The majestic home had it all – five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a three-car garage and a spacious basement in a beautiful neighborhood in Colorado Springs. If the single-family house sounds too good to be true, stepping inside the property shows prospective buyers a stunning reality: walls spray-painted with vulgarities, rooms destroyed with a hammer, carpet reeking of human and animal feces, and dead cats locked in a bathroom.
“How do you like the s— on the carpets,” read the spray paint in the dining room.
What was once Suzy Myers’s pride and joy was now every landlord’s nightmare, thanks to a departing tenant who didn’t pay rent, she told The Washington Post. A Tuesday listing on Redfin described the house as a “little slice of hell” that stemmed from, fittingly, “a tenant from hell.”
“This house is not for the faint of heart but for that special person who can see through the rough diamond to the polished gem inside,” real estate agent Mimi Foster wrote. She said in a video tour of the home, “Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to encounter.”
The listing for the Colorado Springs house has been widely shared online, with photos and video posted by Foster showing a dilapidated property selling for an asking price of $590,000. The house was listed this week after more than a year of unsuccessfully trying to get Myers’s insurance company or authorities to intervene in the situation, she and Foster told The Washington Post on Wednesday.
Now, with the house heading toward foreclosure on June 30, Myers, who lives in Arizona and is in remission from cancer, said she’s praying for a miracle.
“It’s all I have, so I’m trying to keep it out of foreclosure,” said Myers, 58. “The only thing I can do is to see if someone will try to buy as is.”
The listing comes at a time when the real estate market is soaring in unlikely places during the coronavirus pandemic, but could be slowing in the face of price spikes and a dearth of homes for sale nationwide. Data from Realtor.com and Redfin recently found that although home prices are still rising, the pace of increase has slowed in recent months.
Long before the home was trashed, 4525 Churchill Ct. was a place of comfort and solace for Myers and her family. Health and financial troubles forced her to move in the mid-2000s, but the housing crash made selling the home difficult. Instead, she rented the home to a woman in an arrangement that lasted roughly a decade without issue.
But that changed around 2018, when Myers found out that the tenant had died and that her daughter had moved into the home. The Colorado woman who moved into the house not only stopped paying the monthly rent of about $2,800 but also allegedly installed a $38,000 roof on a home she did not own. When the woman told the contractor to “drop dead” after they asked for payment, the company reportedly put a lien on the house without Myers’s knowledge, Foster said.
The real estate agent alleged that the woman had also become a menacing presence in the neighborhood.
“The neighbors said they would hide when they saw her because she scared them so much,” Foster told The Washington Post.
Efforts to reach the former tenant, who has not been publicly identified, were unsuccessful.
The woman was evicted around Halloween 2019, said Foster, but was somehow allowed back inside the house by a property manager within two weeks of her departure.
Unbeknown to Myers, destruction ensued inside the place she called home. She would not find out until much later about what happened to it. She was left depressed and feeling helpless.
“It’s like a horror movie,” Myers told The Post.
A representative for the property manager did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Myers was referred to Foster, who she hoped could list the property around April 2020. Myers told Foster, “I think the tenant has done some damage,” but both weren’t entirely sure what that entailed.
When Foster first set foot inside the house, the damage was comparable to a war zone, she said. She remembers how hard it was to breathe, with the smell of the feces on the floor toward the front door “hitting me like a brick wall.” The walls were covered in spray-painted expletives that mentioned Myers by name, photos show. They included:
“How are you going to rent this, Suzy?”
The listing, which has been viewed more than 130,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon, noted what was terribly wrong with the house.
“The upstairs has a catwalk, large master with soaking tub and dual sinks, plus two additional bedrooms and bath – all covered in black spray paint, vulgarities, and other substances which are no longer identifiable,” Foster wrote. “The basement is amazing – or at least it will be once all the debris is cleared out, the floor coverings are replaced, and the obscenities are painted over.” She added, “Come feast your senses.”
But the real estate agent said perhaps the most shocking element of the disaster was when she found two dead cats locked in one of the upstairs bathrooms. For Myers, who works in animal rescue, finding out that cats were abandoned and had died in her home was crushing.
“I can’t think about what happened to those poor cats,” she said through tears.
Myers said a complaint filed to the Colorado Division of Insurance has not been answered. Foster said she filed a report to police concerning the vandalism at the property. Colorado Springs police Lt. James Sokolik told The Post that the case remains open but is inactive. He said authorities have not been able to contact the former tenant or the property management company.
The house is approaching foreclosure because of several liens on it, including the $38,000 roof allegedly installed by the former tenant, Foster said.
The real estate agent said that the house would be worth $700,000 when fixed up but is waiting on offers that are not “way below what she has to sell it for.”
“My heart breaks for the seller,” Foster said. “The tenant shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.”
But Myers, who has been fighting atrial fibrillation and taking care of her mother, believes she’s still fortunate. She remembers birthday parties with her daughter and the quiet moments of sitting on the back deck, where she had a view of downtown Colorado Springs and the mountains. Myers said she hangs on to the memories, especially now with her former happy place looking so damaged and inching toward foreclosure.
“We’re kind of holding each other up, but it’s not easy,” she said. “We’re still walking – we’re walking with a limp but still walking.”