“How Many Times Can You Be Screwed?” Let Me Count Another Way

by on August 13, 2014 · 16 comments

in Culture, Life Events, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

“No money would exchange hands, but it would be a win-win for both of us…”

facing eastBy Judi Curry

I have always thought of myself as a compassionate person. I frequently do things because I feel it is the right thing to do without ever thinking of any compensation – mentally, emotionally or monetarily. So let’s take a trip down the road to “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Let’s get into the time tunnel and go back approximately nine months.

I was walking my Golden Retriever Buddy around the block when I came across a woman I knew exercising her dog in front of her house. She was having some work done on her house and I stopped and talked to her. Her name is Patty, and it turned out that she was also in the field of education and I enjoyed talking to her.

The following day, the same thing happened and I asked her about the work she was having done on her house. She told me that a friend of a friend was a handyman and he was doing some work for her on the roof of her house. Apparently the handyman was down on his luck and was virtually homeless, but he was a good friend of another neighbor – a judge in the San Diego Courts – and he was always repairing things that needed work. At about that time, the handyman – let’s call him “H” came out to the yard and Patty introduced me to him. I talked to him for awhile; asked him what parts of the house he works on, and was surprised when he told me that he was really good at plumbing.

I told him that I had had several plumbers over to the house in the 40+ years I lived there, and they could never find out what caused the periodic “sewer smell” that permeated the house at different times of the year. “H” said that was no problem; it was probably a “this and a that” and it could be easily fixed. I thanked him and continued my walk with Buddy.

A few days later I bumped into Patty again and asked some more questions. Where was “H” living; was he reliable? Did he know his stuff, etc. She told me that he was very reliable; that he needed to be reminded to stay on track because he would see things that needed to be done and go do those things before finishing the original job. She assured me that he was just down on his luck at this time, but was trying to get back on his feet. (Can you see the “idea” cartoon over my head yet?)

I got to thinking: (remember I am a blond!) I have a 5th Wheel in the back of the house that needed work before I could sell it or move it again. It was fairly comfortable on the road and although the kitchen is not hooked up, there is a microwave and a television available. The bathroom is not hooked up, but just outside the trailer is a cabana for our pool that has a full bathroom. I had just discovered that the refrigerator no longer worked, but perhaps “H” would like to live there; repair those things in the 5th wheel that needed repairs, and do other things around the house – like the pipes – for a place to stay.

No money would exchange hands, but it would be a win-win for both of us. After all, I have been a widow for 5 years and there are many things that my husband used to fix that I have just let go. I house foreign language students in the US to hone their English skills, and he could join us for breakfast every morning until he was on his feet again. He accepted the proposition.


Under trailer tongue

He started out fixing things in the 5th Wheel but gradually I noticed he was bringing things into the trailer yard that were not necessary for his stay at the house. Big, large, bulky things. He told me that he had two storage areas that he was cleaning out but NEVER did I picture that he would turn my back yard into a trailer dump!

And I noticed that he did not even look at the pipes until I raised such a commotion that he took a look. And then he analyzed the reasons for the odor for another few weeks until I got angry again.

In the meantime, he was doing small things around the house that HE wanted to do; not things I wanted him to do. I then gave him a list of those things that needed doing. The list is still here – with nothing crossed off. Because of my torn rotator cuffs it is difficult for me to take the big trash barrels out on Sunday night. I expected him to do it instead of me. For the past 2 months he hasn’t even done that. So now it is time for him to go. Nothing is getting done; he is rude – my daughter and I were in the yard and he came in; saw us but did not even acknowledge us.

So…I sent him a letter telling him I wanted him to leave; that I could no longer afford to keep him there, paying the utility bills, when, in fact, he was not doing anything to help me out. I said, in my letter, that “ . . .our original agreement is not working and is, in fact, costing me money. Therefore I am terminating my offer of having you stay here in exchange for work to be done around the house.” That was on May 17th. Guess what. He is still here.

So I called a police officer I know and asked him what to do next. He said I would have to file a formal eviction notice. I told him that he wasn’t a renter; it’s not like he isn’t paying his rent on time. Doesn’t matter, I was told. He has, in effect, “homesteaded” the area and I have to formally evict him.

