Re: Bad tenant alert
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2011 10:56:57 -0800 (PST)
On Mar 11, 2011, at 9:34 AM, David Bygott wrote:

> Is there any forum in the coho environment where one can post a caution about 
> a 
> tenant who appears to serially parasitize cohousing communities, abuse 
> hospitality and move on?

This is something for forming communities to watch out for too. People who are 
hopeless and helpless often see cohousing as a place where people want to take 
care of them, and will. And communities believe that with just a little help 
they can give people a leg up so they will be self-sufficient. If you are a 
forming community, you don't have the resources to do this. If you are already 
built, you need to budget the resources and pick the person you think you can 
help carefully — not accept someone just because they happen by on a rainy day.

If you read the websites of other communities, it is easier to see how a person 
needing help might read the messages — they too often read like people with 
open arms inviting everyone in. The common house is a haven for lost souls.

One of our residents rented a room to a woman who turned out to be unreasonable 
and illogical, if not parasitical like the people David describes. The renter 
has now taken our resident to court. Her lease is long over and she has moved 
out. Because other residents wanted to be supportive of the renter, they gave 
the false impression that she was welcome to live in the community no matter 
what. She is a deaf person and very militant, believing or claiming that she 
was discriminated against because she was deaf.

Our resident was actually happy she was deaf because she had a young baby and 
wouldn't have to worry about the baby waking the renter at night. She reads 
lips and speaks so well that some people in the community didn't even know she 
was deaf.

The woman is representing herself in a long rambling defense, for which our 
resident had to hire a lawyer. Our resident has something to lose, the woman 
renting has nothing to lose. She can only gain. The court is apparently 
obligated to listen to her long list of grievances which go like this. 

"She deprived me of access to the internet."  

"But the internet connection is in your room and you refused to let anyone in 
to fix it."

It is not always possible to see this stuff in upfront interviews and 
references don't always tell you because they want to get rid of the person. In 
this case, I think her only references were her parents. Not a good source.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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