Thanks to everyone for all the good thoughts and prayers. I need all I can get. As for locking her out, turning off utilities, bullying, making her uncomfortable in any way it's totally illegal in California. Laws here protect the tenant not the landlord. I actually am very savvy on the laws and things I can and can't do. My stupidity was renting to her in the first place, giving her a chance, even though I knew she had ONE eviction. That one was from her soon to be ex father in law's house and she and the almost ex hubby were evicted. Didn't think that was something awful. Just life happening. I was however considering renting a bulldozer.
She had poor credit (told me up front) but didn't owe anyone. She had a DUI in the past, but also told me about that one when I asked about a 'car'? Two sons, one 17 and one 26 living with her. Both are good guys. One has SSI coming in for a 'mental condition' which I'm just guessing at since I'm not allowed to ask and it's not on the paperwork she gave me. She presented lots of documentation proving everything she told me. Thought she was an honest person. Her first month and security were paid to me by the 'relcation company'. I got in contact with them and verified that as soon as she proved a rental (she had to get out of the current house which would be torn down for an apartment complex) that she was going to get almost FIFTY thousand in a lump sum. Yep. Verified, even has the relocation people over to the rental to 'approve' it. No approval, no money. They had to make sure that she wasn't presenting false paperwork, etc.
So after she's in, we had the 'big flood' in the bedroom caused by a massive downpour (we never have those) and a pipe into the outer wall that had gotten too much dirt up to the hole around it and the water just glurped in. Took us a while to figure it out. Tore out the NEW carpet (only weeks old) dried everything, sealed the outside foundation just in case, sealed around the hole, lowered the dirt against the house, removed baseboards, foamed inside the walls, reinstalled the carpet and all was fine....UNTIL she complained the next month that the carpet was wet again. I panicked. We had already given her almost half rent for that month because of the inconvenience and I think she wanted to continue getting half rent. I wasn't buying it and found NO wetness. We had a bit of a 'conversation' about not being wet. She insisted, I resisted. She tried it AGAIN the next month. I'm not that stupid. Got a 'moisture meter' and proved nothing was wet.
So then she didn't give me ANY rent for the next month and still has not. She's been living there FREE for almost a month now. I used her security for last month's rent and now am totally out of money. Can't get her out. She's claiming nobody will rent to her because of her bad credit. I really don't think she's even looking. So I was about ready to file the Eviction, got all the paperwork and filled it out (not hard just confusing) and then found out there were some really sticky points with the older son, etc. Plus, I can't pay money that I don't have and most want a huge lump sum up front.
Still am going to have to file though. She's not budging, she's done this 3 times before (once with the father in law) twice as 'party' to the other 2. She fights them till the end up to the jury trial. Ugh. SHE gets a free lawyer and legal advice. I get to pay it all myself. I will ask for money damages, and lawyer's fees (it's in my lease) but I'm suspecting that all that money she got from the relocation company (and I do have the paperwork from them to prove she got it) is GONE. I suspect, but can't prove that she has a gambling problem and is out most nights, all night (between 5-14 hours. Wonder where she goes???
Can't figure out why if she has all that money, she can't pay me the rent. Doesn't make sense. I'm trapped, depressed, got no money to pay the lawyer that I desperately need. I'm waiting for my next retirement check at the end of the month and hopefully one of the lawyers I spoke to will take 'payments'. Otherwise, I will have to adopt that family and continue to support them. Geez. Already paying $30 extra a month for her overuse of water, AND found out yesterday, she didn't pay her trash bill EVER so I paid it before they put a lien on my property and avoided that one. She did however, pay me the money when I stomped down there and waved the bill at her. Claimed she wasn't sure she got a bill. I know she got several per the trash company. It's all in my name now. Not taking a chance she will do this again.
Total mess. No way out right now. Keep those prayers and good thoughts coming!