When Thomas Ravaux rented to a couple in Rozoy-sur-Serre, France, he assumed they were the nicest people anyone could have ever met. So, he had no reason to suspect that they would be anything but honest, hard-working and responsible tenants. But a year had passed and he hadn’t heard a word from them and when he went to investigate, he wished their paths had never crossed.
This Landlord Paid His Tenants a Visit
Thomas Ravaux walked into the apartment he owned looking for a family of tenants he had rented to over a year earlier. Normally, he would have never considered paying them a visit like this, but these weren’t regular circumstances.
They Hadn’t Paid a Dime
Month after month had passed, and the tenants hadn’t made any rental payments, but they hadn’t exactly promised Ravaux they would give him the money soon either. And even if they had, these would have been nothing more than empty promises.
He Had Every Right to Walk In
Ravaux had every right to storm right into the apartment and give the tenants a piece of his mind. But things didn’t really go the way he expected. In fact, it went the exact opposite way.
The Discovery He Made Took His Breath Away
What Ravaux discovered when he opened the door was something far worse than anything he could have imagined. Did he miss something when he initially interviewed these tenants all those months ago?
They Had Passed a Background Check
When Ravaux met the couple with three children, he thought they were good people looking for an apartment to rent. And as a family man himself, he knew how important a good stable home was to people. He ran the necessary background and financial checks, and they passed. So, he offered them a contract. But it was a decision he’d later regret.
He Got the Apartment Ready
Ravaux had double checked to make sure the French apartment had a fresh coat of paint and that all of the plumbing and door handles worked. He even rented a wood polishing machine to buff the hardwood floors. Still, he had no reason to suspect that this was a big mistake.
The Family Moved In
Once Ravaux set up the apartment, the family moved all of their belongings in and he finally gave them the keys and left. But several months had gone by and they hadn’t yet paid him the first months’ rent. He initially assumed that this was the result of an online bank transfer error. But it wasn’t.
He Checked With the Bank
He checked his online statement and even made a call to his bank to see if there was some kind of glitch in the system that could explain why the rental payments weren’t showing up in his account. But the answer he got from the bank made him hopping mad.
They Ignored His Calls
According to the bank, the tenants had not made a single payment to Ravaux’s account. Left with no other choice, he gave the family a call but no one answered. So, he tried again and then it seemed like someone did answer, but then they hung up. Clearly, something was wrong.
They Avoided Him For 14 Months
The tenants had avoided their landlord for 14 months. At first, he tried to put himself in their shoes. Maybe the primary provider had lost their job and they were too embarrassed to say anything. But why didn’t they just reach out to him and explain the situation?
He Would Have Understood
Ravaux knew a thing or two about going through a financial rough patch. He would have understood if they needed a little more time to pay their dues. He would have even released them from their contract if necessary. But they never even gave him a chance.
His Patience Had Run Out
He no longer had any patience or sympathy left for the family. He no longer cared what was going on with these people. He wanted his money. But paying them a visit only made things worse.
He Was Ready to Evict Them
Ravaux was just about ready to evict these people. He would have to follow the proper channel of notifying them and giving them 30 days to vacate the premise. But he wanted to have a one-on-one conversation with the tenants first.
He Drove Over to the Apartment
As Ravaux drove over to the apartment, he kept thinking about the things he was going to say to them. For starters, he was going to ask them who they thought they were to move in to an apartment and refuse to pay?
He Walked in Uninvited
He knocked on their door and waited, but the tenants didn’t answer. He tried again. No response. So, he took out his spare key and opened the door himself and what he saw in the hallway made him gasp.
The Apartment Was Trashed
The hardwood floor was littered with toys, damaged furniture and tons of trash. Ravaux had to cover his mouth to avoid hurling chunks from the horrible smell of rotten food, most of which was coming from the piles of dirty dishes.
The Bathroom Was a Disaster
He couldn’t believe that anyone had lived in these conditions. Even the bathroom was full of boxes and junk. It was hard for him to imagine anyone having been able to shower here let alone use the sink to wash their hands or brush their teeth.