Then I called the Sheriff’s office and asked them what to do next. Same advice, but told me to call the Landlords Association and see if they could help me. I corresponded with an attorney who told me the same thing. I will have to have “H” served with eviction papers giving him 30 days notice, and then if he still doesn’t move for $1500 he will take care of the court case, the filing of papers, the actual eviction. You have to be kidding. I felt sorry for this guy; thought I could help him at the same time he could help me and it will cost me $1500 to get him out of my yard? And I paid for his breakfast for 6 months and his gas and electric and water for over 9 months?

If I were keeping track of the ways I’ve been screwed this would just be another niche on the proverbial belt. No wonder people are disillusioned today. Do you think I will offer my 5th Wheel to anyone else? Ever? Again? Yeah, probably. I’m just one of those “bleeding heart liberals.”

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

joyce August 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

i have found that when i need a plumber, i hire a plumber…….that way i stay somewhat out of trouble


burt August 13, 2014 at 3:27 pm

No good deed goes unpunished


Geoff Page August 13, 2014 at 4:06 pm

You need to have a BIG relative talk to the guy and “encourage” him to move along for the good of his health.


judi curry August 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm

How big are you, Geoff? I actually have had several people offer to do just that, but he still digs in and is there. I am talking to several attorney’s re: filing papers. The cost is enormous – $1200+ – so far – for trying to be a good guy.

Joyce, I NEVER stay out of trouble. It is my middle name!

You are right, Burt. I wonder what would happen if I were the “bad” guy!


Geoff Page August 14, 2014 at 8:24 am

There was a time…but at 63 I’m afraid the gray hair tends to work against the fearsome image.


judi curry August 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

Amazing how that happens!


OB Loc August 13, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Nothing in writing or no formal contract? Simple trespass. Tell the cops he is squatting on your property without your approval.

I believe it is illegal to live in a trailer w/o proper hookups.


judi curry August 14, 2014 at 11:34 am

It actually all happened when I said I needed some help in fixing up the 5th wheel for a trip. The refrigerator needed replacing, etc. That was the original reason he moved in. I have not been in the 5th wheel since he has moved in; the outside bathroom – near the pool – is what is used for showering, toileting, etc. The 5th wheel is used only for sleeping.


Debbie August 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Sell the 5th wheel for attorney fees and get rid of both of the problems.


judi curry August 13, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Someone offered to buy it last week, Debbie. It might have merit!


Kathy August 13, 2014 at 6:13 pm

I’m sympathetic for your dilemma, nothing worse than offering a helping hand and being taken advantage of. You probably should have stopped “H” in his tracks when he began using your property as his storage facility. It’s a show of “establishing residency”, compounded by the fact he’s been there 9 months.

While I’d probably enlist a few “big guys” to remove him and his junk off my property, you can legally remove him without paying an attorney $1200.

*3-Day Notice to Quit This kind of notice is used if there have been ongoing problems with a tenant who causes a “nuisance” on the property;
No special form required, but must include the following:
in writing with full name of the tenant; address of the rental property; details and dates of each incident that created a nuisance; and state clearly that the tenant has to move out within 3 days.
*3-Day Notice isn’t even required when it’s work in exchange for tenancy, and the tenant no longer works for you. You did give written notice 2 months ago. But, to be on the safe side, I’d give another notice.
File an unlawful detainer case in court when the notice period ends.
Instructions and paperwork at above-mentioned web site.
Looks like the filing fee is $225, that sucks!
You don’t have to pay “Proof of Service” fee to Sheriff’s Dept., anyone not related to your case can deliver the court order to vacate.

I’d be more than happy to help with paperwork or proof of service delivery. I’m not an attorney, but skilled in deciphering legal terminology (I taught insurance contracts), retired and live in OB.


judi curry August 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Wow! Thank you. I will be in touch with you. Judi


Kathy August 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Dave Rice August 14, 2014 at 12:17 am

Judi – looks like you’ve got this handled via Kathy’s generous offer, but if not or if you need any more help let me know. I’ve been in the industry for 15+ years and have (sadly) handled hundreds of evictions, Chris (not sure if you’ve met my wife or not) has managed over 40 properties in OB and beyond for more than a decade…


judi curry August 14, 2014 at 6:47 am

Thank you Dave. I will keep your wonderful offer in mind. Judi


Christo August 14, 2014 at 7:22 am

Sorry for you dilemma.

Don’t be shy- tell us his name so we know not to do business with him.

Good Luck,


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