GRANTSVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Experienced real estate agent Carol Haddock says she was floored when her renters decided to do a little “remodeling.”
Haddock rues the day she rented her 110-year-old Grantsville home to a family she says gutted the interior without permission, stripping out the hardwood floors, taking out the cabinets, ripping out light fixtures and selling appliances.
Haddock said she discovered the damage when she came out to check on an air-conditioning issue. She said the renter, who she asked ABC4 News not to identify, was reluctant to let her in. When Haddock entered, she said she was speechless.
“There was nothing in my kitchen…no cabinets, no flooring,” Haddock said. “It’s a landlord’s worst nightmare.”
“She says, ‘OK, don’t freak out – but I’ve been remodeling,'” said Haddock. “I asked her ‘Where are my cabinets?’ And she said ‘Oh, I sold everything,'” Haddock recalled.
Court documents from January 2018 show the suspect, who ABC4 News has chosen not to identify, was charged with felony theft for selling the furnishings, which Haddock said included an antique fireplace mantle that she said was worth thousands of dollars. The renter sold it for $400.
Haddock said she did everything right – background checks came back clean and she made the renters sign a leasing contract with provisions about not remodeling or modifying the premises at all.
Haddock said her big mistake was not periodically checking in on the rental property, even entering –
which is allowed by Utah law if a landlord entry clause is included in the contract.
“You’ve got to check your rentals…I don’t care who they are,” Haddock advises other landlords. “Even if you trust the people…it’s really foolish of me as a real estate agent not to check on this house.”
The yard was also unkempt, even after the renters agreed in the contract to take care of it, Haddock said. She also said her peach trees were illegally removed from the backyard.
It has cost Haddock $200,000 to put the house back together and back on the market. The work is still incomplete.
After a lengthy court battle, the renter in question was ordered to make restitution for the damage and the items stolen by paying $400 monthly, Haddock said. If not, Haddock’s former tenant could face jail time.