He Was in a State of Shock
He was beyond angry that his pristine apartment had been turned upside down like this. There were holes in the wall, and proof on the floor that the tenants once had dogs living with them.
The Damage Was Costly
The amount of damage on the floor caused by animal excrement was going to cost him, but he had no intention of paying a dime. He wanted the seemingly nice folks he had allowed to rent the space to fork over the cash. But they were nowhere in sight.
It’s Customary to Give Notice
When a tenant decides to leave, it’s customary to let the owner know ahead of time, preferably, 30 days before their lease is up. And before leaving, they’re supposed to fix whatever damage they’ve done.
Not The Normal Wear and Tear of Living
Now, usually, a landlord understands that there is a reasonable wear and tear depreciation that comes with a tenant living in a property. But what Ravaux had seen was anything but reasonable.
They Neglected and Abused the Property
There’s a fine line between wear and tear and neglect and abuse of a property and these tenants had crossed that line. And while normal wear and tear is a landlord’s responsibility to fix, this was not Ravaux’s responsibility. But those who were responsible had simply taken off.
They Had Left Without Notice
It turns out that the family had left the apartment without giving notice. They didn’t even return the keys to Ravaux or give him the chance to check the property before shaking hands and parting amicably the way most people do.
They Ruined His Investment
This apartment had been Ravaux’s extra money maker for him and his own family. In fact, he inherited this apartment from his grandfather who had passed away. Now these tenants had ruined the property and there was no way he was going to let them get away with that.
They Hadn’t Been Around in Weeks
Ravaux knocked on the neighbor’s door and asked if they had seen the tenants, but the man claimed that no one had stopped by the apartment in several weeks. But they couldn’t have just gone off the grid. So, where did they go and more importantly, what was he going to do with all of their belongings?
He Sought Legal Advice
His first instinct was to toss everything out, but some of the items were still mostly intact and he wasn’t sure if he had the legal right to dump it all. Left with no other choice, Ravaux decided to call his lawyer for advice who told him that he could file a case against the renters. But first he had to find them.
He Searched for Their New Address
He used their names and information to locate their new address. And after searching through list after list of names, he had finally found them in the directory. But what was he going to do next?
He Couldn’t Just Confront the Tenants
Before he could go after them, he had to take a moment and think. If he went over there and stormed into their place like a madman, he would look like the bad guy and wind up in handcuffs. Besides, he had bigger things to worry about.
There Was a Lot of Damage
Ravaux hadn’t figured out what he was going to do to his former tenants, but he knew that he would have to do some serious damage control on the property before he could rent it again. So, he did another inspection, which only fueled his anger.
He Took Another Look Around the Apartment
He inspected each room to assess the damage, which only made him angrier and more determined to speak to these tenants. But he couldn’t just leave the apartment in its current state of disarray. So, he called for help.
The Cleaning Crew Arrived
Shortly after a truck pulled up to the driveway, a clean-up crew got out and headed towards the apartment like an army. And in a sense, that’s exactly what they were—an army with a mission to right a wrong. But were they in over their heads?
They Started Moving the Junk Onto Their Truck
When the crew got there, they were stunned by the horrible mess. This, however, did not stop them from moving all the junk onto their truck. But curiosity made them ask the owner what he was going to do, and they smiled when Ravaux told him what he had up his sleeve.
Ravaux Brainstormed the Proper Revenge
Ravaux had been thinking of ways to get back at the tenants for what they had done. At first it took a while for him to think clearly because he was still pretty upset. But as the clean-up crew got to work, inspiration struck.
All the Trash Was Finally Loaded Up
Every piece of garbage from rotten food to dirty dishes to garbage, dog excrement and damaged furniture got loaded onto the truck. Eventually, the apartment was clear. But the clean-up crew wasn’t going to drive their garbage load to a city dump. Instead, they followed Ravaux’s master plan.
