn’t feel like driving to the bank. Now understand that his bank was only 4 blocks away from his house. In the times that he didn’t want to drive he let his tenants use his car to go to the bank and do his banking for him. He saw it as a win-win for him.
I don’t like to use the words should/shouldn’t but sometimes I feel that it can be appropriate in certain situations. Especially if those situations are harmful. My father looked out for me growing up and now it was my turn to look out for him. Even though we had some extremely tense moments in the past, I still tried to protect him as best as I could.
Going back to my father’s car, whenever the tenants needed to go somewhere he would let them use his car. Eventually he gave it to them for free. I don’t even know if he actually signed the title over. I often wondered if he was paying the car insurance for them. I suspect he was but who knows.
Whenever I would ask my father about his tenants he would get very defensive and upset because he didn’t want to talk negatively about them. In the beginning I would tell him in a nice way that he was being used and that he was going to be left with nothing if he wasn’t careful.
I was hoping that he would catch on to what I was trying to get through to him. He was a smart man and I thought he would figure it out. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Nope. He wouldn’t hear any of it. My father would tell me stop picking on his tenants because they were like the children he never had. Excuse me? Hold up. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.
Going forward after that revelation I became very blunt. I straight up told him that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings but they were using him and that they were going to bleed him dry if he didn’t put a stop to it soon. He would get agitated with me when I would say these things.
I knew deep down that he knew what I was saying was true. He didn’t want to admit it to himself. He would rather live in denial rather than deal with the real issues.
As I continued to hear all the BS that was going on from my father about his tenants I decided it was time to confront them. My father of course told me not to because he didn’t want to rock the boat with them but I did it anyways. There was no way that I wasn’t going to say anything to these people. At first I tried to be civil rather than getting into it with them.
When being civil didn’t work I went straight to the police station and asked what I could do about the tenants. I vowed to get these people out of my father’s house the legal way and getting the police involved was the only option I had at that time.
They told me there wasn’t much I could do except for let the police continue to do their job which was monitoring the situation. The police said that eventually their free ride would end and there would be a resolution to the problem. It was simply a matter of time. I really wanted the police to go in, bust them all and clean house.
I had a few police officers tell me that they were very sympathetic to my plight. They said that if it was their parent they would feel exactly the same way as I did however, they had to follow the law and so did I.
The police advised that I stay vigilant because the tenants were dangerous. They said to continue visiting my father since I was all that he had. The police told me that it was fine to keep coming to the police station for welfare checks on his behalf. I agreed and understood where they were coming from. I assured them that I would continue to be aware.
Once in a blue moon the police would contact me on the phone to let me know that certain things were going on at the house. I swear every time I got restricted phone call from them I would have anxiety and think that something happened to my father. This prompted me to go over to see my father and find out what was going on.
It was around this time that the tenants slowly began to isolate my father from me. They knew I caught on earlier to their game and figured I’d give up sooner or later but that didn’t happen. They wore my father down and they thought they could wear me down as well. I had news for them. They weren’t going to wear me down the way they did him. Not happening.
They were getting tired of the police knocking on my father’s door once a week for a welfare check. They would complain to the police and my father that it was an invasion of their privacy. The police told them otherwise.
They also told the police and my father that they were tired of me coming around to visit. That I had no right to come to the house since I no longer lived there. The police told them that I had a right to come to the house and see him. Imagine that, a daughter that wants to visit their parent. How unheard of!
After a short time things started to get heated. I just didn’t know what else to do short of calling them out on what they were already doing. One day I had enough. I never got nasty with them. I simply told them the facts calmly because I didn’t want to have an altercation. I was seething on the inside but didn’t let on while speaking to them.
This got me nowhere so I continued my normal schedule of coming to visit my father and going to the police station to have welfare checks on him. I knew from the beginning that these people were taking advantage of him.
I never felt so powerless in my life. I’ve always been the one to take care of everything. The one that cleans up the mess. I’m the fixer. The protector. It’s what I do. I had faith that the universe was going to make it right in the end. The issue was that I didn’t know when or how it was going to happen.
The tenants saw an opportunity to take advantage of a lonely man who just lost his mother. They also knew that he was an alcoholic and this was their ace in the hole. Ply him with alcohol meaning beer and keep him “happy” so he couldn’t see what they were up to.
Some more months went by and my father became more and more distant with me. I would try to call him and I would get no answer or I would go over to the house and I still would get no answer. On the occasions that I would be able to see him it was only for a little while. There was always some excuse about why he couldn’t chat with me very long.
Meanwhile, the tenants grip on my father became even tighter. In the very near future this grip would prove to harm my father.
Part 7 to be continued.