We just recently found out that we’re renting a house to a registered sex offender. Damian’s White Wife (DWW) did an internet search for registered sex offenders in our area, and his name popped up. He served his time; he’s a nice guy, but damn – he was convicted of sexual assault on a 16 year old boy! Not that a 16 year old girl would’ve been more palatable, but it would at least fall within the realm of “ok, maybe I can see that happening”. He’s married, with 2 kids and one on the way, and he’s younger than me. I don’t know what any of that has to do with the story, but I felt the need to tell you anyways.

We contacted a lawyer to check our liability if he were to, say, have some sort of a relapse and start throwing Michael Jackson parties at our domicile, and they assured us that we wouldn’t be liable. We don’t have any real legal recourse; they pay their rent (mostly) on time, and have been fairly stellar tenants (unlike others we’ve had). Actually, we’ve got a minute – allow me to pontificate on some previous tenants we’ve had.

When we moved from South Carolina to Texas, we did it under duress. We didn’t want to move – we were pretty happy right where we were. But my job was a very good one; in fact, it’s the same job I just got laid off from. Due to that, we felt like perhaps a move was the right thing for us. My company had a very nice relocation package, including packing, shipping and storage service, free apartments for 4-6 weeks, free rental car, free car shipping, home purchase assistance…I mean, nice stuff. But none of those were the real prize. The true incentive was money. My company assured us that I would receive a bonus equal to 50% of my annual salary, broken into payments. We’d get 15% immediately, 15% after 9 months on site, and 20% after 2 years. I was making pretty decent coin by then, so we were talking about a significant amount of dinero. It was hard to turn it down, and as much as we wanted to stay in SC, we knew it was the best move for my career, which hadn’t really taken off at that point. So we moved, with the idea being that after two years, we would grab the 20% final installment of the bonus and leave Texas in a wake of road dust and chicken-fried chicken. Hence we didn’t sell our house in SC – we’d be right back in two years, right? We’ll just rent it. It turns out that DWW’s cousin and her family needed a place to stay, so we thought that was just perfect. Then we moved.

The first thing that happened was that they jumped the lease. Even though they were family, we had a written and signed lease with them, all formal and business-like. They were supposed to move in approximately 1 month after we left, because we had to leave our animals there initially, and we wanted them to wait until I made the drive back to SC to retrieve them. They moved in 4 days after DWW and my son got on the airplane. We were kinda perturbed about it, but it wasn’t a big deal. They diligently paid rent every month for about 6 months. Then the money stopped coming. Oh, it started with late payments, then bounced checks, and then…nothing. We called and asked, and the cousin would cry and give us a sob story about this or that. And it being family, we stupidly swallowed it. While we weren’t rich, we had money in the bank, so we figured that we could handle things in the short term, so long as rent started up again soon. They lived in the house for another year and a half after that, and we got a total of maybe $200 for rent in that time. Why didn’t you kick them out, you ask? Because it was family, and they had a baby girl. We were such suckers, I swear. They pretty much ruined us financially, while they went on to file for bankruptcy and bought a new van and a new house. To this day, they won’t even so much as acknowledge that they screwed us out of roughly $14,000. And we think it’s too late to sue them for it, not to mention that it would rip the family apart, and the prospect of actually getting money from them is about as likely as getting the periodic table out of Jessica Simpson. I saw them at Thanksgiving, all laughing and smiling and shit, while we had to borrow money to get to SC in the first place. It was all I could do to not say anything to them (no one wants a scene at Thanksgiving). There are things I want to do to them that I can’t even mention here, ‘cause if I did, the police would slap the term “premeditated” on my charge. And no one wants that.

So, these tenants aren’t anywhere close to those in terms of paying us. They just have a known, registered sex offender there. Which is worse?