A gift to you

Ana Toledo
4 min readMay 27, 2022
Entire house illegally rewired. Est. cost of repairs: $30,000

TEN LESSONS I LEARNED FROM RENTING MY PROPERTY TO A CON ARTIST

June 6th, 2022 will mark one year since I recovered my home from the convicted con artist tenant that lived in it for two years and eight months.

Although Mr. Lancelot de Montsegur a/k/a/ Patrice Michel Berthome technically paid for two years’ rent and squatted during eight months thereafter, the damages he caused to my house exceed $100,000 — far more than the $3,400 per month what he actually paid for only 24 of 32 months he lived in it.

Thus, the net result is that entire time he lived at the house he did so for free since the cost of damages outweigh his rent payments.

I thought the contract was bullet-proof. I fully trusted the seasoned real estate broker that brought the client and prepared the contract. As an attorney, I deemed it bullet-proof.

The tenant’s failure to adhere to the contract not only resulted in the destruction of my property, it destroyed my income and left me destitute.

It would give me great satisfaction to curtail this con artist’s or any other’s intentions of taking advantage of any other person as I was taken advantage of. Therefore, I humbly share the ten most important lessons I learned from RENTING MY HOUSE TO A CON ARTIST.

(For the purposes of word economy, I will only use the pronoun “he”. PLEASE do not feel excluded as I’m even excluding myself)

BEFORE SEALING THE DEAL:

1. Demand a credit report from your prospective tenant. Even if he prepays rent. Even if he pays rent insurance. Because you need to know ALL the places he has lived in, as well as any former names and aliases he may have had in order to carry out a thorough internet research of the person. Look for indicia of sociopathic behavior.

2. Obtain a copy of the driver’s license and passport. Ensure the names in both match the ones in the credit report. AN EXPIRED DRIVER’S LICENSE IS A RED FLAG.

3. Once you have all the possible names, pay one of those $50.00 internet search services for court records, civil cases, etc. in all places the person has lived in. Including corporate records and lawsuits his corporations may be involved in. If you find any court records whose documents are not readily available over the internet, call opposing counsel and inquire.

4. Ask for a CV or resume and investigate the legitimacy of the businesses or jobs listed therein.

5. Don’t ask for a security deposit. Ask for a BOND that covers the entire term of the lease for the value of the contents of the house and/or cost of repairing the house to its original condition should it be destroyed in its entirety, with a provision that the bond cannot be cancelled unless landlord is given a 30-day written notice through certified mail receipt requested to the address specified in the contract. The bond shall be in place until at least a week after the tenant abandons the property and landlord has an opportunity to inspect it. (In my case, the damages that tenant perpetrated in the house exceed $80,000.00 — more than what he paid for the two years of rent he actually paid. Thus, He lived for two years and eight months in my house for free, and left it trashed with over $80,000 in damages.)

6. Obtain a lease insurance for any unpaid rent or utilities remaining until the tenant abandons the property.

7. Include a clause stating that if the tenant or any of the property’s occupants gets arrested, he must inform the landlord aAwithin 3 days, providing a copy of the indictment or information and the landlord can terminate the lease. Provided that it will grant tenant a reasonable time to move that will not exceed a month and that all the terms and conditions contained in the contract (including the bond) will continue in place until the tenant has abandoned the property.

AFTER SIGNING THE DEAL:

8. Make a slow-paced video of the house preserving all of its metadata with all the contents of the house, opening the fridge, showing it was working, turning on the stove, turning on the lights, tvs etc., showing the paintings and artifacts of value, condition of the furniture, etc. MAKE THREE OR MORE COPIES OF IT AND STORE IT IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS; pen drives in a safe, clouds and other places that cannot be destroyed.

9. Remove from the property all ladders, tools, paint, replacement tiles, hardware, parts. Should you have a falling apart, the tenant will use your own tools and materials to destroy it.

10. Whether or not you include in the contract that the tenant is responsible for the first $300-$500 of the reparation of any appliance or equipment, specify that you bring the technician, and the next rent payment will include the additional amount paid to the technician if the tenant doesn’t pay it at the time of the service. BE PRESENT DURING THE REPAIRS AT ALL TIMES AND DON’T LET THE TENANT INTERACT WITH THE TECHNICIAN, obtain his phone or contact information. Instruct the technician he is not to have any direct contact with tenant without your authorization.

All of this may seem exaggerated but believe me, if I had done it, I wouldn’t be in the state of misery I find myself in today. I hope this wisdom is of use to you or anyone you share it with.

Originally published at https://ana.locals.com.

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Ana Toledo

Puerto Rican warrior & targeted individual; fighting for equal environmental rights, one pipe at a time”. “Mi nada, a nadie se lo debo.” Julia de Burgos.