KCTV Investigates: Houses of Horror - KCTV5

KCTV Investigates: Houses of Horror

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KCTV5's Amy Anderson has been following a Kansas City family as they have moved from one rental home to another in the Kansas City area. And each time, they leave the rental home trashed.

KCTV5 first reported about this family in January.

We have received reports about the deplorable conditions and extensive damages caused by Scott and Kristie Dalman. One such tip led Anderson to the family's current location and a landlord who knew nothing about the family's past rental history.

Dee Smith knew very little about the people who recently moved into the Northland house behind hers, except that they had three kids and a lot of dogs.

"My husband came in one day and said he talked to her. And she said they show the dogs," Smith said, adding she also indicated that they dog-sit as well.

But those dogs are part of the problems that previous landlords have dealt with after the Dalmans moved out.

In 2010, the Sibell family rented a Kearney home to the Dalmans. Kristie Sibell recounted to KCTV5 how the family caused $30,000 in damage by basically turning her house into a dog kennel.

"Everything was covered in dog feces," she said.

In January, Travis Matteson gave Anderson a tour inside the home his parents had rented to the Dalmans.

"On the floor," said Matteson, "this isn't dirt. It's actually feces."

During the tour, Matteson showed that every room was destroyed and covered in feces and filth. The conditions were so bad that both Matteson and the KCTV5 photographer who came along to shoot the conditions had fleas from just being inside.

In both these cases, the Dalman family stopped paying rent and eventually left the houses in ruin.

This wasn't the first time nor would it be the last time that a landlord would regret involvement with the Dalmans.

Mike Southard dealt with the Dalmans a couple years back when the couple offered to buy his northern Missouri farm. Southard never met the Dalmans but says the couple provided his realtor with a document that appeared to come from the Farm Service Agency showing they'd been pre-approved for a loan of nearly a million dollars. And Southard says the Dalmans were eager to settle in.

"We paid for the storage and moved everything out," he said. "I sold a lot of things I'd normally have to have on a small farm – a tractor, tiller, power generator - basically for nothing so we could get rid of them quick and get out."

The Dalmans never showed for the closing. The Southards had to spend more money, moving back into their own home.

Southard says he later found out that letter from the Farm Service Agency was a fake. No one at the FSA office knew anything about that document.

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is," said Southard.

Southard says he considered suing the Dalmans. But he said a search of court records revealed when other people had taken that route and won that no money was ever paid back to them. At this point, he just wants to warn anyone who will listen.

The Dalmans' current landlord knew nothing of the Dalmans' renting past until KCTV5 contacted him.

Within 24 hours, the homeowner called back and confirmed to Anderson that he is the Dalmans' latest victim.

The homeowner, who asked not to be named in this story, says he had just finished $60,000 worth of renovations to the place – putting in new hardwood floors and granite countertops.

Smith knew the investment was sizeable.

"We saw the owner going out fixing it up for several weeks on end," said Smith. "So I'm sure it was very nice when they first got there."

A little more than a month later, the homeowner reports his house already reeks of cat urine and dog feces. An eviction has begun, with the owner hoping for a peaceful resolution so he can get back into his house and begin making repairs.

KCTV5 tried to speak to the Dalmans. When we knocked on the door, the family called police. The officers who responded could not address the Dalman situation, but say they hear complaints like this all the time. Because a contract between a tenant and landlord is a civil matter, police are powerless to intervene.

"It is property destruction," said Kansas City police Officer Don Smarker. "This is a tough one for me because I feel it's criminal too and I want to take a report and prosecute them on it because I've seen some really bad ones."

Smarker says most police departments across the metro offer free classes to landlords on dealing with tenants and avoiding nightmare scenarios. You can learn more about those classes by clicking here.

In the meantime, Smarker has some advice. First and foremost, he says pay a professional company to do tenant background checks. Collect all money before handing over any keys. And make sure your lease is up to date and legal for your state. The rules change over time and differ between Missouri and Kansas.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.

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