He Told the Clean-Up Crew Where to Dump the Trash
Ravaux followed the truck in his car as it drove to the newly rented apartment of his former tenants. Ironically, they had moved just a few blocks away from Ravaux’s apartment. But what were they all going to do when they got there?
He Considered Confronting Them
The logical course of action would have been to walk up to the former tenants’ front door, knock on their door and ask them kindly to come outside and look at the mess they had left behind. But that’s not what Ravaux had in mind.
He Waited in Anticipation
When the truck arrived at the property, Ravaux’s hands started shaking and his mouth was watering. Under normal circumstances, this wasn’t the kind of thing he would have ever considered doing to someone else, but he couldn’t let them get away with what they did.
He Trashed Their New Place
Neighbors watched as the massive truck backed up and tipped the payload of trash right in front of the tenants’ driveway. And all Ravaux could do was laugh as he imagined what the tenants’ reaction would be when they saw their mess returned to them.
Vengeance vs. Justice
Ravaux never thought of himself a vengeful man, but he did believe that justice serves those that serve themselves and that’s exactly what he did. But it still wasn’t enough. He wanted others to know what had happened here.
He Recorded What He Had Done
Ravaux didn’t just relish this joyous moment in his mind. He recorded his vengeful act. Then he uploaded the video on social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. But he figured that there would be mixed reactions.
It Was a Game of Wait and See
He was giddy like a kid out of school, but he didn’t consider his feelings to be juvenile given what the tenants had done. He just hoped that people would understand when they saw his video. But how did netizens react to his revenge tactic?
The Video Went Viral
The video gained over a million views. This caught the local news media’s attention who ran the story. Eventually, clickbait sites started picking up on the story and word of what had happened spread like wildfire.
People Praised Him for His Actions
Eventually, people started praising Ravaux’s video on social media. One person wrote: “Love it!! This needs to be done in the United States! I’ve seen some disgusting tenants in my neighborhood!” But some people weren’t happy with what he did.
Some Netizens Were Concerned
While many viewers praised Ravaux, others had mixed reactions. One viewer wrote: “Not a bad idea but if these tenants can’t pay rent moved to new place which is not their place you just made a big mess for a new landlord who now can sue you for jumping on his property. Think man. I know you’re upset but you put a new landlord in the middle and he did nothing to you.”
He Second Guessed His Judgment
Was the commenter right? Had he made a mistake by dumping that trash onto someone else’s property? Was he no better than the tenants who had left his apartment wrecked? He second guessed his judgment for a fleeting moment.
He Stood By What He Did
Ravaux read the way others had judged his actions and defended his decision. “It was carnage inside. Everything was totally destroyed. The carpet is messed up, there are holes in the walls, all the paintwork needs re-doing, and we will need to disinfect it all. The smell is unbearable. I had a legal representative witness the damage before we emptied the place.”
He Gave His Former Tenants a Piece of his Mind
Ravaux also had one thing to write to his former tenants. “This is how this flat was returned to me. Living like that with three kids, bravo. Not to mention the food that has gone bad in the fridge. Food offered to you by restaurant owners from their heart! Shame on you. Good luck to your new landlord.” But did the authorities ever get involved?
The Old Tenants Had to Clean Up
“I loaded everything into a dumpster and brought them back home…I met the authorities and we talked… For now, I’m not worried… The old tenants had to clear the sidewalk and bring everything to the dump Tuesday night. Everything is cleaned,” Ravaux added. But whether these rude tenants learned from their mistakes still remains to be seen.
Repairs Were Still Needed
Clearing the junk from the apartment was a pain, but it was easy thanks to the cleanup crew. But Ravaux still had to make repairs to the property. And while he never established whether he sued the tenants for the money to pay for these repairs, he would have had every right to do so.
Everyone Learned Something
The tenants learned that one should never underestimate the ingenuity of a ticked off property owner. So, it’s likely that they will never trash another property like this again. Meanwhile, Ravaux likely learned that background checks aren’t enough. Sometimes, one has to go deeper by requiring a heavier deposit from a tenant and also getting references from at least two previous people they rented from.